click to view original photo

A Genealogy Software Primer, Part 3 - More Genealogy Programs

Besides the two best programs, you'll find several others that may fit your needs and budget. While these don't necessarily have all the features of the Big Two, they nevertheless are easy to use and offer the basics.


Content Details

Type: Article
Prepared by: Bob Brooke
Word Count: 521 (approx.)
Short URL:

Add Comment

Besides the two best programs, you'll find several others that may fit your needs and budget. While these don't necessarily have all the features of the Big Two, they nevertheless are easy to use and offer the basics.

If you're a stickler for documenting your sources, RootsMagic 3.0 from FormalSoft, Inc., with its logical interface and simple navigation, is the best for you. With it you can easily import GEDCOM files.

The program's SourceWizard formats sources consistently, allowing you to bring up fields with examples of how you should complete each. The Home Page Wizard easily creates Web pages. However, you'll have to purchase separate programs for research, mapping, and event management. The edit screen allows you to add an unlimited number of facts for every individual, and the Problem Search allows you to catch relationship errors.

RootsMagic also offers GenSmarts, a guided research program that integrates with it, which suggest sources for additional information about designated individuals.

As with the above programs , RootsMagic's workspace offers three views–family, pedigree, and descendants. RootsMagic Explorer helps you search within your family tree, especially if you have many ancestors. You can also search six genealogy sites on the Internet or the

International Genealogical Index through Family Search, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You can try RootsMagic for free, but remember that the trial version will limit what you can do.

Ancestral Quest 12.0 from Incline Software is a simple program if you're interested in discovering your family history. Its clear and user-friendly interface integrates with, but remember the monthly fee. If you enable the interface to work with, the number of trees featuring a particular name on your tree will appear in the Pedigree View. You can either begin your family tree from scratch or work with an existing one.

Data entry is a simple and thorough process. You can add unusual events, then preview the narrative you've created. By clicking on the "S" next to each entry, you can add sources.

You can also link to Family Search, World Vital Records.

Ancestral Quest offers the three standard views–family, pedigree, and individual–and its input screens are easy to navigate. Drop down menus allow you to add new entries for a linked individual. The program even allows you to add nicknames. With Reports and Charts, you can create standard charts while customizing fonts, colors, and lines.

If you're a novice on a budget, you may want to try Personal Ancestral File 5.2, a free program supported by the LDS Church. It's a powerful program, nonetheless, offering a straightforward, simple interface that's perfect for recording and organizing your information. If you wish to create charts, you'll have to purchase the add-on PAF Companion for $8.25.

And finally, there's BirthWrite 2.5, a shareware genealogy program that has been around for awhile. You'll find it easy to use, with simple navigation through both ancestor and descendent tree views. It also allows you to import, export, and merge GEDCOM files, and its Relationship calculator checks for errors. But if you're going to pay the $20 for this program, you might as well go for the extra $10 for a full-featured program.

Source Information: Everyday Genealogy, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2009.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

Recent Feedback:
  • No matches for this listing.
  • << Everyday Genealogy

    << Helpful Articles


    Suggested Next Steps (BETA)

  • Would you like to keep up-to-date with the latest releases from Genealogy Today, along with news from a variety of other sources by receiving The Genealogy News (a FREE service) by email? Yes, sign me up
  • Would you like to become a Genealogy Today member and be able to manage your research experience, post messages to forums, add comments to resources and much more? Yes, show me how
  • Would you like to tap into our community of over 85,000 members by posting a query and get assistance breaking down your most difficult brickwalls? Yes, show me how
  • Would you like to go shopping in a marketplace of over 700 items, including charts, scrapbooking materials, books and a variety of unique gifts and supplies? Yes, take me there
  • Would you like to search for your ancestors in a collection of over 6,000 transcribed documents that includes Masonic lodge rosters, funeral notices, school catalogues, telephone directories, insurance claims, directories, church member lists, prison records, etc.? Yes, take me there