The French are famous for high style, and that knack for color and design even shows through in their genealogy software. Heredis <www.myheredis.com>, a popular French program now available in an English-language version (6.1), excels at creating beautiful family tree charts.
In most ways, Heredis works about the same as other genealogy software. The program is PC-only, running on computers with Windows 95 or higher. It lets you record not only the details of an individual’s birth and death, but also other events such as immigration, military service and residence, each with a date and place. Individual records can be linked to image files (scanned photographs or a census record, for example) or a video or sound file. You can create a nicely formatted HTML report to post on the Web, too.
Heredis’ attractive charts are easily the program’s best feature. The program creates well-designed family tree wall charts in pleasing color combinations. You can choose from several family tree formats, as well as fan style and family wheel ancestor charts. A nice touch in most reports is the inclusion of each individual’s age at marriage and at death.
Despite an abundance of wall-chart options, one important format is missing from Heredis: book-form reports. The program also lacks tools for touching up photos that you’ve scanned.
You don’t have to use Heredis for long before you discover a few quirks. First, you’ll notice something different about the way it handles dates. In most American software, you typically enter a date in the European day/month/year format: 2 Nov. 1810, for instance. Enter that in Heredis and it will change the date to Feb. 11, 1810, as is the convention here. So you must remember to enter dates with the month first.
Next, you’ll discover something strange about the way the software handles place names. Even though you enter a town, county and state, Heredis normally displays only the town name on the screen and in printed reports. With so many Springfields, Midways, Fairviews and other duplicate names across the country, using just the city name leaves plenty of room for confusion. Fortunately, you can change the setting so that the program displays complete place names.
Heredis lets you record where you found each piece of family information. You can reuse source references, and events such as births or marriages can have multiple sources. But, unlike most genealogy software, Heredis doesn’t have specific fields for different elements of a source reference, such as author, title, publisher and volume. That makes data entry harder. And when you reuse a source reference, you can’t cite a different page within that source.
This isn’t the best program for organizing and tracking all your data — its documentation capabilities could be improved and its reporting and multimedia options expanded. But it does all the basics well and creates especially attractive charts. If you’re looking for software to produce knockout family trees, Heredis’ French flair is worth a try.
From the October 2002 issue of Family Tree Magazine