Wednesday, August 10, 2016

From The Master Genealogist to Legacy Family Tree

   Going on two years ago, on 31 December 2014, Wholly Genes Software discontinued The Master Genealogist. The software, developed by Bob Velke, remains functional for now, but no new updates are being created and no official tech support is available. I began using TMG at its inception back in 1993, and initially decided to stay with it. 
   But - was it smart to add new data to TMG? Suppose some unforeseen catastrophe happened. Suppose it wouldn't be compatible with a new version of Windows. Then what?
   A short while later, RootsMagic announced that its software had been reconfigured so it could import TMG directly; that is, without a GEDCOM. I bought RM, installed it, and imported one of my data sets. Everything seemed to work and it did not appear that I had lost much data. But I found the program completely different from TMG and I didn’t like some of the reports. I continued to use TMG.
   In July 2016 I came across a comparison of some of the leading genealogy programs and saw that Legacy Family Tree was deemed the best (RM was fourth). I downloaded LFT’s basic version, which is free, and imported (via a GEDCOM) TMG’s sample database. At first glance, the program seemed to be easier to use than RM and the reports were more to my liking. I decided to give it a try.
   Via GEDCOM, I imported one of my databases into LFT. I immediately discovered that witnesses to events, such as censuses, were missing. And so was my research log. Totally unsatisfactory! What to do?
   GEDCOM is not programmed for witnessed events or research logs; however, RM’s new version was designed to accept both directly. It had imported TMG’s witnessed events as shared events and the research log as a to-do list, all properly linked to individuals, events or sources. Since LFT supports shared events and has a to-do list, could I import my RM file into LFT via a GEDCOM? 

   Yes! The new LFT database seems okay - all the shared events are there and so is my old to-do list. I purchased the deluxe version and am using it instead of TMG. There is a rather steep learning curve, but the online documentation is detailed and there is a PDF user’s guide for when I’m completely baffled. I miss TMG, though.