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The Quest: Blog Archive 9/2004

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Topic: Opinions on Genealogy Software

Topic: Genealogy Software  Title: My Opinions
I transferred these opinions from the 'Your Own Research Page' because I felt this was a more appropriate place for them...

I have found the Genopro software helpful in graphically depicting the family tree. The Genopro software can even be downloaded for free from their site!

However, once my tree became larger than about 500 names it became increasingly awkward to use the GenoPro software, even with their ease of use, and I've now switched to the free LDS church sponsored Personal Ancestry File 5.0 software. It's not as friendly, but will handle the larger files. See links for both downloads here!

Notes about Software: (these are MY OPINIONS ONLY!)

GenoPro: I really loved Genopro's ease of use and capability of linking charts. The fact that it is graphically based made it VERY easy to use. However, I ran into a few constraints and problems while using it.

  • When your tree exceeds multiple thousands (or you are importing a very large gedcom file) the program runs out of memory, and, even on my fairly new PC, the process got pretty bogged down when it would run at all.
  • The report curently generated by the program is limited. This is slated to change soon, but I couldn't wait.

  • "Aliasing" individuals in your chart and excluding them from reports messed up the child/parent & family reporting. For example: on a large chart, when I split off a family line into a second file that holds a reference back to the originating file, the referencing works fine; the reporting of children, number of children and parent relationships does not. If you exclude the alias copy from the reports, you then end up missing one of these crucial relationship ties in the reports. If you don't exclude the alias copy, you end up with the person occurring twice.

  • An additional note though, I haven't found any genealogy software that does this type of thing any better.

  • Graphical charts are reduced in size to print on a three page spread whether that makes the result readable or not.

  • I did get the program up and running and entering data about the family in less than 15 minutes though. So it's hands down the easiest to use.

  • Personal Ancestry File from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. This is the software I'm using for all entry and manipulation currently of the main family file I keep. The reasons are:
    • It will tag more information than Genopro and identify entry fields for it.
    • You can keep track of references to sources on the individuals as well as on individual items in the individual or marriage record.
    • It is harder to use and understand than GenoPro and has a difficult to follow interface.
    • However, the reports are more extensive.
    • Most of the text based reports however, are produced as rich text format (.rtf) files and don't display or print correctly for me once they are saved. The graphical files can't be uploaded easily to the web.
    • Their PAF companion report generating software is fairly cheap, but again, the results are limited if you are looking for web publishing.
    • The record based interface, not being graphical is much harder than Genopro to use to trace individuals and family lines through time.
    • Legacy software. This is the software I have ended up using for generating the web reports of the family data I have posted here. I don't use it for data entry because its user interface is even harder to follow than PAF's. But it has distinct advantages in the web page creation routines it will generate. I still haven't plumbed the depths of all its capabilities. However, I was disappointed to discover that, internally, as it creates web pages, it doesn't stick to using the standard Record identification numbers to name the pages it creates for individuals in all reports, but renumbers the pages for individuals in alphabetical order so they can't be easily tweaked to allow you to call one from the other. But this is a fairly minor annoyance.
      • I'd be ecstatic about the software if you could combine the web creation capabilities for pedigrees, individuals, and families and have easy links from one to the other, seamlessly...but hopefully in the future!

    Places to find Genealogy Software downloads:

    GenoPro's Site to Download Genopro Software
    LDS Site to Download Personal Ancestry File Software

    Millennia Site to Download Legacy Software

    Hope this information helps, as I said, these are my personal opinions. As is natural with software, there are always good points and need to find the one that works for you.

    Happy digging! Sondra


    Visitors since 9/2004:

    Created by: S. Miller-Prowett 9/2004
    Updated 8/2007