11 April 2009

Weekly Prompt #14 Technology used in research

Okay that list really can go on and on. I'm a computer geek. I want and like to do it all on the computer. But no matter how hard I try to do it all on the computer I can't help but do some old school hard copy work too. So first I'll refer you back to my old post The Organized Genealogist for help in keeping those files straight.

But for the technical end I use a few different software for organizing my notes on the computer:
  • Family Tree Maker - I would say this one is my favorite. I think the feature I use the most is the ability to select an ancestor and the click on the Internet symbol and have the software use the information I have for that ancestor to search Ancestry.com for all articles, documents and other people research that may relate to that person. I also like the reports I can make and save to a PDF file in order to share my work with others.
  • Family Tree Legends - This one though it does not work with Ancestry.com it does have it's own online database you can search. I just have yet to find much there. I find this software to have a more user friendly layout. Especially for a first time user or someone who isn't all that up to date on computers. With all of it's icons and layout I think it would be even simple enough for a child to use. So those of you who are trying to get your children interested in genealogy I highly recommend Family Legends.
  • GenSmarts - Another very useful tool. I like this because I can pull the information I enter into my genealogy software into GenSmart where it will analyze the information and give me a list of places and records that are most likely to yield answers to what I am looking for. I can use it on a whole family group or I can isolate to one person. So if you are looking for marriage, death or birth information for example it will use information you have entered about that person and related family members to determine the most likely location and records that will yield the information you are looking for. It also tells you what information can be found online and even provide a link to go right to the information. This is also very useful when planning a road trip in search of your ancestors. Based on information in your genealogy software it will give you a list of locations to search in for your ancestors as well as the records to look in. It's just another helpful tool in keeping you organized and on the path to finding answer quickly without going in circles.
So that's the software that I use in organizing and researching my family history. I would also like to add one more tool I use. Heritage Makers and now Ancestry.com have online books you can make to preserve the history, photos and memories you find for your family. Heritage Makers has amazing digital scrapbooking to create some beautiful books.

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