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Best Open Source Genealogy Software? 292

Posted by timothy
from the well-son-I-was-on-the-roof-with-your-mother dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I'm looking to build a family tree for a holiday gift. Do the Slashdotters of the world have any recommendations on open source genealogy software? I did try a 14-day free trial of Ancestry.com. What a scam! I submitted the personal information for my parents, grandparents, and me. Then, I received a pop-up telling me that if I would like to get information on my family, I would have to upgrade my subscription for $29.95 US. So, I took the chance. Turns out that the only information they had was my previous addresses for the past 20 years." The venerable GRAMPS is still actively developed, and its site lists several other possibilities, too. Any favorites, or anti-favorites, out there?
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Best Open Source Genealogy Software?

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  • webtrees (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:22PM (#34610848)

    If you want it online or even locally, webtrees is the most current open package. active development team and community based forums will assist you where required. www.webtrees.net.

    does everything you need and more!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      you should try 'webtrees', a php and MySQL-driven web-based collaborative software package that forked off phpGedView. It is up-to-date, fast and has no compromises. It protects privacy better than any other online program I know, and is quite flexible in configuration. There is an easy to use test demonstration installation where you can review its many features, both as a user and as an admin. http://www.webtrees.net

    • Re:webtrees (Score:5, Informative)

      by ichthius (198430) on Monday December 20, 2010 @07:02AM (#34614162)

      Disclaimer first - I am the project manager of webtrees, and was previously the project manager of PhpGedView, from which it forked at the start of 2010....

      You have three real choices.

      (1) a desktop application
      (2) a web-based application (under your control)
      (3) a web-based application (managed by someone like ancestry)

      I'd be tempted to steer away from (3). Most make it very difficult to apply proper sources/citations to your research, and genealogists tend to get pretty obsessed with their sources.

      I tried ancestry once, but found it very limiting. For example, it only allows you to enter "simply connected" trees, so if any of your ancestors married their cousins, you cannot link the common ancestors. It is also difficult to add sources that do not come from ancestry itself.

      If you are going to publish on the web, privacy is pretty important. In some countries, privacy laws apply only to living people. In others, privacy extends for a certain number of years after death. The online services tend to operate with the privacy rules of their host country - which may be different to yours. So, check what options are available before signing up to any provider.

      This leaves (1) and (2).

      Whatever you do, pick an application that can read/write to the (de-facto standard) GEDCOM format. Bear in mind that many applications will either extend the specification or lose some data when saving to it, so interoperability is rarely 100%.

      Web-based solutions offer the obvious advantage that the whole family can work on this together. You'll get far greater commitment from the rest of the family if they can update it diretly, rather than send updates to a central person for data entry.

      Even if you use a desktop application for your main research and data entry, you'll probably still want a web-based application to publish it.

      A web-based system also allows you (presumably the geek of the family) to maintain the site, perform backups, etc., while allowing your (presumably less IT literate) family members to do the fun part - researching your history.

      For all its faults, ancestry.com does have a huge amount of data. So, buy your relative a subscription, and set them up an open-source, web-based system on your favourite web-hosting provider.

  • Geneweb (Score:5, Informative)

    by Imabug (2259) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:23PM (#34610856) Homepage Journal

    I've used GeneWeb and really liked it. Written in OCaml, but appears to be dormant. Nothing much has happened with it for a few years now. Still a pretty good program though.

  • How about geni.com ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by davejenkins (99111) <slashdot@davejenki n s . c om> on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:25PM (#34610874) Homepage
    Geni.com is an online service, not open source software per se, but it's free to use, useful, and there's a lot of data there already. I found my ancestors going back to the 17th century after matching up my own tree back to my grandparents. http://www.geni.com/ [geni.com]
    • by tomhudson (43916) <`moc.nosduh-arab ... `nosduh.arabrab'> on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:29PM (#34610894) Journal
      Any site that asks for my email address right away, forget it.

      Go ask the Mormons. They maintain the most extensive set of genealogical records on pretty much everyone.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:35PM (#34610922)

        Any site that asks for my email address right away, forget it. .

        Damn straight. They should provide the service for free and there should be no quid pro quo. Who do those arrogant f*****rs think they are - asking for an email address? Do they have any idea how hard it is to get an email address in the first place?

      • by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:49PM (#34611008)
        You mean like this?
        https://familysearch.org/
        • You mean like this? https://familysearch.org/ [familysearch.org]

          Mod parent up. It's a free service, frequently updated from various sources, goes back centuries, and even includes a series of online lessons on how to do your family history. Backed by Mormons, but that doesn't make it any less of an awesome service. (Disclaimer: I am a Mormon)

          • by gnapster (1401889)

            Backed by Mormons, but that doesn't make it any less of an awesome service.

            That sounds just like something a Mormon would say...

            Oh, wait. :c)

      • by westlake (615356)

        Any site that asks for my email address right away, forget it.

        You are tracing your ancestry - on sites where others are trying to pin you and your folks into place - and you are worried about an e-mail address?

      • Go ask the Mormons. They maintain the most extensive set of genealogical records on pretty much everyone.

        Not only that...but if there's a Mormon temple in your area...they will also have one of their genealogical center in the vicinity.

        • The Mormons' specific interest in genealogy is that they believe a Mormon can save his deceased ancestors by baptizing them posthumously. That's why they build the data base. Your main risk is that one of your remote descendants might become a Mormon and baptize you after you're dead.

          • by Machtyn (759119)
            here's the little secret... even if you are baptized by the Mormons after you are dead, you still have the right to reject that baptism when you wake up after death and find out there is more. If you don't wake up after death, then does it really matter? The Mormons are just wasting a lot of time and water.
            • by gd2shoe (747932)
              Aside from your pejorative conclusion, you're spot on. It's even in the theology. A dead guy who doesn't want LDS to "do their temple work" is no more a Mormon after than before... by Mormon standards and teaching.
          • The Mormons' specific interest in genealogy is that they believe a Mormon can save his deceased ancestors by baptizing them posthumously. That's why they build the data base. Your main risk is that one of your remote descendants might become a Mormon and baptize you after you're dead.

            Wasn't going to bring that one up...but you're right. They've even gotten into trouble several times for baptizing the dead from the Holocaust.

            As for their main genealogical repository...it's built better than Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs. Forgot the location...but it's built into a mountain...only I don't think they have a Stargate located there...except for missionary work. Makes it easier than riding a bicycle. ;)

      • Geni.com is barely free. Once you get to even moderately useful functions like being able to match members of your tree to other trees, they start charging.
      • by petes_PoV (912422)

        Any site that asks for my email address right away, forget it.

        Just toss 'em a disposable email address. I don't know why people make such a big thing of it - surely you have more than just one, single, lousy email address? don't you?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Stay away from Geni. Once you give them information, you can't cancel it or retract it. It's not for anybody with any desire of any privacy.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)
      A better question is what tools, open source, free, or otherwise, produce non-proprietary formats? Something that if if it's not easily exchangeable with another program can at least be deciphered without too much effort. Say a text or XML format.
  • by novar21 (1694492) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:30PM (#34610896)
    My grandma has givin me sooooo much skini on the family its not funny. Didn't cost me a dime other than my time. Trust me... they don't hold back and will give you info can not find anywhere. They are the source.. if they aren't available, talk with the gossip of the family. Each family has one. Find them, then prepare yourself for A LOT of bad news.
    • by lisany (700361)

      You insensitive clod! My grandparents have died.

      • by ATestR (1060586)

        Novar21 is right though. I didn't get interested in the genealogy thing until my dad passed away, years after the grandfolks left this world. Obviously I couldn't talk with them (barring a seance, for those of that mind), but as Novar21 said, there is always someone. I DID still have a living Aunt (paternal) who came to dad's funeral, and she did know a lot of the information that the grandparents might be mind for. I also wrote letters to several older cousins and others who added to the basic informat

    • by Lemuel (2370)

      You've made an important point. If the anonymous poster of the question had talked to more family they would likely have gotten farther back in the tree and had more success with Ancestry.com.

  • GEDCOM (Score:4, Informative)

    by Okind (556066) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:31PM (#34610898) Homepage

    For basic usage, any program that supports GEDCOM (the de facto file format all good genealogy software support) will do, and your choice should be on your personal preference. So try them out first, of find your local genealogy association and ask around. Personally, I have good experience with Gramps (you already found that one) and ProGen (a dutch commercial program). The latter not being open source, it'll probably not be interesting to you.

    For more advanced usage, you should know that some programs assigns a different meaning to some standard fields, and most programs have their own way of filling in custom fields. If you find yourself using such features, please consider who you'd be sharing your GEDCOM files with, and use the same. Note though, that it'll likely not be open source.

  • PAF (Score:3, Informative)

    by greg.collver (1500645) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:33PM (#34610914)
    not open source, but the mormon's offer a nice little program for free: http://www.familysearch.org/eng/paf/ [familysearch.org]
    • PAF aka Personal Ancestral File.
      Weirdly, this software, developed by a church, wins my award for the very BEST Macintosh software ever, in the category of Compatible With The Most Versions of Mac OS.

      Originally, this program cost money, but not very much. I bought it for the Mac 512 or thereabouts. It came on floppy disk, probably about 1985. Years later, when Macs had color, low and behold, the PAF screens were in color. They had followed the compatibility guidelines, and put in simple color years bef
      • by Macgrrl (762836)

        My mother uses Reunion, and has been doing so for 10+ years now. I've migrated it across mutiple machines and OS architectures without issue. I think she started on a LCII and is now on an PPC iMac, I will be moving her to an Intel iMac sometime soon.

  • I remember my parents doing some genealogy stuff, they used a program called PAF (Personal Ancestor File), I think it was free. There's also https://www.familysearch.org/ [familysearch.org], where you can look people up for free as well. These are both free even if you are not an LDS member. Not sure what exactly you need the software to do for you, but I remember with PAF my parents printed out a big ol' pedigree chart, found out we were related to some kings back in the dark ages, pretty crazy stuff.
  • I personally use PHPGEDview. If you need something web-based, this is a great piece of software. It lets my whole family, all around the country, work on the tree.

    http://www.phpgedview.net/ [phpgedview.net]

  • You mean like FamilySearch's Personal Ancestry File software?

    http://www.familysearch.org/eng/paf/ [familysearch.org]

  • http://www.ahnenblatt.com/ [ahnenblatt.com] Ahnenblatt is free, but I don't recall it having the source available. My housemate has used this program solidly for 3 years and has found it good and easy to use.Hasn't been updated for about a year on the website, but I think a newer version on their forums is available.
  • For sites like Ancestry.com, you really need to have a good few generations (4-5, minimum) to start getting good results back, since quite a bit of it is crowd-sourced links from distant relatives. Even at that point, there are a few points in history where the records / links just suck, and it usually takes quite a bit of digging to find another link. Over the course of roughly a month, and with some good spots of luck, we were able to trace back several lines of my family through Ancestry.com, and other

  • by houghi (78078) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:56PM (#34611044)

    Make directories with all the names and use `tree`

  • by br00tus (528477) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:58PM (#34611052)
    I use GRAMPS mainly, as all I want at this point is a GED file and an application to manipulate it. There are a bunch of web-based packages like PhpGedView out there as well but I haven't had much need for them at this point.

    As far as research, Social Security Death Index, Ellis Island Records, US Censuses up until 1930 (1940 will be released on April 2, 2012), European censuses and so forth have all been useful. Ancestry.com has scanned ship manifests on it, with the names OCR'd, which was useful for me. It also had draft cards, passport applications and other things.

    Records don't tell everything. I told my mother I found her mother's birth on a European census form, which said 1 month old or something. She told me that her mother's mother had a girl that died shortly after she was born, soon after which she became pregnant and had my grandmother, who got the same name as the baby who died. I had never heard about this before. If I hadn't been told that, I would assume a girl born in that year with that name would be my grandmother for sure. So family memory can often trump records. In the "Godfather Part II" the immigration officer is in a hurry and mixes up the last name and town of origin, in a few seconds with a stroke of the pen the family's name is changed. All kinds of things happen - birthdays are changed by purpose or accident, people flee Europe to avoid military draft, family memory often trumps official records.

    • by ddillman (267710)
      Ancestry.com also has loads of military records from colonial times to WWII and later, and lots of records from overseas censuses and such as well. Overseas data requires the pricier World Subscription. If you keep an eye out, they occasionally offer free access to some databases for limited periods of time. This year they had free access to all military records for about a week around Veterans Day.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      I used it long ago (or rather, my mom claimed she wanted some genealogy software but practically never used it after I installed her and showed her how to use it) and decided to go check it out and the marketing is just poor. Like the top new feature being described now is "gramplets". After clicking my way down to the actual screenshot, I get this [gramps-project.org]. A phyton shell, a blank calendar, a bit of meaningless statistics and logs and perhaps the only semi-useful looking gramplet is the Surname cloud. It looks much

    • by jroysdon (201893)

      The baby issue with repeat names is actually fairly common.

      Butchered name spellings - all the time. One of my ancestors' surname is Wuornos, but I've found census data with the same family names, ages, and city as Warnos.

  • My daughter is using Ancestry.com to create a great genealogy. Through it, she has accessed old immigration and census records and more recent death records. Although all her grandparents are dead, she has been able to extend the genealogy back to her great-great-great grandparents and include many 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins. By granting read-only access to cousins, my daughter has also been able to get details from them about current and past relatives.

  • BYOB (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moehoward (668736) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @08:00PM (#34611060)

    Do it yourself. There is no substitute for creating your own database/worksheet. Why in the hell would you even trust what was given to you by a subscription fee? Just because you pay you trust it? In my experience, it is much more rewarding and valuable if you do the work yourself. We took a ton of time and effort, but our family has the real truth with real documents (copies) and contacts thousands of miles away.

    If your ancestry is important to you, do it yourself. Don't take shortcuts. The risk of being misled/wrong are too great. Even doing this ourselves, we were taken down false leads. Imagine someone who does not have a stake doing something so important for you.

    Moe

    • I wonder if a data exchange standard exists? Possibly in the form of an XML schema?

    • by Lemuel (2370)

      I'm not sure what the problem is with a subscription service. You should not take any source at face value, and that is true if you get it from a service or if you go hunt up the original document yourself. Ancestry has lots of copies of real documents, and I'm glad I did not have to hunt all over to get them. They also have less reliable data, like personal trees and stuff from books, but that does not mean the information is useless, it is just a lead to be examined. Part of being a genealogist is fig

  • by Kjella (173770)

    My interest in genealogy has gone from "cool trying to trace your ancestors" to mostly creepy genetic profiling possibilities, with the ever increasing trend of wanting DNA records to larger and more DNA registries, and every so often someone wants to do DNA records of everyone in a national database. With sufficiently many records and the family relations - which are a lot easier to get hold of - it might not matter that they don't have your DNA sample. You're pretty well defined by your family's lineage a

  • Hey OP, if all you found was addresses on Ancestry.com, then you're not making any effort to find information. They do have metric boatloads of data of all sorts for your money, but you do have to have a clue about finding it, and make the effort.

    That said, I do agree Ancestry.com is a pricey service. Check out MyHeritage.com. You can do a free 250-person tree, or add more with payment. The software is a free download and use, and is pretty thorough. The online piece includes the ability to match to

    • 250 sounds a bit limiting, especially when you populate your databases with cousins.

      • by ddillman (267710)

        Frankly, it is, but for a rank beginner it lets them get in and figure out if the software and system will work for them for free. The first paid level ups that to 2500 people.

        I started with MyHeritage back when it first came out. It was completely free for several years, and I got a pretty large database going before they moved to fee-based. So I'm stuck. I like their software, and the services they have are worthwhile in my experience. When I can afford it, I'll pony up the money to keep going. My

  • Holiday gift? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @08:14PM (#34611118)

    I'm looking to build a family tree for a holiday gift.

    To be presented in what year?

    • I'm looking to build a family tree for a holiday gift.

      To be presented in what year?

      This year: text.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Reading Comprehension, meet my good friends Sarcasm and Stark Reality...
  • I've been deeply involved in my family genealogy for over 20 years. At one time or another I've used every software package that was available as well as a system that I designed myself. One of the biggest flaws with a lot of the software I've used is that are far too simple and don't take into consideration that not all the data you get is accurate. I ended up using a software package called The Master Genealogist (TMG for short), its available at http://www.whollygenes.com/ [whollygenes.com] TMG is by far the best sof
    • Although, I agree that TMG is better than most other software packages, it is still not the correct approach to really sound genealogy, because sound genealogy is all about documenting your sources. Every fact stored in your software package should have a source. Also, every assumption (such as that person A mentioned in birth certificate B is the same as person C mentioned in birth certificate D) should be entered as such with a source as well (even if it is you yourself). In that way, it is always possibl
  • I don't work for ancestry.com, and they don't pay me. I recently signed up ancestry.com to research our family geneology. My biggest complaint is the search functionality often returns way too much data. Their search/matching algorithm is quite eager. The service isn't cheap, but then again how much would it cost to manually do the research yourself? How much time would you have to spent going through dusty census records? How much time do you have to spent tracking down the geneology going back up the tree
  • by Shadyman (939863) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @08:21PM (#34611176) Homepage
    GRAMPS is the best OSS piece of software I've found so far. You can also export it to PhpGedView (a very nice OSS web-based application)

    Pro tip: *Always* record your sources, for every scrap of info (GRAMPS lets you do this), that way when (Not "If") you have conflicting pieces of information, you can figure out which one to trust. GRAMPS also lets you assign a 'reliability' to each piece of information.

    The only problem is that exporting to GEDCOM format loses a lot of this kind of 'extra' data. (IE, exporting is a lossy process, so use GRAMPS as a master, and if you want to put your tree online, use that as a secondary source for family members to add to.)

    As far as resources go, Ancestry.com has a bad habit of suggesting that they have a ton of matches in all these different databases, when in fact most of the matches returned don't have any relation to the names you entered. Don't base your decision to subscribe solely on that.
    That being said, many public libraries offer free access to some, or many, census records and other public databases.

    If you have Swedish ancestors, GenLine [genline.com] is EPIC: Digitized church records (Swedes often had data recorded annually instead of every 5 or 10 years, and also recorded moves into and out of parish districts.)
  • by c41rn (880778) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @08:22PM (#34611188)
    I've been researching my family tree for over 10 years now and I've tried very many genealogy software programs. Choosing an open source genealogy program was extremely important to me since all the research I've done could be lost if it were locked up in a proprietary file format that is inaccessible 20 years from now. However, it is equally important that my genealogy database be easily accessible by as many family members as possible - family members who may not be very computer literate.

    GRAMPS is an outstanding piece of software. When I first began using it a few years ago, it was a little rough and it was difficult to install on Windows. This made it great for me while running Ubuntu, but difficult for me to recommend to family members. It seems to have much better support now under Linux, Windows and Mac. It also uses an open XML-based file format that at least one working group [wikispaces.com] is looking at as the basis for an updated standard to replace the aging GEDCOM format. I think this is definitely the candidate for best OSS Genealogy.

    PHPGedView [phpgedview.net] is another good, open-source, web-based genealogy package. This is a good one to use if you're planning to build your family tree collaboratively among several family members. My biggest complaint about it is that it's a little clunky looking and some family members seem a bit intimidated by it, so they don't make changes or additions when they could. I began building a new theme and layout for it, but I put it on hold when I felt like it was taking time from working on the family history itself. Of course, it also requires that you have a server to host it on.

    A similar online family tree is Wikitree.com. It looks promising, but I haven't yet found a good way to sync changes between it and my local genealogy software. It's still in its infancy though.

    All that said, my favorite genealogy software is the closed-source Legacy Family Tree. The standard edition is free and the full "deluxe" version is inexpensive. Unfortunately, it's Windows only (I've had mixed luck running it through WINE). It's advantage though is that it's very easy to install and use and has some powerful tools for sourcing and merging trees. It also creates some very impressive, customizable family tree charts that can be saved in a variety of formats or printed through their mail-order service. It also saves your genealogy database in several formats including GEDCOM.

    Ancestry.com is the necessary evil of the genealogy world. They have many records on their site that aren't available elsewhere on line, but they have made quite a few business decisions over the years that don't sit well with many family historians. They also produce the "Family Tree Maker" software which I recommend avoiding.

    • ... at least on a Mac. For one thing, the interface is a little difficult to figure out if you're not already familiar with it, and if you try to access the help... instant crash, every time. For starters, I was trying to figure out how to indicate that my parents were, you know, married to each other at the time of my birth, and that proved to be a lot more difficult than you'd think. And the auto-crashing help was no help at all. Also, there are lots of weird little problems: I found that when I tried to

  • by catsidhe (454589) <catsidhe@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday December 19, 2010 @08:30PM (#34611246) Homepage

    Lifelines [sourceforge.net]

    It's console based, but it's fairly powerful for that. Once you learn the navigation keys (and there's a help window at the bottom of the screen), then you can walk up and down your family tree with ease. It reads in GEDCOM, allows you to edit those records as GEDCOM (so you have a lot -- perhaps too much -- freedom in record structure and normalisation), and it exports in GEDCOM as well, as well as a scripting language which allows for all sorts of reports and outputs. You can even tell it to keep records in UTF8.

    It is a record/database manipulation program: you will need to gather your data yourself, and enter it by hand. While the actual entry process is tedious (which, to be frank, will always be the case, flashy GUI or not), it is a good opportunity to go over the data and discover incongruities and patterns.)

  • It's web-based and written in PHP, obviously, which doesn't suit everyone. It's also a latecomer to the ajax stuff and (while it does dynamically load content) still considers pop-up windows a valid part of a web UI. Not pretty. However, I've had great experiences managing a genealogy database with it, as well as printing some nice charts.

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      It's web-based and written in PHP, obviously, which doesn't suit everyone. It's also a latecomer to the ajax stuff and (while it does dynamically load content) still considers pop-up windows a valid part of a web UI. Not pretty. However, I've had great experiences managing a genealogy database with it, as well as printing some nice charts.

      Where are my mod points when I need them?

      Forget the stand alone crappy apps, just put it on the web. We have been using this for years and I
      Can't find enough good things to say about it.

  • I've been researching my genealogy for almost a decade at this point. It's a lot of work, but I find it fun and enlightening.

    Now, there are really two questions here. First, software. There are many different programs out there, the one that I have the most experience with is Legacy. The free version is quite powerful, even if it's closed source.

    The second question that wasn't really asked though is regarding the data. You could have the best genealogy software in the world, but it's useless without th

  • Don't forget Emacs with gedcom.el. I haven't used it but if it runs in GNU/Emacs it must be great.

  • by Clomer (644284) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @08:51PM (#34611418)
    Any software you find is likely just going to be a database entry/maintenance type software tool for storing your genealogical information, but itself will not give you any information; it just provides a place for you to keep track of information you do find from other sources.

    If you are stuck on open-source, I'm not sure how to help you, but if all you really care about is that it is free, I can strongly recommend Personal Ancestral File from here [familysearch.org]. While it has some fields for Mormon ordinances, you don't have to use those features and it will do nicely to maintain your records.

    As for doing the actual research, again I recommend looking into the Mormons - they maintain branches of their main family history library at various church buildings around the world. The volunteers who staff those branches are instructed to not proselyte, they simply are there to help you do the research. The only time you'll have to pay for something is for obvious things like using the copy machine, or if you want to have records shipped in from Salt Lake City you'll have to pay postage, but that's it.

    Disclaimer: yes, I am a Mormon, so I may be biased on this matter, but as far as I've seen, the Mormons are the premier experts in the world when it comes to family history research.
  • The question covers two things. Ancestry is both a genealogy database service and a genealogy program in the cloud. It is actually a pretty good database service, and the best single repository out there, but you have to get back to WW II for veterans or 1930 for people in the US to start getting good info. If you have younger grandparents you might ask to find out about their parents and search for them. This will be an issue whatever source you use, as 1930 is the most recent Census released.

    As a clou

  • The FIRST problem with your post (regarding the availability of your information) is that YOU ARE STILL ALIVE! The Ancestry database contains data on dead people - otherwise it would be a database to facilitate identity theft. The ancestry databases contain birth and death records, including Social Security Number. Census records do NOT include data for the most recent 70 years... so today you can search the census records from 1930 and prior.

  • Same sex marriages (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gringer (252588)

    Just something to take into account, many programs don't allow for same-sex marriages (or partnerships) -- a child *has* to have a male parent who is partnered with a female parent. This is a problem for my wife, who has one parent in a male/female partnership and the other parent in a same-sex partnership, and makes finding appropriate family tree programs difficult. The most common "hack" is to make one or both partners of the same sex marriage unknown gender, but often you need to enforce the male/female

  • by paulschreiber (113681) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @09:52PM (#34611836) Homepage

    A month ago, I found GenerationX, an open source Mac OS X GEDCOM editor. (GEDCOM is a standard genealogy file format.) Unfortunately, the version I found was very old. It was PowerPC-only and crashed on launch on Snow Leopard.

    I took the source on SorceForge, fixed many of the compiler and static analyzer warnings and removed the expiry code.

    You can find my fork on github:
    https://github.com/paulschreiber/generationx [github.com]

    Be careful — this is still beta quality.

  • They've got a freebie that works nicely on Windows and uses the standard GenCon file format. If you need to do more in depth research, then you can go to any LDS Church and access the family history branch for more information. Note that any links to the Middle East is going to require more effort such as heading to Utah and the main LDS Geneology Repository to investigate.

  • What about Personalbrain? [thebrain.com] It is a multi level mind-mapping software, which is flexible enough to be used for a graphical tree of the family. Doesn't have the genealogy stuff built in but makes it easier to do funny and interesting anecdotes if you are trying to put together a living memory family history. 'course in that case you could also just use freemind for purely in OSS. Genealogy is hard and lengthy. 4 days to do it? eep.
  • Mormons have a powerful religious incentive to discover the complete family trees of everyone, because, IIRC, Mormons believe in baptising the dead so they can also go to Heaven. Makes no difference to me (I'm not especially interested in either LDS or genealogy), but they have amassed a great deal of archival information, and also have some pretty fair software for free.

  • Are you mainly looking for software to catalog your family history or software to search out your ancestry?

    My wife is a long-time user of Family Tree Maker (which is sold by Ancestry.com) to compile her mother's voluminous genealogical research. From what I've seen of the Family Tree Maker software it seems pretty robust. I know it can generate Word docs and interact with other software. Sorry to hear that Ancestry.com's research feature seems like a ripoff, but I don't think you should judge Family Tree Ma

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