The Internet may have been blamed for many things in recent years but there is no denying all that information at the tip of your fingers means you can do so much with it.

Take genealogy, the researching and tracing of family lines. The Internet has opened this up for all, giving easier than ever access and a wide range of tools to track and log family histories.

Focus Multimedia is at the forefront of this software in the UK and this starter edition of its basic package is a great introduction. The first thing you need to realise is such tools don’t do the actual leg work for you, rather, they are a database allowing you to record and work out your findings.

FTL is basic on information but this is also backed by an easy to use interface, so you can start entering information almost straight away. For the most part this is wizard driven, and opens with you needing to enter the details of the person, typically yourself, you’ll be tracing back. Details can be entered, including date of birth, marital status and dependents and so on. This then becomes the Home page for this person, to which you can add extra pages for a more detailed description. As this isn’t all detailed on the home page, it keeps things clean.

Each additional entrant gains there own home page. A neat little tool is the multimedia page, which allows you to create a scrapbook of scanned documents or video clips, which can really help to flesh out a sense of history.

When you want to start connecting family members you simply click the Parent icon on your own page, for instance, enter the names of your parents and the program will make the logical connection. With a variety of ways to view the treated connections, you’ll quickly get a sense of how it all works quite seamlessly.

At some point you’ll need to resort to a BDM (Births, Deaths, Marriages) website, which are often subscription or pay-as-you-go based sites that allow you to allow trace family lines. The great thing about FTL is you get trial subscription to The Genealogist website, where you can make 10 searches for free before needing to sign up. This is a great way of finding out whether you’re really up for the job without having to spend too much money.

Verdict

For most people, tracing their family line, isn’t something you calmly sit down and do over a bank-holiday weekend, it takes months, if not years, to tie up all the loose ends.

However, getting started if often a daunting task, which is where Family Tree Legends really comes into its own. With no steep learning curve to use the package, it’s easy to use and at such a bargain price, hard to ignore.