Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Genealogy Database Statistics

Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for this week is genealogy database statistics. My genealogy database management program is Legacy. Until 2008, I was just a research helper to my daughter so didn’t have our genealogy information other than an occasional hard copy Kay printed of direct line people. We were on a research trip and I asked her if it were possible for me to have a copy of the database to be able to look things up without having to wait for her to get home from work. Our hotel room had WIFI access so we searched for free genealogy database programs and chose Legacy. I installed the program while Kay converted her family file to a GEDCOM and saved it to a USB drive. We then loaded the GEDCOM into my new program and I had my own copy.

Since I was not our major family researcher and our programs weren’t synced I didn’t do anything but access the program for a year or so, but finally I began putting up an Ancestry.com free tree. After a while, I would occasionally access Ancestry on Kay’s account where I discovered I could attach records in support of what we were learning about our family members. Soon, I was having so my fun, I got my own Ancestry account and started into full research mode.

Currently, the statistics for our Ancestry.com tree are as follows:

Ancestry Stats

Through connecting with other researchers in one of my family lines, I received another GEDCOM for the people on my paternal grandmother’s mother’s family line. This GEDCOM was a compilation of the work of a group of Sanford families in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where my family was from; at the time I got it was quite large. I made a separate merged file of both databases and the resulting statistics for the Legacy database are as follows:

Legacy Stats

One of the things I’ve learned by keeping a database and searching for the documentation that is the framework of what we are learning is that genealogy isn’t just a matter of putting names and dates on a tree, but it is learning something about the people who made up the heritage that led me to be who I am and where I am.

Week #28 Genealogy Prompt – Genealogy Software

I’ve been so busy with work projects that I haven’t been blogging very much, so I particularly appreciate Amy Coffin of We Tree offering blogging prompts. This week she suggests we write about our blogging software. I almost didn’t write about this because I’m not the primary researcher in my family’s genealogy work – my daughter, Kay,  is (you can see her research at her website or her blog)  Since Kay maintains the genealogy program it isn’t important that I have one; however, I frequently have questions about someone and Kay is not always immediately available to answer my questions until she’s home and has time to open her program.

One day when we were on a research trip, I asked if it were possible for me to have the information from her program in a format I could view. She told me about GEDCOMs and mentioned the possibility of free or inexpensive programs and we were off to search the Internet to find a good program for me.

We selected Legacy 7.0 to try out because, with Kay’s experience, she could tell it had most of the functions she enjoyed with her program and because it has a free version (and not just for a trial period). I’ve been using the free Legacy version for about nine months now and have been very happy with it. There are some searches that aren’t available in the free version, such as the Descendant and Chronology views and there have been times I’ve thought of upgrading, but so far have not chosen to do so.

My sister-in-law is just starting to do genealogy research and I suggested she download the free version to record her discoveries; so far, she doesn’t have enough information to justify much expenditure of money and this gives her a really excellent program to begin to record what she does know. Another good thing is that we can prepare a GEDCOM of her husband’s (my brother) side of the family so she won’t have to recreate the wheel in terms of all that data  (very thorough, complete, documented research done by my daughter) – all she will have to add is what information she uncovers regarding her own line.

Additionally, Legacy has an online tutorial that is quite informative in terms of reserarch guidelines and resource documentation. If people would view the tutorial at least once they would be able to avoid a lot of the pitfalls of beginning researchers (I’ve read horror stories of people downloading information on ‘family members’ that have no actual connection to them or that list the children as being older than the parents; or recording information without noting where they found it and then being unable to find it again, etc.)

Although it’s good to know from many seasoned genealogical researchers that Legacy is a program they use and highly recommend, I am happy to be able to tell the beginning researcher, those on low or fixed incomes, and those who don’t know if they’ll ever have enough information to justify the expense of a program, that Legacy 7.0 is free and if you decide you want to upgrade to the deluxe program, the cost is $29.95 (in other words, you don’t have to mortgage the family farm to purchase it).