Genealogy is the science of researching your family history. While at first it may seem like a simple process, once you get a hundred or so years back, it can actually become quite complicated. People move, marry, remarry, change their name, and keeping this information organized can become a project in and of itself.
Because we live in the age of technology, there are software programs designed specifically for genealogy projects. Let’s take a look at what this software can do for you, and where to find it.
One of the primary uses for genealogy software is to store information. Of course each software program stores information differently so you’ll want to decide, in advance, how you want to organize your information.
You can also use genealogy software to share information. Some genealogy software enables you to connect with others to share your information. This is useful if you have embraced a “team approach” to uncovering your family tree, you know, if you’re working with say a few cousin, and you want to share your research results. This functionality is a great way for you to be able to share information you are researching with others, for verification.
You can also use genealogy software to aid in your research. Some genealogy software takes it to the next level, and helps you analyze the information you have. You will find it eaiser to be able to look for patterns in your data and inconsistencies.
How to choose the right Genealogy software for your needs
Because there are so many genealogy software options, it’s important to determine your needs BEFORE making a purchase. Here are 7 considerations:
1) How do you want to store your information? Do you want to be able to scan photos and documents and store these in your database, or do you want to simply record information in a spreadsheet type program?
2) What do you want to do with your genealogy information? In other words; are you going to keep it on the computer, are you hoping to create an elaborate family tree to hang on your wall, or publish a book?
3) Software organizes information in two main ways. The most common is lineage-based, which means family members are linked by direct bloodlines. The other type is event based which connects family members through common events.
4) Do you plan or have a need to share your research online?
5) Are you looking for an end product? Some software will let you produce reports and books. If this is something you’d like or need then make sure to narrow your search to only include these items.
6) Usability. How much time do you want to spend learning how to use your genealogy software? How intuitive is the navigation and use interface? Additionally, you will want to ask if the information you input can be readily exported, and then imported to use in other programs.
7) Finally, you will also want to consider your budget. How much do you want to spend on genealogy software?
Having a system to organize, document and even produce published materials can make your genealogy research and project that much easier… and more satisfying.
Genealogy software can help you with the entire process… or step in later when you are ready to use it. Before you purchase genealogy software make sure it meets ALL your needs.
Personal Ancestral File (now discontinued) is my preference. It’s free to download from: http://personal-ancestral-file.software.informer.com/5.2/ and it is owned by the LDS Church (Later Day Saints). However, I also own PageMaker which is the software I am using to publish my completed book.
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Internet Specialist by trade and passionate about my family's history, I set out to try and reconnect the many lost connections with my paternal family.
Your tombstone stands among the rest
What is Genealogy?
Why is Genealogy Important?
What to do When You Have a Common Surname
Do I Need The Help of a Professional Genealogist?
How to Find Free Basic Genealogy Information