In this guide we’ll take a look at the best genealogy software.
We’ve compared data organisation, presentation, syncing with other programs and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Is The Best Genealogy Software?
More Detailed Genealogy Software Reviews
If you’ve ever considered building your family free, chances are you’ve already heard of Ancestry. There is no denying that having a legacy family tree for your historical records is something worth putting the time and effort into.
Putting together an online family tree requires a lot of genealogy research, which is why you should put your trust in the professionals and look around for the best genealogy software. This ancestral quest will be full of interesting facts about your family’s history.
With over 20 million members, 20 billion records, and over 100 million family frees to tap into, it really is the best genealogy software on the market.
The vast community and sheer volume of records make the chances of growing your tree, unearthing missing links, and finding undiscovered ancestors very likely.
Combine that with their huge DNA testing network, and it really is a necessity for any genealogical enthusiast.
While we fully appreciate the merits of the more traditional genealogy software programs on this list, browser-based software is the future. And there’s really only one you need – Ancestry.
Plus, you get a 14-day free trial to see if it’s for you. We definitely recommend giving it a go, in our opinion, it’s the best genealogy software out there.
Family Tree Heritage Gold 16 Review
The Family Tree Heritage Gold 16 has new and improved features that allow users to improve syncing with FamilySearch Family Tree and to record non-traditional couple relationships. There is also a new TreeTips feature that gives you hints to possible records about your family.
This software is very easy to navigate, and you don’t need to be very tech-savvy to use it. Overall, it is great genealogy software that works! What a wonderful way to share your family’s history with future generations.
Family Tree Maker Review
Family Tree Maker offers basic services as well as the ability to sync with other relatives working on the family history.
This is the best genealogy software that will almost certainly reduce your workload if you’ve got other family members doing genealogical research, since this program makes it easy to sync and search your findings.
This feature can also make the search more fun as you work with people close to you on a common goal. It’s a great way to share the adventure.
Family Tree Maker is compatible with either Windows 7 or Mac 10.9 or later versions as well.
You can also color-code your ancestors to keep things organized. In addition, you can record same-sex marriages in your family tree.
Perhaps the most useful and distinct aspect of Family Tree Maker is the online support it provides.
As one of the older and better-known family tree software products, it has ample information on making the most of your research, from tips and tricks to detailed instructions.
You’ll have an easy time finding tutorials that will walk you through the various aspects of genealogical research.
To make Family Tree Maker even better, it connects with either Ancestry or FamilySearch, which means that your data is not stuck in one place.
Ancestry especially is a wonderful resource for research on your family, and the fact that Family Tree Maker can import data to them is a major plus.
This makes it one of the more expensive genealogy programs out there, but the fact that it offers you so much help with your ongoing research makes this one of the best genealogy software products on the market.
Family Tree Heritage 9 Review
Family Tree Heritage 9 lets you make your family tree and organize data into a series of graphics.
What makes Family Tree Heritage one of the best genealogy software products is that you can import data from RootsWeb, FamilySearch, and Ancestry.
Right there, you just got access to an almost inconceivable amount of raw data.
You can import data from other sites too simply by adding them, which is a feature that really does make Family Tree Heritage 9 unique.
Also, this genealogy software lets you make mass changes in your family tree.
Did you discover that the real last name of a certain branch of the family is really Smythe, not Smith? You can change every incorrect Smith entry in a single command. Again, this really does make Family Tree Heritage 9 quite unique.
Along with this feature, you can also make a detailed and chronological view of a specific ancestor. This will let you eliminate redundancies and ensure the overall accuracy of your data.
This feature, which really should be common, is a great help in analyzing the details of specific relatives. Again, this helps a great deal in the ever-pressing task of information organization.
While the visual graphics offered here are somewhat lackluster, the spectacular ability to organize and shape your raw data into something that really does tell a story is worthwhile.
This family tree software is only compatible with Windows, so once again, Mac lovers will have to look elsewhere.
Family Tree Heritage 9 is very reasonably priced, making it a solid buy for anyone looking to form a detailed and somewhat archival family tree.
The lack of interest in flashy graphics really is telling in a way… This genealogy software has a solid focus on data and information organization, function over form. For that reason, it’s one of our top recommendations for the best genealogy software.
Family Tree Builder Review
Family Tree Builder may be the best genealogy software for beginners since it’s free to use! Hard to beat that.
You can download it onto any computer with at least either Windows 7 or Mac 10.6.
This program also allows for pictures to be imported, but beyond this, it will only sync data with MyHeritage (its parent company).
As a free genealogy software, Family Tree Builder is limited, but if you need to save some money, it’s the perfect place to start out your family tree.
If you’re looking for the best genealogy software for beginners – check this one out!
Legacy 9 Review
Legacy 9 is the next genealogy software on our list, and yet again, it offers the standard services like a family tree builder.
What makes Legacy stand out is the fact that they let you examine two of your ancestors beside each other.
This may sound like a very simple feature, but it can further your research and your in-depth knowledge of your family through comparison. This feature cuts down on the tedious labor of manually writing down facts to compare by hand.
Legacy 9 has some of the best charts in the industry, again allowing for ease of use for the data you have collected.
Remember the reason why you’re looking into these services? You want to find some way to organize, sort, and then later retrieve the raw and jumbled data you find. Legacy 9’s awesome graphics make this easy.
The fact that data retrieval on this program is so simple makes Legacy 9 worth a look.
However, it needs to be noted that Legacy 9 is meant only for Windows, though the technically savvy among us can run it on a Mac by using an emulator.
Legacy 9 can import data to a large variety of other companies, including FamilySearch, FindMyPast, GenealogyBank, MyHeritage, and Find a Grave. This further adds to its versatility.
So consider Legacy 9 if you really want to compare relatives and organize your data neatly all for a reasonable cost.
Of course, you can also spring for the deluxe packages later on and build the ultimate graphics explaining the history of your family.
How to Find The Best Genealogy Software For Your Needs
As you begin your journey into the history of your family, you’re going to accumulate quite a bit of raw data.
In fact, as the months go by, what began as just a few scraps of information may grow into a mountain of paper on your desk and an unmanageable cluster of documents on your computer.
That’s a real shame, because all of your research won’t be worth much if you can’t find anything when you’re done.
So what can you do to keep all of your genealogical research in an organized place where you quickly find specific results, construct a cohesive family narrative, and keep track of all the branches of your family tree?
How can you avoid shambling through scraps of raw information that serve no real purpose?
That’s where genealogical software programs come in. And we’re here to help you find the best genealogy software for you!
The best genealogy software products allow you to organize and keep data in a usable fashion on your computer, often working alongside other services like Ancestry or MyHeritage.
In some cases, these family tree software products can organize your data into wonderful graphics ready for publication or printing, and in others, they simply provide a readable ledger of your family history.
Because of this, these offerings can really aid your research since they allow you to integrate your results with the findings of other professional sites.
Remember why you began this whole process? For many people, the real goal of tracking down their family tree and history is to create a sense of story stretching through time among individuals.
When we learn about those who came before us, we weave a narrative and through that breathe life back into them.
In Disney’s recent hit Coco, the premise of the film is that by remembering ancestors they remain alive in a way.
While this may sound silly, it is in a broad sense true. They live a second life through us every day we speak of them. That’s the reason so many people take up genealogical research despite the complexities and costs associated with it.
The software listed above lets us synthesize the raw data we gather either from our personal research or from larger online services like Ancestry and put that data into something usable.
All of the options listed above can help you do this, so which genealogy software is the right one for you?
You’ll probably make your decision based on a few factors:
- Features and abilities
- Ease of use
- Integration with online databases and records
- Graphics, charts, and reports
- Level of online and community support
Once you have an idea of which factors are most important, you’ll be ready to make a selection out of the best genealogy software products.
Family Tree Builder may be the best genealogy software for beginners because it is free and quite simple. You can use this program to decide whether or not you really want to continue your research.
As a general rule, starting out with free programs or free trials of paid programs is the best route to see if you really want to spend your money on more sophisticated software.
Family Tree Maker is the best family tree software if you’re out there working with other relatives, or if you want to upload your final results to Ancestry, as the compatibility there is excellent. It’s an extremely popular choice for good reason!
Legacy 9 is the best genealogy software if you really want fancy graphics and well-organized charts. This is especially useful if you plan to share your data with others eventually, perhaps on a new website you may make. Legacy 9 also has a stripped-down free version, so it can be quite economical too.
For overall ease of use, Family Historian 6 is the best genealogy software out there. The program is ridiculously simple to use and you can learn it quite quickly. If you’re a novice on computers and don’t really want to learn the ins and outs of software programs, this is your ideal choice.
For maximum portability, even without a laptop, RootsMagic 7 is the best family tree software on your list. Granted, it’s also the only option on your list as it’s the only one out there that can be downloaded onto a USB drive for ease of transit. If you don’t own a laptop, or simply don’t like traveling with one, this program is perfect.
Also, Roots Magic 7 does have a skeletonized free version if you need to save money (though this basic version lacks portability).
And at last, choose Family Tree Heritage 9 if its features—ease of merging family trees and correcting mistakes, for example—appeal to you. Its ability to merge information with RootsWeb, FamilySearch, and Ancestry is also very helpful for some users.
And that’s it, we’ve gone over the deep details of the big genealogical software on the market today.
But here’s the thing, on the most basic level, they all do the same thing. They catalog and sort your family tree data from incomprehensible mush into something that you really can digest and understand. Each one of these programs can do that, even the free ones.
Where they stand apart is in the extra features like visual graphics or outside integration.
It’s up to you to decide on your priorities—do you want visually appealing graphics? Or do you just want simple barebones reports? Do you need the ability to integrate with sites like MyHeritage or Ancestry?
Whatever you end up choosing, have fun while you research the history of your family: where you came from, who your ancestors were, what they did.
All of these things can provide wonderful insights into the past and can even help guide us in the future if we so choose.
Q: What is the best family tree software on the market?
A: Family Tree Maker and Family Historian are brilliant family tree software that is considered to be the best in the business.
Q: Can I create a family tree in Excel?
A: Yes, you can build your family tree however you like!
Q: Is Family Tree Maker still available?
A: Yes, Family Tree Maker is available, and it is supported and sold by Software MacKiev.
Q: How much does family tree software cost?
A: Family tree software can cost anywhere from $50 to $100.
Q: What software do professional genealogists use?
A: Professional genealogists use the software listed in this review.