Thursday, February 25, 2010

Using GenSmarts - Post 1: Loading a Database File

I received a copy of the latest version of the Gensmarts family tree analysis software last weekend - see CGSSD Program Review - Aaron Underwood - GenSmarts for my summary of the meeting. GenSmarts is a Windows only computer program.

I loaded it immediately, and worked in it a bit on Sunday. In this series, I am not going to do a comprehensive review of every feature - just some posts to help a reader get started and to understand how the program works and how it can be used effectively to help researchers find genealogy resources.

In this first post, I want to give my readers some idea of the setup of the software after it is installed. There is a "File Open Wizard" that opens when it is time to load a genealogy database file:

In Step 2, this wizard lets the user choose the program for which the database is available - the choice is Family Tree Maker (.FTW, .FTM), PAF 5 (.PAF) , TMG (.pjc, .TMG), RootsMagic (.RMG, .RMGC), Legacy (.FDB), Ultimate Family Tree (.UFT), Brother's Keeper 6 (folder), Ancestral Quest (.AQ), Ancestry Family Trees (.AFT), and Other Programs (.GED, need a GEDCOM file).

I chose Family Tree Maker. The Step 3 window lets the user choose whether to find the database file by browsing or letting the program search for the database files. I chose to browse myself, and quickly found my database in my computer folder:

The Step 4 window tells me that it found my file:

When I clicked on the "Finish" button, my FTM database started loading. My file has over 39,000 persons now, and it took over two minutes to load. Here is the progress screen about half way through the database load:

In the next post, I'll explore how to use some of the major tabs on the GenSmarts screen.

There is a GenSmarts manual (PDF format) here. However, it is mostly text and doesn't show screen shots of the features. GenSmarts also has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page here.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of GenSmarts from Aaron Underwood, the developer of GenSmarts. I made no commitment to him to review the program or say nice things about it. The opinions expressed in this post are solely my own based on my own experiences.

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