by Malcolm Graham, June 2004
One of the managers I worked with at Nortel Networks for over 15 years recently retired. For some time, he had been expressing an interest in genealogy and years earlier I'd given him a copy of PAF2. He wanted to be able to include photographs, so PAF2 wasn't suitable for his requirements (Version 4+ supports multimedia). I did some research and bought him a genealogy program as a retirement present. I ended up giving him a program called Generations; I wouldn't recommended it now. Currently, I've narrowed my list of recommended programs, in order of personal preference, to those listed below. My first choice is Legacy Family Tree.

Click to go to Legacy site...
IBM computer: Pentium, 128 MB RAM, Win95, WinNT, Win2000, WinME, WinXP

http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/

  • The Standard version is free; the Deluxe version, with more features, is worth the cost; the software is updated frequently
  • Can open 2 database files simultaneously for comparison purposes with ability to drag & drop information between them
  • Can open up to 8 view windows in the same file
  • Direct import of PAF 2.31/3.0/4.0 & Ancestral Quest 2/3 files
  • Full support of LDS GEDCOM 5.5 (also see the PDF and WordPerfect versions), PAF, Ancestral File, and Temple Submission formats
  • Supports inclusion of photos, video, and sound with full GEDCOM 5.5 import/export (by reference)
  • Supports photo format conversions, rotation, adjustments (brightness, sharpness, contrast), direct scan import
  • Creation of personal web pages with inclusion of photos
  • Supports creation of PDF and RTF files
  • Extensive report generation options
  • Complete source citation system
  • To-Do List and Research Log feature
  • Support for RIN and MRIN renumbering and creation of custom ID numbers
  • Windows-based interface; no Mac version. If you want to run it on a Mac, consider purchasing a PC emulator; as a bonus, you will also be able to run other Windows programs. For guidance, see www.macwindows.com; consider the Blue Label PowerEmulator first (you will need a Windows OS)

Click to go to PAF site...
Free download
IBM computer: Pentium, 64MB RAM, Win95, Win98, WinNT, Win2000, WinME, WinXP, Palm OS

http://www.familysearch.org/eng/paf/

  1. Accept Cookies and enable JavaScript
  2. Type http://www.familysearch.org/eng/paf/
  3. Follow the online instructions to download the PAF program and related files
  • Excellent cost (free) and support from LDS Family History centres and PAF User Groups
  • Supports inclusion of photos, video, and sound with full GEDCOM 5.5 import/export (by reference)
  • Supports creation of personal web pages
  • Supports export to PAF for Palm OS handhelds with a free viewer
  • Weak viewing and report generation options
  • Functional but uninspiring interface
  • Can open multiple databases simultaneously
  • PAF5 is only Windows-based (Mac version 2.3 has no multimedia support).
  • Excellent genealogical research web site @ www.familysearch.org
  • CDs available for research purposes, at nominal cost, by selecting "Order/Download Products" and "Software Products" from www.familysearch.org

Click to go to FTM site...
IBM computer: Pentium, 64 MB RAM, Win95, Win98, WinNT, WinME, WinXP

http://www.familytreemaker.com/

  • Cost! However, it was my wife's favourite until we changed to Legacy Family Tree
  • The version we bought came with 35 CDs including the Canadian Genealogy Index CD for finding records of over 2 million people in Canada; other CDs reference over 60 million people from U.S. Social Security & Death, Military, Immigration, Marriage, and family history records
  • Good viewing, reporting, and map options
  • Excellent web site and access to additional data
  • Supports creation of personal web pages
  • Supports inclusion of photos, video, and sound within FTM file (no support for GEDCOM 5.5 import/export)
  • Can only open one database at a time
  • Partial support of LDS GEDCOM 5.5 (also see the PDF and WordPerfect versions), PAF, Ancestral File, and Temple Submission formats
  • Readily available in Canadian stores
  • If you live in Canada, don't buy upgrades from USA; with refunds, it's cheaper to buy a full version in Canada
  • For viewing GEDCOM files on your desktop, see GENViewer
  • For converting GEDCOM to HTML files, see GED Browser and webGED
  • For adding and viewing GEDCOM files from an HTML page, see GEN Viewer Applet (I use this applet to present my GEDCOM files)
  • Ged2DB converts GEDCOM files to an SQL-based relational database.
  • TNG The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding converts GEDCOM data to an MySQL database for dynamic display by PHP

For genealogy online, start with www.familysearch.org, www.genealogy.gc.ca, www.genhomepage.com, www.ancestry.com, www.genuki.org.uk, www.archives.ca, www.genealogytoday.com, Canadian Genealogy & History, National Genealogical Society; also see the following newsgroups: alt.genealogy, soc.genealogy.britain, soc.genealogy.computing, soc.genealogy.ireland, or soc.genealogy.marketplace