Open Thread Thursday – Running Multiple Genealogy Software Programs

genealogy software

These week’s topic for Open Thread Thursday comes from Susan of Nolichucky Roots who asks if other genealogy researchers use more than one genealogy software program:

I notice many bloggers mentioning that they use multiple programs for their databases and am curious why. Are they used differently? Kept in sync with each other? Is it just a “grass is greener” hunt for THE perfect program?

I have two running right now – an antique version of FTM and Legacy 7. But I’ve yet to fully commit to Legacy 7 and keep thinking about what else is out there. As a Mac user I’d love to find something on that side but my mind boggles at the thought of transferring all the attached and linked media.

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Please either post on today’s topic of genealogy software at your own blog and then post the link here in the comments or simply add your two cents in the comments section:

  • Which genealogy software program do you use and why?
  • If you use more than one program, list them and tell us why you use more than one program.
  • How do you “sync” multiple programs? Do you simply enter the data more than one time? Do you export data from one program and import into another?
  • What do you think about the inter-changeability of data between genealogy software programs? Do you fear data loss if you export your data and import into a different program? What improvements would you like software makers to make?

This is a great topic for this week’s Open Thread Thursday! And please, if you have a topic you’d like to see discussed among your genealogy blogging colleagues, please contact us and we’ll take it under consideration.

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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11 thoughts on “Open Thread Thursday – Running Multiple Genealogy Software Programs

  1. Absolutely! RootsMagic4, Legacy 7.4, plus both FamilyTreeMaker 2005 and 2011 (prefer 2005). I prefer some of the charts/reports, ease of flipping around in a line, source guides, etc. between the various software programs. And I periodically check through with GenSmarts and GenMatcher. Love to play. – Celia

  2. I tend to use FTM2005 as my “base” and export GEDCOM forms to others every month or two. Then I find I’m preferring RootsMagic for a year and do the reverse. Haven’t lost any data yet. I teach Genealogy for Beginners classes, so I continue to use Legacy as the basic free software program in order to be able to teach others. – Celia

  3. Apple is like a religion to me, so I work on a Macbook Pro laptop and an iMac desktop, and use MacFamilyTree software. The latest version 6 has some excellent updates, and the system is integrated with FamilySearch.org (as someone who searches principally in Ireland, the U.K. and Australia, I’m not a fan of Ancestry). What I like most about MacFamilyTree is the mobile app which can be used either on an ipad or iphone. It’s very convenient when I want to do work, but don’t want to lug around the laptop. That’s my two Apple cents. Cheers! Jennifer

  4. I use Legacy because it fits with how I think. I’ve recently discovered Behold and plan to create Behold ancestor reports. It’s exactly what I wanted for my web site.

  5. For many years, I used PAF as my primary software package, supplemented by FTM version 7; I would then export a single, combined & cleaned for my website. Over the last year, I begun using FTM 2010 more as the primary (mainly for the built-in ancestry.com search features, but still export for my website, which uses Darrin Lythgoes’ The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding package for presentation.
    My desire would be to use only the TNG package and not bother with desktop programs at all, and slowly but surely, I’m making that move.

  6. I own both Reunion (9.0c) and MacFamily Tree (5.7.8). However, I really only use Reunion. I’ve been using reunion since version 6 and feel that the software only gets better with each update.

    I bought MacFamily Tree on a bit of a whim, but when I loaded my gedcom file into the program, I found that I lost all of my sources, many of my tags and some of my dates. I also found that, although not hard to figure out and use, the program was not as intuitive as Reunion. It’s a heavier program with more layers that is harder to navigate. It also doesn’t add anything that reunion can’t do, so I really never use it.

    Also, I’m glad to see that Ancestry.com is releasing FTM for Mac, but I don’t know that I’ll buy it. I really want to test a demo version before I buy to test compatibility with my current gedcom.

  7. I use both FTM and My Heritage – the FTM versions are great for the interface with Ancestry – however because I do so much (almost all) research of Italian records – and because our family live in Italy and not all are fluent in English, I love the language capabilities of My Heritage. I can do my work in English and then flip a button to Italian and NOT lose the information! I simply export a GED file – I keep it updated every time I work on the file – and then can move between either program easily – I also do the same with the photo files to go along between the two programs.
    The backups are important to me as I name and tag as many photos as I can for over 1000 people back to the 1600’s – that is strictly the paternal line for my inlaws – there are more on the maternal side – and there there are my own family lines.

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