Seeing my family data presented in a new format this week has made some glaring omissions jump out at me.
My kids always claim they have trouble buying gifts for me but I think that my genealogy obsession makes me easy to buy for. There are so many genea geegaws, apps, magazines and books that I would love to have but baulk at purchasing. On the eve of Mother's Day I was visiting one of the kids who said "I still don't have a Mother's Day gift for you". My response was "You can buy me a piece of software if it's not too expensive". She agreed and passed over her Amex card so I could make the purchase then and there.
As a result I now have a copy of "The Family Historian", version 5. When I first looked at it I was flummoxed as the interface is so different from The Master Genealogist that I have used for over ten years. Last night I imported my gedcom into The Family Historian and started playing. That I did not need to refer to any help to accomplish this was a good sign. The data transfer appeared to be clean except for some of my notes. After a couple of hours playing around with the excellent (included at no extra cost) guide I began to feel quite comfortable negotiating the package. I added a couple of people, added some events, modified some records and added some sources referring to the free guide "Getting the most from Family Historian 5" beside me.
I like that when in the Project Window that lists everyone in my database I can sort by each column eg Name, Dates, Birth Place, Relationship to Root Person (me but can be changed - nifty) and Date Modified. Down the track I will be able to customise this to see other than the fields that are presently displayed. Looking at my data from this summary view a few things jumped out at me: it was easy to see where I had no birth details (and I was able to fill in some straight away) and to identify my closest relations to whom I will give priority attention.
I like the ease with which one can negotiate from the Project Window to individual people's records. I have yet to explore the customisable Ancestor and Descendant Diagrams but they appear stunning. I viewed a couple of reports that can be shared and printed,; this was a simple process.
When I mentioned to people at Congress in Adelaide that I was exploring new software options I got a range of responses most of which fitted into the "If it ain't broke don't fix it" category. I will not throw my present program away without careful consideration.
Why did I decide to seek out new software?
* Having used TNG (The Next Generation) for publishing my tree online I realised that by comparison The Master Genealogist is rather clunky. I was seeking something with a more user friendly interface that was easier to navigate.
* I discovered that there is an addon from Family Historian that makes publishing to TNG ever easier than what it is.
* I thought a product from the UK would be more in sync with my needs as the ancestors all came from the Old Country.
* My genealblogging mate Shelley, from Twigs of Yore, has blogged about her positive experiences with Family Historian software; I value Shelley's opinions highly. Unlike me she thinks carefully before making decisions.
* A prominent Australian genie person has indicated that, in his opinion, The Family Historian is one of the two top programs available.
* There are positive reviews on GenSoftReviews for The Family Historian.
* As with The Master Genealogist there is is online support from an active group of forum members.
* I believe it is a good idea to check the market occasionally to see what alternatives are around -otherwise I'd still be using Internet Exploer for web browsing.