I started researching my family history long before I purchased my first computer. My research was old school in notebooks and on every scrap of paper I could find. When I got my first computer, I was elated to find it came with a genealogy software bundle, but soon found it bulky and difficult to use, especially for someone who had little computer knowledge. That is why today, we are going to talk about genealogy software for beginners.
What is Genealogy Software
Genealogy software is software for your computer that allows you to keep track of your family tree, tasks, records, and photos. With most genealogy software, you can record your ancestor’s information, attach a photo of them (if you have one), add notes, and even attach records such as census, land deeds, and obituaries.
Why Use Genealogy Software?
Genealogy software is a great way to keep a digital copy of all of your family history information at your fingertips. I have all of my originals stored a way in boxes and when I need something, it can be tiring to have to dig through everything I have. By having scanned all of this information into my computer and attaching it to my family tree in my genealogy software, a simple search in the software gives me the information I need.
What is a Good Genealogy Software
A good genealogy software is a genealogy software that works for you and does what you need it to do. Each genealogy software I have tried offers slightly different functions but all based on the same purpose creating a family tree. Some software allows you to connect to an online searchable database while others do not.
How to Choose Genealogy Software
To choose a good genealogy software, you need to know how you want it to function. Make a list of things you would like your software to do and look for software that offer those functions.
When I googled Top Genealogy Software, these were the top results and what they offer.
- Family Tree Maker- (Starting at $79.95) Family Tree Maker has been around for about 30 years and has a lot to offer like syncing to your Ancestry family tree, searching Ancestry.com’s data bases, and viewing hints in the software.
- RootsMagic-(Starting at $29.95 for a new license) RootMagic has WebHints that automatically searches for your people online and notifies you when information is found. It also allows you to back up your work to online storage such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
- Legacy Family Tree-(Starting at $34.95 for the deluxe version)- Legacy 9.0 is compatible with FamilySearch.org and allows in software searching of Family Search and Find a Grave.
How to Use Genealogy Software
Most genealogy software comes with a PDF manual or some sort of how to use instructions that will help you learn the specifics of the software you purchased and walk you through the setup process.
Before entering your family history information, take some time to familiarize yourself with the software’s functions and to customize it to your liking. Once you are happy with your settings and feel comfortable with the software, you can start adding your family member information, attaching records, and photos.
Which Genealogy Software is Best
I cannot honestly tell you which genealogy software will be best for you as your needs may be different than mine. I can tell you that I have happily used Legacy 9.0 for years. Customization for Legacy 9.0 includes things like the ability to change the appearance colors, visual styles, how you want names to appear, data entry preferences and more. Adding information is as simple as clicking on a person and adding a child, parent, or spouse, then filling in the blanks on a pop up box. It also has in depth sourcing so you always know where you found your information and the ability to print a family tree report when you want to give a copy of your tree away.
Though this software was right for me, I suggest before buying, download a few trail versions of genealogy software and test them out. You will be spending a lot of time using it, so you want to make sure it is the one for you.
The Legal Stuff
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