Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Then & Now – Family Tree Software

Randy Seaver has a fun challenge this week for us old-timers:

1)  Then and Now – Which genealogy software have you used over your genealogy career to document your genealogy and family history research?  What did you start with (Then) and what do you presently use (Now).  Please share your experiences.

I began researching the family history in 1979 and my “software” consisted of paper copies of pedigree charts and family group sheets.

I remember my envy drooling over Quinsept’s Family Roots program in the 1980s, but it cost hundreds of dollars, which wasn’t in my budget!

Like Randy, my first software program was Personal Ancestral File and I began using it probably in the mid 1990s. We had several Apple computers at home in the 1980s, but I didn’t use any genealogy software until we switched to Windows PCs in the ’90s.

However, then Family Tree Maker came out in 1989 and, although I was aware of it, I didn’t switch over from  PAF until maybe 2000 or so.

I was happy with FTM until Ancestry had a DDoS attack in June 2014. I had synced my tree to Ancestry and the attack totally messed up my access, both through my software and directly through Ancestry online.

At that point, I determined that I needed a stand alone program on my computer that I would never sync online. I bought RootsMagic 7 and still use it today.

To be honest, I browsed RM8, but heard that there were a few things that many users didn’t like, so I never switched over, although I upgraded. Now, RootsMagic 9 is out and I also upgraded to it. However, I am still in RM7 as I continue to clean up all the data I’ve collected in my family tree.

When I finish, probably next year since I not only have my own family tree to finish cleaning up, but need to do the same in the Stufflebean family tree, I will look more seriously at RM9.

I actually own Legacy 9.0, Heredis 2023, Family Tree Maker 2019 and Family Historian 7. I poke around in them now and then. If I don’t like and continue with RootsMagic 9, my second choice right now is Family Historian 7. We’ll see what the future brings!

Thanks, Randy, for this fun challenge.



3 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Then & Now – Family Tree Software”

  1. Funny how we have similar stories about our roots in genealogy software. I have never heard of Heredis and I am not familiar with Family Historian either. You probably should begin to use FM9 as 7 is not being serviced anymore. I actually know people who still use PAF and you can get the program from the SVGGS website I cited in my post.

  2. While FH 7 is my main software, I also own RM8 (and free version of 9), Heredis 2022 and FTM 2019, as well as Legacy 9. Really dislike that Heredis releases a new version every year and you have to pay for the upgrade if you want the newest one. Also, though it has a couple of neat features, overall I find the UI awkward and its sourcing module not very good.

    I’m curious to see what you decide about FH when the time comes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.