YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Shaking Your Family Tree!

Sort Your Roots by Personal Computer


Genealogy and personal computers go together like apple pie and ice cream.

However, while there are several good genealogy programs available that work on most computers, for a number of reasons none has been entirely satisfactory--until now.

Commsoft just introduced its latest software--Roots III--and it combines a sophisticated database manager with text processing that will do just about everything a genealogist wants.

Its only drawbacks are it is written only for IBM PC and compatibles and requires DOS version 2.0 or later, a minimum of two floppy drives or one floppy drive and one hard disc, with a minimum of 512K recommended.

"It's always been my belief that genealogy is the most valid reason to have a computer in the home," said Howard Nurse, its developer.

Nurse, a direct descendant of Rebecca Nurse, one of those accused in the 17th-Century Salem, Mass., witch trials, said he feels Roots III is an important contribution to genealogy.

Since a genealogy is only as good as its documented sources, Roots III was developed to allow footnoted family group sheets, and when research is completed and refined, the program automates the printing of your family history in formats used by America's two prestigious genealogical societies--the National Genealogy Society and New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Special charts can be included to illustrate family relationships, and as you build your family history, Roots III automatically compiles a table of contents and numbers each page. When finished, the program prints a double-column index listing all page numbers on which each person's name is found. Your genealogy can contain up to 10,000 pages with information on more than 65,000 related people.

Roots III does all standard family group sheets and pedigree charts, plus some unique ones and has room for biographical material. It contains room for all LDS ordinance information, and prints a special LDS (Mormon) family group sheet identical to the one printed by PAF (Personal Ancestry File).

This program accepts text files from most word-processing programs and uses graphics image files created with PC Paintbrush by Z-Soft using the PCX format.

Commsoft has a utility package--Roots Writer and Revent--to go with its Roots III program. Roots Writer uses the bottom third of the screen while the main program information remains displayed. This split-screen operation is especially useful when data from the main program is being used as a reference for text you are adding or editing.

With the Roots III cursor on any name a single keystroke retrieves that person's text. These two programs work together, eliminating worry about file names, directories and paths. All necessary text-processing functions are provided by Roots Writer. However, it requires up to 128K of free RAM.

Revent is a computerized book of days that provides information about events relevant to your family history. A single keystroke displays historical events connected with any day of the year.

Other Roots III features:

--Prepares Tiny Tafels automatically from its database.

--Does Ahnentafels.

--Works with HP LaserJet+ printer and any laser printer that emulates the HP.

--Runs on the new IBM PS/2 series.

--Has a kinship feature that determines the blood relationship between any two people in your database, within 16 generations.

Order Roots III from Commsoft, 2257 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View, Calif. 94043; phone (415) 967-1900; for $257, including shipping and handling. Roots III with Roots Writer and Revent sells for $303. (California residents should add sales tax.)

A Roots III Demo Disk/Sample Book is available for $12. Roots Writer and Revent also come in a separate package.

Los Angeles Times Articles