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Genealogy How-To
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Family Finder
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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 amount?

  • 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 for you.

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 are:

  • Why do you like the program?

  • What features do you find especially valuable?

  • Did you try other programs before you chose this one?

  • 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?

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