Best genealogy organization site/software?

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dailybagel
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Best genealogy organization site/software?

Post by dailybagel » Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:01 am

Hi Bogleheads, I'm looking for advice and recommendations about genealogy organization software or services. I would like to give a holiday gift to a family member who has a strong interest in genealogy research.

To provide more context, I actually don't think we need software for doing research and getting information about family history; we actually have some good local sources of information. Instead, what I'm looking for is software or (ideally) an online service to organize the information we do have -- things like creating a family tree, annotating individuals with anecdotes from their life, etc.

More concretely, all this information is in one person's head, and we'd like to get the information stored in an easily accessible, easily share-able manner.

To provide more information about requirements:
  • should be easy to use for non-sophisticated computer users
  • Web interface or support for iOS (iPad). Cloud storage a big plus.
  • should be capable of creating graphical family trees
  • must accept user-provided information (e.g. dates of birth and death), not just information obtained from proprietary sources
  • capability to export to open formats (XML, JSON, or some lingua franca format in genealogy) would be nice to have
Can anyone suggest software or a web site that would work for this?

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Steelersfan
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Re: Best genealogy organization site/software?

Post by Steelersfan » Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:34 am

Here are a couple of previous threads with good advice and pros and cons of various approaches:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=198914

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=201480

It's not exactly what you're looking for but I doubt if you'll find something that fits all your desires, e.g. Cloud storage and open interchange formats. There is a standard format used to move genealogy information from one system to another that works well. It's called GEDCOMM

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lthenderson
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Re: Best genealogy organization site/software?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:31 am

Yes, there have been several threads on this subject and were linked above.

I like to use online software for research. It makes things easier having the information out there and also helps find others interesting in same branches of your tree.

However, I like to keep my master copy on my hard drive and not "published" online. So many people get caught up in creating these fantasy trees just to reach back to the dark ages, that they rarely prove anything and are full of errors. Also, I have found some of my earlier work gets copied and pasted into incorrect trees by some of these people. One picture I have of my 5th great grandmother has been copied and pasted so many times to incorrect people, that if you were to search it, you wouldn't find my grandmother's name associated with it. Thus I tend to keep pictures and important stuff like that only on my hard drive and not attached to any online account. I use Legacy software for my master copy on my hard drive but there are many others mentioned in those links above that are just as good.

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Steelersfan
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Re: Best genealogy organization site/software?

Post by Steelersfan » Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:52 am

lthenderson wrote:Yes, there have been several threads on this subject and were linked above.

I like to use online software for research. It makes things easier having the information out there and also helps find others interesting in same branches of your tree.

However, I like to keep my master copy on my hard drive and not "published" online. So many people get caught up in creating these fantasy trees just to reach back to the dark ages, that they rarely prove anything and are full of errors. Also, I have found some of my earlier work gets copied and pasted into incorrect trees by some of these people. One picture I have of my 5th great grandmother has been copied and pasted so many times to incorrect people, that if you were to search it, you wouldn't find my grandmother's name associated with it. Thus I tend to keep pictures and important stuff like that only on my hard drive and not attached to any online account. I use Legacy software for my master copy on my hard drive but there are many others mentioned in those links above that are just as good.
I agree with all of that, including keeping my family tree on local storage on my PC.

I use RootsMagic, but as mentioned there are several that will do the job just fine.

novillero
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Re: Best genealogy organization site/software?

Post by novillero » Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:54 am

Agree 100% about not posting online.i made a mistake in my research which has been copied and posted so many times by other people who just collect names. No one cares or has done their own due diligence, they found their "leaf"

By the way, I use family tree software.

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celia
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Re: Best genealogy organization site/software?

Post by celia » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:49 am

dailybagel wrote:To provide more context, I actually don't think we need software for doing research and getting information about family history; we actually have some good local sources of information...

More concretely, all this information is in one person's head, and we'd like to get the information stored in an easily accessible, easily share-able manner.
You'd be surprised how much we "know in our heads" is not accurate. The more that time passes, the less accurate the information is. It is recommeded to get multiple sources for each piece of info. When different sources have different data (a date, for example), the source that was created earliest in time and created by someone who witnessed the event is usually the source that is most accurate. [But go ahead and record ALL the conflicting information as the "best" source could later be shown not to be the "best"].

Probably the most important aspect of recording is to indicate where the info was found so that the genealogist or another person can go back to that source again, when the need arises.

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lthenderson
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Re: Best genealogy organization site/software?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:58 am

celia wrote:You'd be surprised how much we "know in our heads" is not accurate. The more that time passes, the less accurate the information is. It is recommeded to get multiple sources for each piece of info. When different sources have different data (a date, for example), the source that was created earliest in time and created by someone who witnessed the event is usually the source that is most accurate. [But go ahead and record ALL the conflicting information as the "best" source could later be shown not to be the "best"].

Probably the most important aspect of recording is to indicate where the info was found so that the genealogist or another person can go back to that source again, when the need arises.
Just to echo these comments which I have found to be true in my family as well. Many times there is a kernal of truth surrounded by a lot of wishes and occasionally it is just completely wrong altogether. Memories are funny things. Always document your proof!

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JPH
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Re: Best genealogy organization site/software?

Post by JPH » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:27 am

The standard export format in genealogy is GEDCOM. A GEDCOM file can be uploaded to virtually every other genealogy software. If the person sticks with it and later wants to upgrade to a more sophisticated application, the GEDCOM export capability would permit them to do so with minimal loss of data.

I post everything online. It doesn't bother me at all if people use or misuse my information. Sometimes others will spot errors in my work or write to tell me how I can expand or improve my family tree. That could not happen if I held everything private.
While the moments do summersaults into eternity | Cling to their coattails and beg them to stay - Townes Van Zandt

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Steelersfan
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Re: Best genealogy organization site/software?

Post by Steelersfan » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:21 pm

novillero wrote:
By the way, I use family tree software.
At one time Family Tree Maker was the number one genealogy software product. If you have it installed it still works fine. I used it for years. But Ancestry lost interest in it, shut it down in 2015 and sold it to a new company. So far the new company hasn't advanced it from when they got it from Ancestry. You can buy it but it's much more expensive than either Legacy or Roots Magic, and both of them have basic functionality editions you can download for free. Then if you don't like it you can move whatever you've entered to another product via file transfer using the GEDCOM format.

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