Modern Software Experience


Monica renamed

GenoPro 2011

GenoPro has silently released GenoPro 2011. They did so a few days ago, on 2010 Dec 30. Superficially, GenoPro 2011 seems to be the successor to GenoPro 2007, but things are a bit more complicated than that.

In between GenoPro 2007 and GenoPro 2011 is another release, known as GenoPro Monica. GenoPro Monica was a special release of GenoPro,  related to the upcoming release of the book The Genogram Journey: Reconnecting with your Family by Monica McGoldrick.  Monica McGoldrick is one of the creators of genograms, and has written several books about genograms already. GenoPro collaborated with McGoldrick to support the expanded version of genograms introduced in this book. The diagrams in this book were created with a version of GenoPro that has features not available in GenoPro 2007. GenoPro decided to release the version used for the book as GenoPro Monica. GenoPro Monica was released in September of 2010 and is also known as GenoPro 2011 RC.

There were several versions of GenoPro Monica. The fist version was, the last version of GenoPro Monica has version number GenoPro 2011 has version number There is practically no difference with GenoPro Monica. On the GenoPro forum, Jean-Claude Morin wrote that GenoPro 2011 is essentially GenoPro Monica with the word Monica renamed to 2011, and a few minor upgrades, such as the GenoPro icon and language packs.

download and install

GenoPro does not require Windows 7, Windows Vista or even Windows XP. The latest version still works on Windows 95.
GenoPro is available as freely downloadable trial software. You do not need to provide an email address to download and install GenoPro. However,  after installing, GenoPro will prompt you to request a free evaluation key.

GenoPro 2011 Startup

The registration key that GenoPro mails to your email address is valid for 15 days. An academic evaluation key is valid for 180 days, but can only be requested if you have a request code, which you should obtain from your professor. If you choose to evaluate GenoPro without a registration key, or when your evaluation key has expired, GenoPro will limit your projects to 25 individuals.

free upgrade

The upgrade from GenoPro 2007 to GenoPro 2011 is free. The GenoPro version history page states GenoPro 2011 is officially available. This version has many years of work and since we no longer wish to support GenoPro 2007, we give everyone a free upgrade..
Not surprising then that the GenoPro FAQ states that all registered users of any previous version get a free upgrade to GenoPro 2007.


GenoPro is a Windows application, and has been in development for years, but still does not include a Windows help file. All GenoPro help is in HTML, but the HTML file is not included. The help menu item opens the GenoPro help pages in your browser. If you are without Internet connection, you are without GenoPro help.

GenoPro pretends to support ASCII GEDCOM import, but it does not.

GEDCOM import


GenoPro promotes GenoPro 2011 as genealogy software, and it imports GEDCOM files. The GenoPro import dialog's file filter defaults to *.ged, but GenoPro will also import the XML files it writes.

The GenoPro help does not seem to document which encodings GenoPro supports. In quick tests I did, GenoPro appears to recognise and import ASCII, ANSEL, UTF-8 and UTF-16, but appearances can be deceiving. GenoPro does support many more encodings than those four, but its support for the four encodings that are legal are not as it should be.

GenoPro's support for UTF-8 and UTF-16 is excellent. GenoPro supports both UTF-8 and UTF-16, both with and without Byte Order Mark (BOM), and even supports both little-endian and big-endian UTF-16. There is just one complaint about it supports for big-endian UTF-16 GEDCOM files; when GenoPro encounters the mandatory 1 CHAR UNICODE in the GEDCOM header, GenoPro complains that it is wrong (it is not!), but does continue importing the file correctly.

GenoPro pretends to support ASCII GEDCOM import, but it does not really do so. It imports ASCII GEDCOM files as if they are ANSI GEDCOM files, without complaining about codes that are illegal in ASCII.

GenoPro turns every ANSEL character that isn't in Windows ANSI into two characters.

ANSEL import

  Detected Gedcom document with Charset='ANSEL' (Code Page=)
  Converting ANSEL to ANSI / MBCS
  Importing using Code Page 1252 known as 'Western European/US (Windows)'

The messages that GenoPro shows while importing an ANSEL GEDCOM are remarkable. GenoPro apparently first converts from ANSEL to Windows ANSI, and then converts from Windows ANSI to Unicode. That two-step conversion is a lossy approach; the first step loses information because Windows ANSI support less characters than ANSEL does. The bottom line is that GenoPro does support import of ANSEL GEDCOM file, but does not support ANSEL well. GenoPro's ANSEL support is effectively at the quality level of a code page-based application, while GenoPro is a Unicode application. For a Unicode application, its ANSEL support is seriously defective.

GenoPro turns every ANSEL character that isn't in Windows ANSI into two characters. For example, Ā becomes åA, Ĝ becomes ãG and Ś becomes âS. Oddly, I also noticed a failure to import ÿ, the Latin Small Letter Y with Diaeresis correctly, although Windows ANSI does support that character (value 0xFF). The single character ÿ becomes the two characters èy.

export formats

GenoPro supports export to several formats; MetaFile, XML Format, GEDCOM, text, and GenoPro version 1.x. The MetaFile option creates an enhanced metafile (*.emf), a graphics file format that may contain both vector and bitmap elements.  The XML Format that GenoPro exports to is not FamilySearch's GEDCOM XML, but its own XML format. The GEDCOM export provides a selection of possible c character encodings. The text output is a tab-delimited format.
GenoPro offers two main GEDCOM export options; Export to GEDCOM Format and Export to GEDCOM via the Report Generator. The first option is a straightforward GEDCOM export that offers few options. If you want such options as the ability to exclude living individuals, you have to choose GEDCOM via the Report Generator.

GenoPro cannot handle large genealogies.

import speed

The speed with which GenoPro imports a small file is quite impressive. GenoPro not only imports the file, but also auto-arranges all the fragments in the database on its graphical display.
Import of the 1 MB GEDCOM seemed near instantaneous and GenoPro claimed to import the 100k INDI GEDCOM in about 20 seconds, but became not responding and stayed that way. After about ten minutes I decided to kill GenoPro from the Task Manager. GenoPro probably fails somewhere in its auto-arrange code, which was apparently never tested with large database. Whatever is going wrong exactly, it is impossible to proceed and upon restart of GenoPro, the database is empty. GenoPro cannot handle large genealogies.

GenoPro2011 Low on Memory

When I evaluated GenoPro 2007, I tried to import a medium size GEDCOM; a file of less than 10 MB, containing 34.331 individuals in 16.337 families. GenoPro 2007 could not handle it. It apparently needed more than a gigabyte RAM and ran out of memory. That was on my Windows XP computer, before I upgraded its 1 GB of RAM to 2 GB of RAM. I decided to try the same file again, but now on my Windows Vista computer with 4 GB of RAM.
After about ten minutes, Vista complained that the system was low on memory, and suggested closing GenoPro 2011. The Windows Task Manager showed GenoPro to be using more than 3/4 gigabyte already, and it was still not responding. Another five minutes later, nothing had changed, and I decided to do kill GenoPro 2011 as Vista recommended. GenoPro cannot handle medium genealogies either. GenoPro can only handle small genealogies of a few thousand individuals.

Skip AutoArrange

The import dialog box has two tabs, and one of these offer the option to Skip AutoArrange. GenoPro's GEDCOM import seems to hang on auto-arrange, so it tried the import again, but with auto-arrange disabled. When you disable auto-arrange, GenoPro does not default to a tabular view as many other genealogy applications do; GenoPro still lays out all individual on its graphical canvas, it just doesn't care where each individual appears. All individuals are simply laid out in a grid, and GenoPro does not show relationships between them. That seriously limits the usability of GenoPro, which is very much build around the graphical display of relationships.

GenoPro grid layout

The Skip AutoArrange option allows you to import a large GEDCOM file, and then auto-arrange it later. I tried that for the medium-sized file, but GenoPro became not responding again. Attempts to import the 100k INDI GEDCOM without auto-arrange failed almost immediately; GenoPro became not responding during the import already, and its memory usage had already climbed to more than 600 MB when I decided to kill it. GenoPro is unable to handle large files.

import log file

During import, GenoPro displays a message window. The messages it shows are just what you'd expect to find in an import log file. However, GenoPro does not create any import log files. Once you close that window, the import messages seem to be gone.
GenoPro apparently stores the import messages inside the database you imported your GEDCOM into. That is an odd and impractical thing to do. When the import fails, creation of the database fails, and all import messages are lost…

GenoPro 2011 GEDCOM Export

GEDCOM export


Quite a few genealogy applications claim to support GEDCOM export, but do not support any of the four legal character encodings. GenoPro isn't one of those applications. The problem with GenoPro is not that it fails to support ANSEL or UTF-8 encoding, the problem with GenoPro is that even this latest versions still allows export to many illegal encodings. That GenoPro supports exports to IMBPC, MSDOS and even MacRoman could be defended as a compatibility feature to allow correct import of GenoPro GEDCOM into some dated applications, but GenoPro seems to support every code page they could think of. The GEDCOM specification is very clear that use of code pages is illegal.
Oddly, there is one legal encoding that GenoPro does not support in GEDCOM export, and that is the ubiquitous ASCII. The reason for this omission seems to be the misconception that ASCII and Windows ANSI (code page 1252) are the same; the drop-down box lists the option to encode the GEDCOM file in Windows ANSI as ANSI (ASCII /1252), as if ASCII and Windows ANSI are the same thing.


GenoPro's defective ANSEL GEDCOM import prompted me to pay extra attention to its ANSEL GEDCOM export. It would not be surprised to learn that GenoPro exports to ANSEL by first converting from Unicode to Windows ANSI and then converting from Windows ANSI to ANSEL. Upon export to ANSEL, Unicode characters that aren't in Windows ANSI lose their accent; Ā becomes A, Ć becomes C, Ś becomes S, and so on.

GenoPro's ANSEL GEDCOM is so broken that it would be better if it did not support ANSEL GEDCOM at all. GenoPro's ANSEL support is seriously defective.


GenoPro is Unicode-based and its support for Unicode encodings is quite thorough. GenoPro supports not only supports export to UTF-8, but export to UTF-16 as well. It support creation of files with and without a Byte Order Mark (BOM). The GEDCOM export dialog box calls it a Unicode Charset Signature, which is wrong, but the more important thing is that GenoPro default to including the BOM, as it should. GenoPro supports export to both big-endian UTF-16 and little-endian UTF-16.

1 SOUR GenoPro
2 NAME GenoPro® - Picture Your Family Tree!(TM)
2 CORP GenoPro
1 DATE 5 JAN 2011
1 CHAR utf-16
2 VERS 5.5


Although GenoPro has excellent support for Unicode encodings, GenoPro still does not really support export to UTF-16 GEDCOM files. GenoPro seems to support export to UTF-16 GEDCOM files, but the files it creates are broken.

When you choose to make an UTF-16 GEDCOM files, it creates a file that specifies the encoding used as CHAR utf-16. As much as I agree with GenoPro that use of UTF-16 as the encoding name would be preferable, the GEDCOM specification says it should be CHAR UNICODE, so GenoPro 2011's UTF-16 GEDCOM output is broken.
Their UTF-8 GEDCOM output is broken as well. The GEDCOM header for UTF-8 encoded files identifies UTF-16 correctly (CHAR UTF-8, with UTF-8 in uppercase, as it should be), but claims to be a GEDCOM 5.5 file. That is illegal. To legally use UTF-8, the header should specify GEDCOM version 5.5.1.


The sad fact of the matter is that every GEDCOM file produced by GenoPro is illegal in many ways. That GenoPro abuses the ADDR tag for an URL, while that tag is meant for physical addresses and GEDCOM 5.5.1 offers the WWW tag for URLs is sloppy. The real problem is something I commented upon back in 2006 already, but GenoPro still hasn't fixed; the header should identify the GEDCOM form as LINEAGE-LINKED and GenoPro 2011 still misidentifies the GEDCOM form as LINAGE-LINKED (the first E is absent).

illegal tags

Another serious problem that GenoPro still hasn't fixed is that the GEDCOM files it creates are full of illegal tags. Some of the illegal tags you are likely encounter in practically every GenoPro GEDCOM are GLOBAL, FORMAT, LINES, FONT, TAG (!), COLORS, GENDER, SYMBOL, FILL, TOP, GENOMAP, POSITION, SELECTION and BOUNDARYRECT.
That is another issue I remarked upon more than three years ago already. It would be easy for GenoPro to fix this; just prepend an underscore to all the illegal tags to make them legal, but in all those years, they have not done so.

GenoPro should stop trying to sell GenoPro as a genealogy application, because it simply isn't one.


The 2006 review of GenoPro 2007 concluded that GenoPro isn't a genealogy application, but a drawing program for small psychology diagrams. It called its GEDCOM support half-hearted and remarked that even great GEDCOM support wouldn't turn this tool for drawing small diagrams into a genealogy application for large genealogies. All that is still true.
As a genealogy application, GenoPro does not seem to have improved much, if at all. It continues to have few genealogy features and its GEDCOM support is still less than lackadaisical.

GenoPro has many features for drawing genograms, and practically no genealogy features. It offer none of the customary genealogical views, it lacks consistency checks and supports just a few reports types. GenoPro should stop trying to sell GenoPro as a genealogy application, because it simply isn't one.
GenoPro is a genogram diagramming tool. GenoPro is suitable for creation of genograms, which tend to be small. GenoPro can only handle small to medium sized genealogies, and has serious problems dealing with medium sized ones. GenoPro cannot handle large genealogies at all.

product details

productGenoPro 2011
priceUS$ 49,00
requirementWindows 2000 or Windows XP
notesome limitation on Win95, Win98 and WinNT 4.0; see web site
VerdictGenogram drawing tool.
RatingNot a genealogy application.