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Saturday, February 7, 2009

FamilyInsight as a stand alone tool

Those familiar with FamilyInsight (or its predecessor PAFInsight), may assume that it is a utility for enhancing the features of Personal Ancestral File (PAF). However, it is much more. First of all, FamilyInsight has been developed for both Macs and PCs, that there are versions for both OS X and Windows operating systems. On both platforms, the program can run as a stand-alone application. The implications of this ability may not be evident at first. What this means is that FamilyInsight can be used with any lineage-linked database program, i.e. RootsMagic, Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Maker etc. as long as the program allows you to make a GEDCOM file. FamilyInsight will now open any GEDCOM file directly without first importing the file into PAF.

This stand-alone feature is more significant to users of the online program known as new.familysearch.org (nFS), presently available only to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since FamilyInsight allows you to synchronize a file with nFS. However, it does make the other valuable features of FamilyInsight available to all genealogical program users, such as its powerful feature allowing you to compare and sync two different files.

As a stand-alone program, FamilyInsight will open any GEDCOM file and allow the user to use all of the functions of the program. As a note, this same thing could be said about Ancestral Quest or many other stand-alone programs with synchronization functions, but FamilyInsight is now available on both Mac and PC, making it the first such utility to have cross platform application.

For those using nFS, FamilyInsight allows full synchronization of files, including combining records, separating records and disputes. Ancestral Quest has most of the same features, but presently does not provide for separating nFS records. One major negative, FamilyInsight does not appear to be very stable on the Mac and crashes frequently.

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