Review by Dick Eastman

Acadian-Cajun Family Trees

Progeny Software of Wolfville, Nova Scotia has released a new Windows CD-ROM disk: “Acadian-Cajun Family Trees.” I had a chance to use the disk this week and really enjoyed it. You see, I have quite a bit of Acadian ancestry, and I found lots of ancestors on this one. The data looks good, and the user interface is nice as well.

“Acadian-Cajun Family Trees” is not a simple collection of old records copied onto CD-ROM. Instead, it is a true lineage-linked database. The database is searchable, with almost each person listed linked to a spouse as well as to children and (usually) to parents. Software included on the CD-ROM allows the user to generate printed ancestor, descendant and fan style charts, just like previous Progeny software versions. A new feature in this release is the capability to also generate a GEDCOM file from the data on the CD-ROM. You can create a GEDCOM file of the data you see on screen and then later import the GEDCOM file into any modern genealogy program. This feature can save a lot of keystrokes. You do not need to obtain any additional software in order to use this CD-ROM disk; all software is included for operation on a Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT system.

The “Acadian-Cajun Family Trees” CD-ROM disk contains over 600,000 lineage-linked, family history records of Acadian descendants. Yvon Cyr collected these records at his popular Web site, https://www.acadian.org. Many people contributed their GEDCOM files of Acadian ancestors from Acadia and from Louisiana. Yvon Cyr then combined them into one huge database. Cyr’s database became the foundation for Progeny Software’s “Acadian-Cajun Family Trees” CD-ROM. The CD-ROM contains the names of all the contributors.

This CD-ROM is believed to be the largest database of Acadian genealogy anywhere in electronic form. Like any other collection of GEDCOM files, you must treat the information as POSSIBILITIES, not as proven fact. Many people contributed the information. Some of these people are genealogy experts while others are probably beginners. You can expect some variations in data accuracy. It isn’t practical for Yvon Cyr or for anyone else to go through and verify each and every one of the 600,000+ records contained on this disk. The information is presented “as is” and the user must validate each record presented through independent means. Nonetheless, this is a valuable resource for anyone with Acadian ancestry.

Installation of the software was simple: insert the CD-ROM disk, double-click on SETUP.EXE and then follow the on-screen instructions. A minute or so later the software was installed. While the software installs to your hard disk, the data remains on the CD-ROM disk.

Many genealogy CD-ROM disks these days do not have user’s manuals. I was pleasantly surprised to find a small, 16-page user’s manual inside the “Acadian-Cajun Family Trees” jewel case. This manual describes the disk’s contents, tells how to install the software, and even gives information on how to contact the disk’s compiler, Yvon Cyr.

I decided to pick one of my Acadian ancestors at random: Germain Theriault, born in Acadia in 1647. I entered his name into the search program. To my surprise, the software found 25 records for men of that name! Some of these records may be duplicates, but it does point out the French families’ tendency to use names over and over throughout several generations. I had to click on each record in order to view the details. Luckily, this didn’t require much effort. I quickly found the man I was looking for. Not only was his information shown, but the names of his parents and his wife and his children were also shown. To view the details of any of them, all I had to do was double-click on their names. At any time I was able to print family data on paper and also export it as a GEDCOM file.

The GEDCOM file output is an excellent feature. You can easily find a family or multiple connected families and then export them in GEDCOM format. Then you can import this GEDCOM file into your favorite genealogy program. You do not have to re-type all the information.

I will remind you to never import GEDCOM files into your primary database. Instead, create a new, empty database and import the GEDCOM file into that. Spend some time and effort validating the information shown in this second database. Once you are satisfied with data accuracy, you can always import the data into your primary database later. That should be true of any modern genealogy program.

All in all, I’d rate the “Acadian-Cajun Family Trees” CD-ROM disk as excellent. I’d say this even if it didn’t list about a hundred of my ancestors! While all the data needs to be verified, this CD-ROM is a “must have” for anyone researching Acadian ancestry. I know it has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf. I plan to spend a lot of time with it in the next few weeks.

One unique item is the connection of Progeny Software with Acadian ancestry. The company is located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, in the heart of the territory formerly known as Acadia. In fact, company headquarters is about three miles from the point of the Expulsion.