Friday, June 4, 2010

Using Branches genealogy software - Post 3: Adding a Spouse and Parents

This is the third post in the series about using genealogy software named Branches. Previous posts in the series include:

* The first post demonstrated navigating around a database uploaded from a GEDCOM file.

* The second post demonstrated adding an unrelated person to the database (similar to starting a brand new database).

In this post, I am going to work through adding a spouse, children and parents to a person in the database.

In the last post, I added an unrelated person to the database, added birth and death information, and created a source citation for the 1930 census. From the family tree screen, I right-clicked on the person's name to obtain the "Individual Options" menu box, and selected "Add a Spouse:"

The "Add Spouse" menu box opened, and I added the spouse's name, the marriage date and marriage place:

Note that there is no capability to add a Source citation to this marriage event. I clicked on "Save and Exit" and was back to the main screen. Note that the spouse has been added to the screen below. Now I want to add parents for Herkimer Seaver, so I right-click on his name and select the "Add Parents" option:

The "Add Parents" menu box opened, and I added the names of Herkimer's parents and their marriage date and place:

Note that in the marriage place field that the type-ahead feature added the place name after I typed several letters.

I clicked on "Save and Exit" and was back to the main screen that showed Herkimer Seaver with his spouse and his parents:

At this point, I wanted to add children to the family of Johnson and Lucretia (Jones) Seaver - Herkimer's brothers and sisters. This was a large family of seven children. How can I add these other six children and their birth, death and marriage information?

I right-clicked on the name of Johnson Seaver and saw no way to accomplish this task in the "Individual Options" menu box. Surely there must be a way to add a child to a family, but Branches does not offer an easy method at this point in the program development. One work-around would be to:

* For each child, create an unrelated person (using a right-click on the white space background of the main screen) and his/her birth, death, spouse, marriage information.
* Then right-click on each new unrelated person's name and select "Link to a Person as a child to an existing family" from the "Individual Options" menu box.

I didn't do this because it is simply too complex a task. Other genealogy software programs have very easy and intuitive methods to add children and their birth and death information - all on one screen with easy navigation from child-to-child.

A similar task would be to connect Johnson Seaver, who in the entries above is not connected to a set of parents, to an existing set of parents in my large database. I right-clicked on the name of Johnson Seaver, and selected "Link to a Person as a child to an existing family" as shown below:

When I tried to do this, a little "stick-man" icon showed on the screen and nothing happened. After several minutes, I finally clicked on the "stick-man" icon and canceled the action.

I think that this is related to my computer RAM problem where my computer cannot load the large database into memory in order to use it. At one point, earlier, while using the large database, Branches was using over 350 megabytes of memory. That seems like a lot - even Family Tree Maker 2010 uses "only" 191 megabytes for this same database, and RootsMagic and Legacy Family Tree use much less RAM.

The last two posts have shown that Branches software has serious flaws that, if not fixed, will make it fairly useless for use by seasoned genealogists. These flaws include the complexity of adding vital records and other event data to a person, adding children to a family, and attaching source citations to a person instead of an event. In other software programs, these tasks are handled simply, quickly and intuitively. My opinion is that Branches can greatly improve these tasks by modifying their "Individual Options" menu items.

The large RAM usage is a problem for researchers like myself with a medium sized family tree database using an older Windows computer system with limited RAM. My guess is that the main screen zoom and navigation capabilities, which are the main differentiators between Branches and other genealogy software, is why there is so much RAM usage. A researcher with a small database may not have these problems.

In the next post, I will investigate the Report Options offered by Branches.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I, too, have been trying Branches. There is a way to add children to a family. Move your cursor over the vertical line connecting husband and wife. The linevwill thickes and turn green. Right click on that line and the option to add children will be on the pop-up menu.