Take Time to Find Right Software for Your Genealogy Research
Byline: Jill Gross
The best computer software for family tree record keeping is simple, easy to use and, if possible, free.
That is the advice of 69-year-old Glen Ellyn resident Weldon Johnson, who's been researching his family's roots for the past 20 years.
Weldon's interest in genealogy began when he drove his wife, Judy, to the DuPage County Genealogical Society meetings at the Wheaton Public Library. The next thing he knew, Judy was the secretary and he was the treasurer.
But it is the history that really grabbed his attention.
Keeping track of all of that history can be difficult. Weldon says computer software made for genealogy research is an enormous help. Choosing what software will work best for your needs can be overwhelming, though.
"It always surprised me," said Weldon, "about gray hairs like myself. You would think they are not able to manage computer knowledge, but we have the time and the interest, just not the money for hardware and software."
Weldon suggests you start with a free program called Personal Ancestral File 5.2, or PAF. This is one of the most widely used computer software programs for organizing family history records. It makes pedigree charts and keeps track of ancestors you are currently searching for.
The program can be downloaded free from www.familysearch.org, or you can order a copy for $8.25. This site is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Just getting experience with a program like PAF can help the beginner develop confidence in how to view basic techniques and terminology so as to appreciate down the line what other software has to offer," Weldon said. …