Comparing genealogy software packages can be interesting and useful, especially if you’re just getting into genealogy. I’d like to have a dollar for every time someone has asked me which genealogy software program is the best. I now answer by telling folks that it’s the one you’re used to. I don’t know of any major genealogy program that I would say was bad. The bad ones tend to drop by the wayside and we hear no more of them. This also happens to softwares that might have great potential, but are underfunded and have have no chance in a highly-competitive field.

I got a note a few days ago from Conrad Yu, who works for FindThe Best.com. The company compares all kinds of things, everything from cars, to software, to education. They have sites that compare genealogy software, and even genealogy databases. Besides comparisons, FindTheBest also has sites that contain listings of gravesites and death records. I played around in all their various sites, and found them interesting and useful. The sites are free, and although I don’t necessarily agree with all the conclussions, I asked Conrad to tell my readers a bit more about what their company has available for genealogists.

I find genealogy software comparisons to be very subjective, no matter who is doing them. So I always read them, but have my own opinions. I also noted that the death-record site seems to be principally drawn from the Social Security Death Index, My mother is listed as having died in Sequim, Washington. This is where my sister lived at the time, and she took care of my mother’s affairs. My mother actually died in Puyallup, Washington. The Social Security Death Index is the only place we see the Sequim zipcode show up.

The following guest post was written by Conrad Yu, and is quite informative:

Besides discovering one’s roots and ancestry, the practice of genealogy also involves creating a family lore to document ongoing and future people, places, and events. If your family is fortunate enough to already have some sort of family book, kept preciously intact over the years, then half the battle for creating a family tree is already over – you have the information and knowledge, but now you need the medium. As sacred as your family book may be, it is a safer and more convenient choice to move (or start) your genealogy on a software platform.

But the choices are as many as there are different kinds of fruit. Comparing genealogy software is imperative, because finding the right one means finding the best one. It often comes down to a few simple questions when determining which model fits just right:

  • What are some of the general features that you deem important? If your family is multi-national, with different branches of the family speaking a multitude of languages, a Multi-Lingual Interface may prove worthwhile. Other general features to keep an eye out for are chronology view, data exchange with other programs, import and export GEDCOM capabilities, relation degrees, and member statistics.
  • Which genealogy database do you use? The majority of family tree programs do not have this feature, but the newest and most highly rated do: different models will be optimized to work with databases like Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org, so make sure to look for a program that works well with whichever one you use.
  • How do you want your lineage to look when showing it off? Most of the programs out there offer aesthetic effects like the capability to view your family in the setting of a 3D tree. And even if you’d prefer a more traditional display, there are still many features to choose from such as chronology view, family view, ancestor view, and individual view.

If you’re in the midst of discovering more about your family or ancestry, you can also try some more unconventional resources like LocateGrave, which allows you to search for the gravesite locations of family members or ancestors that have passed. Death-Record allows you to search for the information on the deceased by location, name, and social security number.

The online tools for genealogy and heritage out on the web seem endless, but finding the right ones may boil it down to just one or two – knowing what features are important is key to finding the best.