When It Rains, It Pours

By Susan Wenner Jackson Premium

Take a look at your genealogy to-do list. When you see “Organize correspondence,” “Print out family tree charts” or “Search 1901 British census,” do you feel a bit overwhelmed? Don’t let the enormity of your tasks keep you from tackling that list. Several companies have come out with new software programs and research tools to make your genealogical chores more manageable.

After all the phone calls, letters, e-mails and faxes you’ve exchanged during your genealogy search, it might be tough to keep everything straight. Whom do you need to call? Who owes you a letter? When did you last hear from that library? GENContacts is a new correspondence management software program that’s supposed to help you manage all your genealogy communication and create reports by contact, category and project. It works with Macs or Windows and costs $59.95. To order, call (800) 443-6325 or visit <>.

If you use Ancestral Quest, Ancestry Family Tree or Legacy software to keep track of your genealogy research, you have a new option for charting your family tree: Charting Companion. Progeny Software released three new versions of its Charting Companion software to work with those particular programs. The program lets you create ancestor, descendant, hourglass, fan and bow-tie charts using the data you’ve entered. You’ll need Windows 95 or higher, 32MB RAM and 12MB of free hard disk space. Download for $19.95 each from <> or order on a CD-ROM for $24.95 each plus $5 shipping by calling (800) 565-0018.

FormalSoft, developer of Family Origins and Family Reunion Organizer software, announced a new genealogy program in May. RootsMate is still in progress, but president Bruce Buzbee expects to release it by the end of the year. The program will combine advanced features with an easy-to-use interface; look for a full-featured package including source templates, user-defined facts, multimedia scrapbooks, a host of reports, unlimited data and, of course, support for GEDCOM, the universal file format for family trees. Updates will be posted at <>; you can also sign up to be notified when RootsMate becomes available.

If you’ve been frustrated trying to access the 1901 British census online, you’ll be happy to hear that S&N Genealogy Supplies will soon have an electronic-access alternative. The Britain-based company just received a license to produce the 1901 census data on CD-ROM and DVD, which will be distributed in the United States through Heritage Quest. S&N came out with CD and DVD sets of other British census records as well: a newly released Worcestershire 1851 set and Yorkshire 1891 records. See <> for info.

An Evolving US Census

The US census has come a long way, baby. Find out just how much this staple of genealogy has evolved since 1790 in a new publication from the US Census Bureau. Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses from 1790 to 2000 shows images or descriptions of each census year’s questionnaire, along with instructions given to census-takers on how to fill out the form. The book also discusses how each census was conducted and its historical significance and development over the years. You can download this free 140-page publication at <>. (It’s 15MB, so the download may take a while. You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can get free at <>.)

For the Family Tree Magazine guide to using the census to find your roots, see the February 2002 issue. Also, check out the new book Your Guide to the Federal Census by Kathleen W. Hinckley (Betterway Books).
From the October 2002 issue of Family Tree Magazine