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  • Writer's pictureJean Breidenbach

Genealogy Software - To Suit Your Personal Needs

Undertaking genealogy (the study of family history and ancestry) is an increasingly popular passion all over the world. Learning about your family's past - where they began, what happened to them, and what individual ancestors did - is a great way to enhance your sense of self, rebuild relationships with your relatives, and learn about fascinating events in history. No matter why you choose to conduct family genealogy, you'll find genealogy software an excellent time-saving tool. Many different brands of genealogy software are available at comparable prices and features. They make it easier to find data, organize and analyze the information you've collected, and create documents that bring your findings together in an interesting, creative package. Most programs include the well-known family tree among features to help you create charts, maps, and narrative accounts of your family's history. To find the genealogy software that best meets your needs, you'll need to do some research. For example, the 2008 Genealogy Software Review compares 10 different software packages on a number of factors including features, usability, reporting capability, and help and support. It also offers detailed narrative evaluations of each package. ConsumerSearch.com, a popular product review website, also evaluates five top software packages. You'll also want to check out articles on genealogy research and genealogy software to learn from others' experience and help identify your unique interests and requirements. You'll be making an investment of personal time and money when you purchase genealogy software, so be sure you make the best personal choice by making an educated choice. Whether you're a professional genealogist or an individual with a passion for your own family's history, the right genealogy software will make your work easier and more rewarding. It will cut down on the number of dead ends, delays, and barriers in your path, and it will save effort in compiling and presenting your findings. One outstanding benefit of genealogy software is the range of products you can create to organize your work, document your research, and present your findings. For example, you may need an organized printable checklist of steps involved in genealogical research if you're a beginner. This will help you keep track of progress and avoid skipping over an important task. You may want to generate ancestor charts that show the direct line of individual ancestors. Or you may want the ability to create narrative ancestor reports so that you can tell the story in a more entertaining way that you can share with others. Perhaps you'll want to produce an ancestor pedigree report, a graphic timeline showing people and events, or a comprehensive family chart that depicts whole family branches and their relationships. Clearly, before you purchase genealogy software, you'll want to give careful thought to what you want and need to do to gather the information and how you'll want to assemble and present the information when you're done. Here are some important criteria you should keep in mind as you assess genealogical software packages to find the one that best meets your needs: * Ease of use. You'll want genealogy software that's user-friendly. Clear instructions, well laid-out navigation, and efficient data entry forms will save you much time and confusion. * Setup and installation. Your genealogy software should be easy to download and install. It should have clear and simple instructions for installation. Your setup options should be logical and straightforward. And installation and setup steps should be clear and unambiguous to avoid frustrating confusion and errors that will haunt you later on. You'll also want to be sure that your computer equipment can handle the genealogy software. What type of operating system, processor speed, and graphics card are necessary to run the software without hang-ups and slow-downs. * Features. How do you plan to use the genealogy software? You may want more features to help you conduct research and perform data searches, not caring so much about creating a family tree or graphics at the end of the research process. On the other hand, you may already have much of the information and data you plan to use. Perhaps you need software that will help you create attractive and interesting graphics, charts, maps, and narratives summarizing your findings. * Software support. If you don't have a lot of experience with using software, you'll need a comprehensive help function including a detailed glossary, step-by-step instructions for specific tasks, and a way to contact the company directly for answers for your questions and personal help with difficult tasks. Modern technology has made the job of genealogical research an easier, more rewarding project. Genealogy software is valuable tool for getting the best possible results when you research your family's history and ancestry.

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