The Good: Extremely easy to use, not too complex, and with a wealth of plug-ins available for developer’s website, allowing for you to have a very high level of versatility, especially given that these plug-ins are free.
The Bad: The plug-ins do have to be downloaded which means you require an Internet connection, and without these the software is extremely basic even if still solid.
The Verdict: High-quality genealogy software especially for someone looking for an advanced program. The addition of large numbers of quality plug-ins from developer’s website means that this is a product that can keep getting better time. Especially suited to the professional and experienced user while other users may find some use with it due to the plug-ins.
What makes Family Historian great genealogy software?
Family Historian is an advanced but very accessible genealogy software guaranteed to help you find your ancestors. It provides great and easy access towards making an adaptable database and good quality family history record. It allows easy filtering of information that you have imported, including adding tags and titles to various parts of your information. This makes organization breeze, and is a good example of what Family Historian is all about.
This family tree software comes with a multimedia gallery which enables you to organize resources and photos and other such information and apply tags and titles desires allowing for easy lookup at a later date. This also allows you to easily collate information, especially of the media variety, into one place. This is fantastic if you’re trying to create a family history that involves lots of photos, especially more modern ones when there are a lot more photos available. As you create more databases and entries of different people and events, this becomes more and more useful as it becomes quicker and easier to find the relevant media that you are looking for.
Family Historian comes with exemplary support in the form of the best plug-in support available. The majority of these are available for free off of the makers website and can provide many enhancements to the program, such as providing the ability to create a Google map tour of the relatives life, where they may have visited, or where they may have lived, or where the big events of their life may have happened. One downside to this plug-in feature is that these are not provided from the offset, which means that you will need an Internet connection to download them, and without these plug-ins, Family Historian tends to be a very basic piece of software in comparison to some of the best genealogy software. That said, the multitude of plug-ins that is available is impressive, and if you are tech savvy, it is also possible to write your own plug-ins to be used in the program as you try to find family members.
Family Historian is an accessible, if somewhat basic program for research genealogies. Once you download and install the various plug-ins that are available for free, however, it quickly becomes a robust and powerful program that can help you organize and collate information about your family and your relatives lives easily and in a very organized manner. If you have a large amount of media that you want to store and collate and tag, and later applied to your project easily and quickly, Family Historian does this extremely well. It is not a program that is suitable for professionals, however inexperienced and beginner users as well as intermediate users will find this to be a very useful and capable program that will allow them to keep track of and create fantastic databases storing information about their families and their family history.
What features does Family Historian include?
FamilyHistorian is a powerful, yet easy-to-use genealogy program. The main features include:
The ability to link each person to their face in each picture in which they appear. These faces are then used throughout the program, and can be used in all output (charts, reports, books, websites, etc).
A powerful charting capability, including Family Historian’s unique and much-praised ‘All Relatives’ diagram. Charts can include multiple diagrams of all types, with very extensive configuration options controlling both content and appearance.
Interactive diagrams that you can be used for exploring your family trees visually (e.g. click to expand or close branches) and can even be used for direct editing (e.g. click-and-drag to add relatives).
A long list of highly-configurable genealogy reports, with the option to create custom reports using any report as template.
A powerful built-in query capability (e.g. you might you use to find all of your ancestors who died of heart disease, under the age of 50, say).
A wizard for generating books & booklets, with title page, table of contents, index and more. Any report or diagram can be added as a chapter or section; plus you can create your own 'free text' if you wish. Books, booklets and reports can all be saved in word-processing format (RTF), or in PDF format.
A wizard for generating websites, with extensive options.
A wizard for generating family tree CDs and DVDs – again with extensive options
A powerful merge-compare utility that allows you to see exactly how two projects differ, and what will happen if you merge one into the other (with the option to tweak this merge in whatever way you wish).
An Internet Search tool, for searching genealogy sites round the world.
A relationship tracing tool, to determine how any two people are related, directly or indirectly. These relationships can be displayed visually in diagrams, or textually in reports.
A tool for creating automatic source citations, so that you can automatically cite sources for data as you enter it.
A tool for managing links to external media files (useful if you choose not to copy your media into your projects).
Scripting tools that allow users to automate repetitive tasks. You can even use them to extend the power of the program and add new features, and new tools, or new output, of any kind.
A Plugin Store where users can download countless free plugins, adding yet more features – including support for mapping, timelines, and much more.
FamilyHistorian’s user interface is deceptively simple and uncluttered. There are 7 different types of workspace window, and you can have multiple windows open at the same time and switch between them by clicking on an icon in the ‘Navigation Bar’ on the left-hand side. Records can be viewed and edited in a separate ‘Property Box’ which is always available whatever you are doing, and can float in front of workspace windows, or be docked at the side. To access all the information you have about a given person, whichever workspace you are in, you can almost always just double click on a reference to them, and their full record details will be instantly available in the Property Box (if it’s already open, a single click should do it). This means that it you spot a mistake, you can instantly correct it. Diagrams and reports update dynamically and immediately whenever you do this. Better still you have full multi-level undo and redo, so if you make a mistake, you can easily undo it.
FamilyHistorian’s user interface philosophy is to encourage users to work, and learn, incrementally. So, for example, instead of requiring you to choose options before opening a chart or report, FamilyHistorian will simply open the chart or report with default options. You can then make whatever changes you wish to the options and the chart or report will update to reflect the changes. This way you can see exactly what effect each option has, and you can keep adjusting them until you get the results you want. This incremental way of working feels intuitive and fits well with the way human beings like to do things. There is considerable power there, if you wish to ‘drill-down’ and find it. But it’s not ‘in your face’. Opening a diagram can be achieved by a single click. FamilyHistorian boasts that its support for GEDCOM (the global standard for shared genealogy data) is 100% complete. It can load all valid GEDCOM fields, and save all of its data in the GEDCOM format (with extensive export options). However, it can also import directly from some other genealogy programs too.
The FamilyHistorian community boasts an excellent website (www.fhug.org.uk) and mailing list, with forums, video tutorials, a knowledge-base ‘Wiki’, wish list, newsletter and more. Much of the support is provided by other users, and the atmosphere is very friendly and newcomers can get answers to all questions – however simple or complicated. Every copy of FamilyHistorian includes a copy of the book, “Getting the Most from FamilyHistorian 5” in PDF format. And the built-in Help is detailed and comprehensive. In other words, there is extensive help for those who need it.
Why choose Family Historian as your genealogy software?
Very accessible even though advanced functionality
Provides extremely capable databasing and media collation
A vast array plug-ins are available from the makers website for free, which can enhance its abilities and your productivity and give you the features that you might want without cluttering up with ones you don't want
Windows 8, 7, Vista or XP
32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows
Approximately 40Mb of hard disk space to store the program and accompanying files