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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Moving on from PAF

The venerable Personal Ancestral File program was a major innovation in its day. However, its day has long since past. In a past post I referred to the dogged following the program has, especially among those resist even upgrading their computers. It is time to move on and take advantage of the dramatically more helpful newer software tools available to the genealogist.

TopTenReviews has a chart comparing ten of the well-known genealogy programs available for PC systems. On a feature by feature basis, the top five programs hardly vary in their features. Making a choice between these five programs is mainly an issue of personal preference and the way the program is to be used. Ancestral Quest appeals to the die-hard PAF user, not only was the program the predecessor of PAF but the present program has a very PAF-like look and feel. Legacy, the top rated, has an excellent interface but some users obviously prefer the more traditional look of RootsMagic. Both Family Tree Maker and Ancestral Quest capitalize on their close association with Ancestry.com. It is probably not a coincidence that the top four programs all have exactly the same price. Although the price comparison is somewhat misleading, since the price quoted is a download price not the CD version of the programs in all cases.

I have no personal experience with the remaining programs and I would have listed other programs rather than the ones featured, such as MyBlood and Reunion 9 for the Macintosh. Perhaps some of my readers would like to comment on their own opinions about the various programs?

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