Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is this site for?

    This site is for users of genealogy software to be able to rate and review what it is that they like or don’t like about the programs they use or have tried. This information should be able to assist other users to see if it might be a program they would want to use.

  2. How do I use this site?

    First, find the programs that you use or have used and please rate them and write a review for them. That will help this site accumulate opinions and make it more useful for everyone. The easiest way to find your programs are with the search box at the top of the page.

    The search box indexes the title and all the words in the description of the software. It does NOT index the categories or the url or the reviews. So you can enter part of the program name, author’s name, or keywords that may be in the description. If you enter multiple words, the listing must have all of them. Use double quotes “to enclose phrases”.

    Or feel free to select the categories that interest you, and select the sort order you would like to display the programs.

    Click on the title of a program, or on the Reviews link to see the individual ratings and reviews.

  3. How do I rate and review a program?

    For the program you want to review, click on the “Add Your Review” link, to get to that program’s page where you can add your opinion.

    You rate the program from 1 to 5, where 1 is worst and 5 is best. The interpretation of 1 to 5 is up to you as long as it is in the range of worst to best.

    Then please add your opinion and any other comments you might have in the text box. After that are two lines for what you think are the best and worst things about the program.

  4. What programs are listed on this site?

    Any program that performs a potentially useful task that a genealogist may want to do is a candidate for being listed here. But the program must actually do something and not just retrieve data or be a database portal. For a new program to be added, the company that provides support for the product should have a webpage with information about it.

    Programs that are no longer available may continue to be listed on this site, as long as there is still some information available about it somewhere on the Internet or the Internet Archive.

  5. What are the categories?

    Licences:
    - Free: no cost to you
    - Purchase: you have to buy it, but it may have a free trial.
    - Subscription: you have to pay to use it over a time period.
    - Unsupported: may or may not still be available, but without support.

    Platform:
    - Windows: Anything back to Windows 3.0, and maybe the odd DOS program.
    - Mac: Any version of Apple’s Operating Systems.
    - Unix: Any flavor of Unix or Linux.
    - Handheld: Palms, Windows CE, iPods and phones.
    - Online: You visit a website with your browser to access it.

    Type:
    - Full Featured: Input of your genealogy data, GEDCOM output, and more.
    - Utility: Does something useful with genealogy data (often via GEDCOM files).
    - Builds Website: From either a Full Featured or Utility program.
    - Auxiliary: A program useful to genealogists, but does not interface with genealogy databases or GEDCOM files.

  6. Are Open Source programs listed?

    Yes. Open Source programs are free programs that also make their source code available. This is good for programmers interested in genealogy who can make use of the code or who may decide to help develop the program. But average users will just want to download the program for free and use it.

    I have tried to put the words “open source” into the descriptions somewhere. By using the GenSoftReviews search box and searching for “open source”, you can find them. They are all classified as “free”.

  7. How is the average rating determined?

    The ratings are weighted by how recently the review and rating were submitted. A rating submitted today will have twice the weight of a rating from a year ago and 4 times the weight of one from 2 years ago. This means that the effect of older ratings that may no longer pertain to a program that has been updated will diminish as time goes on.

  8. How often can I leave a review and rating?

    The ratings are tabulated every year for the GenSoftReviews User Choice Awards. Feel free to leave a rating once every calendar year. If your opinion of a program changes radically during the year, please leave a new review and rating and mention that this supercedes your previous review, and I’ll change your previous rating to “unrated”.

  9. Is it safe for me to post my review and rating? What is your privacy policy?

    All that’s required is your name. It is for you to identify your post and for other people to see if the post is made by someone willing enough to put down their real name. I don’t require email addresses, but I do record the IP posting to help identify if one person may be making multiple posts to bias a program’s rating. Since your email is not requested, you don’t even have to worry about me promising not to spam you.

  10. Who owns my reviews? Will they be published elsewhere without my permission?

    As far as I am concerned, the person who writes the review owns the review. I do not really know who that is, because only a name is provided. But by posting it here, you are giving me permission to allow the site to display your review. Fair use policy rights apply, so quotes from your review may legally be used by anyone, as long as they attribute it to you (via the name you provided in the review) and to the GenSoftReviews site.

    Of course, I cannot police the Internet. So I can’t prevent anyone else from copying your review. If you see it anywhere else, I can promise you that I did not give it to them. So if that’s the case and you want it taken down, please contact that site owner to do so.

  11. I submitted my post, but now I want to change it. How can I?

    If it is a post you made in the last few days, let me know using the Suggest link at the top right of the page, or by sending me an email (my address is at the bottom of the page), and I’ll change it for you. If it is a post you made long ago and your opinion has changed since then, you should add a new review.

  12. Why did my post get deleted?

    Any post straying from this purpose of this site (See FAQ #1) is subject to deletion. The post must be a proper review and/or rating of the program. Multiple posts in a short period of time by a single person are subject to merging or deletion. Any post that is not a review/rating is subject to deletion. Any other messages or comments about other reviews or the site will be deleted. Don’t post those. Instead send me an email (my address is at the bottom of the page). Tell me about any posts that need looking at and I’ll look at them.

  13. Why does a program have a lot of good reviews … or a lot of bad reviews added in a short period of time?

    If a developer of a program writes about GenSoftReviews, or a genealogy blog mentions GenSoftReviews (both of which are not only allowed, but welcomed), often the readers will add a number of reviews in succession. If the mention went to happy users of a program, you will get a number of good reviews. If it was an article talking about some deficiency about a program, you will get a number of bad reviews. Over time, the good and bad reviews for a program tend to find their own proper balancing point, and overall rating tends to be a good one.

  14. Should the developer of a program be allowed to post?

    No. The developer and people working for a company should not post reviews. They should not use GenSoftReviews to defend their program with counterpoints or corrections to users reviews. They should definitely not pose as users to add fake reviews. Users have the right to say what they think, even if they may be not quite factual. The weight of good versus bad reviews should be the final judge. However, a developer may email me about posts they think are unfair or defamatory and I will make a decision to either leave them as they are, leave them with a moderator’s comment, or delete them.

  15. Should developers tell their users to rate their program on GenSoftReviews?

    Yes! Absolutely they should. If their users like their program, they will give it good reviews and ratings. If not, the developer will get excellent feedback on what their users don’t like and will be able to work to improve the program. It’s a win-win situation either way for both the developers and the users.

  16. Why do you require I have javascript turned on to post my review?

    Since I don’t require that you create an account or log in, this site is subject to the hoard of spambots that are out there. For every one true review, this site gets about nine spam entries that include a link to whatever site that spambot is trying to promote. I cannot spend all day moderating messages and filtering these out manually, and I’d much prefer that your review gets instantly posted without CAPTCHAs, math questions, or other annoyances, and I’m sure you would too. So I use a javascript-based spam filter that happens to work very well, that imposes no hindrance on 99% of the people.

    I apologise to the few of you who have your reasons not to turn your javascript on. But then, you are losing much more than the ability to post to GenSoftReviews. You are also losing much of the richness of the Web 2.0 world that include those wonderful new AJAX-enabled sites. For a detailed discussion on this, see the question I asked at StackOverflow.

  17. So why did you create this site? Are you making money off me being here and posting my reviews?

    I truly wanted to hear what people liked and disliked about all the genealogy programs that are out there. See the About page for more of a background on this.

    Some of the links on the site to the products do have affilate links. If you get to the product’s website from these links and eventually buy their product, I can get a small commission. But this really only amounts to pocket change.

  18. Do you have a conflict of interest, because you are also developing and selling your own Genealogy Program?

    One of the reasons why I want to hear people’s opinions is so that I can use that information to help guide the development of my program Behold. I am not in any way attempting to bias the ratings and reviews that are submitted here, or even the ratings and reviews submitted for Behold itself. What you see is what was submitted, but I do reserve the right to delete posts that are inappropriate or objectionable.

  19. What is this RSS thing?

    RSS is way for you to get new information from a site without having to visit the site. You get a program that manages your RSS feeds, and it goes out and checks for updates to all the sites you’re interested in watching at once. There is a great little video at YouTube that explains it very simply and entertainingly. Personally, I use the RSS reader that’s integrated into Internet Explorer. You can use it or any other one that works for you.

    You can use the RSS feed link that is in the top section of all the pages of this site to get all the individual reviews that are submitted to this site. If you only want to monitor the reviews of specific programs, you can get the feed for the individual programs on the page with the reviews for that program.

  20. There is a program I know of that you don’t list. How can I get it included?

    Just go to the Suggest page of this site, and let me know about it. As long as it is software that is genealogy-related, I’ll be happy to add it.

  21. I see some errors in your description or classification of a program.

    Please let me know. Again, just use the Suggest page of this site, and I’ll fix it as soon as possible.

  22. So what program is best for me?

    Telling somewhat what genealogy program is best is like trying to tell them what type of car is best. Each person has different needs, likes, and opinions, so what’s right one person is not necessarily right for someone else.

    Check out the reviews here at GenSoftReviews. Try out programs that sound good (almost all have free trials), and find the one that’s right for you.

    You might want to check out the GenSoftReviews User Choice Awards. That lists the programs users rated the highest given a minimum number of reviews. It may give you a good starting point.

  23. And don’t miss out on some of the lesser known programs listed at GenSoftReviews. Some are real gems undiscovered by the general populous, and may be the perfect program for you. So browse through the programs and see what you can find.

  24. I have other questions.

    You can use the Suggest page, or e-mail me directly. My e-mail address is at the bottom of every page of this site.