Books are available that compare each version. But they are quickly outdated. It is probably best just to browse the latest book at a bookstore.
For more up to date information, see these web sites for comparisons and reviews and links to the home page of each software vendor:
PC Magazine occasionally does an analysis and review of many of the top genealogical programs. Here is what they published in August 2007. Click here [PC Mag software review] to see their web article.
PAF -- free from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Personal Ancestral File (PAF) is written by the LDS church. It can be downloaded for free from numerous web sites (click here [download PAF] to download it). Version 5.2 is the latest version and is written for both Windows and Apple computers. While it is not the most sophisticated graphical interface and lacks advanced features it is very efficient and fast. It is a good one to start with. All of its data can later be imported into any other genealogical software that supports GEDCOM (see the separate section on GEDCOM files).
Tip about purchasing genealogical software:
Do not let the fact that a given genealogical software comes packaged with several CD’s full of data be a reason to purchase the software. The reliability of the data is often questionable and usually does not give appropriate citations to lead back to the original source documents.
Genealogical software should have the following capabilities:
Your genealogical data on your palmtop
There is genealogical software (including PAF starting with version 5.1) that will allow you to see your information on a PDA. For more information about genealogy on PDA’s see the web site www.genealogy.about.com/cs/palms
Your genealogical data on your iPhone and iPad
There are genealogical apps for the iPhone and iPad. See these links: