Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Will I or won't I?

There has been much discussion on the TMGSydney Yahoo Group about the recent release of Version 8.0 of The Master Genealogist (TMG) software.

I am in a quandary. Should I upgrade? I have been a loyal TMG user for many years. About ten years ago I moved over to TMG after trying a couple of other software packages and have been a reasonably happy user. I do not, however, use many of its advanced features and have not made many personal  modifications to the package out of the box.

I love Darrin Lythgoe's The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding that I use to publish my family tree on the web and wish I had the skills to use this as my primary database.

As I read more and more from genealogists both in Australia and abroad I have become aware that there are a number of reasonable alternatives to TMG. Shelley from Twigs of Yore has moved to Family Historian, an award winning product from the UK, and appears to be very happy with that product, while Kerry Farmer who co-wrote "Which Genealogy Program?" is the chairperson of The Sydney TMG Group.

The three most popular programs in the US appear to be Family Tree Maker, Legacy and Rootsmagic with Family Historian ahead of TMG in the Top 10 list. Among my geneablogging contacts there are evangelists for each of these programs.

What should I do?


Louis Kessler said...

First don't limit yourself to just a few programs to pick from. there are lots of them. GenSoftReviews lists hundreds of programs and gives actual user reviews and ratings.

Currently, the highest rated program with at least 10 ratings is Ancestral Quest, rated 4.89 out of 5. Second is Family Historian with 4.63 out of 5.

Unknown said...

Jill, in the description of "Which Genealogy Program?" i read the following statement: The biggest investment you will make with genealogy software is not the purchase price but the time you spend learning how to use a program to complement your family history research." Unless TMG and TNG no longer fit your needs, stick with them. Upgrade if there are new or enhanced features that would be helpful. I am using RootsMagic as my desktop database until I get my database in good shape (esp., regarding citations). I hope eventually to use TNG as my primary database managee -- especially since it can now integrate wiki pages for individuals. Also, waiting to upgrade to TMG8 will give others in the genealogy community a chance to 'test drive' the TMG upgrade. Then, you might be able to determine whether it would be valuable to you to upgrade.

Sharon said...

Unlike you Geniaus, I am a mac user and have used Reunion for probably 20 years when I swapped from PAF. A change can always be a problem if fields don't marry exactly. It has been a pain for me this year to merge 3 files into one - the citations are still causing grief. (Why I ever had 3 files for my family and only 1 for my husband's I'll never know!).
If you are happy with what you've got, don't change.
Perhaps you are best spending more time on your web based TNG than to swap to another desk top program. This is one of my holiday aims. I have exactly 4 weeks to go.

Shelley Crawford said...

Don't underestimate the work involved in changing software - but don't stay locked in if TMG isn't meeting your needs. Hmmm - that doesn't help much, does it!

There is no perfect software out there. I've installed so many trial versions it's not funny! I only made the change after finally working out what features were most important to me now.
I still feel sad about leaving Genbox - which is the package I could have been evangelical about, if only the updates had kept coming.

So on further reflection - if you are not using many of TMGs advanced features then you may find that something with less advanced features but greater ease of use will suit you better. Maybe try some other packages out to see how you like them. That will also give you an idea of how much work is involved in changing. I'll be interested to hear what you decide to do!

Shelley Crawford said...

@Bart - I'm interested in what you said about TNG integrating wiki pages for individuals. Is that a mod? I'm thinking about what the next steps with my site should be and I'd like to look into that.

Carole Riley said...

Jill, TMG is not for everyone. I use it because I can make it do what I want and the others couldn't, but that adaptability makes it more complex and more difficult to learn. That's why we have a user group in Sydney, to help and learn from each other, and that's something that few other software packages have.

No one can tell you what you should do. You have to be prepared to put the work in to evaluate and choose a program and learn how to use it. For me, the addition in TMG of multiple people at once from a census or will justifies the upgrade price alone.

GeniAus said...

Thanks, everyone for the comments and advice. As someone who seems to jump in feet first at every opportunity I am going to sit back and let the dust settle before I make any rash decisions.

Shelley, will find out all about TNG from Darrin Lythgoe at Rootstech.

Carole, I will try to get to more user group meetings.


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