Your Source and Citation Information Is In Danger

Today I finished methodically testing which source and citation information reliably survives GEDCOM import and export. It’s not a pretty picture! A mere five of fourteen key GEDCOM tags are safe across the nine leading genealogy software packages I tested.[1] Fortunately, the ones I previously identified as essential to source citations are among them.

Why You Should Care

The ability to move your family history data from one application to another is important. Even if you have no intention of changing software or sharing your research you ought to be concerned. It’s entirely possible that the person or people that inherit your research will choose a different package. They may load your data and probably won’t even know they lost anything in the transfer. Well, that fate needn’t be yours if you know where you can safely store information.

What You Can Do

This research is part of the work I’ve been doing to create the very first GenealogyTools ebook and video course: Practical Citation. After completing the course, you will be able to safely and confidently record sources, citations, and quality in your genealogy software without having to consult a book or quick sheet. Say “goodbye” to uncertainty about citation templates and formats.


[1] I tested Family Historian 5, Family Tree Maker 2012, Family Tree Maker for Mac 2, GEDitCOM II, Legacy 7.5, MacFamilyTree 6, Reunion 10, RootsMagic 5, and The Master Genealogist 7.

Comparison of PC Genealogy Software Features

When you’re choosing a new genealogy application it helps to compare the features. It’s also helpful to quickly see which ones support the features essential to your genealogy workflow and practice.

I just compiled a set of tables I hope you’ll find helpful in comparing features of PC genealogy software. I published it on the Family Tree Maker 2012 buyer’s guide page.

My plan is to update the version I have already created for Mac genealogy software and post it in the same way.

Here’s a Quick Way to Improve the Person View in The Master Genealogist 7

There is an often overlooked part of The Master Genealogist’s person view called the Other Info box. By default it displays the following information about the focal person, in this order:

  • Reference
  • Number of Children
  • Surname Soundex
  • Number of Tags
  • Person’s Age
  • Date Last Edited

This is all helpful information, but there’s a problem. The box doesn’t display all of the information at once, so you must scroll the list. It would be better to have the information you most often need displayed at the top so that it’s available at a glance instead. I prefer having the last edit date and person’s age displayed at the top with the reference number. You can put them in whatever order you desire.

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