Finding the Right Genealogical Software and “How To” Books and Videos For You, Part 1

For someone who may be new to doing genealogical research and doesn’t yet have a firmly-established system of methods, like myself, you may find it helpful to use a book or a piece of software or videos to help guide you, and provide tips and advice on how to go about searching for your ancestors, especially if you don’t have a lot of time or financial resources to work with.

I’ve looked at a number of different genealogy books and resources over the years……that I’ve been working on my own family history. Some of the books I’ve found through my library, and others I’ve purchased and ordered over the internet or from low-cost book stores. On the internet, through sites like Alibris, Amazon, and Ebay, I’ve found books at a good price.

The one book that I’ve found to be completely fantastic for getting me started on the path to doing effective genealogical research is Unpuzzling Your Past: A Basic Guide to Genealogy (3rd. Ed.) by Emily Anne Croom. It’s very well-written and is accompanied by helpful and interesting artwork, images, diagrams, lists, charts, and handouts. It is well worth the price.

The genealogical software that I use now, which I am still partial to using after almost four years now, is RootsMagic with the GenSmarts, GedGen, and PersonalHistorian add-ons. I also used FamilyTreeMaker for a year or so, but was not completely satisfied with it. When I first began my introduction to genealogy I used Ancestry.com as my primary database, but I soon learned that there could be better methods for me, so I tried FTM. In the end, it’s all about what works for you. I find RootsMagic to be relatively intuitive in its interface and smooth in its operation. It runs well. There aren’t any fancy one-button ‘fixes’ that can get me into trouble, and the creators of the software offer a lot of great support.

Today I watched a video on how to use GenSmarts Suggestions from within RootsMagic, which is an excellent introduction to the power of GenSmarts combined with the power of RootsMagic. Also, this video introduced me to the super-helpful YouTube channel, RootsMagicTV! Bruce Buzbee, creator of RootsMagic, is great at explaining how his software works and how to get the most out of it.

Check out this video:

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