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Computer Genealogy Programs

I love computer Genealogy Programs.I think they are the most useful invention since home computers and certainly the best reason to own a computer.Why?I don't like getting organized.But genealogy requires organization and Genealogy Programs are a great solution to the problem.

These lovely programs allow you to simply fill in the blanks with all the facts that you've collected in your research and add the sources for those facts.Just like that, you're organized.See how easy that was?Then, with a click of the mouse, the computers little microchip brain starts linking all those facts together and spewing out detailed reports and charts about your ancestors that you'll be proud to show off to everyone at the next family reunion.What could be more useful than that?Not even Tupperware.

There are a number of Genealogy Programs you can buy, but the biggest and best are Reunion and Family Tree Maker.Ive used them both and prefer Reunion, which today is only released for Macintosh computers.It is an easy-to-use program, making it perfect for beginners, yet it offers everything a professional genealogist requires. Many people have switched to Macs just so they can use Reunion.

You don't have to buy a program to have the luxury of using one.The LDS (Latter Day Saints) have a free Genealogy Program that you can download called Personal Ancestral File, which runs on Windows. I've not used this program, but my cousin has used it and said it is adequate for his uncomplicated needs. This is all I know about it. A company called MyHeritage also has a free program called Family Tree Builder that appears to be very detailed. I've only seen one review for this program and it was very complimentary. Again, this is all I know about this program. I am not recommending either, I am simply making you aware that there are free programs available. Search the internet to see if others are available.

No matter what Genealogy Program you use, there's one thing that's vitally important for you to do.Backup your file every day.Back it up more than once just in case the first backup fails.And don't take the chance of losing both your computer and your backup.Keep a copy of the backup someplace other than where your computer is located in case of fire or theft.

Now for the part I've been avoiding during this entire postand from looking around at my desk, apparently for several months.Filing.Even if you have the best Genealogy Program in the world, at some point you're going to have to do some manual filing.Document collection is inevitable in genealogy research and those documents have to go somewhere other than in stacks around your computer screen and keyboard.

Heres my method.First I scan everything into my computer.(Reunion allows me to drag a link from iPhoto, my image-storage program, and drop it in the file of the person it relates to, which is really cool.)Back to the filing.I have a folder for each surname.I put Jones stuff in the Jones file, Pauley stuff in the Pauley file, etc.As far as I'm concerned, that's it, except I put precious, irreplaceable documents inside archival-quality plastic sheets.Job done.

You can get as detailed with filing your documents as you like.Each person might have their own file folder with another folder just for the surname to use for family items.You could organize everything into notebooks or sorted in boxes.Some people make heirloom scrapbooks with their documents, but I don't think you should glue anything irreplaceable to anything even if it is acid free. Some people throw everything away after it's scanned, but those people are crazy.

Each of us has to find our own way to store documents, just as we each have to choose which Genealogy Program to use.Whatever method you decide on, start getting organized today!

Posted in Newspaper Post Date 08/12/2017






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