I will be purchasing a genealogy software package shortly. I have looked into most and while not yet deciding on one, I would like to know if there is any purpose in having more than one such program, if I will only be using it to record my information.

3 Answers 3


You spend a lot of time entering your data with your genealogy software, so you might as well be using the one that is best for you. I would recommend using just the one you like the most for recording purposes. You will get familiar and efficient in data entry if you use just one program for that.

Thinking that you'll "only" use your program for recording purposes is unrealistic. You cannot ensure that your data as you entered it is correct unless you see it in context with your other data, or run consistency tests with it. So you will always need some other capabilities other than just data entry in your genealogy software.

So once you've decided on your best program for data entry, there's no reason not to have others around. Each may do some report or have some checking feature that your "best for data entry" program won't. And with GEDCOM transfer between programs, it is often easy to take advantage of those extra capabilities the other programs have.


A tool box should contain all the tools that are needed to complete all the different jobs that you need to do. If all you intend to use the program for is information storage, then get the one package that meets your information storage needs.

If (or when) you find the need to carry out a different task (such as chart making or report writing as suggested by AdrianB38) then you can check if your current tool can handle that or if you need to buy something else to add to the box.

You do not want to buy two hammers now and discover later than you need a hammer, and a screwdriver.

  • The voice of experience here....
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 3:09

Some are good at producing reports but not diagrams. Some are good at diagrams but not reports... (Theoretical instance). So - if you can transfer the data between the two without losing stuff you need, then you can produce reports out of one and diagrams out of the other, allowing both to play to their strengths.

Couple of points;

  • to ensure you don't get lost, designate one of those programs as your master file, and enter genealogical data in there and there only;
  • if you do then export from program A to B in order to produce better diagrams, it doesn't matter if you lose some data in that export so long as it's not data that's important to diagrams. But if you do lose stuff in that transfer, don't export the data back from B into A else you might lose it from A as well;

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