Well you have one more day to take advantage of the deals that were offered in December as alternatives for Family Tree Maker (FTM). I have checked out Family Historian 6, Heredis 2015, Ancestral Quest 14 (AQ14) and Roots Magic 7 (RM7). There are many reasons to choose or not choose any of these programs. I need something that is easy to use, produces beautiful charts, reports and other publications that will not frustrate me to death!
What I am Not Choosing and Why
Family Historian 6
I liked the demo version of Family Historian 6 (FH6). Of course, it is only a 30 day trial and the trial version doesn't allow full access to all of the functions of the program. It looks like a powerful software program for any genealogist. Many of the features listed are not necessarily available in the trial version which made it difficult to determine what I needed and what was on my wish list. The other determining factor was cost. The price for FTM users is $37.20 (regular price is $46.50) and one of the higher prices offered for FTM users.
I found Heredis to be awkward to use and again trial versions don't have all the bells and whistles so it was hard to determine whether it would have been a good fit for me personally. There were some things I didn't like such as the "Moveable Feast Days". I knew most of them because they are familiar from my religious education. What I don't understand is why they would be included in a genealogy software program. It was then that I remembered that Heredis is a genealogy software program designed for France and England. While their price is great at $14.95 for FTM users I decided that I would pass for now.
What I am Choosing and Why
In the end I am choosing to use RM7 and AQ14. I found aspects of both that are very similar and I find that they are easier for me to use. I purchased both RootsMagic 7 ($20.00) and Ancestral Quest 14 ($19.95). I simply can not decide between the two and while there are multiple similar features what it came down to for me was not only the prices for each program but the differences too.
RM7 is capable of handling very large trees and that is extremely important to me. My master/working tree on Ancestry/FTM14 is approaching almost 100,00 people. I don't want to lose all of that work even though their are mistakes (mostly source citations) in it and because it is a working tree I will continue to add more families to it as I work on them. From my master/working tree I will add new, smaller trees to RM7 with correct source citations. Here are a few other reasons I like RM7.
RM7 will allow me to connect to Ancestry, FamilySearch and MyHeritage. It's in-app browser will allow me to do internet searching on Google, Bing and Yahoo too. I also like that I can customize categories for family facts. It is also portable which I consider to be a big benefit. There is also the fact that I can synchronize a my tree on FamilySearch with my tree in RM7. I will be starting a tree on FamilySearch.
What I am most excited to learn and use with Roots Magic is their scrapbook feature and family reunion planner. Especially, the family reunion planner as I have been asked to plan one for this year! There are multiple reports to choose from, editing options are good and include being able to record DNA tests. You can also choose color printing if needed. Another feature that I like are the wall charts, though I may have to go to printing place such as Kinko's or Fed Ex to get them printed.
The multimedia features are great! I can not only add photos but sound and video clips but perhaps I will finally have a place to put my son's entire recorded funeral mass which was recorded at the church where his service was held. Documents are in Word or PDF format which can be attached to people, places, sources and events.
Ancestral Quest 14
Like RM7, AQ14 can handle large trees, a plus in my book. I can also connect to Ancestry, FamilySearch and World Vital Records. I cannot synchronize my tree in AQ14 like in RM7 but that is okay. In general there features are very similar.
I believe their charts and reports to be a little better than RM7. In looking at a review of the top 10 genealogy software programs for 2016 , RM7 offers only 6 chart types while AQ14 offers 24, that is a big difference. Like RM7, AQ14 will also allow me to record DNA results. I am curious to see how this function works in both programs.
I do know that the relationship calculator on AQ14 is much better than on RM7. AQ14 also has a "ditto tool" that I am looking forward to using. The "ditto tool" allows you to connect individuals in bulk such as siblings and multiple marriages. I am hoping this feature comes in handy for events such as 50th wedding anniversaries, birthdays and other large family get togethers.
Most genealogy software have the same basic functions but they are not all created equal. I am pretty sure that I am not the only person who uses more than one genealogy software program. I will from time to time throughout 2016 post my favorite and not so favorite features of both RM7 and AQ14 as I learn these two programs together.
"The Best Genealogy Software of 2016, Reviews and Comparisons", Top Ten Reviews (http://genealogy-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ : 12 December 2015).