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Using a computer in your research

One of the most commonly used pieces of equipment nowadays has to be the personal computer. This gleaming hunk of plastic and metal that houses countless bits of inscrutable circuitry has become a ubiquitous part of 21st Century life. Not surprisingly, the computer has been utilised in an increasing number of tasks by virtually everyone from primary students to university professors. Called upon to perform numerous everyday jobs from the trivial to the essential, from listening to music to sorting out tax returns, the computer has, for good or bad, become an integral part of modern life.

The field of genealogical research itself has not been spared the influence of computer technology: many researchers and historical archivists now consider the computer an indispensable tool in the course of their studies. Tedious tasks previously accomplished by manual methods such as archiving research findings, collecting data, storing civil registry records, analysing information and presenting results are more and more being done with the use of a computer. Indeed, the meticulous and analytical nature of these tasks, which often require utmost accuracy and extreme precision, are well suited to a computer workflow.

To meet this increasing need for computer aided genealogical research methods, several software companies have risen up to meet the challenge. There is currently a bewildering array of computer software specifically designed to aid genealogical research and the number continues to rise.

With such a large number of software available today, it can be quite a gargantuan task for the budding computer researcher to determine which one will best suit his needs. Of course, like with any other software package, choosing a program that is designed to help you with your genealogical research is a largely personal choice and a particular software package that works well for one person is not guaranteed to be an equally productive experience for another. You can try the various offerings available in the market for yourself, but that would prove to be a very time-consuming endeavour not to mention prohibitively expensive! We don't have to bring up the moral and legal issues surrounding software piracy, but since we mentioned it anyway just don't do it, okay?

So how do you go about determining which the best option for you is when you are in the market for genealogical research software? Thankfully you will be able to find many online sites that feature comprehensive and detailed reviews for many software packages. Obviously, whether the review heartily endorses a particular product or roundly thrashes it is still largely dependent on the personal experience of the reviewer, which may differ from your own. However, many of these reviewers have had considerable experience in the field of genealogical research and will at least have the benefit of having been able to try out the software for themselves. This information will be of a lot of help to you in sorting out the wheat from the chaff when choosing a genealogical research software package for your own use.

Original Authors: Doods Pangburn
Edit Update Authors: Nicola Norfolk
Updated On: 06f/02/2007

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