Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review of Clooz 2.0

UPDATE: Since writing this blog post, a newer version of Clooz, version 3.2, has been released that makes some significant improvements over the previous 2.0 version reviewed here. I have not had time to write a full review of the new software, though I have dabbled in it and very much like the improvements. There is a new composite view, which allows the user to see all instances of a person in each document from the People screen. There is also a new template for the 1940 census, and many small bugs have been fixed. Most impressive is the fact that a new owner, Ancestral Systems, LLC, has taken over the product and will now make regular updates to the software. I hope to do a new review soon. In the meantime, please visit the Clooz website for more details and perhaps take a test drive.

In the world of genealogy, despite the studying for the CPA exam and this being my busy season at work, I've managed to get quite a bit organized in my RootsMagic database and Clooz program. In fact, I've gotten all my census records from my RootsMagic database into Clooz. Now that I have them all entered into Clooz, I've decided that I'm not really going to use Clooz anymore. Funny, I know.

For those of you who don't know, Clooz is a software program that is supposed to be like an electronic filing cabinet. I think it was invented back in the day when genealogy management programs, like Family Tree Maker, did not really allow for much sourcing. Clooz has official forms to enter data into, such as death records, marriage records, birth records, census records, city directories, etc.

I really like the forms for the census records, but other than that, I'm not as impressed with the forms for other records. For instance, the marriage record does not have a field for witnesses or date of birth. There is a notes field in each record , but jamming everything into the notes is not really ideal.

The beauty of Clooz is that you are supposed to be able to attach a record to all the individuals named in the record, but when trying to do so, it gets kind of awkward. When I attach a person as a witness, the fields for data entry are the same fields as for the bride and groom. Seems like different roles should have different fields. This causes reports on my mom to show her occupation as "fireman" on her birth certificate, but this was actually her father's occupation.

Clooz seems to work better with a paper system of genealogy, allowing you to quickly find where a paper record is located by assigning each record an ID number. Since I am trying to go paperless with my filing system, it makes even less sense for me to continue using Clooz. My paperless filing system involves folders on each surname and within those folders, folders for each couple with that surname. This makes it pretty easy to find any document I may need without having to assign an ID number. My old system of paper filing worked better with Clooz because I filed by record type instead of surnames, which made it harder to quickly locate a document.

The one benefit to Clooz that I may be giving up is the ability to create reports on an individual that show all records/sources on that individual. I think I will miss that option a little. I say "a little" because the reports are not very flexible. I can create my own reports in Excel that I can tailor to my specific needs. In fact, I believe there are already some Excel templates that can be found through Google for the purpose of creating your own reports summarizing sources and info contained in them for an individual. I will also miss the census forms mentioned earlier, but I know there are also Excel templates out there for the same purpose.

Overall, I feel that Clooz no longer meets my needs and lacks flexibility. I would be curious if anyone else currently uses or has ever used Clooz and what your thoughts are on the matter.


  1. Thanks for the critique, I have never heard of this program but now I probably would not because of your review. Thank you

  2. You should see if RootsMagic has a report for an individual and sources. There are lots of ways to customize reports. Maybe there's one in there for you, too.

  3. Claudia,
    I didn't mention this, but if you google Clooz software review, it doesn't have very good reviews from others either. This kind of helped me decide not to use it as well.

    Thanks for the idea! One thing I learned on the RootsMagic cruise is that I am probably under-utilizing the reports feature in RootsMagic.

  4. Good info, Jennifer. I've looked at Clooz several times, but it always seemed like more work than it was worth. I'm glad to have that though validated.

  5. I've been using Clooz for a number of years and am going through the same debate as you. I haven't decided to give it up yet because it does tie in so well to my paper system (I haven't yet gone completely digital). I also do like the report you speak of.

    I think its days are numbered for me but I'm just not ready yet to let go of all the work I put into it.

  6. Hi Jennifer,
    Found your comments on Clooz interesting. There is a new version out according to Dick Eastman and I'm tempted to try it, but I also use FTM and maybe sources in that are good enough. Trying to work out a system for filing all the papers and saw yours saying you have a folder for each couple (family) within the surname. How do you handle things like paper records covering multiple couples, and do you keep everything about children (births, school records etc) with the parents until the children "leave" and forma a couple? What if they stay single - at what point would you start a new folder for them? Any help would be great. ....Thanks, Ken.

  7. After working all summer trying to justify using Clooz along with RM I have also decided to forgo it's use for exactly the same reasons you have described. I needed someone to help push my decision as I did not want to give up all the work I did to try and make it work. If you have to "make something work" then it is probably not the right solution. Thanks.