GenoPro Home
Download GenoPro  |  Download Updated Reports  |  Genealogy Software  |  Starting my Family Tree  |  Buy  |  Support 

The Eleven Essential Features of Sound Genealogy Software

Written by Daniel Morin.

Avoid making the costly mistake of spending your valuable time and energy with a genealogy software not suitable for your needs. Here are the eleven essential features to consider before purchasing your genealogy software.  GenoPro's solution to the 11 essential features is written in the dotted boxes.

#1. Unicode Support. Unicode is about storing and displaying symbols from different alphabets. There is no substitute for Unicode. If a genealogy software does not mention Unicode, it is because it does not support Unicode. Most genealogy titles have been written without genuine support for foreign characters, meaning no Unicode support. By tracing your roots, you will find ancestors and relatives living in different countries having family names spelled with non-English characters. A quick test to see if a software may support Unicode is to type "André" and search for "Andre". Both names are the same, however most genealogy software will treat those names as different. Also, a non-Unicode software will place the letter "é" after the letter "z" rather than treating it like a variant of the letter "e". If your genealogy software cannot handle French accents, think about the problem you will face when entering a surname or a city name in Chinese, Hebrew or Russian. Accents are very important and you cannot ignore them without changing the pronunciation and/or the meaning of the word containing the accent. Unicode is about accuracy and future growth.
Show answer How GenoPro handles Unicode...
Unicode Support
#2. Graphical Pedigree Tree. Make sure your genealogy software can display a complete graphical representation of your genealogy tree. Can you see both ancestor and descendants at once? Make sure you are not limited to either direct descendants or direct ancestors charts. A graphical family tree is very important to display real life scenarios. Is your genealogy software able to display a second or a third spouse, to distinguish adoptive parents from biological parents, to distinguish between true siblings, half-siblings and step-siblings, and display twins and triplets? The graphical pedigree helps to find common mistakes such as a the birth of a child before its parents. This may sound obvious, but you will be amazed how many genealogy titles do not have adequate visual output. It is much more interesting to visualize a graphical tree than to walk through a list of names sorted alphabetically. Also, if you have a graphical tree, you can print it, copy & paste it to another application. If your genealogy software does not provide a graphical pedigree tree, you are missing an important aspect of genealogy research.
Show answer How GenoPro handles graphical pedigree trees...
View Pedigree Tree
#3. Integration. Can you copy & paste your genealogy tree to a PowerPoint presentation or a Word document? Can you copy your genealogy data to a spreadsheet? Can you export your genealogy data to Gedcom or XML for third party tools to analyze your genealogy data and/or generate a report on the web? GEDCOM is an acronym for Genealogical Data Communication; it's a method of formatting the text of your family data so that different software programs and operating systems can read and understand it. Extensible Markup Language (XML) is the industry standard for large-scale electronic publishing and storing complex databases. XML is used by office products such as spreadsheets and word processors, books, manuals, emails, news services, search engines, catalog sheets, configuration files, product specifications, data-driven web sites, and more. You cannot afford to miss this opportunity by having a genealogy software not supporting XML. If you purchase a genealogy software that does not provide the support to import and export your data, your family data may be locked forever in a proprietary database format, meaning you will have to restart from scratch if you choose another genealogy software.
Show answer How GenoPro integrates with other software...
Copy paste from GenoPro to Microsoft Excel
#4. Generate Reports. Can you generate rich HTML reports? HTML reports with hyperlinks are wonderful for navigating through a genealogy database. Clicking on a hyperlink would bring the details of that individual, family or picture.
Show answer How GenoPro generates reports...
Report Generator
#5. Customize Reports. Can you modify a report once it has been generated? If your genealogy software does print the report directly, you are out of luck. You want a report stored on a file where you can use your favorite word processor to add missing information or remove sensitive data. A good genealogy software will allow you to customize the report template(s), thus allowing you to control what data to insert in the report. By modifying the report template, you will save valuable time by generating the report you want. Report customization is a topic of its own. Most genealogy software claims it allows customization, but the only available customization is to change the title or the font of the report. Pay close attention to the flexibility and agility of the report generator. Does the report generator support scripting such as VBScript of JavaScript and capable to load COM modules to interact with other external databases?
Show answer How you can customize your report using GenoPro...
Using well known code (html, javascript, vbscript) your can create the exact output you need
#6. Custom Data Fields. Can the genealogy software you are considering store additional data specific for your needs? For instance, you may want to trace the genealogy of a family having a genetic medical disease. In this case, you would use the user-defined fields to store information about the disease, diagnosis and lab results. In another case, you may want to record the performances of each athlete in a hockey team recording the statistics for each season. In a family having a strong military service, you may want to enter the military grade and other relevant military details. There will always be an additional piece of information you will need to enter regardless how many pre-defined data fields are available. Custom data fields allow flexibility. Having custom data fields is not enough. You want to make sure those custom fields are accessible. Next you need to look on the level of customization. This is why the custom data fields are so important.
Show answer How GenoPro supports custom data fields...
Add your own data tags
#7. Compile Statistics. Statistics are very important to find potential mistakes in your genealogy tree. For instance, by looking at the oldest individuals, you may find a mistake in the date of birth or date of death. Statistics are good for curiosity, such as who has been married the most often, who got the most children, how many individuals have been adopted, what was the youngest/oldest parent, etc. The more statistics available, the more interesting genealogy will be.
Show answer How GenoPro compiles statistics...
#8. More Than Ancestry. Does the genealogy software you are considering include other elements emotional relationships like friendship, love, harmony, distrust, jealousy and hostility? Can you include complex social relationships?
Show answer How GenoPro display more than ancestry...
Draw emotionals relationships
#9. Easy Navigation. Can you navigate easily through your genealogy data? Let's say you are editing an individual and want to change the date of birth of one of his children. Is the child easily accessible, or do you have to go back to the master list and perform a query to find the child? Easy navigation is also a channel to get statistics and instant reports. If an individual has been married four times, can you quickly access each spouse with a single mouse click? Can you do the same with adoptive parents, twin sibling, pictures, etc?
Show answer How GenoPro handles easy navigation...
Using hyperlinks you can navigate in your family tree
#10. Auto-Completion Auto-completion is a feature used to enter information into form input fields. Due to the nature of the genealogical data to be entered into the program, for example, repeated family names and places, it is beneficial to have a feature that can save you redundant typing and help reduce potential errors.
Show answer How GenoPro includes text auto-completion...
#11. Low System Impact. If you need a reboot after installing a genealogy software, you are in serious trouble. This is not a joke or a clever sales pitch. It is like suggesting to replace your engine to fix a flat tire. Some software does overwrite system files with their own outdated files, thus requiring a reboot for the changes to take effect. Any software that does overwrite system files may eventually stop working on a newer version of Windows, or worse, cause Windows to stop working after the reboot.
Here are a four clues to spot bad software:
1) No uninstall available. A genealogy software unable to uninstall itself is a leech on your system. There is probably a good reason why the software is unable to uninstall itself: it has overwritten some system files and cannot undo what was done.
2) Pay close attention for a "backup" option when installing. Why do you need to perform a backup when installing a new software? Well, such poorly written software will "backup" the system files before overwriting them, thus putting the burden on you if anything goes wrong. Unfortunately, the next time you install the same software, the backup will overwrite its first backup, leaving you without the original system files. You are out of luck, and it is "your fault" since you answered "yes" to perform a backup twice. Stay away from this kind of junkware.
3) Look at the size of the download package. If you have to download an install program of 15 MB for a modest genealogy program, be careful. It is likely the download package does contains 14 MB of system files and 1 MB of genealogy software. If you are suspicious, go visit the home page of the software maker and read the FAQ about the installation. Usually, it is all written there, although the designers don't brag about it.
4) Read the bug history. Poorly written software have an extensive bug history with bugs specific to a particular version of Windows. A well written genealogy software should run flawlessly on all version of Windows. If you wish to predict the future, look at the past.  A buggy software is likely to have bugs in the future, and a software who had compatibility issues when upgrading Windows is likely to stop working next time you upgrade Windows and/or buy a new machine.
Show answer How GenoPro has little impact on your machine...
A low system impact is very important for the good health of Windows

Download GenoPro: http://www.genopro.com/InstallGenoPro.exe (about 1 MB)  [help]

Academic program  |  Developers  |  Privacy  |  Contact  |  Site Map

Copyright © 1998-2014. All rights reserved. GenoPro® and the GenoPro logo are registered trademarks.