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
|#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.
How GenoPro handles Unicode...
|#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
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.
How GenoPro handles graphical pedigree trees...
|#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.
How GenoPro integrates with other software...
|#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.
How GenoPro generates reports...
|#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
capable to load COM modules to interact with other external databases?
How you can customize your report using GenoPro...
|#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.
How GenoPro supports custom data fields...
|#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.
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
How GenoPro display more than ancestry...
|#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?
How GenoPro handles easy navigation...
|#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.
How GenoPro includes text auto-completion...
Every data field in GenoPro supports auto-completion. GenoPro's
auto-completion is one step ahead the typical auto-complete by
displaying the frequency of each unique instances of text.
In the example above, there are 5 individuals with the last name
"Martin" and one individual having the name "Matin". The surname "Matin"
could be a typo, especially if the siblings are named "Martin". Also,
there are 128 instances of the surname "Morin" and one instance of
". Notice the space after "Morin" is not visible on the display,
however the auto-completion handles "Morin" and "Morin
" as distinct text. By removing the tailing space we have now 129
In genealogy, names do repeat often. The auto-completion will save you
hours of tedious work and give you peace of mind for data integrity.
|#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.
How GenoPro has little impact on your machine...
GenoPro does not modify nor install any system files. All files required
to run GenoPro are copied in the folder where you install GenoPro during
setup. You can install GenoPro in any folder you wish, and you can
uninstall GenoPro without leaving any leftover files. GenoPro's
installer is entirely optional, as you can simply double-click on the
file GenoPro.exe and have it fully running. The benefits of using the
installer is the creation of shortcuts in the Start menu as well as
having a few sample family trees. Uninstalling GenoPro is done from the
Windows Control Panel or by deleting the folder containing GenoPro.
Installing GenoPro produces a very small footprint on your computer.
The whole download package of GenoPro
than 1 MB, meaning it can fit on a standard 3½" floppy disk. GenoPro
requires little memory too, as you can run GenoPro on a 386 with 4
MB of RAM *. We recommend running GenoPro on Windows XP or Windows 2000
for best user experience. For instance the report generator is not
accessible when running GenoPro from Windows 95, as the scripting
technology was introduced in Windows 98. Running GenoPro on Windows 98
is fine, however you will have to limit your family tree to one
alphabet, since Windows 98 does not fully support Unicode. Running
GenoPro on Windows NT 4.0 is fine as far as Unicode is concerned,
however you will be missing some graphical components such as icons in
the menus and the custom tags won't appear in the report, as the XML
technology was introduced after the release of Windows NT 4.0. As a
result, we recommend using Windows Vista, XP or Windows 2000 for best enjoyment
GenoPro was developed using the same programming language and tools used
for the development of Microsoft Office and Windows itself. The code
written uses clean programming techniques to ensure the software will
run on future releases of Windows. It is worthy to mention that the
original GenoPro version 1.00, released in June 1998, runs on all
platforms from Windows 95 to Windows Vista. Purchasing GenoPro is a
wise investment, as GenoPro will run on standard hardware for the next
decades. You won't have the dilemma of having to keep your old computer
to use some genealogy software unable to run on modern hardware.
* With 4 MB of RAM on your machine, you will be limited to a family tree
of about one thousand individuals. You will need more memory if your
document is larger or if you have a large number of pictures in your
http://www.genopro.com/InstallGenoPro.exe (about 1 MB) [help]