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Review of Genealogy Software Programs

Disclaimer: What follows is a review of some of the existing genealogy software. It is neither complete (or up-to-date), nor is it intended to particularly "rate" the various genealogy software packages which you, as a (future) genealogist, are highly encouraged to use. It is merely provided to assist you in making a choice. Enjoy!


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Some say Alex Haley's book "ROOTS", which was made into a popular mini series, helped ignite the current genealogy craze. Others suggest that, in a society where many families are gathered across a continent or two, it is only natural that we begin to look back to feel "connected".

Whatever the source, it could not have happened at a better time, as computer innovators are now creating tools to help families dig into their past.


Resources Abound

Genealogy software is my favourite home application. It is ideal for storing and sorting information on your roots. Massive amounts of searchable census and record data are now stored on CD-ROM's, which are inexpensive and easy to use.

Genealogy has been waiting for the computer age, and genealogists have recognized the possibilities and responded with hundreds of programs and utilities.

In picking a program, think about what you are willing to spend and how deeply you anticipate getting into genealogy.

But beware: there is something addictive about finding great-great grandmother's names in a book published in 1860 that lists the accomplishments (good and bad) of her grandparents and adds ancestors backwards for two hundred or three hundred years with tales of their "deeds".


The Programs

In this overview of genealogy software, I have tried to include programs available in Canada. I have also included some programs that must be ordered from the United States, but which are considered to be among the best by roots enthusiasts, or are the most popular. Programs for DOS, Windows and MacIntosh are described.




I reviewed the demo version of this program by Everton Publishers, one of the biggest names in genealogy publishing, and found it to be an adequate basic program with better-than-average space for notes. However, it does not have many of the bells and whistles common to other Windows programs, such as graphics import, kinship calculator and a label maker. It does contain numerous extra fields for biographical data. It requires Windows 3.1, 4 MB RAM, 1.7MB free hard-disk space and a 386 or better. It sells for US$59.50.




Brother's Keeper is a Windows genealogy shareware program that will help you input and organize your family history information and let you print a large variety of charts and reports. BK6 works with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7. There is no charge to download BK to try it out. Click here to download.

Note: Special Note from Yvon: The Version 6.0 is the program included on all the 'Specific Families' Genealogy CDS available from me.




General Features List

Open up to 9 databases at once
Drag and drop people between databases
Open multiple copies (and views) of the same database
Unlimited people, facts, notes, sources, places
Over 50 predefined fact types (birth, marriage, death, occupation, religion, etc), or create your own
Create user defined family fact types (in addition to individual fact types)
Easily track multiple relationships, such as adoptions, foster parents, etc
Integrated backup and restore help safeguard your data
Support for international character sets
Family Origins Explorer lets you easily find and edit anyone in your family tree
Marriage Lists lets you search by marriage (including wife's maiden name)
Select full ancestor or descendant trees for GEDCOM, reports, etc.
Select all related individuals for GEDCOM, reports, etc.
True 32 bit program
Print Heirloom Quality Trees
Graphical timeline wall charts
Relationship chart shows the relationship between any two people in your database
Hourglass wall chart shows all ancestors and descendants of a person
WYSIWYG print preview of all trees
Choose your border styles and colors
Include pictures in your family trees
Ancestor, Descendant, Pedigree, and Family Trees
Ancestor and descendant Wall Charts with photos
Print Detailed Family Stories with Full Documentation
Print documents comprised of multiple report types (i.e. books, pedigree charts, family group sheets, etc) with common index and source bibliography
Print stories (books) of your ancestors and descendants
Modified register descendancy book
Indented descendancy book
Henry descendant book
D'Aboville descendant book
Print uplines (i.e. Samuel-3, David-2, William-1) of descendants in Modified Register books
Print source citations as true footnotes to RTF files
Print direct to printer, or export to your word processor (RTF)
Include photos, notes, bibliography, and alphabetical index
Dozens of Useful Reports
Print many reports to Acrobat (PDF) files
Copy any printout to the clipboard in Enhanced Meta File (EMF) format
Letter writer including sample letters
Letter writer provides address and phone numbers for county, state, US, and international resources (requires internet access)
Letter writer can automatically add your letter information to the correspondence log
Personal Timeline List
Calendars with birthdays and anniversaries
Address labels for mailings
Surname statistics list
Missing information list
Set margins, headers, and footers for all printouts
Double sided printing support
Select the number of copies to print for each printout
Enhancements to many existing reports
Forest List details how many trees are in your database
Multiple Parents List lists every person that has more than one set of parents entered
Marriage List lists all marriages sorted by names, dates, or places.
Fact Usage List lists every person that has a particular fact entered for them
Family Timeline List chronologically lists every event in a family (or any other group of individuals)
Kinship list shows how everyone in your family tree is related to you
Problem list catches data entry errors
Address list prints the addresses which you enter for people
Statistics report computes average ages, average number of children, etc
Print every event that occurred in any place
Print standard Pedigree charts and Family Group Sheets (including blank ones)
Individual summaries print everything you know about a person
Birthday and Anniversary list reminds you of important dates
To Do list helps organize your research
Blank research logs, correspondence logs, and cemetery records forms
Many other lists
Even design and print your own customized reports of any or every person in your family tree
Multimedia Scrapbook
Attach photographs, sound clips, and video clips to any person or family
Attach photographs, sound clips, and video clips to any place, source, or event
Attach documents (i.e. Word, etc) to people, families, places, sources, or events
Scan photos directly into Family Origins
Edit photos in Family Origins (sharpness, brightness, contrast, etc)
Crop, rotate, and zoom images in photo editor
Include a caption and detailed description of every item in your scrapbook
Rearrange photos in each scrapbook
Preview images when adding to scrapbook
Individual photo is shown on main navigation screens
Print your photos alone, in a scrapbook, or in trees, stories, forms, and reports
Print your scrapbook and trees in the format you want, and the border styles and colors you select
Put Your Family on the World Wide Web
Family Finder Report automatically looks for your family on CD's and websites
Internet Family Finder
Biography Assistant
Genealogy message boards
"How to" articles
Social Security Death Index
Family Reunion Planner
Automatically create a web-site including photos, notes, sources, index, surname list, GEDCOM file, email, etc
Improved look for created websites
Add your own links to your home page
Create ancestor or descendant websites
Create pedigree chart websites
Create family group sheet websites
Create websites of any or all individuals in your database
"Privatize" living persons in your website
Automatic creation of GENDEX.TXT file for websites
Quick and Easy
Work from either a family view or tree view (or switch back and forth)
Drop list display of all spouses and children of each person in the tree view makes navigation much easier
Family members are automatically linked as you add them
Automatically checks for duplicates as you add people
Just double click on a person's name to edit that person
Smart place entry
Fill in the blanks
Customizable tool bar
Automatically search for Family Origins or GEDCOM files
Select from recently used databases
Assign default folders for different file types
Easy to use Explorer-like help system
Powerful Search Capabilities
Search by name
Search by record number
Search by dates and places of events
Search by type of occupation, religion, etc.
Search by married name
Search and sort by last edited date
Search by any combination of the above
Professional Documentation
Add notes and stories/notes to any fact or person
Easy to use Source Manager tracks all your documentation (certificates, census, books, etc)
Enter each source only once, then reuse it elsewhere with a single keystroke
Add a source to multiple people at once
Add a global source to each person when importing a GEDCOM file.
Track repositories where the sources are found
Print your documentation (notes and sources) in your stories (books), reports, summaries, and forms
Full GEDCOM 5.5 support so you can exchange data with other programs
GEDCOM import option to combine into current database or create a new database
Compatible with LDS Ancestral File and TempleReady
Directly import data from Personal Ancestral File (PAF)
Direct PAF 3.0 and 4.0 import
Includes full LDS support (optional)
Includes Many Useful Tools
Correspondence Log lets you keep track of all your incoming and outgoing correspondence
Bookmark any individual(s) in your database
Spell Checker checks the current notes, or all notes.
Global search and replace for notes, sources, names, places, etc.
Forest command counts the number of separate trees in your database.
To Do list (research log) lets you keep track of research you still need to do
Date calculator
Relationship calculator shows you the relationship between any two people
Soundex calculator (including alternate methods)
Automatically find and merge duplicate records
Powerful Database Merging
Enhanced duplicate search
Start duplicate search on any surname or letter of the alphabet
Duplicate search on Ancestral File numbers
Duplicate search on reference numbers
SmartMerge (tm) technology automatically merges records that meet certain criteria
Fully automatic SmartMerge
Merge on Unique ID option allows easy collaboration with other family members using Family Origins
Merge all duplicate sources at once
Merge all duplicate repositories at once
Save your position in a merge session and later pick up where you left off
Return to prior unmerged match in a merge session
Displays all individual facts and family members for merge candidates
Full LDS Support
Full TempleReady for Windows support
Automatically update completed ordinance dates and temples
See "Qualified" ordinances when selecting people for TempleReady
Full TempleReady and Ancestral File support
Reconcile TempleReady files with your database
Enter and edit LDS ordinances from a single screen
LDS baptism can be either live or proxy
LDS ordinance status field
Print "Qualified" or "Not qualified" (and reason) on LDS reports


FAMILY TIES Version 4.0

Family Ties is very simple to use, a good program for novice genealogists who are a bit frightened of computers. It looks like, feels like...and is priced like...an economy version of Family Tree Maker (the manual even suggests using FTM for printing fancier trees). Family Ties is available from Individual Software, and is distributed in Canada. It sells for $24.99 CDN. The program requires Windows 3.1 or better, 4 MB RAM (8 recommended) and 5 MB hard drive space. Contact Individual Software 1-800-331-3313.



Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting on your research, Family Tree Maker 2010 can help you create a family tree faster, easier, and better than ever before.

A dynamic interface that lets you quickly switch between important features. Powerful sourcing tools that let you document–and rate–each of your citations.
Media features make it easy to manage photos and other media files and incorporate them into charts and reports.
Timelines highlight personal, family and world events that occurred during your ancestors' lives.
Search Ancestry.com and other internet resources and easily add what you find to your tree.
Need more help deciding?
• What are Family Tree Maker's features?
• What's new in Family Tree Maker 2010?
• What are the system requirements?

Key Features

Family Tree Maker 2010 lets you easily:

Build a family tree starting with names, dates and events
Attach photos, documents and audio and video files
Merge new facts and records from the web into your tree with easy-to-use tools
Quickly switch between features with the dynamic user interface
User interactive maps to explore the places where your ancestors once lived
Design and print charts to display at home and share with family
Standardize place entries using a place authority database of more than 3 million names

New Features

New tools and charts that let you tell a richer story
Better ways to organize photos and other media
Slideshows you can create with images in your tree
Family books made from your tree
Standard source templates that help you cite the right information
Extended family birthday calendars
Family migration paths you can follow through time
Easy family tree download from Ancestry.com

System Requirements

Windows XP/Vista

A 500 MHz Intel Pentium II or equivalent and 512 MB of memory (RAM)
- A 1GHz Intel Pentium III or equivalent and 1 GB of memory are recommended

Super VGA (800 x 600) video adapter
- 1024 x 768 is recommended

A 2X CD-ROM drive (for installation only)
- A 32X CD/CD-R is recommended

450 MB disk space for installation

Training video and Our History in Images require DVD-ROM drive

All online features require Internet access **
* System requirements are based on requirements to run the Family Tree Maker program. User's Operating System requirements may be higher than those listed here. System configuration may require minor adjustments to the configurations of your operations system and/or updates to the hardware component drivers.

** User is responsible for all Internet access fees and phone charges.

As with all Windows programs, a faster processor, more RAM and more free disk space will enhance performance.




This is a minimal program that is not particularly easy to use. However, if cost is a consideration, the price is very low. The manual is on disk in the form of "Help" files. It requires an IBM-compatible computer with Windows 3.1 and a hard drive. It is distributed in Canada or can be ordered from Lifestyles. It sells for about $15.00 CDN. Contact; Lifestyles (904)825-0220




This program is a favourite among experienced and dedicated genealogists because of its exceptional note and source/reference features. It is not the easiest to use, though there are pull-down menus. The lack of ease of use is due to the large number of features. It is a bit like dBASE (but easier) in that if you use it frequently, you will appreciate its power and elegance; however, if you use it infrequently, you may spend some time reading the manual to refresh your memory.

An integrated correspondence log may prove useful in tracking your requests for official documents and letters to other genealogists. The quality of family tree print-outs is above average and the text outline descendancy report may be formatted to several large genealogical group styles.

One really useful feature is a built-in spellcheck that includes surnames, geographic place names (mostly U.S.) and common expressions. Wholly Genes, the maker of TMG, provide excellent backup and are active on forums such as Compuserve's "Gensup" and with user groups.

TMG requires a 386SX or better, 3 MB extended or expanded RAM, hard drive with 3 MB free and MS DOS 4.0 or higher. A Windows version of TMG is being beta tested. It is available directly from Wholly Genes and sells for US$99.00. Contact; Wholly Genes 1-800-982-2103 or (818)998-2575.




The PAF CD contains the Personal Ancestral File 5.2 software in English, Swedish, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. This is one of the most widely used Windows®-based genealogical management programs for home computers. (PAF 4.0.4 is the most current version for French, Spanish, and Portuguese.) PAF can also be downloaded free from the Internet.

PAF does not provide genealogical data. Instead, it helps users organize their family history records. It can produce, either on screen or on paper, pedigree charts, family group records, and other reports to help users in their search for missing ancestors. This version includes changes to the individual record to accommodate the wide variety of naming conventions used throughout the world. This version will convert PAF 3.x, 4.x, and 5.x data files to its improved file format.


Features allow users to:

Type each person's information only once.
Link individuals to families.
Type names and places using characters from any language.
Create templates to customize data entry.
Print pedigrees, family groups, or lists.
Track research sources.
Use photos, sound clips, video, and notes to add interest and value.
Search, find, and correct information.
View family information in different ways.
Match/merge duplicate entries.
Filter searches.
Share information with others.
View screens and print reports in English, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, or Swedish.

The PAF Companion CD contains the Personal Ancestral File Companion 5.4 software. This program prints quality color pedigree charts, family group records, ancestor charts, descendant charts, hourglass charts, fan charts, bow tie charts, kinship reports, descendant reports, and narrative reports. It tiles multiple pages to form large wall charts, and it can print photos in many charts. Its Preview and Publish to PDF features let users preview charts and save them in Adobe® PDF format. Its Compare feature finds individuals in the Pedigree Resource File (PRF) Master Index who may match those in users' PAF files (users must have a copy of the PRF Master Index to use this feature). Users can run PAF without exiting PAF Companion. PAF Companion can be used with PAF versions 3.x, 4.x, and 5.x. Program menus, commands, and help sections are in English only. Text labels on charts, such as "Born" and "Died," are displayed and printed in English only. Only data entered in the Latin alphabet (including diacritical marks) and Arabic numerals can be printed on the charts.

System Requirements:

Windows® 95B, 98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Vista, or Windows® 95A with Microsoft Internet Explorer® (PAF Companion requires Windows 2000, XP, or Vista)
Pentium PC or iMac with a Windows emulator
32 MB memory (64 MB recommended)
20 MB to 60 MB hard-disk space (add 12 MB for PAF Companion)
256-color display adapter supporting at least 800 x 600 screen resolution.
Windows-compatible printer
Optional: Internet access, mouse




Definitely a no-brainer to use, this program is widely available and inexpensive. It lacks some of the features of more expensive programs, but its companion program, Family Album, allows users to create a family history album with scanned photos or documents that may be edited in the program. Personal Roots requires Windows 3.1 or Windows95, 386DX or better, VGA monitor, 4 MB RAM (8 recommended) and 6 MB free hard drive. It is distributed in Canada and can be ordered from Expert Software. It sells for about $17.99 CDN. Contact; Expert Software (305)567-9990.




This is one of the better known high-end programs, and is available in Mac and Windows version. It is easy to use, has a super manual and good support. Only the Mac version accepts Kodak Photo CD's. A word processor is needed for some reports as the program searches your hard drive for a suitable application to which it will export large text reports. I was able to flawlessly transfer a GEDCOM from Family Tree Maker (Windows) to the Mac version of Reunion via Compuserve.

Mac or Windows users should be satisfied with this program. The new version (5.0) will offer hypertext markup language (HTML) output for Web Site use.

The Windows version requires a 386 or better, with VGA (or better), Windows 3.1 or Windows95, 2 MB RAM, hard drive and mouse. The Mac version needs System 7.0 or better and 4 MB RAM.

It is available from only a few dealers in Canada (see contacts) and can be ordered directly from Leister Production. Its estimated street price is $145.00 CDN. Contact; Softsource, Calgary, Alberta (403)297-1628; CompuSmart, Edmonton, Alberta (403)429-4388; WestWorld, Edmonton, Alberta (403)453-9386; Elm Street Computer, Toronto, Ontario (416)591-8684.




I reviewed a demo version of this DOS program and found it relatively easy to use with many professional-quality features for notes and source material. It offers an unlimited number of references for each entry and prelists a number of medical conditions to chose from for each individual. Because I only had access to a demo of this product (but a full version of Visual Roots), I was unable to rate it for duplicate, missing or inconsistent reports, or the quality of the manual.

The program has been in existence for a number of years and has been improved through the four versions. A 140,000 word spellcheck with 10,000 surnames has been added to the just-released ROOTS lV 1.2 update. This program also allows users to create a family history home page for view by anyone with access to the World Wide Web. This is likely to become a common feature of genealogy software. A sample can be viewed at: http://www.sonic.net/~commsoft/family.html

This program requires a 386 SX or better, MS-DOS, 4 MB RAM, 10 MB hard drive space for the program and 5 MB for each 1,000 individuals. (Commsoft says it will run on a 286). It is available directly from Commsoft for US$129.00 or as an upgrade from a competitor US$99.00. To get a free demo disk in Canada, try Researchguild Associates or Braun Genealogy and Publishing. Contact; Commsoft 1-800-327-6687; Researchguild Associates (416)694-3833; Braun Genealogy and Publishing (204)888-1458.




This program is a full-featured Windows program from Commsoft, the makers of "Roots lV" for DOS. As with Roots, the setup for notes and medical information is second to none. Visual Roots provides powerful book publishing and reporting features such as table of contents, etc. A twain-compliant scanner can be used to scan directly into this program, a useful feature for photos or for copying original deeds, wills, marriage certificates, etc., directly into a family story.



System Requirements

Pentium class computer.
VGA or higher display.
Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows ME*, Windows 98*, Windows NT, Windows 2000 (Legacy runs on newer Macs with Windows installed under Bootcamp, Parallel or Fusion . Legacy runs on Linux machines with a Windows emulator like VMWare or Sun's Virtual Box)
A Hard Disk with 97.8 megabytes of available space.
A CD-ROM drive.
256 megabytes of RAM minimum.
A mouse.
Internet connection recommended.
IE7 if you want to use the Virtual Earth Mapping feature.
* Win 98, and Win Me need all available Microsoft Service Packs installed.


All information windows are resolution independent. As you stretch forms larger, the controls and fonts readjust automatically. All changes are remembered between sessions.
All grid lists can be zoomed in and out.
Source Documentation

A complete source citation system is included for documenting the sources of information.
Legacy SourceWriter™ will help you prepare properly formatted sources regardless of your expertise. Simply fill in the fields and Legacy creates the footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography for you, following industry standards.
The Source Clipboard feature lets you assign sources to specific pieces of information with one click.

Using Microsoft® Virtual Earth™, Legacy will automatically pinpoint and plot important locations in ancestors’ lives from within Legacy. See 3D, satellite and bird’s eye images of where your ancestors lived. Now it is easy to track your ancestor’s migration.
Interview Center

Legacy has the perfect questions to interview your family. Choose from hundreds of carefully pre-written interview questions and memory triggers to help you capture their memories before it is too late, or write your own questions to be included.
Legacy Home

The Legacy News box brings you articles and announcements about genealogy-related subjects.
The To-Do list lets you enter tasks you would like to be reminded of. These reminders are displayed on the day you specify and remain visible until you reschedule or cancel them.
Birthdays and anniversaries for individuals you specify can be displayed so you don't forget important dates.
The Statistics box displays the number of individuals, families and sources in current family file.
The Updates box shows the current Legacy version. If a newer version is available, it is also shown along with a Download Now! link.
The Support box gives provides easy access to a variety of technical support options as well as training material, bug reporting and submitting suggestions.
Family/Pedigree View

Up to six Family/Pedigree View windows can be opened at the same time. This allows you to view different parts of the same file at one time.
You can have two different Family Files open simultaneously. This lets you compare two files side-by-side and copy information from one to the other.
You can easily copy people from one file to another using our Drag-and-Drop feature.
Right-clicking on any element pops up a menu containing the currently available options.
Nine levels of individual tags and nine levels of marriage tags are available for marking various subsets. These can be used for reports and exporting purposes.
Pop-up lists are immediately available from Family View:
Spouse List
Siblings List
Notes (general, research and medical)
Picture Gallery (individual and marriage)
LDS ordinance list
Source citation list
Pedigree View shows the spouses, children and siblings of the current individual.
New individuals can be added in either view.
Up to 200 bookmarks can be set on individuals allowing quick return to specific persons. A bookmark list can be displayed.
History List tracks up to the last 200 individuals displayed. (Similar to bookmarks but automatically maintained.)
Bubble Help is available for most features when the mouse cursor is over them. (This can be turned off in the Customize section.)
Descendant View

Displays the current person and all his or her descendants in chart form for a given number of generations.
Each name is color-coded to show gender.
Many columns of information can be selected to include in the table.
Highlighted individual can be edited.
Chronology View

Shows the current individual and all the surrounding events associated with this person.
All events are arranged sorted order so you can see what affected this person throughout his or her life.
Shows current individual's birth, christening, death and burial information.
Shows his or her individual events, marriages and marriage events.
Shows birth of children, parents, and the individual and marriage notes.
Index View

Displays all the individuals in your family file.
The information displayed includes the record number (RIN), full name, sex, and the birth and death date and place.
The list also shows any AKAs that individuals might have when Include AKA option is selected.
Alternate names are shown with a leading tilde (~) so you can tell the difference.
The columns can be customized to display many different pieces of information.
Research Guidance

Legacy helps you review the ancestor’s timeline, to be certain that you’ve already recorded everything you know about the ancestor.
Legacy suggests preliminary survey sources to help you learn if the research is already in progress by another researcher.
Select your goal, and Legacy provides a list of prioritized research suggestions to help you accomplish your goal.
Legacy organizes the sources into a To-Do List so you can track your progress and never forget important tasks.

Unlimited alternate given and surnames
Unlimited events
Address entry for each individual
Title prefix and suffix
Name List

Lists all individuals in the current Family File along with their RIN, gender and three tag settings.
Eight other pieces of information are also shown for the currently highlighted individual. These can be changed at any time.
The personal information for any individual in the list can be edited.
Advanced tagging feature lets you tag an individual, their immediate family, all their ancestors, all their descendants, everyone in the current family line or everyone in the name list.
You can search for any individual by starting to type their name in the Find box.
You can jump to surnames beginning with a certain letter by pressing the appropriate letter button.
Marriage List

List all marriage records in the current Family File including their MRIN and tag settings.
You can edit any husband's or wife's information or their marriage information from the list.
You can search for any husband or wife by starting to type their name in the Find Husb or Wife box.

You can search for specific individuals or groups of individuals.
You can have them displayed in the Family/Pedigree View or have a grid list generated.
Consecutive searches can either replace or add to existing search lists.
You can search using the following methods:

Query by Example

Just fill in the information to look for. You can specify Exact, Starts With or Anywhere in field.
Detailed Search

Specify exactly what to look for and where. Multiple search criteria can be used. Search method can include Equal To, Not Equal To, Contains, Starts With and Sounds Like (which uses standard Soundex codes). Multiple conditions can be combined using AND and OR.
Miscellaneous Searches

There are various specialized searches available:

Search by Focus Group: Can include individuals, families, ancestor and descendant lines.
Oldest Direct Line Generation: Creates a list of all the individuals that are in the oldest direct-line ancestor generation of the current individual. This could be one or more individuals.
Youngest Direct Line Generation: Creates a list of all the individuals in the youngest direct-line descendant generation of the current individual. This could be one or more individuals.
Direct-Line Ancestors with No Parents: This lists includes the individuals at the end of all direct ancestor lines of the current individual.
Direct-Line Descendants with No Children: This includes all individuals at the bottom end of all direct descendant lines of the current individual.
Linked Individuals With No Children: All individuals that are linked to someone else but don't have any children linked to them. These are at the bottom of all descendant lines in the Family File.
Linked Individuals With No Parents: All individuals that are linked to someone else but don't have any parents linked to them. These are at the top of all ancestor lines in the Family File.
Unlinked Individuals: All individuals in the Family File that are not linked to anyone else.
All Records With an Individual Tag Level of x: Creates a list of all the people who have been tagged at a specified level.
All Records With Bad Dates: Creates a list of all individuals who have one or more dates that are not in a recognizable date format. These are usually individuals that have been imported from another source.

Legacy includes a pop-up calendar containing a month and year calendar ranging from 1700 to 2099.
It also contains a date calculator that can be used to figure birth and death dates as well as ages.

A complete context-sensitive help system is available at all times by pressing F1 or by pressing any Help button.
Pictures and Sounds

Any number of pictures can be linked to an individual, marriage, event, place or source.
Twain interface lets you scan pictures directly into Legacy.
A sound file can be linked to each picture.
Pictures can be enlarged over 2000%.
Pictures can be converted from one graphic format to another including:
Pictures can be rotated, flipped and flopped
Pictures can be converted to gray scale
Adjustments can be made to brightness, sharpness and contrast
Pictures can be printed on many reports as well as in a photo album
Pictures and sounds can be displayed in a slide show format with various dissolve effects between pictures
Pictures can include captions, dates and descriptions
Screen saver made up of your favorite family photos
To Do List

Track important research, correspondence and general task that need to be done
Specify exactly how you want the list sorted, filtered and printed
Address Lists

Three types of address lists: Mailing, Repository and Event
Maintain mailing addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and Internet addresses
Print address labels and name tags from the address list
E-mail and Internet addresses are enabled. With a click you can send a message or connect right from Legacy.

Each report has many options that can be selected. Common options to all reports include:

RIN Numbers
Christening Date and Place
LDS ordinance information
Printing orientation, line spacing and font size.
The following reports are included:

Family Group Sheet

Selected blank lines can be removed.
Multiple families can be printed at once, including tagged families and focus groups that can include ancestor lines, descendant lines, etc.
Pictures can be included for the husband and wife in various sizes, including captions and descriptions.
Page numbering is controllable
A sorted index can be created
Descendant Report

Specify number of generations
Indentation between generations can be set
Boxes can be printed around names and can have drop shadows
Duplicate lines can be suppressed
Ancestor Report

Same as Descendant Report
Chronology Report

Current individual
His or her birth, christening, death and burial information
His or her individual events, marriages and marriage events
Birth of children, parents, and the individual and marriage notes.
Timeline Report

Print for ancestors or descendants of any individual
Specify number of generations
Specify number of years across page
Specify average life span for individuals with missing birth or death dates
Pedigree Chart

Four, five or six generations per page
Cascading charts to any number of generations
Specify starting chart number
Boxes can be printed around names and can have drop shadows
A sorted index can be generated
Duplicate lines can be suppressed
Lineage Report

Pictures of main individuals can be included
Specify number of generations
Individual Reports

Multiple individuals can be printed at once, including tagged families and focus groups that can include ancestor lines, descendant lines, etc.
Pictures can be included in various sizes, including captions and descriptions.
Page numbering is controllable
A sorted index can be created
Ahnentafel (Ancestor) Book

Duplicate lines can be suppressed
Pictures can be included in various sizes, including captions and descriptions.
Underlines can be printed in the place of missing names
Specify number of generations
Include a Title page with picture and other layout options
Include Table of Contents in various formats
Include sorted index in various formats
Font names, sizes and attributes can be set for each section of the book
Can start a new page after every generation
All paragraph indentations are adjustable
Margins are all adjustable
Heading position and justification are adjustable
Three formats are available for generation subtitles
Modified Register (Descendant) Book

Same as Ahnentafel Report
Descendant Narrative Report

Same as Ahnentafel Report
Multiple Lines of Descent Book

Same as Ahnentafel Report
Begins with selected people and moves forward through their descendants for a specified number of generations
Source Citation Report

Print a list of all individuals and marriages that cite each master source.
Can include dividing lines
Can include source comments
Potential Problems Report

Once a reported problem has been researched and found valid, the record can be marked so that it is excluded from future reports.
Warning parameters can be set.
Problem records can be automatically tagged
Can check All Records, All Records not checked yet or All Records not marked to Exclude
To Do List

General and Individual To-Do Lists
Research, Correspondence, or Other
Task Needing to be Done
Repository, etc.
Surname Summary

Prints a summary list of all surnames in the Family File or all surnames in a grid.
Includes the Surname, how many records use it and the date range of the uses
Relationship Report

Prints a list of each person related to an individual.
Can include the spouses of the relatives (e.g. "Wife of 2nd Cousin, Twice Remove")
LDS Ordinance Report

All records, with or without any ordinance dates or places
Only records with one or more missing ordinance dates
Only records with all ordinance dates filled
Only records with one or more ordinance dates filled
Shade various line groups for ease of reading
Include vertical column and/or horizontal row lines
Exclude living individuals
Include surrounding relative (parents, spouses and children) for ease of identification
Include a Temple Name List appendix
Ages Report

Print a report including the date, day of week and age for birth, christening, marriage, death and burial of a married couple.
Name List Report

Print a list of all names in the Family File or any subset produced by a search
Column contents are customizable
DNA Test Results

Print the values of DNA tests
Blank Reports and Forms

Census forms

Includes United States census forms for 1790, 1800/1810, 1820, 1830/1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930
Includes Canadian census forms for 1851 and 1901
Can print 1 or more copies of all or some forms

Prints a customized questionnaire for requesting information about your family
Can specify how many children to prompt for
Relationship Diagram

Prints a diagram showing the title of all relatives of an individual. These include sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and all the cousin relationship names.
Research Log

Prints a log to be used to track research progress
General Capacities

Individuals and Families File size to 1 billion characters (1 gigabyte).
Children per Marriage 60
Events per Individual Unlimited
Spouses per Individual Unlimited
Parents per Individual Unlimited
Sources per Event Unlimited
Pictures per Individual Unlimited
Number of Entries in History List 160
Address Lines per Individual 5
Phone Numbers per Individual 2
Generations per Pedigree Chart Unlimited
Generations per Descendancy Chart Unlimited
Field Capacities

The following table show the maximum number of characters that are allowed in each field.

Field Name Length
Given Name 120
Last Name 120
Title Prefix 50
Title Suffix 50
Dates 45
Locations 255
Sorted Locations 255
Reference # 20
Ances. File # 20
General Notes 1,000,000
Research Notes 1,000,000
Medical Notes 1,000,000
Marriage Notes 1,000,000
Cause of Death 255
Source Name 255
Field Name Length
Source Type 30
Source Title 248
Source Author 248
Source Publication Facts 248
Source Text 1,000,000
Source Notes 1,000,000
Source Detail 255
Event Name 30
Event Desc 65535
Picture Caption 30
Picture Description 1,000,000
Address (five lines) 50
Phone (two lines) 50
E-Mail Address 50
Internet Address (URL) 255

Save As...

Any Family File can be saved under a new name, thus making a copy of the current file.
Backup / Restore

Compressed, Zip compatible backup files can be made that span diskettes.

The maintenance utility will check the database and will also perform file maintenance items such as repairing common database problems, removing unused names, locations and event names. It also check the validity of all family links and compresses out old unused, deleted records.


Legacy imports both Personal Ancestral File® information as well as GEDCOM files.


All Family File information can be exported to a GEDCOM file. Various formats are available, including: Legacy, Gedcom 5.5, PAF 2.31 or 3.0, Ancestral File, TempleReady, Clooz, Basic and Generic. The user has complete control over what is included in the exported file. You can specify which individuals are to be exported as well as what information is included. You can export all records or specify a subset by tag level or focus group.

Nearly every facet of Legacy can be customized by the user. These include: Window appearance, which view to display, which family to display, how surnames are printed, the location of the button bar, automatic backup when exiting, balloon help, pop-up info boxes, name and date formatting, LDS information, keyboard behavior, colors, fonts, and file locations. All setting are saved and used in subsequent sessions.


Legacy includes a pop-up alarm that can be set to go off at any time and to display a user-defined message.
LDS Support

Complete LDS support is included. This includes fields for all ordinance dates and temples, special date codes, temple list, ordinance reports and TempleReady® submission files.
Source documentation for LDS ordinance information.


Admittedly, some of the above-noted reviews are quite out-of-date since numerous program "updates" have been released since. Given that up-to-date reviews are available elsewhere Online, I thought it might be of interest for genealogists to leave the above posted so that all could see that ... 'we've come a long way, baby'!! <grin>



Here are some features to look for, when buying genealogy software:

1. GEDCOM Compliance

One of the best features on the most popular programs is GEDCOM compliance. GEDCOM is a standard that allows the transfer of data between different platforms and programs and maintains basic formatting, such as names, dates, links, etc.

Genealogy enthusiasts are avid traders and sharers of information, so this feature is essential. Don't leave the store without it!


2. Output Features

Once you have played over census records or microfiche, you will want to print a family tree that is nice enough to bore your friends and impress your in-laws. So look for a program that offers a variety of charts, allows you to customize page elements such as fonts, paper size, etc. and will legibly print the largest number of generations on a single page. Some of the cheapies don't offer much more than a rough diagram of names.


3. Usability

Another consideration is how easy the program is to use. Sounds like a simple concept, but when you are trying to sort out why Mary is called Polly on the marriage record, or could Polly really be the husband's mother Polly, but the dates are all wrong, then using an intuitive program makes sense. It's genealogy you are interested in, not the programming logic in arranging items in a menu or Function button.

Some programs link generations together so that you can easily scroll up and down to add data. Others require you to remember a tag applied to each individual. Pick a program in which most of the functions are fairly intuitive so you don't have to constantly reach for the manual.

One function that experienced genealogists demand is space for referencing sources. Did Great Aunt Amelia's marriage date come from a book, actual records, or grandmother's memory? Meticulous adherence to sources will save time later on. Dates and names are a priority when you start your research, but it won't take long before you want to include information like profession, places lived in, medical history and family stories. So it is important to keep track of sources so you can return to them to look for this added information.


4. Other Hot Features

The best programs make it easy to add step-relatives, additional spouses, adoptees, etc., and tag them as such. Teenagers or adults from families that have split may find genealogy a comfortable way to re-connect what seems to be a shattered family.

One hot new feature is the ability to incorporate scanned photos, documents or maps so that a database can lead to or provide the skeleton of a family biography.

Other bells and whistles you might consider are "relationship calculators". If you know what a third cousin twice removed is, the program could provide you with a list of these. In the same vein, aging baby boomers may want to figure out their family's average life expectancy.

Another appealing feature is a function that automatically generates a list of inconsistencies and incomplete records. The former is a especially important when you merge outside GEDCOM files with your own. A spellcheck for places and names is also a good tool.

Once you get into your roots, you are likely to discover unknown cousins, huge family reunions and family or clans genealogists. So it is valuable to be able to generate a mailing list and labels to share the information with other descendants.


The above noted is reprinted (with thanks) from the article written by Jean Allen-Ikesen, in the April 1996 Edition of The Computer Paper (Volume 9, Number 4).

Click Here to See "TOP TEN" Genealogy Programs Review


Why Genealogy Software?

Millions of people have adopted genealogy as a hobby and even as a passion. People discover a sense of self-identity and family pride through uncovering their family's legacy. Genealogical research of your ancestral roots can bring your current family together by creating a project to which everyone can contribute. Whatever your reason for researching the past, genealogy software can become your most valuable tool. We found our top genealogy software products, Family Tree Maker, Legacy and RootsMagic 2011 to be especially valuable.

Genealogy software will provide you with comprehensive reports and charts so you can organize and see the progress of your research. Some of these reports and charts include:

•Ancestor charts include a person's direct-line ancestors, so you can see exactly how far back a line goes.
•Ancestor narrative reports are book-style reports that begins with a specific person and follows that person's lineage like a story. This is a great way to share your research with family members and friends.
•Family charts show entire families including husband, wife and children.
Genealogy software includes tons of easy-to-use tools that will help you discover and organize your research. Organizational tools link people together based on relationships, merge individuals into family trees, help spot problems and locate duplicate entries. This genealogy software will also aid in your search for individuals and entire families.

Genealogy Software: What to Look For

Whether you're a weekend genealogist or a professional researcher, selecting the right genealogy software program can make all the difference in how much satisfaction and information you will derive from your research. Accessing, recording and reviewing data should be easy, as well as fun. Below are the criteria TopTenREVIEWS used to evaluate genealogy software:

Feature Set

Genealogy software should include all of the features necessary to research and organize your family tree including reports, charts, searching capabilities, web access and insightful ways to store data.

Ease of Use

One of the most important features in genealogy software is its user-friendliness, meaning it's easy for beginners and experienced computer users alike. The program should be well organized and easy to navigate.

Reporting & Publishing

The genealogy software should have a good selection of reporting and publishing features, including many different charts and many different export options for sharing your discoveries.


The genealogy software developer should provide ample help in the form of FAQs, email and phone support, online course and product tutorials so anyone can learn to use the program and conveniently access customer support.

With advanced genealogy software, you will be able to organize, store and retrieve family history information in formats that suit your research needs.


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