I use three software programs (other than RootsMagic) almost daily when researching my family history:
- Jasc Paint Shop Pro– Photographs and documents are necessary to document sources in genealogical research. The originals are nice to have, but are usually not available. Fortunately, images of vital documents such as census enumeration sheets, federal land warrants and old maps are frequently available online for download. These images often require editing (resizing, sharpening, trimming) before being added to a genealogical database. For these tasks, I have been using Paint Shop Pro for many years. Alas, Paint Shop Pro is no longer available as such. However, a quick Google search will return numerous open-source (free!) image-editing programs. Find one you like and get to know it. A must-have!
- FileZilla– Cloud storage and backup is becoming more popular these days and is an excellent way to keep your research safe and secure online. If you’ve ever had a computer hard drive fail, then you will certainly understand the importance of backing up your records. I have a RootsWeb FreePages site for my genealogy website, and also maintain a WorldConnect database. And the simplest and fastest way to get my docs and images online to these sites is by using FileZilla to upload everything. FileZilla is open-source (free!) and easy to use.
- Web Album Generator– At my FreePages site, I have one section devoted to images (docs and photos). Using Web Album Generator, I can create albums for each ancestor locally, and then upload them to my FreePages site using FileZilla. These albums are not terribly fancy, but they display the images quite well and are simple to create and upload. Web Album Generator is freeware.
I want to spend my time in actual research, not doing housework and routine maintenance on my database. These three apps allow me to devote as much time as possible to that research.
52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.