Genealogy 101, Software

Hattie Ann Rowe KenslerThe photo is Hattie Ann Rowe, she is the sister of my great grandfather Alfred B. Rowe.

Genealogy Software

Once you have started entering your data into your Family Group Sheets and your Pedigree Charts, you *MIGHT* want to also enter that data into a computer software program. I want to stress that if you do decide to use software that you always keep a hard copy of your work filed away somewhere in case your computer crashes, and oops, you forgot to make a back up of it!

Having said that, there some free software’s out there, and some that can run you less than a hundred dollars and on up. There are pro’s and con’s to all of them. I have a tendency to run more than one, which can be a pain in the *&^)! But, I use them for different purposes, and for the different purposes one is sometimes better than others.

For a plain GOOD basic program that is FREE, download the PAF program from:

This website is a website you will get to know very well as you journey through. It is owned, and maintained by the Church of Latter Day Saints, and they really believe in searching for their ancestors and getting them “sealed” so they can go to heaven, too. Because of this they have one of the, if not the best, genealogical libraries in the world. And 100% of it is free!

Another FREE piece of software is FAMILY TREE LEGENDS. You can get it from here:

Now, keep in mind this free version is version 5. There is a pay version that is newer, better, faster (what else did the bionic man do?). The newer stuff isn’t necessarily better. And for a beginner, I really recommend one of these freebies. If it makes you feel better, I know a seasoned, and certified genealogist who uses Family Tree Legends.

And there are many, many pay software programs:

  • Family Tree Maker (many versions)
  • Master Genealogist
    • Brothers Keeper (there is an ancient version available free for those who are still using DOS, 95, and 98)

    Etc…. and my advice, is after you’ve been at this awhile to research these pieces of software and see which you think you’d like before buying. They all have their good and bad points.

    For example. I Have used PAF, Family Tree Legends, and several versions of Family Tree Maker. I love PAF for it’s website building capabilities, and that is to this day, why I keep it on my hard drive.

    Family Tree Legends is very adequate, but, I use Family Tree Maker.
    I use Family Tree Maker because it is integrated with the internet, and the companies ( Cd’s that are sold that contain all kinds of rich data (birth records, census records, immigration records, you name it!).

    I have the newest version, thanks to folks who let me take a survey and paid me for it via an gift certificate. And when I first installed it, I hated it! I just thought it was the pits! It was hard to navigate, hard for my mind to understand, and well.. if I can’t do that.. what the heck is the point?

    Well, I kept at it, cause I started to hear rumors that after you get it figured out you’ll really like it. And guess what!!??!! I got it figured out, and I just love it! It is much easier to source things now than ever before, you can include details on your media that there was never space for before. The database (which is all these programs are, is specialized databases) is very integrated, and allows you to hook media to sources as well as to the “folks” as it always had. I just love it!

    But, you might not! So research before you buy. Most professional genealogists really like Master Genealogist. I looked at it once, and being a mother, it was out of my price range. Smiley

    Well, those are my last thoughts for today! Next step is definitely, CENSUS Records!!!

    Smiley Peggy

About PeggyAnn

Professional PC Consultant, Researcher, & avid people watcher, Peggy Ann Rowe started into her genealogical quest at age 15 after watching the mini-series, "Roots" with her parents. This new obsession has fueled her love of history, & study of cultures & societies in every epoch. Today she is 57 years old with four kids who are all grown up (& all have flown the coop). In between her 'gigs' with clients she volunteered at many different non-profits. Former President, Secretary, and Director at Large on the board of the Douglas County Historical Society for 10+ years, and former Secretary at the Cloverdale Historical Society (Sonoma County) for nearly 10 years. This website is an attempt to share the knowledge she has gained about her family ties with others who may be interested in the same things. She does not guarantee 100% accuracy and does hope that you will send corrections. To learn more about her, click the "about" button in the page menu. Thanks! Another goal of this website is to disseminate a message (i.e. education) about domestic violence, child abuse, and all forms of sexual abuse to society at large. The message comes from real experience from the whole spectrum of the violence from sexual abuse by a perpetrator to sexual abuse perpetrated by a husband, to the abuse of children within the family. Peggy has seen it, lived it, and been hurt by it. There will on occasion be details that might be hard for some people to read, and a warning is usually posted at the beginning of the essay so that those who want to turn and not read may do so. The only way to teach and to let others learn what to avoid is to SHARE what happened with every detail necessary to make the point. Thank you.
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