When I began my family history journey, I started with paper charts and forms. It did not take long, however, to realize that there had to be a better way to store all of that information so I didn’t have to make photocopies and instead I could make nice charts and tables to share.
When I got started, there weren’t a lot of software options out there, and especially not for Mac users. I used a free shareware genealogy software for a while, but eventually found my way to Reunion. Over time, various websites developed that allowed users to create and store their trees in the cloud.
What is the best way to go about this these days? My answer to these questions is always “do what works best for you.”
Some only work in the cloud, having their tree completely at Ancestry or MyHeritage or any of the sites that let you build your trees online. Others only have sparse trees on those sites and keep the bulk of their research on their computer software. And still others, only work in word processors or on paper. Again, the best system is the one that makes the most sense to you.
I do a combination of all. I have most of my research in Reunion on my computer. I print out important items and keep them in my binders. I add clues or other documents as I find them to my trees online.
If you are looking for software, there are some great options. I recommend consulting Cyndi’s List for the latest. You can also find ratings and reviews at pages such as GenSoftReviews.
Find a system and and online or desktop tree-builder that works best for you. It will help you stay organized and keep you research manageable.