Sunday, May 6, 2012


I received a lovely email from one of the attendees at my Friday night talk at Hornsby Library in which Christine asked me two questions. I will reply to Christine's questions via this blog as my responses may be of interest to more than one person.

Hello Jill,
Thankyou for your very interesting talk last night. I had looked on Trove before briefly but I learnt a lot last night from you. I can see that there will be many pleasurable hours ahead on Trove.

I have two questions if you don't mind answering. They are:-
1. Is there a UK equivalent to Trove?
2. You mentioned in passing family history software & as I do not have any I was wondering if you could recommend some & tell me where I can get it.


1. Is there a UK equivalent to Trove?

Unfortunately there is not a free service like Trove available in the UK. There are, however, British Newspapers available online.

The British Newspaper Archive,, is "a partnership between the British Library and brightsolid online publishing to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection over the next 10 years."  While searching is free on the site one has to pay to view images of newspapers. It is a cheaper option than a 'plane ride to London!

If you have membership of The State Library of NSW you can search some newspaper databases online from home. This page gives details on how to apply for a library card:  Once you have a card you can search the e-newspaper resources which include The Irish Times, The Scotsman, The Times Digital Archive and 19th Century British Newspapers for FREE.

The National Library of Australia,, has a similar service for registered members.

2. You mentioned in passing family history software & as I do not have any I was wondering if you could recommend some & tell me where I can get it.

There are a number of excellent software programs available on the market although there are more for PCs than for the Mac platform. Genealogists that I respect swear by the various programs they use. So, if you asked six experts you might get six different answers.

The programs each have features that appeal to the particular needs of individual users but they will mostly do a good job. Some programs like Legacy Family Tree,, have scaled down free versions that you can download from the internet and use for as long as you like. If you like these products you can then purchase the full version via download or from a retail source.  Some let you download a trial copy and try it out for 30 days before you have to purchase or dump it. 

If you do not wish to download and install a program from the internet (which can be the cheaper option) you can purchase boxed versions of leading programs from various retail outlets. Places like Harvey Norman have a limited range of software while specialist Gould Genealogy,, supplies most of the popular packages. Gould has a retail outlet near Adelaide and a thriving mail order business. Software packages are available from about $AU45 (Roots Magic).

Canadian Louis Kessler hosts Genealogy Software Reviews,, that provides user submitted reviews of genealogy software packages. Australian Kerry Farmer wrote a booklet called "Which genealogy program?" updated in 2012 that provides guidance for software purchasers.

All that being said I would say that you will find that any of the following will suit your purposes: Family Historian, Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, Rootsmagic or The Master Genealogist. For Mac users Reunion seems to be the leading contender.

I only have recent personal experience with The Master Genealogist that I have been using for ages and TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding)  an excellent program that I love however, for TNG, one needs a bit of experience with technology and basic html. I am about to purchase Family Historian v5 (Mother's day gift to myself) as I have heard wonderful things about it. If it stacks up I may  switch to it. The Master Genealogist is a sophisticated program that can be used straight from the box or it can be customised by the user. I have barely scratched the surface with those customisations.

You will find that the major software packages have face to face user group meetings and online forums and webinars where you can get help from enthusiasts. Several of these groups meet at SAG in Sydney. Additionally I know an old girl in Sydney who is available, for a moderate fee, to help beginners set up and get going with their genealogy software.

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