Friday, October 5, 2012

My Top 10 Genealogy Tools

Jill Ball wrote her own blog post on this topic - Family History Through the Alphabet – T is for … Ten on the Geniaus blog.  Thanks for the idea, Jill!

The definition of "Tool" is:

 "tool is any physical item that can be used to achieve a goal, especially if the item is not consumed in the process. Informally the word is also used to describe a procedure or process with a specific purpose."  -- Wikipedia (

That is fairly broad.  When Jill did this, she included software program and websites that perform a function.  I will keep that in mind.

Here are my Top Ten Genealogy Tools - in alphabetical order.

*  Adobe Reader ( -- This FREE program permits readable documents across platforms.  I use it to transmit research reports, articles, magazines, presentations, etc. to myself or other persons.

*  Apple iPhone 4 -- I use my iPhone to take Photos, check calendar, read email, read blogs, check Facebook, check Twitter, check maps, access my family tree (Ancestry and MyHeritage), Evernote, Dropbox, Shoebox, Billion Graves, and more. 

*  Blogger ( -- I'm in this FREE blog platform at least 3 hours a day writing, editing, or deleting.

*  Dropbox ( -- I use this FREE (up to 2.5 gb) file storage system almost every day, and can sync files, photos, etc. between my desktop, laptop and mobile devices.

*  Google ( -- I use this FREE website for Search, Mail, Calendar, Chrome, Maps, Images, News, Alerts, Translate, Books, Drive, and more.  What's not to like here?

*  Google Reader ( -- I'm on this FREE blog reader an hour or two a day to keep track of genealogy news.

*  HP 6350 Photosmart C6350 All-in-One Printer -- I print, photocopy and scan using this device.  Reliable, quality, but not free -- the black ink costs about $4,000 per gallon, and the color ink costs about $10,000 per gallon.

*  OpenOffice 3.3 ( -- my FREE word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation program of choice.

*  RootsMagic 5 ( -- This is my favorite genealogy management program at this time, I'm in it 0 to 4 hours a day.

*  Thunderbird ( -- My email program of choice was FREE - I can direct all of my email addresses here, then read them, put them in folders, delete them, save them to files, etc.

There's my list.  I do have four other genealogy management programs that I use every week (Family Tree Maker 16, Family Tree Maker 2012, Family Tree Builder 6, and Legacy Family Tree 7.5), but I don't "work" in them - I just use them to do tasks that I need done.  In my Top 20, I would add the Windows 7 Snipping Tool, PhotoScape for Photo Editing, Evernote, my Samsung Tablet (I use it mainly to serve as a cell hot spot), etc.

What is your list of Top Ten Genealogy Tools that you use to perform tasks that further your genealogy research?

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Patti Hobbs said...

Foxit is a nice pdf reader with a lot less bloat than Adobe Acrobat Reader. Also LibreOffice is the spin-off of OpenOffice that is now receiving the developers' attention.

Jill in Maryland said...

The Windows 7 snipping tool is the greatest. Snips can be saved as file or copy/paste. I copy snipped paragraphs into Word files, type the words into the document,delete snip image. I snip from a website, save to desktop, use as reminder, delete when done. I snip, print, delete all the time when I just need directions or whatever on paper.

Anonymous said...

I prefer the free PDF-XChange to either Adobe or Foxit. It has a lot of neat markup functions: bookmarks, underlining, highlighting, typewriter, sticky notes, stamps, and a lot more.

Mattit said...

I found a MUCH better screenshot tool than the Win7 Snippit .. It's called LightShot. There are versions for Windows and Mac. And it's FREE!!

I tried Foxit Reader for awhile, but eventually switched back to Adobe Reader. There are some other free PDF readers, and I've tried some of them. But I eventually switch back to Adobe in the end.

I'm also starting to use other research tools such as CubeRead for my historical and biblical research.

smaul said...

What is the point of having several genealogy management kits? I have two but only use one (FTM).

Ashleigh said...

Start Your Family Tree w/ Me! I go back 4 generations from the grandparents. I have had great success and great feedback from my clients (which you can read on my page). Drop on by and check my gig out, drop me a message if you have questions.

Megthered said...

I have found my best tool has been my tablet computer. I just bought a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet and it can do everything that my laptops did. I can take pictures, web screenshots and save them and this tablet has a pen so I can actually take notes or edit pdf's. And it fits into my purse. I know I sound like a commercial but I hated dragging my laptop on my research trips. This has been great for me.

Unknown said...

Hi Randy, thanks for posting your ten genealogy tools. I'm curious to know which software programs you use for which tasks, and how you maintain your data across all programs (GEDCOM?). ... RE: my favorite tools: Google,,, Google Alerts, cell phone camera, Brother MFC-7340 printer/scanner, Feed Demon, Dropbox, GIMP, & Win7 Snipping Tool. :)

Katty said...

Another free blogging tool I found. It can generate different email signatures and design them. You can use for free as I did.