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Software Review of:
Brother's Keeper 
From the February, 1999 issue of PC Alamode Magazine 

by Joseph V. Barth
This is a first for me — trying to review a genealogy program to give you the impressions of a novice at the subject of researching our ancestors. 

This is a shareware program and, if you are a fair and honest person, you will send the author the money that they ask for if you keep the program and use it. There are no charges for reviewing it or trying it out but, if you keep it, you owe them payment. That encourages them (and other software authors) to keep on with the tedious job of writing and debugging code. 

I have not had a great interest in genealogy and have remembered the tales from those old ladies in black that always were at the family gatherings. I knew we came from a town call Barth in what was the Eastern sector of Germany, not too far from Berlin. 

I never got to Barth when I was with the Air Force because it was in the Russian controlled sector and I couldn’t get permission to go there. I did know it was the location of a POW camp in WWII and was used to “house” airman that were captured. 

I also knew a bit of history of my family and, sadly, never got around to trying to get all the details and now the ones that knew it are long gone. 

So, taking this program in hand I decided to do a bit of work on a Sunday afternoon. I used the web site of the Social Security System to determine death dates and locations (even found the social security number of many deceased people - so much for privacy, eh?). 

Brother’s Keeper is a database program for recording, organizing and printing the data associated with tracing your roots. It will go back some 40 generations and will list a multitude of facts about the families including birth/death/marriage dates, relationship data based on one ancestor, what relationship exists between two different people etc. 

Since I am not familiar with the terminology used in genealogy, I did not get as much out of the program as a more experienced person could and would. However, it is an excellent database management program and was quite easy to add information to and print reports from. 

Installation is from floppies and will support all Windows platforms. You may select from several languages (English, French, German, Norse, Danish and Dutch) for your instructions and can enter data using those languages plus Swedish, Italian, Czech., Finnish and (Belgium) French. Very versatile! 

These languages come in handy as you go back to your roots many generations back. Most of us are immigrants and our family names have mutated many times over. This allows you to track the changes over hundreds of years. 

You are presented with several options of editing the data you have entered based on which relationships you wish to enter and trace. You may import data from other programs and this issue of “The PC Alamode” has information on many of them. Once the data is imported you can combine it with databases you have already established and manipulate the data with relative (sorry about the unintentional pun) ease. 

I haven’t tried it yet but after entering personal data on an individual, you have the ability to link a picture to that data. With the appropriate graphic files your family tree can have the pictures of the sinners and saints that we are descended from saved for the future. 

The requested shareware fee is $49 for the Windows version and $45 for the DOS version from 

    John Steed 
    6907 Childsdale Ave 
    Rockford MI 49341. 
I found the program relatively easy to use once I understood some of the terms and the intent of the program to show charts and list relatives from one source. Is this program worth the money? I think so since a database is necessary to handle the generations of people and the details. Other programs may do the same job but please note the cost of this program and consider the value. 

One last word — if you have living grandparents or other older relatives, you might want to get a living history of your family from them. Your grandkids might well appreciate it. 


Joe Barth is currently employed by the US Army as a planner and enjoys spoiling his two grandgirls. He is active as a volunteer with Alamo PC and is always willing to share his limited knowledge about computers and programs.