Genealogy Software
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The good news is that there is a lot of software out there for genealogists. The bad news is that there is so much it is mind-boggling! How do you choose? There are a lot of freeware/shareware programs, but many have limited features. My advice is to go with the proven winners. I have tried a number of different programs, and can recommend the ones that I have found to have the most useful options and to be the most dependable.

bullet Genealogy Software: For starters, you will need to enter your data into a program that is easy to use, and can convert to/from Gedcom file format, the industry standard. I have had good luck on most counts with Family Tree Maker. It is well-supported, and they have a decent website with related articles and online databases. You can purchase their software (cheaper than in the stores) and support our website by clicking here:, your resource for family history

bullet Filtering Programs:  The next thing you should do is filter your database. You don't want to put a lot of personal/private info on the internet, and some people in your tree may not be comfortable having their name or date of birth on the internet, especially families with young children. I have tried many and I like the shareware Res Privita the best. It is quick, easy, efficient and allows plenty of filtering options.

bullet Converting GEDCOM files to HTML web pages:  If you want to publish your tree to the web, you need something that will generate all the HTML code for you. Believe me, you don't want to be stuck updating thousands of pages manually! A lot of the decision here comes down to personal preference. There are several programs that publish standard genealogy family reports, but few that do a decent job of creating a clean, graphically-based tree. Don't forget that most of the people that will be visiting your site are not genealogists, and the standard genealogy report formats will not be intuitively easy for them to read. To me, the beauty of the internet is in its ability to provide access to knowledge in a visual manner. I have tried many formats and invariably, visitors to your webpages will prefer the ability to "see the tree" and surf it. The best software I have found here is definitely WinFamily. The shareware version is nice, but the full version is really amazing. (FamilyWeb recently became the US distributor for WinFamily Software).

bullet HTML editors:  There are way too many HTML editors to list them all here. Pricing ranges from free to several hundred dollars for high-end programs. If you are just starting out, stay away from these expensive programs, as they are either too complex for a beginner to use, or they generate pages by templates, which can cause a lot of problems with cross-browser compatibility. The one that I use is from Coffee Cup Software. You can download their shareware version for free here, which is fully-featured. The registered version eliminates the ad banner at the top of the editing screen, but no big deal there.

bullet Other Utilities:  One of the things you might want to do if you start putting up a lot of photos is create a page of "thumbnails." A thumbnail is a smaller-sized version of a picture. Rather than making visitors to your website wait for a huge picture to download (only to find out it wasn't the one they were looking for!), it has become "net-etiquette" to post all the photos on a thumbnail page. That way, a visitor can see a smaller version of the picture and click on it for the larger one. A useful shareware program to do that is Catalog Wizard.

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