Recently, I attended the Family History Expo in Loveland, Colorado. The Exhibit Hall there had many vendors trying to sell their wares to help us all do our genealogy.
There were about 4-5 companies there selling software to organize your family tree, along with several others who had software for helping in research and organizing your media associated with your family tree.
I decided to figure out whether I was using the best family tree software for my own needs. I gathered the information pamphlets for each of the companies: RootsMagic 4, Legacy 7, and Ancestral Quest. I downloaded the free trials on all of these as well as Personal Ancestral File (familysearch.org) and The Master Genealogist 7. I was currently using Family Tree Maker 2009. I am certainly not an expert on computers or any of those technical items, but I needed to figure out which one works best for me.
I like Family Tree Maker 2009. It has a good interface and the best thing about it is how it automatically connects to the Ancestry.com website to see if there's any new records. That is probably my favorite thing about it. It makes good charts and such, but they aren't anything that are super exciting to me. That may be because I'm so new in the game, but I'm not sure.
The Master Genealogist 7 has a lot of customizations, but to be honest, it was over my head. Maybe one day when and if I get to that point I may want to make the switch, but right now it is not for me. The link on the Ancestral Quest website to download a free trial didn't even work. I tried several times to download and even waited until the next day to try again. It didn't work at all. I gave up because I just didn't have time to keep trying over and over. I also downloaded the free version of Personal Ancestral File from familysearch.org. I wasn't really impressed from the get-go.
That left me with RootsMagic 4, Legacy 7, and Family Tree Maker 2009. All of them had the same good qualities: pleasing interface, easy to use, and search capabilities. I liked the search capabilities on FTM 2009 the best, as I mentioned above. I really liked the Research Guidance on Legacy 7, especially for a beginner like me who doesn't always know all the places to look. I also really liked the to-do lists and the sourcing templates. They were much easier to use for me than the ones on FTM.
They all had the majority of the same features, but I ended up choosing Legacy 7 because of the Research help on it. So now, I am in the process of transferring everything over from my FTM file to Legacy. I may still keep the names and dates on my FTM to use the Ancestry.com search tool and will just make sure it gets onto my Legacy file. That way I can get the best of both worlds!