AncestorNews: Know Your Software

Do you know your genealogy software backward and forward, or do you just input data and call it a day? If you're like me, you may end up missing a cool tool because you didn't read the manual. I realized this when my aunt Helen asked if I remembered April 20 was my grandparents' 90th wedding anniversary. I hadn't, but I should have.

The GedStar program I use on my personal digital assistant (PDA) has an "On This Day" feature that shows every event in my database that occurred on any specific date. If I had clicked on April 20, it would have displayed my grandparents' anniversary, along with the 166th wedding anniversary of my third-great-granduncle William.

After playing with GedStar, I launched Legacy Family Tree from my desktop to see what goodies I may have missed there. Among my findings were an online source for free genealogy lessons, a tool for searching all the major genealogy Web sites, and my favorite—an alarm clock telling me to turn off the computer and go to bed.

I'd love to hear about your program's coolest feature. Although I couldn't find an online tutorial for Family Tree Maker (please let me know if you find one), I did find these resources for getting more from your software:

Genealogy Resources on the Internet: Software Mailing Lists

Legacy Family Tree: Tips from the Experts

ReunionTalk (a forum for Reunion users)

Wholly Genes Software: Frequently Asked Questions

Nancy Hendrickson is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine. She also is a family historian, freelance writer and the author of the new book, Finding Your Roots Online. Visit her Web site or e-mail her at

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