Branching Out: Legendary Launch

By Diane Haddad Premium

Pearl Street Software, creator of Family Tree Legends genealogy software <> and the GenCircles <> pedigree Web site, launched a new online records collection in June. (Note: Pearl Street Software is no longer in business. You now can access its software and records free from this <>.)

The 400 million-name Family Tree Legends Records Collection <> holds data from more than 1,500 sources spanning the 1600s to mid-1900s. It includes birth, marriage and death indexes for most states; military records; land records; court and probate records; biographies; cemetery transcriptions; and digitized books. An annual subscription costs $29.95; subscribers don’t need Family Tree Legends software.

Company president Cliff Shaw says he’s included features you don’t see often in online genealogy databases. For example, you can choose a permanent font size and personalize the service to work with your connection speed. A book viewer lets you read the collection’s tomes cover to cover. Subscribers also can e-mail a record to friends — even if they don’t subscribe.

Online market conditions inspired the collection. “Our main goal is to make our service as user-friendly and powerful as possible, while remaining very affordable,” Shaw says. “We’re going to bring value back to the genealogy market.”

The company is positioning the collection as an alternative to, whose major database Web sites < > and <> claim 600,000 subscribers but have been targets of price and customer-service complaints. In particular, some customers have expressed frustration with’s automatic-renewal system, which requires subscribers to call the company within a specified time period to cancel. ( says it continues to strive to keep its subscribers happy.) Family Tree Legends Records Collection also uses automatic renewal, but Shaw says, “if anyone wants to cancel, it’s a simple e-mail to our support desk.”

Shaw wouldn’t give numbers, but said “thousands” of researchers had subscribed to the Family Tree Legends Records Collection by its launch. He promises quick growth. “We will be adding databases continuously and improving the service, all for the same great price.”
From the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine