Portable Freeware for Genealogy

Some people contribute to society by volunteering at a church, sporting club or soup kitchen, some people create free websites to help many people share their genealogy and others use their computer skills to create free software. For recording and managing family tree information I have tested and used a variety of free software programs in Windows environments. The following suggestions are my personal preferences and can all be used from a USB or portable drive.

GEDCOM                       http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/scionpc
Recording and sharing your family tree is easily done with a program that will read and produce gedcom files, which is the standard file format for genealogy software and websites. ScionPC is available directly from the creator of ScionPC. A simple genealogy program with sufficient detail for almost every user makes this an excellent program for recording your family tree. This program runs very well from a USB, does not use files from the host computer and is Freeware.

INTERNET                    http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox_portable
What is genealogy research today without the internet? Firefox, the popular web browser from Mozilla is an excellent internet browser which is easy to use. This program is Portable Open Source Freeware and is available from the PortableApps.com website.

OFFICE SUITE             http://www.libreoffice.org/download/portable-versions/
Taking notes, creating spreadsheets, writing letters to distant family members and compiling family history books. LibreOffice portable is a fully featured office suite with equivalence to Microsoft office, word perfect and other office suites. This easy to use office suite is Portable Open Source Freeware available directly from LibreOffice or PortableApps.com.  Using this program it is easy to export any of the documents you create as PDF documents.

FOTOGRAFIX              http://lmadhavan.com/fotografix/
The Fotografix program can be used to resize, touch up, crop, add effects and do all sorts of useful things to your photographs and other images to get them ready to put into your documents or web pages. This program is also Portable Open Source Freeware available from the creator or PortableApps.com. This program has helped get my photos to the right size so many times.

PDFTK BUILDER       http://www.angusj.com/pdftkb/#pdftkbuilder
This program does two things really well. It splits PDF documents into individual PDF pages and it also takes PDF documents and puts them together as a single document. This program is Portable Open Source Freeware available from the creator or PortableApps.com. I use this program to join my individual PDF files and create family history books.

PSTART MENU          http://www.pegtop.net/start
While it is not required to make any of the other programs work, this useful menu can be installed on any portable drive (or computer) and it works like a Windows Start menu or Apple navigation pane. I particularly like how you can customise this menu to suit your own preferences including shortcuts that either starts a selected program or opens a specific document. This useful, Portable Freeware is available directly from the creator at Pegtop.net.

Some people talk of backing your work up to a USB drive but if you are using these programs and working from a USB drive then the importance of backing up or synchronising your work to another location becomes even more significant. USB’s are small and can get lost or damaged much easier then your computer.

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