Most genealogists make ample use of the Internet for researching, e-mailing, backing up data and more. The new online-only PedigreeSoft.com genealogy software takes Internet use one step further. The program — which seeks to replace traditional desktop genealogy software — lets you organize your family history research anywhere with Web access, touting advantages such as easy collaboration with relatives and protection from computer crashes.
The program works much like standard genealogy software, except you need an Internet connection, user name and password to access your files. To start, you can enter family information directly in the program or import a GEDCOM file (the universal file format for family trees) of data you or someone else already entered in another genealogy program. Files are displayed in nicely designed pedigree, family and individual views. To see a person’s birth, marriage and death information, just hover your cursor over a name in pedigree view. You easily can navigate the branches of your family tree, edit individual and family information and attach pictures, sound files and movies to individual records.
The free Basic version limits family files to 50 names, but paid versions ($19.95 to $69.95 per year) handle from 250 to an unlimited number of names. The paid versions support multiple tree files for different branches of your family and extra storage space so you can attach more multimedia files.
PedigreeSoft.com’s online collaboration feature — which allows multiple people to access your files — most distinguishes it from traditional programs. Depending upon the version you use, one to 100 people can add data, meaning you can limit access to a small circle of relatives or open it up to everyone in a large family association. All users must sign up for at least a free Basic account before you can grant them access to yours. The program keeps track of changes and shows the date and author of each change, so you know who contributed each piece of information.
Just as traditional genealogy software lets you check online databases for names in your family files, PedigreeSoft.com searches both FamilySearch <www.familysearch.org> and WeRelate.org <werelate.org> (a new collaborative genealogy Web site). The company also plans to create an online index of all PedigreeSoft.com files, available for anyone to search. (You’ll have the option to exclude your file from the index.)
As a new program, PedigreeSoft.com doesn’t yet offer the full range of features found in most genealogy software, and it has a few glitches. For example, my printed reports were limited to a pedigree chart and a family group record. Source citations from an imported GEDCOM file got mixed up and parts were lost. A spokesperson told me the company’s currently working to fix the bugs, but this program needs a wider range of printed reports and improved source handling before it can be considered a replacement for standard genealogy software.
Still, PedigreeSoft.com is forging an online path other programs are sure to follow. It aims to be a full-featured program with multimedia support, eventually becoming a viable alternative to regular software. And the advantages of working online — easy collaboration with other genealogists and the ability to access your family files from anywhere — are certainly alluring. Plus, you don’t have to worry about backing up your data, downloading program updates or reinstalling your software when you get a new computer. PedigreeSoft.com is a new kid on the genealogy software block worth keeping your eyes on.
<www.pedigreesoft.com> (866) 279-4013 Price: Free to $69.95 Biggest draws: Access data from anywhere; easy collaboration Drawbacks: Handling of source citations and printed reports needs improvement
PedigreeSoft.com’s Pedigree view (top) shows family data in a traditional family tree chart. By clicking the Reports tab (bottom) you can see the types of reports the program offers.
From the December 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.