The following “review” of the ‘ACADIAN-CAJUN Family Trees’ CD-ROM was prepared by Rick Roberts of Global Genealogy Supply and published in the July 27, 1999 (Volume 111, Number 12) issue of his Global Gazette. I am very grateful to Rick for having published such an extensive “review”, but even more grateful that he is allowing me to reproduce same here. Rick may be contacted via e-mail at: [email protected]
Progeny Does It Again! – Acadian-Cajun Family Trees
Progeny Software, the developer of the popular new timeline software Genelines, has done it again. Bob Thomas and his crew at Progeny have a delightful habit of producing useful software and genealogy resources that are easy to use.
This time they did it with an exciting new database CD ROM called Acadian-Cajun Family Trees. The CD contains a vast amount of information on Acadian and Cajun ancestors, compiled by Yvon Cyr who is the host of this Acadian Genealogy Homepage Website.
This is more than just a database. The CD comes ready to use, complete with it’s own software which is lineage linked. You need nothing other than this CD to use, display and print individual or family information from your PC/printer.
Search the database to find a person you are interested in, display or print charts of ancestry, descendants, family groups and more. You can also clip bits or whole sections out of the data base, export it as a GEDCOM file and then either use it alone or import it into your family records in any popular genealogical software.
We received a supply of the Acadian-Cajun Family Trees CDs via Express Post this morning. I was quick to get one loaded into my PC and try it out.
Installation is simple. Just put the CD in your CD drawer and proceed with the “RUN” command in Windows 95 or 98 (d:\setup.exe). Once installed you have an option of adding an icon to your desktop or running it from the menu on your Start/ Program button in Windows.
When you start the program, the first thing that you see is the index box for searching the person/s that you are interested in. The default view on the search index is alphabetical by name with the pin number listed opposite. To help you with your search, you can customize the view so that it displays information which may help you differentiate between different people in the database. The choice that you can display are:
Individual and PIN (default)
Individual and Dates
Individual and Spouse
Individual and Parents
This is a real nice option which is simple to use and helpful. In my case I am interested in BEAUMONTs. There are quite a few of them in the database so once I found someone who may be of interest I clicked on the other options listed above and was able to narrow down my search before pulling up the actual files to view.
Displaying Information On Screen
There is a row of buttons across the top of the screen which initial a number of different views that you can choose from. Another initial choice is that once you find a person in the index, and you want to know more about them, you can just double click on their name and their family sheet will come into view.
The other option is to choose between the available display options on the top row of buttons which include: Family, Ancestor and Descendant. The buttons are clearly marked “Views” so that you will know that they will produce an on-screen image.
The Family view provides the following information when available: Name, Sex, Ref Number, Sources & children, Father, Mother, Events, Notes.
When you click on Ancestor view a sub-screen pops up giving you a number of options for the content of your ancestor chart. Those options are in three categories: Contents, Layout, and Box style.
The CONTENTS category allows you to select the number of generations you want to see, whether you want a numbering system/PIN system or no numbers showing, choice of date format, choice of events you want to view (birth, christening, marriage, death, burial), place names, whether to include siblings and “cousin smart”. “Cousin Smart” is an optional feature which ensures that common ancestors or descendants for two distant cousins who marry are not repeated on the same chart, resulting in a smaller chart on less paper. Cousin Smart is an option for most of the reports in this software.
In LAYOUT your choice is to choose a percentage of actual size you want to view the chart in. The default is 100%. BOX styles can be single line around them, drop shadow or no box at all. You can also specify a maximum and minimum box width and if you want the boxes produced all the same size or varying by information contained within.
Descendant view offers all of the same options as in Ancestor view.
Creating Printed Reports and Charts
Creating printed reports and charts is also a simple process. On the top row of icons there are the same three options for printed REPORTS, as there was in screen view reports: Family, Ancestor, Descendant.
The Family Report offers two options when it is clicked on. A Family Group Sheet or a Kinship report. The Family Group Sheet offers the same contents options as in the screen view mode. However there is a layout option which provides choices of margin sizes, portrait or landscape, page break at notes, or if you want to print a worksheet. The Kinship report offers far more options than the same feature does in popular genealogy programs. You can select the number of generations of descendant, ancestors and cousins that you want included. You can choose to print only the closest relations to the primary person or you can choose to print the kinship to everyone in the database. You can choose to include or exclude the dates of birth and death. There is an option to printer or not print common ancestors and another option where you can choose to always show options before printing or never to show options before printing. You can also select date and numbering formats or choose to have no numbering shown. In the Layout of the kinship report you can select margins, and even choose the title of the Kinship report. Other choices include printing the date the report was created and whether you want the report in landscape or portrait orientation. Very Nice!
Clicking on the Ancestor Chart icon creates a sub menu in the center of your screen which provides three options for chart style: Box Chart, Fan Chart and book style.
The box chart options are in the same three categories as in the Screen View mode: Contents, Layout, Box style. Contents and Box style have exactly the same options as the screen view Box chart does. Layout offers a few additional options such as margins, portrait or landscape, page numbers, and full page border.
Fan chart is not available in screen view but is available as an option in printed reports. When you click on fan chart, you have a sub menu which pops up on the screen that allows you to choose options from Contents and Layout. Content options include number of generations, and a checkbox if you want to be notified of options before printing. Layout options include fan style: half circle, full circle or quarter circle. Output choices include your windows default printer, Laser printer file, Plotter file or a Progeny chart file. You also have choices of landscape or portrait orientation and you can adjust the offset of both the X and Y vectors. Cool!
Now this is a really exciting option! This option allows you to take information from the database on the CD and generate a book-like report of the ancestry of an individual family in a narrative format. The three choices for formatting the book style report are Content, Layout and Names. Content choices are the same as in earlier charts with some additional options too. Number of generations, choice of printing notes All or None, sources All, Title Only or None.
Layout choices are unique to this report. The first choice is to decide which word processor that you want to load the report into. The software checks your hard drive when loading and lists the available choices in this option field for you. You don’t have to search for a word processor or set up a connection to a word processor…. the software does it for you. With a click of your mouse you can override the list of word processor software provided and select a different program from your PC if you choose. Numbering system is optional: sequential or ahnanetal.
You can choose the format that the numbers are printed in (i.e. Roman, bold etc). Finally. you can even choose the tab spacing between categories of information.
The names tab gives you options to print mother’s fathers, children’s names in bold or regular and even change case on “married” data. A great way to increase the readability of your printed output.
There are three different descendant charts available: Box chart, stepped Outline chart and a Register Report (Book). Descendant chart options are very similar to the Ancestor charts described above. There are a few differences in options in such as decisions on whether to include female lines and events for continued children. The Register report offers an option to run the index in one or two columns. The Outline Report offers an option of recording one event per line or to word wrap the items.
Other Notable Features
There are some other notable features in this software.
Sophisticated Search Tool
You can refine a search in the database to search by more than just a name. The search button provides great flexibility in search criteria: Person, Name, Title, Event, Place, Date, Notes. Each of those categories are further broken down with options as follow:
Person: Any, Male, Female, Kin
Name: Any, Surname, Contains, Sounds Like
Title: Any, Contains.
Event: Any Event, Bapt, Bapt/LDS, BarMz, BasMz, Birth, Bless. Burial, Cens. Chr, Conf, Conf/LDS, Crem, Death, Descr, Div, Edu, Elect, email, Emig, Endow, Eng, Fact, Fax, Grad, Honor, Ill., Immig, Job, Join, Mar Contr, Mar Lic, Mar Setl, Marr, Marr Ban, Medical, Mil. Award, Mil. Serve, Namesake, Nation, Nature, Ord Inc, Ord int, Prob, Prop, Relig, Retire, Seal/P, Seal/S, Stillbirth, Travel, URL, User, Event, Will.
Place: Any, Contains.
Date: On, Before, On or Before, After, On or After, Range.
Notes: Any, Contains.
If you can’t find who you are looking for when using this vast array of options, they aren’t in the database! The beauty of this search tool is that you can look for all the people who were born in the same place or in a specific year or buried in the same cemetery, or a myriad of other combinations.
On-CD Help & FAQ
The help files that are included on this CD are easy to use and written in language that is easy to read. I scanned throughout the FAQ (frequently asked questions) resource, but really didn’t have a use for them because the software is very intuitive. You will find that you can use the software and it’s database very easily and probably won’t need the help tool. If you do need it, the good news is that Progeny included it on the CD rather than forcing you to connect to a web site to get information you need.
Save “Chunks” of Family Information as GEDCOM Files
You can save any chunk of the file that you want as a GEDCOM file. No need to save unneeded information. Specify who and how many generations and then export the data to a GEDCOM file that you can later import into your own family file in whatever popular genealogy program you are using. The source fields in your GEDCOM file list the CD ROM as it’s source which is helpful for future reference.
SUMMARY – Acadian-Cajun Family Trees:
Another thumbs up for Progeny Software! This information CD and it’s operating software makes an extremely sound package. Big points are deserved for producing the CD as a stand-alone product, and even more points for making it intuitive and easy to use.
Finally, the biggest plus is the depth of the information provided by the database and the options offered in accessing and printing the data.
This review will likely be criticized for not representing a balanced view. However, in my examination of Acadian-Cajun Family Trees I am unable to find any flaw worth talking about.