Parents

PUBLISHER: NickleWare [w] www.nickleware.com

REGISTRATION: US$10 (around £6)

A full program you can try for 30 days and then register for around £6 can't be very good -can it? Well, it's only available by download; the money goes straight to the company; there are no CDs or manuals to produce; and no wholesalers' and retailers' profits to bump the price up. As this is not a demo version you can try all the features before deciding whether to part with your money.

Parents' main screen is a three-generation pedigree chart with buttons at both ends to move forwards and back through the family. A floating window lists all the people in your tree and from there you can edit their details or move them to the centre of the chart. Double-clicking a name on the list or in the chart opens their edit screen, called an Individual Work Sheet, where you add all the usual information and notes. You can also have an unlimited number of images for each person to use in any family tree, but these must be in BMP, PCX or

GIF format and not the popular JPG.

Putting your information into this program is easy and logical, but we were slightly puzzled when we wanted to get it out as a report or chart. Checking all the menus failed to reveal a suitable option until we clicked on Print in the File menu. There we found the Chart Setup window with tick boxes for the information to include and a button to select the font, but no options for colours, background pictures or fancy frames. The four charts are adequate, if not inspiring, and cover pedigree, descendants, immediate family and group sheet.

Parents is an ideal starting point for someone new to genealogy. It may meet all their needs at a bargain price, but if not it gives them a good idea of what to look for in a more expensive package. The main weakness of the software is its lack of depth in charts and reports, but time spent with this software isn't wasted as the data can be transferred to a new program using the GEDCOM export facility. Another

NAVIGATE: The clear interface and pedigree screen make it easy to move around a large family and enter information in the Work Sheet free program worth a look is Personal Ancestral File from the downloads section at www.familysearch.org. This software has been the starting point for many budding genealogists and you'll probably stay with it longer than Parents. ■

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