[APG Public List] Best genealogy software for historicalresearch?

DESloan at aol.com DESloan at aol.com
Wed Oct 27 21:22:38 MDT 2010

   You are correct and thank you very much. I thought that I  changed the 
URL before I hit send. The correct URL for Brother's Keeper is  
_www.bkwin.com_ (http://www.bkwin.com)  
Dave  Sloan
Grandkids Ancestors LLC
Specializing in East central IN, West  central Ohio, Quaker Records, and 
Brethren Records.
"The world is my country,  and my religion is to do right" David Hoover 

In a message dated 10/27/2010 7:34:58 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
thefamilyfinder at comcast.net writes:

Dave, You might want to change that link to Brother's Keeper.  The  link 
you posted goes to Burger King.  Fortunately I clicked on it after  dinner. 
;-)   Lorie

----- Original Message ----- 
From:  _DESloan at aol.com_ (mailto:DESloan at aol.com)  
To: _katherine.antonova at qc.cuny.edu_ 
(mailto:katherine.antonova at qc.cuny.edu)   ; _apgpubliclist at apgen.org_ (mailto:apgpubliclist at apgen.org)  
Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 12:01  AM
Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Best  genealogy software for 

I think that Brother's Keeper can do either all or at least most of  what 
you want. You can download a copy at _www.bk.com_ (http://www.bk.com/)  Also 
at the bottom you can  send an email to John Steed the author of Brother's 
Keeper. Explain why and  what you want to be able to do and ask John if you 
can do it with his  program. I have found that John is very responsive and 
you can find out from  the author himself if his program will do what you want.
Let me know what you find up and what you end up doing.
Good Luck,
Dave  Sloan
Grandkids Ancestors LLC
Specializing in East central IN, West  central Ohio, Quaker Records, and 
Brethren Records.
"The world is my  country, and my religion is to do right" David Hoover 

In a message dated 10/26/2010 10:51:54 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
raybeere at yahoo.com writes:

I've  added my comments on your specific requirements, below.

--- On Tue,  10/26/10, Katherine Pickering Antonova  
<katherine.antonova at qc.cuny.edu> wrote:

> - I want to keep  track of three interrelated families from the 17th
> century to the  present. So, I need to be able to print something more
> complex  than a “tree” structure with all the branches coming from one
>  common ancestor or one common descendant. This has been a problem  with
> some of the trials I’ve looked at.

With _any_ software I am aware of, you'll have problems with this,  
depending on what you're trying to do. You could print trees of each of  the three 
families, and you could print certain other charts - but you  probably 
cannot print a single chart showing all individuals in these  three families. (I 
say probably because the precise answer would depend on  the exact nature of 
the inter-relationships.)

> - I have to be  able to attach notes to each entry. At least one bit of
> block  text, along with birth, marriage and death dates.

Almost all genealogical software allows for notes, usually  formatted as 
block text. Some allow you to print notes on charts - but  since notes are 
very variable in size and thus different programs handle  them differently, you 
may have trouble with this feature using just about  any program.

> - I want to be able to print a report that  includes birth and death
> dates, and distinguishes between males  and females

I cannot think of any software that  will _not_ allow you to do this.

> - I want to input all the  info I have, but be able to choose to print
> only simplified  versions of the tree with only the branches I’m most
> interested in  on it.

The Master Genealogist for Windows is  quite strong in this area. It allows 
you a _great_ deal of flexibility in  choosing who will be included when 
you generate a report or  chart.

> - I want to be able to use the software on different  computers, and
> backup files very easily. It would be nice if the  files were easily
> converted to other formats. These features are  not essential, just
> desirable

Since you  mention using it on different computers, I suspect you mean you 
should be  able to _sync_ files, not just back them up. I happen to have a 
very  strong interest in emergency preparedness - and there is _no_ genealogy 
 program with a built in function suitable to rely on for critical work.  
You'd be much better off setting up a separate, custom solution.
The software I use myself to sync my most important files is  an open 
source application called Toucan. Unlike nearly every backup /  syncing solution 
I've tested, I am reasonably sure that I cannot make a  mistake which will 
result in the loss of irreplaceable data. _But_, I am a  fairly experienced 
computer user, comfortable writing batch files and  macros - and after I set 
up the settings for my environment, I tested them  thoroughly.
The bottom line here: unless you are an  experienced user, you would be 
_much_ better off paying a _reliable_ geek  - _not_ the "Geek Squad" - to 
either set up Toucan or a similar tool for  your needs, and show you how to use 
it, or to write and install a custom  AutoHotKey script on your computers 
which will perform as you need it to.  With something as critical as this - and 
the use of multiple computers - I  think in your situation, I'd choose the 
AHK script, since it can be  bulletproofed for your situation. And the 
expense would be more than  justified, considering the amount of work you'll be 
putting into  this.

> - I have a lot of information to enter and time is a  very big factor,
> so I need the input to be easy, and the learning  curve minimal (I
> already tried doing all this on a database of my  own devising using
> Filemaker, and it became hopelessly  complex)

A minimal learning curve rules out the  programs most likely to suit most 
of your other requirements - except the  most basic ones. You need unusual 
flexibility. Flexible programs take a  long time to learn, because they can't 
be flexible without providing a lot  of complex options.
A custom database might  actually be a better solution - but unless you are 
a database designer,  don't even think of trying to do it yourself. Since 
it would be designed  to fit your needs, it need only include the options you 
want, which would  make it simpler to learn. But you'd need to hire a good 
database designer  - and a database capable of reflecting genealogical 
relationships is a  major project. I doubt you could afford to do this, although 
I've never  tried to price a project of that magnitude.
Either  you're going to have to spend thousands to get someone to set 
something  special up for you, you're going to have to accept a very steep 
learning  curve, or you're going to have to forget about all your most demanding  
requirements. You just can't get a program which will do the things you  
need, and which is also easy to learn.
Ray  Beere Johnson II

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