You don’t have to be a celebrity to have an interesting family history. And thanks to the internet, discovering your past doesn’t have to involve trips to track down local records offices or dusty church registers, opening up what was a niche pastime to millions. Websites like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org make it easy to search millions of digitised records in seconds, helping you piece together the past lives of your ancestors.
This is all well and good, but having used your computer to research your family history, it also makes sense to record the database-like details of your family tree on it too. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of dedicated family history packages out there, but most cost money. Freebies are thin on the ground, but Legacy 7.5 is one such tool that exists as both a cut-down freebie (Standard) and paid-for (Deluxe) version.
Thankfully, the Standard version contains everything you need to record your family history on. Build your tree in the usual manner: input core details about individuals, link them together and then – when you have the facts and archive material to hand – flesh them out by adding details gleaned from records and other sources, plus digitally archive old photos and attach them to individuals and families. All of the tools you need are here – although it can take a little bit of searching to track down what goes where thanks to the overly complicated interface.
The Standard version also features a number of limited tools for presenting your research for others to enjoy, courtesy of a handful of reports and charts that can be generated from your research and then printed out. If you want the full gamut of features – including a wide range of tools for sharing your research and a brand new mapping component for locating your ancestors’ homes via Microsoft Virtual Earth – then upgrade to the Deluxe version for $29.95, which can be done through the program.
Version 7.4 introduced support for the new FamilySearch.org website – when this resource is made available to the public, you’ll be able to quickly and easily integrate records from this online repository into your research file. Version 7.5 sees this integration extended further along with some other minor tweaks and bug fixes, and is a recommended update for all existing Legacy users.
You might be prompted for a password when you come to install Legacy 7.5: this can be obtained by email by registering.
A reasonable package to start your exploration of family history with, but the messy user interface detracts from a program packed with lots of useful features.