Bill alias Sudie,
Thanks very much for your detailed response and to all others who responded.
It looks like I have some important matters to check out and make a
decision. It may not be in time for this Christmas though!
You said: All depends on what your requirements are.
I am taking the time to respond to the questions you asked , Bill, in the
hopes not only that it will others help Santa for me but will also be of
value to others having similar problems/needs especially with French
Your question to me is followed by my response as Q and A even though some
are not actually Questions.
Q1. Do you require a basic program, an intermediate one or a full fledged
A1. Full fledged powerhouse!
Q2. How important is the search feature?
A2. I use search and replace to ensure consistent entry of Quebec and French
locations. Since the original parishes, dioceses and archdioceses were the
methods for pre-Revolution France and similar for pre-English takeover of
French Canada, I need to ensure full location information for what these
were at the time so I can cross-reference to the manual I compiled on where
these records can be found now. Almost every city has a Notre-Dame parish as
well as several others. Simply saying Montreal, Quebec is meaningless. Also
saying Notre-Dame, Montreal is one thing for pre-20th century and a
different for post.
Besides the importance of standard entry for places, I need to view the
alphabetical list of names to see how I have entered certain families. The
feature Judii mentioned where a name is searched automatically each time you
enter a new person would actually slow down data entry and not be as useful
as the ability to view the alphabetized surnames. For example, Thomas Hayot
can be found in one document as Thomas Hayot, Thomas Ayotte in another,
Thomas Marticotte in a third and Thomas Ayet in a fourth and Thomas Marcotte
in a fifth where it is a spelling error. Another family line I am tracing is
that of Paul Talon whose descendants became Talon, Dit L'Esperance, then
Talon-Lesperance and some branched off to become Lesperance only. I found
second cousins were married but it appears from the record they are not
related. One's father is Talon and the other's father was Lesperance (first
cousins from grandfather named Talon, Dit L'Esperance). There are at least
three different family lines that used the dit name Deslauriers. Not only
are descendants found under the first three original names and the Dit name
alone or in combination, there are as many spellings of Deslauriers as you
can imaging - e.g. Deslaurier, Delaurier, Delorier, De Lorier... Even to
search for suspected surnames would not be sufficient. I need to be able to
scroll an alphabetized list. Then if I am not sure, I do a kinship report
and find the ancestor to which the new person belongs to determine which
form of Deslauriers I will use.
As for searching World Family Tree or whatever FTW connects to is not
important at all and ditto to submitting my names WFT. As for the CD's, I
can continue to view those through FTM as I would need to print or cut and
paste the info from the CD. I never save and enter directly because I need
to verify the names and relationships as mentioned above.
Q3. Are you interested in professional source documentation or will you
settle for the minimal capabilities supported by Gedcom?
A3. I need Gedcom to give my clients a copy of the file to use in their
program to eliminate data entry for them, especially because any French or
Metis client will be connected to the thousands of ancestors I have already
However, source documentation is a pain in FTW and any other program I have
used. I wish I could save the source for each field - however, that said I
compensate by putting it in the notes field. E.g. I will list birth from ...
baptism for ... etc. etc. It is very significant for all records pre-French
revolution, pre-1763 Canada and pre-1994 Quebec that I see a birth, baptism,
death and sepulture (burial/funeral service) entry for each person. If I see
only a birth and/or death, then I suspect the indexer, compiler or family
historian has misinterpreted whatever primary or secondary source they used.
Thus it is important for me to be able to check that I have entries for
baptism and sepulture. If I have those and have not checked the original
record yet, I put in an about date of baptism as the birth date and ditto
for sepulture as death date. However, in many cases the parish records are
now lost and then I use census and other records to approximate birth/death.
In other cases the birth date is not mentioned specifically in the parish
baptism record - sometimes it gives an approximate number of days, months or
years so I approximate the birth date from that and like to note the source
and how I arrived at the calculation. Marriage dates are also very suspect
for the same locations/periods as what is given in the source as the
marriage date can often be the date of the marriage contract. Thus I need to
be able to have a field for marriage contract. Also a marriage can be
deposed (set down) on a different date than when the marriage actually took
place or the marriage can be annulled because of relationship issues or in
some cases bigamy, or it can be "rehabilitated" when a special dispensation
is given to allow the couple's marriage to take place or to stand if it has
already taken place. Thus I need several fields for some entries.
Another problem in these records is that there are often multiple marriages
per person. As soon as a wife or husband died and young children are left
behind, the widow or widower remarries fairly quickly. A widow also might
remarry even if she has no young children because her support was often
dependant upon a husband. In some cases she might enter the convent instead
and so date of entry and date of taking her vows are also important facts.
I usually enter a code for sources I use frequently and then I have a table
in Word that shows the code in the first column and the full citation in the
second so that I can reduce entry time and space and yet print the list for
my clients and my own use.
Q4. Is name structure and location structure important?
A4. I think this is answered above and to repeat - yes it is extremely
Q5. Are you just collecting name references or are you trying to assemble
evidence that can lead to assertions?
A5. I collect evidence and for several clients I may focus on some specific
request - e.g. medical history of a certain inherited condition (e.g. heart
mitral valve deformity is common among certain Acadian/French Canadian
lines) or the client may have a special request for the type of data they
want to see. I want a program that can deliver a book and/or report feature
since I supply this to clients and to my own family members. I also want
fancy charts that I can produce for family and friends as gifts and several
clients have also asked for these. They vary from one-page pedigrees for
weddings, births (even birth announcements), anniversaries and birthdays to
wall charts for family reunions.
Q6. ... FTM is a nice mature basic little program with limited capabilities
but some secondary
features some users find very attractive.
A6. I do like and use all the features of FTM. I would be sorry to lose any
of the functionality. However, due to the amount of data (dates, places,
sources, assertions, notes, narratives, etc.) not just the number of names,
FTM is no longer feasible for my main file.
Q7. Legacy is an intermediate level program. Being relatively new (1997) it
is still developing the basic data recording features. I've tested it with
a 60,000 One Name database. An
automatic merge (not recommended) required over 24 hours to complete but it
opens the database and index quickly.
A7. I need the ability to merge specific individuals but I never ever use
the automatic merge because of the chance of error - too many people named
Joseph Leblanc born circa same date but in totally different lines. Even
have several totally different men named Pierre Tremblay married to totally
different women named Marie Simard!
Q8. Has some tagging options and flexible search options. Lacks wall
charts. Deluxe version is the best bang for your buck on the market.
A8. Charts are very important as noted above.
Q9. TMG 5 is loaded with everything you could ever want. That's its main
drawback. Data entry is precise and as a result, slow. Lots of nice
reports and arguably, the best charting program since Tree-O. Expensive but
worth it. Also have the One Name database in it. In this case it is
combined with but separate from my regular 2000 name database. Index shows
which database the
person is in. Can drag persons across the databases if required.
A9. I will definitely check this one out!
Q10. Lots of good programs out there. Check my web site scorecards for the
options in the more popular ones.
A10. Again thanks for all your thought-provoking questions and your
Xenia Stanford (president@...)
A.G.E. Ancestree Genealogical Enterprises
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