Parentele family tree software brings its flexible multimedia features to US genealogists.
Now you can record, store and share your family history like cousin Jacques does. Alsyd Multimedia recently introduced an English-language version of its Parentèle genealogy software—and that translates into a new option for US software shoppers. One of the most popular packages in France, this Windows program features a wide variety of printed reports, flexibility in publishing your family history online and an innovative way to share your family history. Here's how Parentèle 3.1 performs:
Reports—Parentèle prints more than 80 reports, including pedigree, ancestor and fan charts, and descendant and book-form reports. Many of these charts can include pictures and customizable background colors, borders and fonts.
Reversing the standard view used by American programs, Parentèle's on-screen pedigree chart shows the "root" individual on the right, with the parents, grandparents and successive generations branching off to the left. Although unconventional, this arrangement works fine. And you have the option to print pedigree charts with generations extending either from left to right or from right to left.
Missing from Parentèle's roster of printed reports is anything like a standard family group sheet. Since a family group sheet is such a handy tool to help you see what you already know and where you're missing information, its omission is important.
Web publishing—Like many other genealogy programs, Parentèle generates Web pages from the data you've entered. But Parentèle and Family Origins are the only programs that let you publish your family information on your own Web site or on free Web space provided by the software company. Many Parentèle users have already published their data on Alsyd Multimedia's Web site, us.parentele.com. You should check the database for family connections, especially if you have French ancestry.
CD-ROM publishing—The Prestige Edition of Parentèle introduces a useful publishing option unavailable in any other program: It creates a CD-ROM version of your family history. You need a CD-R or CD-RW drive, but you can share the disk with anyone whose computer has a CD-ROM drive. Users don't need a copy of Parentèle—and they can view your data on-screen and print out reports much as they would if they had the program.
Documenting sources—This is an area that could use some improvement. You can record sources in Parentèle, but the program doesn't provide enough space for a complete citation of a typical book, record or database. While most programs let you record multiple sources for each birth, marriage, death or other event, Parentèle allows only one source for each event. And most other programs make it easy to reuse a previous citation, but each time you repeat a source citation in Parentèle you have to retype the whole reference.
Despite nice graphic reports and the nifty CD-ROM publishing feature, this version of Parentèle doesn't quite stack up against the other popular programs. Look for improvements, including a family group sheet and better support for documenting sources, in the program's next upgrade, due out this month.
The Prestige Edition, which includes CD publishing and unlimited individuals, costs $99.95. The Classic Edition (which limits you to a 2,046-person file) is $59.95. Alsyd offers free demos of both editions at its Web site. You'll need at least a Pentium 100 MHz, Windows 95 or higher, 16 MB RAM and 30 MB free hard disk space.