Tools used for Genealogy

I use the following software tools for my Family History research:


When I started our family history project I chose to use the Generations software package by Sierra. It generated web pages in a style I liked and was simple to use. But about 2001, Sierra pulled the plug on the program and sold the rights. Around this time, I also switched to using Windows XP, only to discover that there is a serious incompatibility with several XP device drivers, since the drivers were included those which were part of standard OS builds and on a laptop, I wasn't going to spend too much time investigating. After waiting for a year, there was still no prospect of a fix. At this point I decided to dump Generations.

A quick look around showed that Legacy and The Master Genealogist (TMG) were the main programs that were capable of doing what I wanted, and potentially more. Legacy had a cut down version that I could try before committing to purchasing the Deluxe version over the web. A message for TMG marketing there, I think.

conventions used in Legacy

There are a number of conventions that I have developed to ensure consistency in my data and for use by my Ghoti HTML generator.


I use this registered shareware program to put my genealogy data onto my Palm M130 hand-held computer. This allows me keep an outline of my research with me at all times, just in case I happen to be near a library or other source of genealogical data. It allows me to view (but not edit) the status of my research.

Luddite that I am, I still prefer to use an old fashioned log book for collecting data and later on transfer the data to a computer.


Perl is a open-source language, which is designed to read and process text files On Windows XP, I use Active Perl

For my family history research I use Perl to generate the web pages from the Gedcom file produced by Legacy. I prefer to do this rather than rely on the Legacy generated pages for a couple of reasons:


This is my chosen HTML editor. The main attraction of Homesite is the link and fussy syntax checking. For developing the HTML generator, I use this program to check the generated HTML meets the strictest requirements of the language. I also use this program to write other linked HTML pages (such as this one).

I also prefer to write the raw HTML, rather than use a WSIWYG type editor. WYSIWYG editors produce inefficient and verbose code, and if there is a problem with the HTML that they produce, it is very difficult to find the problem, and impossible to fix it, without editing the HTML directly anyway.

I also write the HTML to reference a single standard Style Sheet. So my entire site has the same look and feel to it, and that look can be changed by modifying one configuration file.


This is a graphical version of the popular vi text editor. For my family history research I have found it to be especially suited for viewing Gedcom files and editing Perl programs with text colouring controlled by the syntax of the file being edited. It is also able to perform code folding, which I use extensively.

This is the Perl program that I am developing which generates the HTML pages for my "family history", and "borsetshire history" web pages.

Features of Generated HTML

The format of the web pages that I generate are, as far as I know, unique in a couple of ways:

Future enhancements

This is my "To Do list", in order of my priorities and it is my intention to implement them as and when I get around to it.