Computers

The Best Genealogy Software

genealogy software programs

A screenshot of Rootsmagic for my own family tree. Click to enlarge for more detail.

I know that some people prefer the traditional paper format to keep track of their genealogy research, but the practice of using software has become a little more the norm. But if you are new to the field or are looking to make a change, how do you know which programs are worth looking into?

I’m not going to do full reviews on all of these, but there is a quick intro into the main genealogy software programs that are popular right now. Just remember that they all basically offer the same fundamental features and are going to have a lot in common. But it can be the style of interface or certain extras that makes one better for you than another. Take advantage of any free trials to get the idea of what each program offers before you take the plunge. (more…)

01 May 2013

Genealogy Timelines

making a genealogy timeline

A simple genealogy timeline, made with Genelines

We are all pretty familiar with the standard trees, charts and tables that come with genealogy research. Have you considered using a timeline to help further organize your ancestors and their lives?

This time of linear chart can give you a great new visual perspective on your family tree. Creating a line of events in chronological order, you can see the underlying flow to your family’s history. Vital events like births, marriages and deaths can be charted as well as changes in residences and immigrations. Add in other significant events of local or international history, and you can really see how your family fits in with things. (more…)

26 Apr 2013

Back Up Your Data

how to back up genealogy files

Computers can have problems, so back everything up!

After all that hard work to build your family tree and collect your ancestor’s heritage, don’t put it at risk due to some unexpected computer problems. Of course, those of us who are keeping our genealogy data on paper have a little less to worry about and this won’t apply quite the same way. But anyone with their research on a computer could face heartbreak in a moment when your hard drive crashes. And it can happen with no notice whatsoever. Trust me.

Doing data back ups is common enough and most genealogy software programs will let you create a secondary back up file every time you use it. But that usually just makes another file of your data that sits elsewhere on your computer, in case you accidentally delete a family line or something. It’s still in danger from any overall computer failures.

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25 Dec 2012

Gedcom Files

Even if you don’t use computer software to manage your family tree, you may have heard of “Gedcom files” and you should probably know what they are for future reference.

A Gedcom file is a universal file format that is used specifically for moving genealogy information from one software program to another. You can also use them to create websites or to publish family histories. Because the format is standard, anyone who deals in genealogical information will likely be able to read them. Well, computers read them, people don’t. (more…)

19 Dec 2012