Saturday, November 15, 2008

Test Drive of Family Historian 3.1 - Post 1

After the announcement on Wednesday, I downloaded the free trial copy of Family Historian 3.1 and installed it on my computer, and then loaded a 20,000 plus person GEDCOM file into it. I want to demonstrate some basic screens, charts and reports in this series of posts.

There is a Tour of Family Historian 3 at for those interested.

The program always works with a GEDCOM file format, so everything loads really quickly, it seems. Here is the first screen when you load a database:

As you can see, it is an alphabetized list, and you can use the "Name" box or the "Record ID" box to find the person in the database that you want to work with. For this demonstration, I chose to work with Isaac Seaver (1823-1901). I put his name in the "Name" box, then clicked on it and the "Individual" box popped up, as shown below:

The "Main" Individual box has all of the birth, marriage and death data for the individual. Since Isaac was married three times, there are three tabs in the "Marr. Spouse" section - one for each spouse.
The "Detail" tab in the "Individual" box looks like this:

There are some blanks that could be filled in for Title, Alternate Name, Religion, Education, Group or Caste, Description, Nickname, National Origin, Emigration, etc.

The "Events" tab on the Individual" box lists a time line of events in the individual's life:

The "Notes" tab on the "Individual" box provides the text information for this person.

The "Objects" tab shows all of the photographs or video that have been attached for the person - I don't have nay for Isaac.
The "All" tab on the "Individual" box shows a summary of the relationship information known for the person:

You can add a spouse by clicking on the open Tab on the row of spouses, enter the name and vital information for the new spouse, and the X out of the box when you are done. The information for the new spouse will be included in the list of persons.
You can add children the same way - click on the open space below the last child on the list and enter the information about the child. You can Tab from one entry box to the next.
The user interface is fairly simple and intuitive - you do have to select the person that you want to work with from the alphabetical list. There appears to be no way to start your session with a selected person or the last person you worked on.
The "Individual" box, where all of the information is input, is fairly small but contains a lot of information. Navigation is easy and intuitive. A larger box might be helpful.
Unlike several other programs, the visual display for Family Historian is very basic - no graphics, just text in boxes and tabs. There are no Maps for places in the database, or the ability to capture images from the Internet (although you can search the Internet from the Internet menu - there is a long list of free and commercial US and UK sites). You can create a web site from the Internet menu.
I will look at example charts in the next post.

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