- 1). Assess your existing data. Do you want historical documents scanned and included in the database? Will you share your research with other genealogists or on the Internet?
- 2). Check and note your computer's operating system and capabilities.
- 3). Call your local historical society and ask which programs they use, or visit genealogy Internet forums and ask questions about ease of use and which features people find most useful.
- 4). Visit reputable genealogy-related websites for software reviews. Narrow those down by matching system requirements and comparing program features.
- 5). Download a free trial version and use it for the duration of the trial before deciding to purchase it or try another program. Some genealogy programs are complex and it can take hours of use to realize their full capabilities. Most trial versions limit the number of individuals you can enter. Export your data and import it to another program using the GEDCOM file.
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