Generations X-tra?

By David A. Fryxell Premium

The promise of DVD technology in computers is that DVD-ROMs can hold many times more data than CD-ROMs, much as CDs far outstripped floppy disks. Unfortunately, when SierraHome ( blazed the trail to the DVD format for genealogy software with its Generations Deluxe DVD-ROM edition, it opted for a “less is more” approach. Despite all that space to fill, this version omits most of the extra goodies of Sierra’s Generations Grande Suite—Snapshot Express, Mastercook recipe software, more than a dozen data collections. How convenient it would have been to have the Grande Suite’s 1800 census and Civil War databases on one DVD, eliminating CD switching! (Since Sierra has stopped selling Grande Suite 8.0—in fact, it’s getting out of the genealogy business entirely; see page 7—users spoiled by its boxful of riches are out of luck.)

The new package does include the 350 million-name World Name Index, city profiles and the Social Security Death Index. You also get a lot of links to Heritage Quest, which Sierra just sold.

The software itself is identical to the version 8.0 included in Generations’ bevy of recent releases (Beginner’s and Liberty Editions, Grande Suite). The core EasyTree program remains one of the best, fast, flexible and excellent for data entry. The companion EasyChart has all the bells and whistles (but good luck getting the ballyhooed 3-D charts to work); it’s annoying, however, to have to launch a separate program to view charts. New to this package is a Create-a-Family CD wizard, which lets you put your family trees on CDs.

Installation is fast and foolproof. Generations Deluxe DVD-ROM, priced at $49.95 ($30 less than the Grande Suite), requires at least a 100MHz Pentium processor, 16MB RAM and a healthy 100MB of hard drive space. Plus a DVD drive, of course—though you’ll wonder why they bothered.