Monday, December 10, 2007

It May Be Time For A Switch

JL over at the JLog has a great post that Legacy users shouldn't miss. I've been using Legacy for many years and I am constantly amazed at how much I don't know about it. For instance, I was totally clueless about this "source clipboard".

I think Legacy is a wonderful program but I'm often frustrated when I realize that I could have saved so much time with short cuts I didn't know about. JL's post is a perfect example of this.

I'm seriously thinking of switching programs to something that's faster to use. I liken Legacy to the full version of Photoshop. It's a very "rich" program... meaning it has several ways of doing the same thing and is very complicated to learn. In just the last year I was introduced to Photoshop Elements and I rarely use the full version of Photoshop any more. Mind you, I've had 3 semesters of college level Photoshop classes and have used it for years. I know lots of shortcuts. But I can still get what I need to do done faster in Elements 90% of the time. I only launch Photoshop now for the occasional thing I need it for that Elements doesn't do (like the pen tool).

I originally switched to Legacy from FTM because it had a more robust search engine. But I don't use the search function nearly as much as I thought I would. Meanwhile, the other software programs have come a long way with their search functions in that time. So I'm thinking about switching software again :-7 (but not till after the New Year). I'd really like something simpler and faster to use. My goal is to find genealogy software that is robust enough to give me options for various ways to search the database but not so robust as to require training videos to master it. Any suggestions? (I know I can download trial versions of most software but I'm trying to minimize the number I have to try out.)

I would especially appreciate hearing from anyone who has previously used Legacy and is now using another software. I'd like to know what you miss and what you like better.


  1. I also made the mistake of not spending $35 for a set of training CD's earlier in the game. So I have found myself often amazed by tips and tricks that would have made my life easier. It's not like the relative drudgery of a written manual. With the CD's you can sit back at your leisure and see things demonstrated.

    Nevertheless, I still find Legacy extremely user-friendly and wait with bated breath to hear from others who have switched or think they should.

  2. Sadly, I did buy some training CDs for Legacy. I can't put my finger on them right now but they were the ones related to using the searching and tagging functions. The problem is, even after watching the CDs I can't integrate the sequence of steps... too many steps for too many options. When I want to search, I have to pull out the CD and watch how to do it all over again. It's too time consuming when all I want to know is the house number for a particular resident of a particular village. I can find it faster by guessing a few names and looking the records up than pulling out the CD to figure out how to search for a specific house number again. I'd really like a search function that just let's me check the "search for an address" box or "search for parish" box and be done with it.

  3. Hmm, the search function is one of the things that I use quite a bit, in combination with the "tagging" feature. I use the "Detailed Search" tab far more than the other two tabs.

    The source clipboard is definitely a real time save, along with the ability to copy events from one person to another. Legacy has a lot of features I've never used. I never bought the training CD's but usually sign up for the Legacy User Group Mailing list when a new version comes out and I wait a few months before upgrading too. I haven't read the JLog post yet. Heading over that way now...

    I don't think Legacy is really all that slow. My only complaint is that it takes so many "clicks" to get anywhere.

    I'd also be interested in hearing about the experiences of others who have moved from Legacy.

  4. I am a Legacy user, and I have the CDs. I don't use all the features that are available, but I use many of them. I had heard wonderful things about TMG so I picked up a trial version at one of the conferences. I decided to stick with Legacy. I get frustrated with FTM because it doesn't do all that I want it to do. I read the software program reviews, and I haven't seen a program that makes me want to switch. I don't think there is a perfect software program out there. I prefer to have one that is capable of doing more than I want than one that won't do what I want it to do.

  5. I'm a Legacy user too but I also use Rootsmagic, and own a copy of Family Tree Legends (which is now free). I love Rootsmagic, and it sounds exactly like what you're looking for.

  6. I'm a photoshop user (16 years now and counting--oof!), and just got a wacom tablet that has photoshop elements 4 bundled with it.

    I'm trying to wrap my head around the concept of doing something faster in a smaller app. I totally understand the "less is more" mindset. Offering something that does a smaller set of tasks is sometimes the easier thing. I totally get it. But with Photoshop vs Photoshop Elements? Hm. That's too much for this brain. ;)

    (funny anecdote: got a call from my brother, the father of the 16 year old girl whose birth announcement was my first Photoshop project. He was shooting the breeze, and by the bye, did I use that Photoshop application? Cause he knows someone who was taking a Photoshop class at the community college, etc., and sister and her computer stuff came up in conversation so he wondered if I used Photoshop. !!!!!! Well, why yes, Bro Dear, your daughter's birth announcement.. and and and.)

    Sorry to be off topic. I know this post was about Legacy. Me? I'm dealing with legacy (small l) software and how much mental space it takes in one's brains.