Saturday, November 16, 2013

What can your genealogy software program really do?

Yesterday I talked about how you really need to know the locations where you do research.  Today I want to talk about something related but totally different.  You really need to know what your genealogy software can do. 

Your software can’t do research for you but it sure can make researching a lot easier by keeping track of all of your information, sorting your information, reporting your information, charting your information, keeping track of what you have done and what you still need to do, finding errors in your file etc.   The genealogy programs available today are very sophisticated and full-featured.  The problem is that a lot of people don’t know what all their program can do.  In addition, there are probably short cuts built into the program that you might not even be aware of that will save you some time. 

Take the time to go through the available tutorials and the help menus.  If your program has training videos, watch them.  Is there a mailing list or a message board for your software program?  If so, join it.  Don’t be one of those people that thinks they will be able to figure it all out on your own.  You might very well be able to but I’ll bet you will do it a lot faster if you take advantage of the learning opportunities your software company provides.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Michele - this is so true. I have been using Legacy since 2006. When I switched over from FTM, I wanted to learn all I could about Legacy. I bought the tutorial CD's right away and watched them, some of them more than once.
    As time went on, I eventually became the facilitator for the Legacy Users Group for the San Diego Genealogical Society. During our meetings we would sometimes watch one of the CD's. Even though I use this program every day (I'm fortunate to be retired and have the time), I learned at least one new thing every time I watched. Even the Beginner CD had a tip that I was unaware of.
    We are so very fortunate to have these wonderful software programs and not have to enter all this research on paper. I continue to learn new ways to use Legacy all the time.
    Now I have my own blog and I share my research successes, problems and strategies. I always include tips in every post. Your blog is on my daily reading list.
    My blog can be found at

    1. I love the training CDs! I have all of them :)

  2. Hi Michele
    I know that you, like me, use Legacy.

    There has been a lot of debate over the last year about using the Genealogical Proof Standard. How do you go about recording conflicting information about a person's facts, your analysis and conclusions in the software?

    I know different people do things in different ways so it would be interesting to see how someone else does it.


    1. I will tell you that Version 8 will make it a little easier because there will be a built in "Analyze Source Quality" feature when you add a source. You will be able to specify the source as original, derivative, authored or I don't know. You can specify the information as primary, secondary or I don't know and you can specify the evidence as direct, indirect, negative or I don't know. This is patterned after the GPS model. As far as how I record conflicting evidence, some people like to create a conflicting birth (or whatever) event. I don't do it this way because I think it clutters up the timeline (just me). I keep all of this information in the research notes section. I have proof statements and mini proof arguments in my notes. If I do a full blown case study I write it up in Word, save it as a pdf, and then attach it to the person in :Legacy so that is always right there.