©2015 by Donald R. Snow
Sections of the Notes This page was last updated 2015-06-01.
Go to  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page , Don's Class Notes Page , Don's Supplementary Class Notes Page .
  1. Instructors are Donald R. Snow ( of Provo and St. George, Utah and Linda Snow Westover ( of Orem, Utah. 
  2. These notes, listing more than 70 programs to help in family history, are posted on  and are updated regularly.  A Summary Handout with details of the 5 or 6 programs to be discussed in this particular class is also posted on that page.
  3. Tips:  (1)  To form an icon on your desktop to open your browser and go directly to this (or any other) webpage, drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link from here in another tab, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.

  5. Terms used
    1. "Freeware" refers to computer programs that you can use freely and give copies to anyone else; there are usually no "nag" screens.
    2. "Shareware" refers to programs that you can try out and use and, if you like them and plan to use them regularly, you should send a specified donation (usually $5-$10) to the author at the address given in the program.
    3. "Portable" means the program can be run from a flashdrive and doesn't have to be installed on the computer, so you can use it anywhere, e.g. at a FHC.  
    4. "App" means application, i.e. software; the term is most often used with mobile devices
    5. "Open Source" refers to freeware which includes the source code, so you can even edit it, if you know programming.
  6. Caveats:  Be careful when downloading and installing freeware -- Read before clicking -- Some companies try to trick you into downloading and installing programs you don't think you are getting (bloatware) -- Don't use the "express", "standard", or "recommended" installation options since those usually add bloatware or tool bars and frequently change your default program, so you have to change it back, if you didn't want it reset 
  7. Here are some helpful installation, update, and portable programs
    1. Ninite -- --you select the freeware you want and it sets up an installer for the whole collection; will also check for updates for your programs 
    2. Glary Utilities -- -- includes a program to check for updates for all your installed programs and has a safe place to download the updates -- 
    3. Portable Apps -- -- First run this program on a flashdrive, then you can install other programs on the flashdrive so you can take them with you and run them anywhere, i.e., they will be portable, even if they weren't portable originally 
    4. Free Apps -- -- it installs them all for you; also checks for updates 
    5. Nirlauncher -- -- more than 180 portable freeware titles so you can install this on a flashdrive and use the programs anywhere
  8. Many freeware programs are equal to or better than the corresponding commercial programs.
    1. For free alternatives to commercial programs try
    2. For open source alternatives to commercial programs try
  9. Many additional freeware and shareware programs
    1. -- Categories of freeware
    2. -- Article and list of open source freeware
    3. -- List of freeware
    4. -- The Free Software Foundation
    5. -- The largest open source software (freeware) development site
    6. -- Old Versions of software
    7. -- Old Apps - older versions of freeware and some commercial apps
  10. For many more such websites do a Google search for terms like "genealogy freeware" or "free software for family history" without the quotes)

  12. Ancestral Quest -- -- Free version  is Ancestral Quest Basics and can use the full version for 60-day free trial; can use it to link to and download from Family Tree; full version is also free in FHC's
  13. RootsMagic -- -- Free version is RootsMagic Essentials; can link to and download from Family Tree; full version is free in FHC's
  14. Legacy -- -- Free version is Standard version; full version is free in FHC's
  15. Family Tree Builder -- -- MyHeritage is now a FamilySearch Partner, so LDS can sign up for free account; has good search capabilities for information
  16. Smart Genealogy -- -- Free genealogy program; can import/export Excel and GEDCOM files
  17. PAF 5.2 -- -- Can download from -- Also, all versions of PAF up to 5.2 are on the PAF CD which the LDS Church Distribution Centers used to sell and which many FHCs have copies of; these old versions of PAF install in Windows 7 so they can be used to convert old PAF files to GEDCOM to import into other newer programs

  19. RecordSeek (TreeConnect) -- -- Very helpful to save sources in your FamilySearch Family Tree account
  20. TreeSeek -- -- Many helpful charts from your FamilySearch Family Tree data; also has electronic card games with cards having your ancestors' pictures on them
  21. RootsMapper -- -- shows migration of your ancestors using data from Family Tree
  22. Puzzilla Descendant Viewer -- -- helpful to visualize collection of your cousins (descendants of your ancestors)
  23. GENViewer Lite -- -- free and commercial versions; free beta of new version on the website now (May 2015); very fast and helpful to read and analyze GEDCOM's and databases; allows setting up searches for people through all your genealogy databases 
  24. OurTimelines -- -- Free website that makes timelines of world events happening during your ancestor's life; can be personalized with up to 10 events of your own ancestor's life; can save as pdf or html file and link it into your genealogy program; events are 1000 AD to current year; if you know html, you could add and delete items to personalize the timeline more 
  25. OnePageGenealogy -- -- freeware to make large pedigree/descendant pdf charts from GEDCOM's; website has the password needed so a print shop can print it for you
  26. Relative Finder -- -- uses Family Tree data to show how you are related to famous people or to a group you set up yourself
  27. BYU Computer Science Dept Family History Technology Lab -- -- has several free programs and FH games
  28. Maps of United Kingdom parishes
    1. -- maps, parishes, jurisdictions, helps, links to records
    2. Parish Locator -- -- Program and database of 15,000 parishes in the United Kingdom; draws maps with nearby parishes
    3. Parish Locator for Windows -- -- Program and database of 25,000 parishes in the United Kingdom
  29. Maps of US country boundary changes (like AniMap) --
  30. Addnote -- -- free utility to add a note to every record in a GEDCOM
  31. Addsour -- -- free utility to add a source to every record in a GEDCOM

  33. Everything -- -- Very fast desktop search program for files on your computer; very helpful to search, launch, and organize files on your computer
  34. Windows Explorer -- in all versions of Windows; icon is the file folder; helpful in many ways; open Preview Panel (upper right corner) to see contents of a file without opening it; can rename files this way without opening them first 
  35. Q-Dir -- -- Freeware with two or more Windows-Explorer-type panels for file maintenance such as checking, copying, moving, and deleting files; many helpful properties 
  36. Bulk Rename Utility -- -- Very good batch file renamer; shows the new file names before actually changing them; lots of renaming features so it takes getting used to, but can use simpler parts very easily 
  37. Namexif -- -- Simple renamer for digital photos that puts date and time from metadata at start of file name, so alphabetizing arranges photos in chronological order; can add other descriptive terms after the date and time
  38. Glary Utilities --  -- Cmputer utility to keep your computer running smoothly; free for home use; will check for updates and install them for all programs on your computer without fear of viruses or bloatware; lists of freeware by categories --
  39. RevoUnistaller -- -- Freeware program to completely uninstall other programs
  40. BelArc Advisor -- -- Goes through your entire computer and lists all hardware, software, and license keys
  41. Dropbox -- -- Synchronizes whatever you put in your Dropbox folder to your other computers via the Internet
  42. FileSeek -- -- Free and fast search engine for text inside files on your computer
  43. Duplicate Cleaner -- --Free version is only for personal/home use; has good features to find and select duplicates for deletion
  44. DupKiller -- -- Fast program to find all the duplicate files on your computer
  45. Piriform Defragler -- -- Good defragger for your hard drives
  46. Advanced SystemCare Free --  -- Helpful computer utilities
  47. JustZipIt -- -- Simple zip/unzip file compression program
  48. WinHTTrack -- -- Will download all or part of an entire website for backing up and offline browsing 
  49. PageNest Free -- -- Website copier for offline reading and backing up
  50. Ditto -- -- OpenSource freeware clipboard extender to have more than one item on the clipboard; highly rated
  51. Resoph Notes -- -- Freeware notes program that acts like a clipboard extender
  52. Clipboard Magic -- -- Clipboard extender; saves multiple clip items and can save to various clip lists
  53. PhraseExpress -- -- Freeware program that expands phrases when you type the first few letters
  54. Karen's Replicator -- -- Freeware to backup your data from one location to another
  55. ImgBurn -- -- Freeware CD/DVD image burner with instructions
  56. LogMeIn Free -- (listed under Products) -- Allows you to control one computer through another over the Internet

  58. FastStone Capture -- version 5.3 is last freeware version (later versions are shareware) -- -- Excellent screen capture utility that allows saving in jpg, pdf, tif, and other formats; also captures entire scrolling screens
  59. FastStone Image Viewer -- -- Good image viewer that also has screen capture features, but not scrolling screen captures
  60. Irfanview -- -- Photo editor, converter, and slide shower; many features, including batch conversions
  61. Picasa 3 -- -- Google's free photo organizer and editor; has facial recognition feature to help you organize and name people in photos
  62. Windows Live Photo Gallery -- -- free photo editor; does facial recognition and stitching together photos for panorama shots
  63. GIMP -- -- Open source photo editor -- GIMPShop is an interface that makes GIMP menus look and act like PhotoShop
  64. Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder -- -- checks through folders you specify to find possible duplicate photos; shows you the ones that are similar and percent they are alike so you can decide what you want to delete 

  66. Audacity -- -- Excellent sound recorder and editor; complicated program, but basics are easy to use
  67. WavePad -- -- Sound recorder and editor
  68. PhotoFilmStrip -- -- Click on the "en" (upper right-hand side) for English; very good free program to make "Ken Burns" style videos of your photos; can include a soundtrack
  69. VLC -- -- Good media player, has adjustments to synchronize sound and video when they don't match
  70. Skype -- -- Free program to talk through your computer and the Internet - free to talk to other Skype users worldwide, small charge to talk to any land or cell phone worldwide; requires a broadband connection
  71. Listen N Write Free -- -- very helpful for transcribing audio files; plays the audio and has keystrokes to start, stop, or back up, and can use their text editor or any other one you want 

  73. Evernote -- -- Freeware note program; synchronizes your notes between computers and stores your notes online so you can get to them anywhere you can get to the Internet; notes can be text, images, URL's, or webpages; has OCR indexing for pdf's; has apps for mobile devices
  74. Essential PIM -- -- Freeware personal information manager (PIM); good for appointments, calendars, To Do lists, etc.
  75. TreePad Lite -- -- Freeware note and personal information manager (PIM), uses tree-format
  76. Google Docs -- uses your (free) Google account; go to Google with any browser and click on the 3x3 dots (upper right corner), select Docs, and sign in with your Google account -- can write, edit, save, and share documents online; can work on any computer and work with others on the same document; Google Docs stores your files on Google Drive along with whatever else you have stored there; Google Docs includes programs to handle text files, presentations ("slides"), and spreadsheets ("sheets"); if using the Chrome browser, there is an extension called "Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides" download to edit documents
  77. Blue Griffon -- -- Free very helpful program for writing html for using on your computer or posting on a webpage; has a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get), plus source code editor (It's the program I use to write all my FH notes to post.)
  78. Notetab Lite -- -- Freeware note program
  79. Jarte -- -- Free simple, fast, text editor for txt and rtf files
  80. LibreOffice -- -- Powerful open source freeware office suite compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; updated more often than Apache OpenOffice -- -- which is similar
  81. Gnumeric spreadsheet --  -- Open source spreadsheet compatible with Excel and many others
  82. NotePad++ -- -- Very good open source text editor; useful for many formats
  83. Transcript -- -- Helps with transcribing digitized handwritten documents, keeps image and your typed text in sync as you move down the page
  84. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC -- -- Free reader/editor for pdf files
  85. PDF X-Change Viewer -- -- free for private use, very helpful to edit and annotate pdf's; can fill in pdf forms; has OCR for pdf's (Optical Character Recognition) built in
  86. PDF Split and Merge -- -- Open source program to split or combine pdf files
  87. Sumatra PDF reader -- -- Good pdf reader, fast, easy to use
  88. Nitro PDF Reader -- -- Good pdf reader with lots of features
  89. CutePDF Writer -- -- installs as a pdf printer in your Printer List so you can print anything to a pdf file instead of hard copy
  90. JOCR -- -- Freeware optical character recognition program for images of text on screen - small, fast, and works well, but requires that MS Word 2003 or later be installed (doesn't work with OpenOffice)
  91. Tinyspell -- -- Spell checker that works even in genealogy program notes

  93. There is lots of freeware to help in FH.  For more use a search engine like Google and search for "genealogy freeware" (without the quotes).
  94. Once you have the vision of what can be done, you can find the program and learn to use it.

Go to  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page , Don's Class Notes Page , Don's Supplementary Class Notes Page .