AncestorNews: Know Your Software

By Nancy Hendrickson Premium

Do you know your genealogy software backward and forward, or do you just input data and call it a day? If you’re like me, you may end up missing a cool tool because you didn’t read the manual. I realized this when my aunt Helen asked if I remembered April 20 was my grandparents’ 90th wedding anniversary. I hadn’t, but I should have.

The GedStar program I use on my personal digital assistant (PDA) has an “On This Day” feature that shows every event in my database that occurred on any specific date. If I had clicked on April 20, it would have displayed my grandparents’ anniversary, along with the 166th wedding anniversary of my third-great-granduncle William.


After playing with GedStar, I launched Legacy Family Tree from my desktop to see what goodies I may have missed there. Among my findings were an online source for free genealogy lessons, a tool for searching all the major genealogy Web sites, and my favorite&#151an alarm clock telling me to turn off the computer and go to bed.

I’d love to hear about your program’s coolest feature. Although I couldn’t find an online tutorial for Family Tree Maker (please let me know if you find one), I did find these resources for getting more from your software:

&#149 Genealogy Resources on the Internet: Software Mailing Lists

&#149 Legacy Family Tree: Tips from the Experts


&#149 ReunionTalk (a forum for Reunion users)

&#149 Wholly Genes Software: Frequently Asked Questions

Nancy Hendrickson is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine. She also is a family historian, freelance writer and the author of the new book, Finding Your Roots Online. Visit her Web site or e-mail her at

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