The internet has revolutionised family history, bringing what was a niche pastime that demanded hours scouring dusty archives and draughty churches into the home. Now, with millions of records at your fingertips, there’s no excuse to take a trip into your family’s past, digging up names, dates, professions and maybe even a shocking revelation or two.
Your PC is the perfect tool for storing family history on, but rather than rely on a Word document or Excel spreadsheet, take a look at one of the many family history programs out there, each one designed to simplify the process of researching, recording, sharing and publishing your research.
If you’re looking to dip your toes into genealogy for the first time, you don’t necessarily want to be committing any money at this stage. With that in mind, RootsMagic Essentials is the perfect tool to get started with: it’s a cut-down version of one of the better PC programs out there, but has all the key functionality you need to get your family history recorded: record as many dates and facts about each person in your family tree as you find, attach old family photos and documents in the form of multimedia records and create reports, charts and lists of your findings to show off to others.
More experienced users will also benefit from the SourceWizard, which enables you to record the sources for all your research in a professional manner, plus if you outgrow the free version, you can unlock the additional features of the full version for around US$30.
What's new in the latest version?
+ WebHints automatically searches online for records that match your people
+ Improved and streamlined Edit Person window
The paid for edition also gains the following new features: DataClean problem fixer tool, File Compare, support for multiple online trees through MyRootsMagic.
Simple to use, easy to navigate and packed with enough features to give you more than a taste of the excitement in researching and recording your family history. Including the new Web Hints feature in the free version is a lovely touch, too.