The BBC TV series 'Who Do You Think You Are?' has certainly made researching your family's history fashionable. If you've fallen in love with the TV show and want to start tracing your family's roots, then Avanquest Software's Who Do You Think You Are Family Tree Maker could be the ideal tools to help you collate all your research.
There are plenty of family tree software packages available, and at £39.99 Who Do You Think You Are is certainly one of the most expensive, but is it worth it?
Well, we certainly think so. As well as the easy-to-use family tree maker, you also free three month trial to Ancestry.co.uk, along with a host of video clips from series one to four of the show, so you can watch the like of Barbara Windsor, Jeremy Clarkson and Griff Rhys Jones uncover their heritage on your PC. You can also view the family tress of all the celebrities that have taken part in the show, and pick up tips on researching your family's history from a video tutorial by historian Nick Barratt.
Once you've installed the family tree maker, which takes around five minutes, you can start creating your family tree. The software allows you to either start from scratch by entering the information you know, or open and amend an existing family tree file. As you do this, you tree will be displayed under the Family tab in the main windows, with basic information about that person displayed in the far right of the screen.
From this basic information you can also assign media to each person, such as photographs, video clips and documents. The software also has a suggestions function that kicks in as you enter information. For example in the location of birth if you enter Croydon, it will provide you with a number of suggestions including Croydon in Surrey in the UK or Croydon in New South Wales in Australia.
Each person in your family tree is given their own record, which can be viewed under the Person tab. In this record you can fill in further details, such as personal notes about where they worked, and any achievements, as well as sources for this information.
The web search button at the top of the main window lets you search Ancestry.co.uk and other genealogy websites for information about those in your family tree. By clicking the button you can search the website without leaving the software, and once you've found potential relatives, it lets you compare them side-by-side with the records you currently have in your family tree. If the genealogy site you've been searching has identified an actual relative you can then merge the information into your family tree, choosing the information you want to include and discard any irrelevant information.
The software only lets you view records from Ancestry.co.uk until the three month trial expires. After that you'll need a subscription to the site, which costs from £6.95 per month, and likewise if you want to search the other genealogy websites (Rootsweb.com and Genealogy.com) listed in the software, you'll need subscriptions to them too.
Other functions in the software that we love include the To Do List that lets you keep a remind of tasks you need to do, such as finding copies of birth certificates or contacting relatives, as well as the software's tie-up with Microsoft Virtual Earth, now know as Bing Maps, which allows you to see road maps, aerial views and 3D images of locations of births, marriages and deaths.
Once you're family tree is complete, you can choose to create a number of different trees including a Descendant trees that shows how everyone fits into a family and a Pedigree chart which list different numbers of generations and there birth, marriage and death dates. The charts can even be printed with spaces for the information so you can send them to relatives and ask them to fill in the information themselves. Alternatively, you can choose from a number of reports that detail marriages, parentage and even locations. As well as printing the charts and reports, you can also upload them to Ancestry.co.uk or export them to PDF to email or share with friends and relatives.
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