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Choosing genealogy software can sometimes be a guessing game; will you end up with the software you want, or be stuck with a program that is not suitable for your needs? At least once a day I am asked what software I recommend as the best, or what genealogy program I use myself; instead of recommending my own favorite programs, I try to ascertain what the individual's software needs are, and point them to appropriate programs-the program that is best for one person is not necessarily the best for another.

Questions like "What's the best genealogy software" are sent to mailing lists and newsgroups, often inciting battles between program devotees. My answer to that question is always the same-there is no one program that is the best. The software that is best for you may not be the best for someone else; your experience, research needs, and software requirements determine which program (or programs-sometimes people use more than one) will satisfy you.

Choosing software is like choosing any other product-you have to do a certain amount of research to find the best product for you. When choosing genealogy software, you have to keep a few things in mind:

  • What are your hardware requirements?

  • Do you have a fast computer with a large hard drive, running the latest operating system, or do you have an older, slower computer with a smaller hard drive?

  • What operating system are you using? Are you stuck in DOS, or are you ready for Windows 98?

  • What is your research experience? Have you been researching for the last 18 years, or 8 months?

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