This is a much-needed guide to genealogy software. Along with a variety of other useful features it comprises reviews of the major software programs, including commercial and shareware software as well as utilities. We are all painfully aware of the fact that genealogy software changes rapidly, and indeed over the last few years countless genealogy programs have been orphaned with outdated interfaces, inadequate features, and little or no author support. For this reason the book concentrates solely on software that is current and is still supported by the author or publisher.
In addition, new versions of existing software and frequently released updates result in a quagmire of options and choices, so a guide such as this is not only of great value for the computer genealogist, it is absolutely indispensable.
Bearing in mind some concerns that might be paramount to the reader, the author tackles a number of frequently asked questions before launching into her software reviews, answering such key questions as the following: Why use genealogy software? What equipment do I need? How do I choose and evaluate a program? What are the different types of software available to me? And where can I buy this software?
With such questions authoritatively addressed, the author goes on to list each program's major features; but rather than a mere litany of details, functions, and common characteristics, she tries to provide a sense of what the program actually feels like, providing over eighty sample reports and screen shots of the major genealogy programs and software utilities. In this context it is important to note that only IBM compatible software is reviewed here; Macintosh and other platforms, however, are listed and briefly described.
Common to all the reviews are the following elements: (1) Basic information such as the provider's name, address, phone, FAX, e-mail, web site, system requirements, and the cost of the software; (2) Program features including such items as the GUI (interface), standard features, functions, and limits and restrictions (if any); (3) Reports, consisting of types of reports, limits and restrictions, and sample reports; (4) Sources, which include information about the program's sourcing and documenting capabilities; and (5) Bells and whistles, identifying particularly notable functions and capabilities not found in similar programs. Comments--an occasional sixth and final element--are added as needed.
This is the book genealogy computer users have needed all along! But there's even more! Seven appendices include the following: Database Comparison Chart; Genealogy Software Vendors; Genealogy File Archives; Internet Software Resources; Programs Not Reviewed; The Mystery of GEDCOM; and Computer Genealogy Publications. And just to tidy up, the book ends with a glossary and an indispensable index. This is definitely the book we've been waiting for! Marthe Arends has been involved in genealogy for nearly two decades and is presently the editor of the computer genealogy newsletter Online Pioneers. She has lectured widely on the subject of computer genealogy and has contributed articles to numerous genealogy publications. A former Fidonet genealogy BBS SysOp, Marthe currently teaches genealogy classes on the Internet and is active in the genealogy online community.