Friday, 12 February 2010

Best genealogy software

The March 2010 issue of Your Family Tree magazine comes in a "collector's pack" containing
a second magazine "Computing for Family Historians." Magazine editor Russell James in the
forward mentions that their research finds nine out of ten genealogists own a computer,
and 87% use it every day.

The content of that bonus second magazine is general computer oriented material, possibly
taken from the company's other publications and given a genealogical twist. The only specifically
genealogical article is a group test of genealogical software.

Included in the test are Family Historian 4, Family Tree Maker 2010, Legacy Family Tree 7 deluxe
edition, Personal Ancestral File 5.2 and Roots Magic 4 UK. Also evaluated is the Ancestry.co.uk's
(not different from the Ancestry.com or Ancestry.ca) capability to store your family tree online.

The software is evaluated on six criteria: making a start; entering family data (including sourcing)
; moving around your tree; see the bigger picture (charting); read all about it (reports); and handling multimedia.

Although they declare a winner none of the programs was top rated on more than two of the criteria. The top rated program excelled on charting and multimedia.

Surprising to me is what the tests failed to evaluate. Mapping capability is mentioned but was apparently not part of the evaluation. There was no mention of direct integration with online databases. It was unclear as to the extend the ability to develop special reports answering questions such as "which person in the database should I be able to find in the 1881 census" could be answered.

I won't reveal the magazine's top choice so as not to give away the ending for those buying the magazine.

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