Thursday, September 16, 2010

Software for Genealogists: SmartDraw

Someone on a forum I participate in recommended the program SmartDraw when we were talking about creating genograms, which are used particularly by health professionals in plotting family health histories.  Genograms can have other applications, and I thought they might be useful in my research project.

I downloaded the trial version of SmartDraw and discovered that in addition to genograms, there are family group sheets, pedigree sheets, individual record sheets, and various forms for genealogists to track their research progress, such as correspondence record sheets.  The beauty of these forms is that they are all computer-fillable!  This has been a holy grail of mine for a long time.

With SmartDraw you can modify each of their pre-stored forms to fit your own situation.  You can also create your own templates, as I did in creating the form I am using for tracking compadrazgo -- the godparent relationship -- in the population of St. Augustine, FL, during the Second Spanish Period.  What I am finding there is leading me to investigate the importance of the patrón in St. Augustine society.

SmartDraw also has maps.  Lots and lots of maps.  And again, you can modify the maps to fit your needs.  I may try my hand at creating some meaningful maps, especially if I can import formats from scanned images. 

I was disappointed to discover that SmartDraw's timelines are completely business-oriented, and I am having a difficult time modifying that particular template.  I will have to try more experiments when I have a little more time.  But overall, I am very pleased with the usefulness of SmartDraw, its flexibility and its ease of use in connection with my project.  I anticipate further uses later on, as well, when I am finally able to get back to doing my own family's genealogy once again!

Required disclaimer:  I was not given the copy of SmartDraw; I paid for it with my own money.  I was not asked by anyone connected with SmartDraw or with any other entity to write this review.  Views expressed herein are mine and mine alone.  Neither I nor any member of my family is employed by the company which created and sells SmartDraw, nor do we have any other connection with them.

1 comment:

Ben Sayer said...

Hi, Karen. Thanks for sharing news of this tool's application to genealogy.

What would you say are the reasons one might use SmartDraw instead of the capabilities of their existing genealogy software to create diagrams?

Why are computer fillable forms the "holy grail" for you?