Family Tree Maker and Generations are the two best-selling genealogy programs, but hardly your only choices. Most of the competing programs can do all the tricks described here; some, as noted below, are better at certain functions than others. Here’s a rundown of the main genealogy software options:
• Ancestral Quest 3.0
The Hope Foundation, (800) 825-8864, <www.ancestralquest.com>. Requires Windows 3.1 or higher, 2 MB RAM, 5 MB hard disk space. This strong all-around program (much like Family Ties, next column) is easy to use and excels at navigation and source handling.
• Brother’s Keeper 6.0
John Steed, e-mail 75774.650(g) compuserve.com, <www.bkwin.com>. Requires Windows 95 or higher and 8 MB RAM. Brother’s Keeper produces a variety of attractive charts and reports. It’s shareware, so you can test it before you buy.
• Family Ties 6.0
Individual Software, (800) 822-3522, <www.individualsoftware.com>. Requires Windows 95 or higher, 8 MB RAM, 5 MB hard disk space. Another great all-around, easy-to-use program, nearly identical to Ancestral Quest. Both programs are compatible with Personal Ancestral File (last column).
• Family Origins 9.0
Genealogy.com, (800) 327-2317 or (510) 794-6850, <www.formalsoft.com>. Requires Windows 95 or higher, 8 MB RAM, 8 MB hard disk space (full install, 40 MB). The best program for Web publishing, Family Origins also boasts powerful searching capabilities and attractive charts and reports and does an excellent job of handling multiple files at once. For more information, see the February 2001 issue of Family Tree Magazine.
• Family Tree Maker 8.0
Genealogy.com, (800) 548-1806, <www.familytreemaker.com>. Requires Pentium 90 MHz, Windows 95 or higher, 16 MB RAM, too MB hard disk space. This best-selling software comes bundled with extensive information on CD-ROM and has excellent charting and graphing capabilities. For more information, see the February 2001 Family Tree Magazine.
• Generations 8.0
Sierra On-Line, (800) 757-7707, <www.sierrahome.com>. Requires Pentium 100 MHz, Windows 95 or higher and 16 MB RAM; Grande Suite and Liberty Edition, both of which include Snapshot Express, require 225 MB hard disk space for full installation; Beginner’s Edition requires 20 MB hard disk space. Beautiful charts, extensive photo-editing tools, recipe software, a huge database of names, the entire 1800 US census (included with Grande Suite) and 3-D views make Generations the most fun genealogy software you’ll find. Reviewed in the December 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine.
• Kith & Kin Pro 1.1
SpanSoft, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, <www.spansoft.org>. Requires Windows 95 or higher. Like Brother’s Keeper, Kith & Kin is a shareware program that you can download from the Internet and test before buying. Add TreeDraw 2.0, a graphics utility for producing high-quality genealogy charts. $75 for both.
• Legacy Family Tree 3.0
Millennia Corp., (800) 753-3453, <www.legacyfamilytree.com>. Requires Windows 95 or higher, 16 MB RAM, 35 MB hard disk space. One of the easiest programs to use, Legacy is also ideal for coordinating findings with other researchers. In addition, it has an excellent match/merge feature.
• The Master Genealogist 4.0
Wholly Genes, (877) 864-3264, <www.whollygenes.com>. Requires Windows 3.1 or higher, 16 MB RAM, 48 MB hard disk space. Sometimes called “the genealogy software that does everything,” TMG shines at recording data and evidence, organizing research and creating narrative reports and custom wall charts.
• Personal Ancestral File 5.0
Salt Lake Distribution Center, (800) 537-5950 or (801) 240-3800, <www.familysearch.org>. Requires Windows 95 or higher, 16-32 MB RAM, 20 MB hard disk space. By far the easiest genealogy software, PAF does all the basics well. It’s ideal for beginning genealogists. (Version 5.0 can run on iMacs with a Windows emulator, or an earlier Mac version is available for $10.)
• Reunion 7.0