One of the main supplies that have been designed to help the genealogist - both amateur and professional - is software which helps you organise and store all the data you will accumulate when you research your family tree.
Genealogy has become a very popular hobby following the success of series such as Roots in the USA and 'Who do you think you are?' in the UK. These productions showed people just how possible it is to find out about your ancestors and what kind of intriguing surprises can be in store for the family sleuth. It is also a fascinating project for a whole family and can bring everyone a lot of pleasure as it seems to bring people together emotionally as they search and discover together.
Ways that genealogy software can help
It can help you organise data at the click of the mouse. It is able to connect people according to their relationships for example. It can combine family grouping, select the maternal or paternal line only and also show up where the biggest gaps are which need further research.
One of the ways in which it is most powerful is that it can arrange data visually as well as in lists and reports. Thus is can produce charts, 'trees', hierarchical diagrams and so on which make comprehending a lot of data in one glance very much easier for you.
Obviously you need to do your research about the software tool that is going to be right for you given your budget and your needs. It is always a good idea to go to forums, speak to people who are using different tools and get advice. This software can range from being free (but not as powerful) to very expensive and sophisticated (which you may not need as a hobbyist). The criteria that you will base your decision on in the end will probably centre around the following points.
- Must be user friendly and that will vary according to your level of expertise and familiarity with software generally. If you are not experienced in using different applications be sure to give yourself time to learn the programme and symbols so you understand its true capabilities.
- Must have a good range of features for organising and storing your information. Check if it can produce charts, a variety of reports, internal searching facilities, multimedia capacity and automatic referencing features. Charts you might need it to produce would be ancestor charts, text reports of different ancestors which read almost like a story, family charts which show the individuals within a nuclear family.
- Must provide really good support for the user from a back up team. This kind of support should include, phone and email help, FAQ's, tutorials, online seminars and a quick response to any question.
Using the latest software developments, particularly those that connect easily with the new social networking sites can make your researches easier and more fun as you will soon find yourself in contact with people all over the world - and may find yourself talking to a long lost relative who is also trying to find out all about the family too!
Search Millions of Public Records: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pubrecs/