The amount of information and data you have to enter
will influence the software you need.
Questions to Answer
What is the level of your computer experience?
Will you be happiest with a program that allows
you to customize almost every feature, or do you want a very friendly
user interface that requires little input from you?
What are your budget limitations? Can you afford
any program, or do you want to keep the purchase price below a certain
Do you want to publish your research? If so, you'll
want a program that will keep track of your sources in a manner
you want, and organizes more than just names and dates.
How much flexibility do you want in a program?
Do you want to design your own genealogy reports, or just use existing
reports and charts?
Part of your software research plan should involve
seeking opinions on various programs. People's opinions of a program
can give you an insight to what is important to that person, but keep
in mind their needs may not match your own. Search out program reviews,
but be wary of those reviews with lots of personal opinions expressed;
the best reviews detail features and functions, explain limitations
and abilities, and leave it up to you to decide if the program is right
While it is a good thing to ask people what program
they use, take your line of questioning a bit further. Some questions
you might want to ask someone when discussing their favorite program
Why do you like the program?
What features do you find especially valuable?
Did you try other programs before you chose this
What function or feature are you not happy with?
What sort of technical help is available?
Does the program have a steep learning curve?
Is the manual helpful?
Does the program have a tutorial?
Given my software needs, would you recommend the
program to me?