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Oxfordshire Family History Society

Which Family Tree Program?

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Past Meetings Monthly Computer Open Day

Purpose of This Page

This page provides notes and links to accompany the talk "Which Family Tree Program?" given to the OFHS Computer Group meeting on August 6th 2007. It lists each of the programs mentioned by the various speakers, together with brief details and where to find them.

Last updated 2008-05-10

Program Details
Personal Ancestral File

(Les Binns)

A Free Family History Program from the LDS Church
PAF now well into its 5th incarnation, is provied by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

Download PAF 5.2. from the LDS web site at http://www.familysearch.org/ - it’s free to download and free to use. It comes with a printable PDF manual (196 pages!) and lessons to get you started.

Click on the ‘Order/Download Product’ tab - then choose the ‘Software Downloads’ link - this takes you to a download page. If you have broadband choose Personal Ancestral File 5.2. If you have dial-up the PAF 4.0.4. is a very good alternative - and half the download size - or you may prefer to get it on CD.

The CD version of Personal Ancestral File 5.2 is very good value for money as it comes with an add-on software PAF Companion that prints from PAF files in a variety of attractive charts including hourglass and fan. The CD costs £6.50 inc P&P - the product reference is SKU: 77065 - Don’t be tempted to try to order it on line - you may end up paying for it to come from Salt Lake City! You can order it and other LDS genealogy CDs in the UK, by letter, phone or fax, from:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Distribution Centre,
399 Garretts Green Lane,
Birmingham B33 0UH
Tel 08700 102051 or 0121-7582200
Orders can be faxed to :- 08700 102052, with credit card details
N.B. Tel & Fax numbers are for CD orders only

Family Tree Maker

(Alex McGahey}

A Very Popular, Fully Featured, Program, published by Ancestry
Alex demonstrated some of the many features available in this comprehensive family tree program, using the latest released version of the program, Family Tree Maker 2006, which is currently on sale in a UK version from firms such as S & N Genealogy. (Website http://www.genealogysupplies.com/)

The Family Tree Maker website http://www.familytreemaker.com/ now concentrates on Family Tree Maker 2008 which is a "completely redesigned program", with an "intuitive new interface". It is due for release towards the end of August. The web site currently offers a Beta release of this version for download. (170MB download, so you had better have broadband!) This Beta version will expire on August 24th, and Ancestry are accepting orders for the final released version at a special pre-publication price. Opinion at the meeting was divided over whether the new interface will be an improvement.

Brother's Keeper

(Alan Simpson)

A Classic, Long-Established Shareware Family History Program
Written and still actively maintained by its original author John Steed. Current version 6.2 runs under Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP and Vista. Previous version 5.2 is still available for Windows 3.1 and DOS users.

Download and try for free from Brother's Keeper web site at http://www.bkwin.org/

Register on line if you decide to keep it. Registration unlocks access to some advanced features. Can also be purchased on CD complete with a printed manual.


(Alan Simpson)

A Unique Graphical Approach to Family Trees
Offers a fully manipulatable tree display (a "genogram") which is ideal for presenting portions of a complete tree for publication or slide shows etc. The program was originally intended for medical use in following disease history but now includes fields for normal genealogical data, and so can be used as your main family history program. Alternatively you can use GenoPro to display data imported as a GEDCOM from a more conventional FH program.

The full version GenoPro 2007 can be downloaded from http://www.genopro.com/ for a time limited trial, after which it must be registered.

A completely free, older version 1.70 (2002) can be downloaded from http://www.genopro.com/free/ and may be used indefinitely. It lacks many new features and comes with no support but is ideal if you just want to draw simple genograms.


(Alan Simpson)

A Free, Web-Based Program, Ideal for Co-Operative Projects
With this program the entire database is held on your web site. You may select how much (if any) of your family tree is visible to members of the public visiting your site. Family members or other collaborators may be given a user name and password, allowing them to view more data and if you wish to edit and add new data. This makes the program ideal if several family members are collaborating on a project, or for one-name studies. An audit trail lets you see who changed what, and if necessary reverse the changes. A variety of "themes" are available or you can create your own. The only possible snag is that your web site needs to be hosted by an ISP that permits you to use PHP. This is not always the case for the "free web space" provided by some ISP's. However the PhpGedView web site includes links to a company providing free web space to PhpGedView users, so you can set up your site there if your own IPS does not make PHP available. (PHP is an HTML-embedded scripting language. It allows web developers to write dynamically generated pages with a minimum of effort).

PhpGedView is an Open Source project and is completely free to downloaded and use. You can find all about it from the web site at http://www.phpgedview.net/ The site includes links to many users world-wide.

(The dummy PhpGedView family tree for the Simpson family which was provided here temporarily to allow members to "play" has now been removed.)

Family Historian

(Not discussed at the meeting}

A Fully Featured, Program, written in the UK
Published by Calico Pie, Family Historian has an easy to use, "clean", user interface and a very comprehensive range of features.

Current version 3.1 may be purchased as a boxed CD, or downloaded for a 30 day free trial and then registered on-line, via the publisher's web site at http://www.family-historian.co.uk

Registered Charity Number 275891

© 2001 Oxfordshire Family History Society