Record Keeping for Genealogy

When you start working on your family research, a tablet of paper or a set of pre-printed forms usually feels like it will be all that you need. Before long, however, you will find that you have dozens and then hundreds and then thousands of names and dates stored.

The best way to deal with all of this information is with a computer program dedicated to genealogy. These programs make it possible to keep adding new information without have to re-type all of those relationships. Best yet, they offer places to keep notes and miscellaneous information.

One word to the wise: write down the source of all of your information. At the beginning, it feels like you'll be able to remember where each bit of information came from. After a while, you may have two pieces of information that conflict and, if you don't remember where each came from, you won't be able to evaluate which one is probably right. Good software packages offer space to enter the source of each fact.

Software for record keeping:

  • Family Tree Maker: This is one of the most popular ways to organize your research. It features multiple types of family trees, storage of photographs and other images. Click here for more information on Family Tree Maker.
  • Ancestral Quest. Ancestral Quest was the first desktop family tree program to be certified to access, update and sync with the family tree database of New FamilySearch (NFS). Click here for more information on Ancestral Quest.
  • Legacy Family Tree. When you have exhuasted the resources of FamilySearch, Legacy's built-in Research Guidance takes you to the next step. Click here for more information on Legacy Family Tree.
  • RootsMagic. RootsMagic includes features such as book publishing, color coding, wallcharts, shareable CD's, running straight off of a flash drive, interactive problem lists, online publishing, and a mobile app. Click here for more information on RootsMagic.