Genealogy software recommendations?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by 4(T), Jan 4, 2010.

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  1. I thought I'd better put this here, rather than in the PC section.

    The old man has finally decided to get his act together and use his retirement time to make an attempt at researching and recording the family genealogy. He is starting from scratch: at the moment we have pretty much zilch, to the point that the old man hasn't even had any contact with his own siblings for the past 30 years. (The only family legend we have is that our surname is rare in UK because most of our male line ancestors apparently got transported to Oz for pinching sheep....)

    Since the old man has never really done anything academic, and is barely PC-literate, I thought it might be an idea to buy an easy-to-use software package that might help him record anything he turns up, and that might tutor/guide him in the research process. I understand some packages include limited subscription access to various databases, etc.

    Has anyone used any of the software packages on the market, or come across any other useful tutoring resource?

  2. Join you will get all the help you need in there including your own family tree. Plus contacts from all over the country.
  3. msr

    msr LE

    This: [​IMG]

  4. or this

    Attached Files:

  5. Agreed Genes Reunited is a good choice. You can easily create your own family tree for free. With a subscription you can link up with other people's tree that contain your family members.

    The best first step is to get as much information you can from surviving family members and work back from there. Then you can start linking into census returns, etc.
  6. Try Genebase or Ethnoancestry if you want to go down the route of having your paternal DNA tested.
  7. Genesreuntied is very poor. It does the very basics only. Only go here if you have to... You have to pay just to communicate with other researchers, most of whom have followed a link from friendsreunited, filled in a few details and then forgot about.

    For research, is excellent - gives you the most access to available records in a one-stop shop. It ain't free though.

    I use 'Family Tree Builder' - a free download from, which you can use off-line to build your tree. I started with this, entering details I knew from my family, then one day it lit up like a Christmas tree and found all sorts of other trees with my family in.

    There is also a lot of free info on the web. Look at and

    Whatever you do, try not to get involved yourself - it is a bit like heroin addiction...

  8. If your father has got a rough idea of where his family came from, he can try searching on the Births, Marriages and Deaths of each county. Just type in for example 'cheshire bmd's' into google and see what you get.

    You can also try 'igi family search'. This is a free database that is organised by the mormons in the US. It had my fathers line going back to the 1630's.

    I use the site to create my family tree. It's pretty good and has access to all the UK census' from 1841 to 1901 plus lots of other records, but it'll cost you around £110 for a years subscription. It's easier than searching through a records office, especially as your father isn't sure about his ancestors.

    They are the best sites I've come across in my search. Good hunting.
  9. has a special 14 day free offer. You enter all your credit card details to start, spend the day or so searching, then cancel subscription. I was on there today :)
  10. I use a package called Family Tree supplied by GSP and I got it free some years ago . One of the important items about stand alone software is to ensure that you are able to export information you have created into other software . It probably is a standard feature now but not when I started my work on package selection . This software has now been used to create a very detailed family tree .
    I have a very cut down version on the Genes Reunited Website . I have no information concerning children or grandchildren for any member on the tree below my level on the tree . It is quite useful because Genes Reunited will suggest matches to your tree and you can communicate to other people either within the Genes Reunited mailing system and then if you feel comfortable by normal personal E Mails . I have used both methods but have swapped copies of documents , photographs etc only by personal E Mail .
    I may be old fashioned but I am not a believer in this modern concept of baring all on the Internet
  11. Thanks for all the info.

    I've done a test run on genesreunited; it doesn't take long before you have to put some cash down....

    As B_R says, it would be useful for a software package to be able to export data - eg to plug a family tree into something like genesreunited in order to do a sweep - and of course it would be handy to have a "product" that could be handed over to someone else to carry on with.
  12. Sympathetic_Reaction

    Sympathetic_Reaction LE Book Reviewer

    Just restarted for the 4th time on my family tree....personally I've used probably 5 or 10 different sources on the internet, the majority need some cash for access to the records, but it's not a huge amount.

    I use Gen8 for recording in softcopy, but to be honest most of my early work was done on a large roll of wallpaper.

    The hardest part is getting back to the early 1900's, the census doesn't kick in until 1901, so if your father can get back to that date he can probably get back to the early 1800's with no trouble. If you are lucky you will find other people who have done the work for you...I was lucky enough to get part of the tree back to 1640's with the help of others.

    I'd plug as a good starting point and the monthly charge isn't too bad.

  13. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    How far is this tree going to stretch in terms of (a) how far back and (b) hiow far sideways, siblings, cousins etc? If the tree is fairly simple then there is still a lot to be said for pen and paper.

    If you must use a computer then the game is to do it at nil cost (or at least to minimise costs). There are two aspects to this, (1) research and (2) recording.

    (1) is free and can be accessed from home and can give you birth marriage and death data sufficient to send for certificates, which you can order online for £7 a pop (I think). Armed with this , off you go to your public library where you can access which will let you see all the UK censuses; you can print the sheets that are relevant, or email them to yourself and print them cheaper at home. For the 1911 census you need and savvy setting of search arguments in this (as in other cases) will yield good info on a family without paying to look at the detail directly. The Mormons at have all sorts of data including the 1881 census in full. Where they show a date for a baptism you can TRY to see IF that parish register is online. Do all this from home BEFORE setting out on any sort of safari to a county records centre where, with luck, fiche or film opf parish registers can be inspected.

    Relatives killed in action should be on the Commonwealth War Graves (CWGC) website. For others who served, the WW1 Medal Rolls are on Ancestrylibrary and for the surrounding military history check out regimental or other websites, and use your library card to send for the Official History of relevant campaigns.

    (2) If you do go to Ancestry to build a tree only other subscribers can see it. I downloaded the free version of Legacy (Google for it) and here you can record just about everything. For free you can't build a pedigree chart so when you have done the MOST research you can, save you Legacy file as a gedcom (.ged format) and download Wingenea for a free trial and print from that. Do the decent thing and also send this final gedcom file to the Mormons who will EVENTUALLY upload it and then the whole world can share. I could go on and on ... but DO NOT spend shedloads of money on packages or memberships. Box clever and you'll be surprised what you can do for virtually nothing.

    Final advice - make sure you question the older generation in great detail before they pop it and it's too late. But TEST what they say against available official records - memory can play strange tricks. And get them to LABEL the snaps in their photo album.
  14. 1911 census is available now, looked at some details yesterday. Had great difficulty finding anyone and had to try a variety of searches before I achieved any success.

    Can also use Register of electors at the local library, most libraries now have a good family history section