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1:58pm on Wednesday, 24th July, 2013:

New Generations


The genealogy software I've been using for well over a decade is Generations. Because of its age, it's no longer supported, it's no longer on sale and it behaves quirkily (erasing fields, not saving fields, asking questions then ignoring the answers — that sort of thing). I've tried other genealogy software over the years, but none of it has been as powerful or intuitive as Generations. Besides, the longer I used Generations the greater the foreboding I felt at the prospect of porting all my data to it. Among its quirks is an extended set of data fields that go beyond genealogy program standards, plus an extensive system of source notes that link up entirely differently to the way other programs do it.

This morning, I cranked up Generations to read a GEDCOM file my wife's cousin had sent me and it crashed. It wasn't the file — it didn't get as far as loading the file. I figured the problem was probably an overnight Windows update; the software was originally created for the Mac, so it doesn't play nicely with Windows and never has done. The switch from Windows XP to Windows 7 was traumatic. One minor change to a .dll file could indeed stop it from working.

Anyway, I took this crashing as a sign that Generations' time had come, so clenched my teeth and bought Family Historian (which has a similar user interface). It looks as if it might actually be a decent, usable replacement, not that it matters much if I can't use Generations any more anyway.

Of course, I still needed to get my Generations data into Family Historian.

So, I copied Generations to my XP notebook, exported its data as a GEDCOM file, moved the GEDCOM to my PC, ran a plugin for Family Historian that cleans up Generations' GEDCOM files, then imported it. I now have all my data loaded into Family Historian, albeit with the sources sometimes hooked up to individuals rather than to facts about those individuals. No longer needing Generations, I decided to delete it. On a whim, though, before I did so I ran it again.

It worked.

Oh well, I should probably move everything to the new software anyway, checking the sources as I do so. I'm sure that some of the links are rather more tenuous than others. I've no idea what changed to make the program work when it hadn't done an hour earlier, but that's software for you...

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Copyright © 2013 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).