Why use software for geneaology?

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m...@privacy.net

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Jul 29, 2005, 5:21:05 PM7/29/05
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Can someone play devils advocate and tell me why I
would want to use computer software for genealogy
purposes?

What neat and invaluable thing scan software and
computer do that cant be done with paper?

Also.... dumb question on my part.... but can a contact
manager application such as ACT! be used for genealogy
purposes?

Or is specialized genealogy software the only route to
go?

Dave Hinz

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Jul 29, 2005, 5:32:09 PM7/29/05
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On Fri, 29 Jul 2005 16:21:05 -0500, m...@privacy.net <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
> Can someone play devils advocate and tell me why I
> would want to use computer software for genealogy
> purposes?

Sure.

> What neat and invaluable thing scan software and
> computer do that cant be done with paper?

Can't be done, or can't be done conveniently? How about this - show me
all of the people in my database at now +3 generations that don't have a
death date listed. Show me all women who had more than 5 kids.
Instantly give me the relation between two people. Share data
seamlessly with research partners, as in a genealogy society or website.

Dozens more, depending on what app and what you're doing.

> Also.... dumb question on my part.... but can a contact
> manager application such as ACT! be used for genealogy
> purposes?

I'm not sure, other than as a contact manager - the commercial and
open-source genealogy apps out there are excellent for the purpose.

> Or is specialized genealogy software the only route to
> go?

Not the only, surely, but I'm generally a roll-my-own-software guy, and
_I_ went out and bought an app. I'd rather spend my time not
re-inventing the wheel.

Dave Hinz

m...@privacy.net

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Jul 29, 2005, 5:44:52 PM7/29/05
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>> Or is specialized genealogy software the only route to
>> go?
>
>Not the only, surely, but I'm generally a roll-my-own-software guy, and
>_I_ went out and bought an app. I'd rather spend my time not
>re-inventing the wheel.
>
>Dave Hinz

OK Dave.... thank for that insight. can you tell I'm
just starting out with all this? <G>

OK...so I guess second question is... WHAT software/
What brand and version?

What I'm concerned abt is that I get started down this
path with a certain brand of software... add hundreds
of names and data. Then maybe I don't like the app so
well and want to switch to something else. Will all of
these applications share the same data no problem? I
don't want to type al that info in again. See what I
mean?

Right now I'm playing with the free version of Legacy
5. And the free software you can get off the LDS
church site.

Advice?

Doug McDonald

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Jul 29, 2005, 5:43:41 PM7/29/05
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m...@privacy.net wrote:
> Can someone play devils advocate and tell me why I
> would want to use computer software for genealogy
> purposes?
>
> What neat and invaluable thing scan software and
> computer do that cant be done with paper?
>

Easy copy of vast quantities of data, for sharing.

Doug McDonald

Dave Hinz

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Jul 29, 2005, 5:48:26 PM7/29/05
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On Fri, 29 Jul 2005 16:44:52 -0500, m...@privacy.net <m...@privacy.net> wrote:

>>Not the only, surely, but I'm generally a roll-my-own-software guy, and
>>_I_ went out and bought an app. I'd rather spend my time not
>>re-inventing the wheel.

> OK Dave.... thank for that insight. can you tell I'm


> just starting out with all this? <G>

Been there, done that.


>
> OK...so I guess second question is... WHAT software/
> What brand and version?

Depends on your OS. I finally switched to Mac so I could use Reunion -
it's staggeringly good. In the Windows world, PAF and Legacy both have
free versions, and are both very good - PAF is better for data entry,
Legacy has better reports. FTM (Family Tree Maker), the retail
favorite, has many customers but seems to have many _unhappy_ customers,
based on posts here. The Master Genealogist (TMG) is known to be
excellently done but perhaps not as easy to get started with as some
others.

> What I'm concerned abt is that I get started down this
> path with a certain brand of software... add hundreds
> of names and data. Then maybe I don't like the app so
> well and want to switch to something else. Will all of
> these applications share the same data no problem?

All of the current software supports the GEDCOM "standard", which isn't
a very good or complete or well-followed standard. I can import a
GEDCOM from wherever, into another program, with a bit of fiddling
around to get the unusual or custom fields to come out right. I
wouldn't want to do it all the time, but you're not held hostage to any
one genealogy app by any means, as long as they support GEDCOM import
and export.

> I
> don't want to type al that info in again. See what I
> mean?

Yup.

> Right now I'm playing with the free version of Legacy
> 5. And the free software you can get off the LDS
> church site.

If you ever find something that those don't do, and which the add-on
products for each don't do (PAF Companion, and Legacy Deluxe), then you
can buy the add-on, or consider switching to something else at that
point. I was using PAF and Legacy for 5 years before I finally had a
need outside of the standard builds, though.

> Advice?

Double your money back if you don't like it ;)

Dave

Hugh Watkins

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Jul 29, 2005, 6:21:57 PM7/29/05
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<m...@privacy.net> wrote in message
news:ha7le1trvuorpc1gd...@4ax.com...

use any old rubbish you like

but there are standard formats
which dedicated programs do best
$29 sinle cd FTM 2005 or PAF which is free
are good for newbies

http://wc.rootsweb.com/

LAPHAM
one-name study
http://lapham2005.blogspot.com/

http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=lapham

can't do that on paper with instant availability for the whole world

Hugh W


m...@privacy.net

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Jul 29, 2005, 6:26:06 PM7/29/05
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>> Right now I'm playing with the free version of Legacy
>> 5. And the free software you can get off the LDS
>> church site.
>
>If you ever find something that those don't do, and which the add-on
>products for each don't do (PAF Companion, and Legacy Deluxe), then you
>can buy the add-on, or consider switching to something else at that
>point. I was using PAF and Legacy for 5 years before I finally had a
>need outside of the standard builds, though.

OK

Another question.....

If I continue to use Legacy 5..... or upgrade to the
paid version..... can I export all that info to some
kind of web content?

After all..... id want to easily share all my research
and info with my siblings. And that best done via the
Net. So I want something that can spit out a complete
we page or blog for me.

More advice?

m...@privacy.net

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Jul 29, 2005, 6:26:52 PM7/29/05
to
>> What neat and invaluable thing scan software and
>> computer do that cant be done with paper?
>>
>
>Easy copy of vast quantities of data, for sharing.

yep

that's a biggie isn't it?

Paul Blair

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Jul 29, 2005, 7:50:44 PM7/29/05
to

Legacy stores data in MS Access (current format) which means that you
can then create all sorts of personalized reports, if you have some
Access skills. Access is about to become another sort of beast, so there
may be some changes to Legacy in the next 12 months.

Another way of sharing is to use GEDCOM as a feed to phpGedView. Go to
http://phpgedview.sourceforge.net/ to read about that. But, briefly,
this allows to to do some web things (including privacy and
collaboration) that can be quite useful for research between a number of
people.

Paul Blair
Canberra
Australia

m...@privacy.net

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Jul 29, 2005, 8:23:52 PM7/29/05
to
>Legacy stores data in MS Access (current format) which means that you
>can then create all sorts of personalized reports, if you have some
>Access skills. Access is about to become another sort of beast, so there
>may be some changes to Legacy in the next 12 months.

Cool! yes I do know a bit abt Access. Not much but
some

>Another way of sharing is to use GEDCOM as a feed to phpGedView. Go to
>http://phpgedview.sourceforge.net/ to read about that. But, briefly,
>this allows to to do some web things (including privacy and
>collaboration) that can be quite useful for research between a number of

Hmm.... I'm not versed at all in Linux based apps or OS

Anything like that above for Windows?

m...@privacy.net

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Jul 29, 2005, 8:29:16 PM7/29/05
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>Another way of sharing is to use GEDCOM as a feed to phpGedView. Go to
>http://phpgedview.sourceforge.net/ to read about that. But, briefly,
>this allows to to do some web things (including privacy and
>collaboration) that can be quite useful for research between a number of
>people.

That's pretty interesting above!!

If I had such a setup above does that mean my sister
and me could add and edit info to the sight even tho we
live miles away from each other? In other words we
could collaborate?

Another idea I had was to use Wiki software for
genealogy. Is the above kind of a wiki?

Steve Hayes

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Jul 30, 2005, 12:00:32 AM7/30/05
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On Fri, 29 Jul 2005 16:21:05 -0500, m...@privacy.net wrote:

>Can someone play devils advocate and tell me why I
>would want to use computer software for genealogy
>purposes?

The devil's advocate would say why you shouldn't use it.

The advantages of using a computer to keep track of your genealogy are:

1) You have an up-to-date record of the latest state of your research in one
place

2) If you get new information about a person who may fit, you can search your
records quickly to see what you already have (searching paper records takes
much longer)

3) Printing a family group sheet on a computer is a lot quicker and easier
than writing it out by hand, even on a pre-printed form

4) Printing a family group sheet to a .pdf file to send as an e-mail
attachment is also quicker and easier when communicating with cousins on other
continents

>What neat and invaluable thing scan software and
>computer do that cant be done with paper?

See above

>Also.... dumb question on my part.... but can a contact
>manager application such as ACT! be used for genealogy
>purposes?

Possibly, I'm not familiar with it, though, so can't say for sure.

>Or is specialized genealogy software the only route to
>go?

If you want to record genealogy, it's the most important route, but "route" is
not the best imagery, because of you choose one route for a journey, you
automatically choose not to go down the others. Using software for genealogy
is not like that. Think of it rather as a set of tools to use.


--
Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk

Steve Hayes

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Jul 30, 2005, 12:00:33 AM7/30/05
to

Well now, just try to do that with all your paper records.

Legacy can do it, and can export to a variety of formats that you can use
other software on.

Paul Blair

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Jul 30, 2005, 12:33:40 AM7/30/05
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phpGedView has now been included in Debian, but most of us use Windows.
As for collaboration, the anwer is "yes" You can set levels of access
for users, and that can include an on-line edit feature for whomever you
choose. Edits are then notified to you (as the admin) and you can react
as you please. Doesn't stop family fights, just makes them quicker.

Contact me off list if you want to know more.

Paul Blair

Message has been deleted

Hugh Watkins

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Jul 30, 2005, 5:04:46 AM7/30/05
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"Steve Hayes" <haye...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:gqtle1h8bhan8l9l2...@4ax.com...

the BG DISADVANTAGE is when the hard disk fails
and they all do eventaully if you havenot got proper back ups you lose the
lot


hence wc.rootsweb.com has saved many a skin by having a downloadable copy of
your own data

the other good source of back ups is UK county lists and message baords too
if you post your research results they are there for all to find

If your siister and you bothe join groups you may discuss and access from
anywhere in the world

msn messenger is good for family cahts too
- saves phone bills - international in my case

Hugh W


Dave Hinz

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Jul 30, 2005, 6:46:43 AM7/30/05
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>>If you ever find something that those don't do, and which the add-on
>>products for each don't do (PAF Companion, and Legacy Deluxe), then you
>>can buy the add-on, or consider switching to something else at that
>>point. I was using PAF and Legacy for 5 years before I finally had a
>>need outside of the standard builds, though.
>
> OK > > Another question.....
>
> If I continue to use Legacy 5..... or upgrade to the
> paid version..... can I export all that info to some
> kind of web content?

Yes, google for "gedcom to html" for options. I like phpgedview, but to
use that you need to have a php enabled webserver, which some ISPs
haven't caught on to yet. Do you have a web provider?

> After all..... id want to easily share all my research
> and info with my siblings. And that best done via the
> Net. So I want something that can spit out a complete
> we page or blog for me.

There ya go. So, biggest thing, although you didn't really ask this -
make sure you source how you know everything you put in there. A time
_will_ come when you find conflicting information to your database, and
you will want to be able to decide which is right based on how you got
the info that's in there. Trust me on this one.

> More advice?

Poke around & see which genealogy data sites you like; most will somehow
or another tell you what was used to create them. PAF makes webpages
that are tolerable, but there are some really nice ones out there which
depend on what your webserver infrastructure options are.

Dave Hinz

Dave Hinz

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Jul 30, 2005, 6:49:28 AM7/30/05
to
On Fri, 29 Jul 2005 19:29:16 -0500, m...@privacy.net <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
>>Another way of sharing is to use GEDCOM as a feed to phpGedView. Go to
>>http://phpgedview.sourceforge.net/ to read about that. But, briefly,
>>this allows to to do some web things (including privacy and
>>collaboration) that can be quite useful for research between a number of
>>people.
>
> That's pretty interesting above!!

Isn't that loverly?

> If I had such a setup above does that mean my sister
> and me could add and edit info to the sight even tho we
> live miles away from each other? In other words we
> could collaborate?

Absolutely.

> Another idea I had was to use Wiki software for
> genealogy. Is the above kind of a wiki?

Well, the webserver needs, I think, exactly the same things installed as
you would for a wiki, but it's different enough to be different. I'd
love to see a wiki plugin to it, or it as a plugin to a wiki...


Dave Hinz

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Jul 30, 2005, 6:53:33 AM7/30/05
to
On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 09:04:46 -0000, Hugh Watkins <hugh.w...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> "Steve Hayes" <haye...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:gqtle1h8bhan8l9l2...@4ax.com...
>> Using software for genealogy
>> is not like that. Think of it rather as a set of tools to use.
>
> the BG DISADVANTAGE is when the hard disk fails
> and they all do eventaully if you havenot got proper back ups you lose the
> lot

Everyone should back up their important data. If it's more work than
you'd want to re-type, it's time to back up again. CD-R disks are what,
a dime each?

> hence wc.rootsweb.com has saved many a skin by having a downloadable copy of
> your own data
>
> the other good source of back ups is UK county lists and message baords too
> if you post your research results they are there for all to find

If they're on a CD in someone else's house, it's faster and more secure.
My parents and I use each others homes as off-site backup/archive sites.

Larry

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Jul 30, 2005, 8:42:49 AM7/30/05
to
I just joined this group and see that your question has received a lot
of good responses. One issue that I haven't read is about privacy.
Most genealogy software allows you to record all the data but when you
go to publish it [on or off the web] it provides a place for you to
omit details about any person living. This is very important and
considered proper unless the living person has given permission for his
info to be shared. You can't be too careful in this day of privacy
issues. I really like using The Master Genealogist but if I were a
beginner I would probably choose the free version of Legacy. Before
using TMG, I used Brother's Keeper, which is a shareware program. I
still use it for making some of the reports.

Message has been deleted

m...@privacy.net

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Jul 30, 2005, 10:49:58 AM7/30/05
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>There ya go. So, biggest thing, although you didn't really ask this -
>make sure you source how you know everything you put in there. A time
>_will_ come when you find conflicting information to your database, and
>you will want to be able to decide which is right based on how you got
>the info that's in there. Trust me on this one.

OK

But can you give me an example of how to "source"
something?

m...@privacy.net

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Jul 30, 2005, 10:57:39 AM7/30/05
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>
>Well, the webserver needs, I think, exactly the same things installed as
>you would for a wiki, but it's different enough to be different. I'd
>love to see a wiki plugin to it, or it as a plugin to a wiki...

Well you guys have CINVINCED me that I should do this
as a collaborative effort and do it by using software
that will allow that.

Bottom line.... I don't want this data to exist on my
single desktop PC alone. Id want it to exist on the web
where any family member could add or edit it. That is
so cool!!

And that should help take some load off me for creating
the info huh?

As far as the wiki goes..... those things really
intrigue me as well. I can se all kinds of potential
uses for wikis. I was doing some reading on them and
came across this one. See link

http://twiki.org/

Click on some of the links in web page above. Many many
uses for this technology!! Why cant we use it for
genealogy as well?

I'm wondering if I could just rent some space on a
server that already has Twiki on it for my personal use
only? That way I don't have to install or maintain.
Nor do I need a computer on 24/7 at home. Advice?

Anyway.... thanks so much to everyone for your help!!
I'm definitely a bit wiser abt how to approach this
now.

m...@privacy.net

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Jul 30, 2005, 10:59:02 AM7/30/05
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>> Legacy stores data in MS Access (current format) which means that you
>> can then create all sorts of personalized reports, if you have some
>
> Properly, Legacy uses M$ JET for the database engine.

is Legacy the only app that uses the Access engine as
its base?

I guess what I'm asking is.... do al the other
genealogy apps use a proprietary database format for
there data?

m...@privacy.net

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Jul 30, 2005, 11:00:20 AM7/30/05
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>If you want to record genealogy, it's the most important route, but "route" is
>not the best imagery, because of you choose one route for a journey, you
>automatically choose not to go down the others. Using software for genealogy
>is not like that. Think of it rather as a set of tools to use.

OK thanks for advice!

You al have definitely convinced me to forget abt doing
this using paper. ha!

m...@privacy.net

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Jul 30, 2005, 11:02:07 AM7/30/05
to
>if I were a
>beginner I would probably choose the free version of Legacy.

Why Legacy?

Is it cause its just THAT good?

I want to pick good software to start off with. Hence
the question

singhals

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Jul 30, 2005, 11:20:06 AM7/30/05
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m...@privacy.net wrote:


Much as you sourced term papers in HS or College/University.

Each fact gets a footnote and the footnote says something along the
lines of "Seventh Census of the US, Pennsylvania, Adams County, Polo
township, page 210A, line 14, dated 15 Jun 1860" or "Swearingen, Henry
H., 'The Swearingen Family Tree', 1889: Seattle, np; pg 327" or even
"Family Bible, printed 1804, now in possession of Great-Aunt, Susana V.
Holdit of East Dry Prong, Louisiana, USA."

HTH

Cheryl


Charlie Hoffpauir

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Jul 30, 2005, 12:36:48 PM7/30/05
to

The fact is that most people prefer the software that they use a
lot.... maybe it's because it's good and that's why they started using
it, or maybe it's because they are very familiar with it. I don't
really like Legacy, but then, I've only got the free version and
really haven't used it a lot. I like Rootsmagic, it's easy to use and
pretty comprehensive in how it lets you search your data (a very
important point for me). I also like TMG, but again, because I haven't
used it a lot, I find it difficult to use. I really don't like a lot
about FTM, but find that I still use it a lot because I'm familiar
with it.... I switched to it when I quit using the DOS version of
PAF... but I really wish I had NOT started with FTM. It's searching
features are awful. I actually export the database to an Access file
about once a year and use Access for any real searches, or do the
searches in RootsMagic.

My advice would be to start with a package that has a LOT of features,
like TMG or RM..... After you get familiar with it, you'll appreciate
the features. If you start with an "easy" program to use, you'll
regret the lack of features in time.
Charlie Hoffpauir
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~charlieh/

Lars Erik Bryld

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Jul 30, 2005, 2:14:25 PM7/30/05
to
Scripsit m...@privacy.net:

> is Legacy the only app that uses the Access engine as
> its base?
>
> I guess what I'm asking is.... do al the other
> genealogy apps use a proprietary database format for
> there data?

The Master Genealogist uses FoxPro database format. Genbox Family
History uses Access 2000 database format. I believe most others use
udocumented databases, but I doubt they've all invented their own
formats.

--
Med venlig hilsen
Lars Erik Bryld

Message has been deleted
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Lars Erik Bryld

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Jul 30, 2005, 2:30:34 PM7/30/05
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Scripsit m...@privacy.net:

> Bottom line.... I don't want this data to exist on my
> single desktop PC alone. Id want it to exist on the web
> where any family member could add or edit it. That is
> so cool!!
>
> And that should help take some load off me for creating
> the info huh?
>
> As far as the wiki goes..... those things really
> intrigue me as well. I can se all kinds of potential
> uses for wikis.

Seems like a severe bout of acute wikiphilia. It'll pass given
adequate time, though. Take it from one who's been there and still
recovers. See:

http://www.hacknot.info/hacknot/action/showEntry?eid=71

As for online genealogy databases with editing, I only know of two:
1) PhpGedView, which I use myself, but only for display purposes.
2) The Next Generation, a not-free similar thingie, which I haven't
personally tried out, but it has received honorable mention by one of
its users, who wrote in a local genealogy magazine I subscribe to.
There's a demo to try out:

http://lythgoes.net/genealogy/demo.php

m...@privacy.net

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Jul 30, 2005, 2:40:45 PM7/30/05
to
>That is, the basic data entry assumes there is a "marriage" by which to
>link things. TMG works on individuals and links them via events, and one
>can create new events as needed -- you want to track medical data, you
>could create a "doctor visit" event and insert them as needed.

Hmm..... maybe I just better start with the king of em
all and get TMG huh?

m...@privacy.net

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Jul 30, 2005, 3:03:20 PM7/30/05
to
>Seems like a severe bout of acute wikiphilia. It'll pass given
>adequate time, though. Take it from one who's been there and still
>recovers. See:
>
>http://www.hacknot.info/hacknot/action/showEntry?eid=71

Hahaha! I read the above link and it was good! Much
to think abt there

>As for online genealogy databases with editing, I only know of two:
>1) PhpGedView, which I use myself, but only for display purposes.

So does this mean the idea of using PhpGedView is not
such a good one? That doing collaboration online with
my siblings is NOT gonna work?

Message has been deleted

Robert Melson

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Jul 30, 2005, 3:48:01 PM7/30/05
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In article <9kjne1pu1covods62...@4ax.com>,

Not at all. You _do_ have to do a bit of work, setting up access permissions,
but collaboration is easy to accomplish. A nice thing about phpGedView is
that it's written in an architecture neutral language (php) and will run on
just about any webserver on any operating system. I've chosen to host my own
webserver with phpGedView, but you may wish to find a webhosting service that
does that for you. The phpGedView folks have links to numerous sites using
their application at http://phpgedview.sourceforge.net. Go there, then click
on the "Sites Using PhpGedView" link.

Bob Melson

--
Robert G. Melson | Rio Grande MicroSolutions | El Paso, Texas
-----
"One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation." Thomas Reed
-----

Lars Erik Bryld

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Jul 30, 2005, 3:52:36 PM7/30/05
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Scripsit m...@privacy.net:

>> As for online genealogy databases with editing, I only know of two:
>> 1) PhpGedView, which I use myself, but only for display purposes.
>
> So does this mean the idea of using PhpGedView is not such a good
> one? That doing collaboration online with my siblings is NOT gonna
> work?

I couldn't say. I simply haven't had any experience with using the
online editing features of PhpGedView, because I don't collaborate
(directly) with others. I have just had a quick browse, and they do
seem to work as intended. The Next Generation also seem to do the
exact same things.

Doug McDonald

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Jul 30, 2005, 5:10:57 PM7/30/05
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m...@privacy.net wrote:

> Right now I'm playing with the free version of Legacy
> 5. And the free software you can get off the LDS
> church site.
>
> Advice?

Keep playing with what you have. Don't install anything
which is not text into your files, just yet. Don't be fancy.
If you don't get real fancy your data should transfer to other programs
(except maybe Family Tree Maker) just fine. If you don't like
like the free programs, try the cheapest versions of the others.
Eventually true the fancy things, just a little.

Once you are absolutely sure that you like a program, then you
can install things like pictures that won't transfer well.

Doug McDonald

cecilia

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Jul 30, 2005, 7:40:46 PM7/30/05
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Dave Hinz wrote:
>[...] PAF is better for data entry,
>Legacy has better reports. [...]

It was the fact that I could input a collection of data from a single
source faster with Legacy than I could with PAF that caused me to move
from PAF to Legacy.

Paul Blair

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Jul 30, 2005, 9:46:13 PM7/30/05
to

The world of Windows-based software is probably in for some major
changes in the next 18 months. The beta of Windows Vista is now being
distributed - it is huge (DVDs will be required for distribution, not
CDs) and different.

Not everyone will rush to 64-bit software, but changes to document
formats will mean the major writers will need to make some (tough)
choices about new software, and how to cope with (small-l) legacy offerings.

For my part, investment in soft and hardware is on hold for now, until I
can get a better idea of just what will be involved.

Paul Blair
Canberra
Australia

Steve Hayes

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Jul 31, 2005, 12:30:05 AM7/31/05
to

"Source" as a verb is an undesirable phenomenon.

But if you really want to do it, you make a list of potential suppliers of the
thing, and find out if they will sell it to you, and for how much.


--
Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk

Steve Hayes

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Jul 31, 2005, 12:30:06 AM7/31/05