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Brother's Keeper 7.1 Review

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PROS / Brother's Keeper can fit up to 1,200 nodes for a pedigree chart.

CONS / The outdated look of this program makes it hard to navigate.

 VERDICT / Brother's Keeper is solid family tree software that prefers function to form, though this can make it frustrating to navigate.

Brother's Keeper covers basic needs for reporting, citing and charting family history. The research and recording you can do with it is unlimited, and this family tree software has room for up to 100 million people in your genealogy database. However, navigating Brother's Keeper can be confusing.

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The homepage has different charting formats you can choose from to display your family tree. To use these options, you need entries in your database first, and to add people, you need to use the edit view. How to get here isn't always obvious, and once you enter the edit screen, you have to exit again to see any new charts. Adding new entries in Brother's Keeper is easy only if you complete the root person’s information correctly. This process is much more complicated than it is with other genealogy software we reviewed.

Thankfully, the program walks you through the process as you go. However, if you miss connections like parents or marriages, it can be tricky to reconnect these people. Once you complete a couple of entries, the process becomes clearer. Brother's Keeper covers the basic family dynamics, so you can add parents, siblings, spouses and even unrelated individuals. This genealogy software supports the recording of same-sex and multiple marriages. Databases can include stepchildren and adopted or foster children.

Profiles for every family member have space for significant events, notes, pictures and lists for relationships to others. This family history software helps you avoid duplicating entries, which is helpful if you have a big family. It offers a field in each person's profile to list children and siblings, so a large family becomes instantly easier to organize and track.

For multiple projects revolving around different or branching families, you can merge and split databases to handle different endeavors. You can also export whole GEDCOM files or sections of them as well. This is handy if you want to share a specific branch with others without sharing your whole tree.

Brother's Keeper can create over 25 reports and charts with the family history information you enter; however, it's best to have Adobe Reader on hand for using this program. You can create a variety of ancestor, descendant, and statistical lists and charts. Uncommon reports and charts for descendants and ancestors, such as the 10-generation ancestor circle chart, are available through this software.

You can link media to your database via sources and trees, but you can also add JPG files to your charts so that pictures of your relatives sit next to their information. It doesn't matter how large your family is, because charts can reach up to 1,200 boxes wide to fit even the largest family branches. Although there are no design templates, you can still change fonts, color in boxes and add shadowing to the nodes on your family tree using this software.

Summary

The interface of Brother’s Keeper is a little dated, but it includes practical features. You can create an array of charts and reports about your family history, but you may want to use a different program to improve the look of your charts if you plan to give them as gifts or heirlooms. This program can be initially hard to navigate because of its outdated look. Once you complete a few entries, though, you can find your way around.

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