Genealogy Part 10 – Genealogy Software

Genealogy Software enables provides you with an efficient way of storing, sorting and sharing your genealogical research.

Some genealogists refuse to computerise their records as they are afraid of loosing their data! I think they miss out a lot of benefits of computer records, but would recommend you make regular backups of your data and use a virus checker. In any event I print out all key information.

There are many advantages of using a computer to record your family history:

  • It’s easier to read than many original documents
  • It’s easier to sort and find individuals and calculate relationships
  • Its easy to prepare a range of charts and reports
  • It’s easier to share your information with fellow researchers.

10.1    Genealogy Programmes

Below are some of the main producers of family tree software:

Brother’s Keeper

Family Historian

Family Origins

Family Tree Maker


Kith and Kin



10.2    Purchasing Genealogy Software

Some points to consider when obtaining genealogy software:

  • Cost – some are free and some offer free trials
  • Ease of use – this tend to be rather subjective
  • Reports available – most offer basic reports but some offer additional analysis
  • Compatibility – it’s helpful (but not essential) if you have a co-worker to both use the same software and version
  • Extra information – some offer additional data CDs but make sure they’re going to be useful for you before paying extra!
  • UK version – much software is produced for Americans and for instance may use the American date format (month/day/year rather than day/month/year).

10.3    Some Genealogy Software sellers

S&N Genealogy Supplies
S & N Genealogy Supplies
West Wing
Manor Farm

Tel: 01722 716121



TWR Computing
Clapstile Farm
CO10 9BN

Tel: 01284 828271



10.4 Checking your tree for errors

Family Tree Analyzer is a superb piece of freeware, which will point out mistakes you may have made in your family tree. For instance if a child is born before the father has reached the age of 13, that usually suggest’s that a birth date has been incorrectly recorded. If a wife has the surname as her partner it may be that you’ve entered her married name where the maiden name should have been entered.

10.5 Sharing files with others

GEDCOM is an abbreviation for GEnealogical Data COMmunication.

It’s a standard file structure for exchange of data between genealogy programs produced by different companies. Most genealogy software can export the data as a Gedcom file which can then be imported by a different programme.

To create a GEDCOM file (in most programs), go to “File, Export to GEDCOM” and create a new file with a “.ged” file extension after the name. To read another person’s GEDCOM file (in most programs), go to “File, Import from GEDCOM” and create a new database file that can be opened in your genealogy software program. This will not merge with your existing database file unless you indicate that you wish for the two files to be merged.

10.6 More Information

A good directory of genealogy software is at

Cyndi’s list
Provides even more choices and links!


and is a useful source of current information on genealogy software.

Genealogy Course Index

Bill Pearson’s Home Page

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