Genealogy Software Center

Genealogy Software Center

Pick the right program for you with our roundup of popular products—including reviews and trial versions.


In this article:


One of the most common questions we get, especially from beginner genealogists, is “Which software should I buy?” We designed this section of our Web site to help you answer that question.

Since just about every program performs the same basic functions of recording, organizing and sharing family history data, the best choice for you depends on your personal preferences. So in this roundup of the most popular family tree software for Windows and Mac, we’ve highlighted not only the vital stats of each program, but also its pros and cons. We’ve also linked to our most recent reviews from past issues, which you’ll find on our Forum-where other genealogists may have chimed in with their own impressions and critiques.

WINDOWS SOFTWARE

Ancestral Quest 12
Price:$29.95
Manufacturer: Incline Software, (800) 825-8864, www.ancquest.com
Biggest draws: Compatible with Personal Ancestral File (PAF) and expands on PAF’s capabilities; fields to record DNA test results; many reporting options, including pedigree charts with sources and notes; PDF output; research logs
Drawbacks: Poor family view, add-on needed for a wide selection of graphical charts
Read our review
Free demo version

Family Tree Legends 5.0
Price: free
Manufacturer: MyHeritage, www.familytreelegends.com/downloads
Biggest draws: Simple, streamlined screens; many charting options; custom reports; share your data and pictures on a CD or DVD; back up files to CD or DVD; includes genealogy programs for Palm handheld devices and the Pocket PC; opens Family Tree Maker files
Drawbacks: Printed scrapbooks include photo titles, but not photo descriptions
Note: A higher version, 6.0 Deluxe, is available from Individual Software www.individualsoftware.com, (800) 822-3522
Read our review

Family Tree Maker 2008
Price: $39.95
Manufacturer: The Generations Network, (800) 262-3767, www.familytreemaker.com
Biggest draws: Online searching and a fresh, new look
Drawbacks: Missing charts and reports
Read our review

Family Trees Quick & Easy 6
Price: $19.95
Manufacturer: Individual Software, (800) 822-3522, www.individualsoftware.com
Biggest draws: Easy to use, good family group sheets and pedigree charts, PAF compatibility, toll-free help number
Drawbacks: It’s essentially an old version of Ancestral Quest
Read our review

Genbox Family History 3
Price: $29.95
Manufacturer: Thoughtful Creations, (513) 522-4116, www.genbox.com
Biggest draws: Wide selection of printed reports, including excellent narrative reports for creating a book with a place-name index; many options for publishing your family history online; ease of use
Drawbacks: Overwhelming array of graphical chart options could benefit from some streamlining
Read our review
Free 30-day trial

Heritage Family Tree Deluxe 4.0
Price: $29.95
Manufacturer: Individual Software, (800) 822-3522, www.individualsoftware.com
Biggest draws: Easy navigation, outstanding printed reports, toll-free help number, comes bundled with Progeny Software’s Charting Companion
Drawbacks: Essentially an old version of Ancestral Quest
Read our review

Legacy Family Tree Deluxe 6.0
Price: $29.95 download, $39.95 on CD with training video and downloadable manual
Manufacturer: Millennia Corp., (800) 753-3453, legacyfamilytree.com
Biggest draws: Research assistance, printable family history books, ease of use
Drawbacks: Lacks a charting companion (it’s sold separately)
Read our review
Free Standard Version

The Master Genealogist Gold 6.12
Price: $59 download, $79.97 on CD with printed manual
Manufacturer: Wholly Genes Software, (877) 864-3264, www.whollygenes.com/tmg.htm
Biggest draws: Detailed reports, unlimited customization
Drawbacks: Steep learning curve
Read our review
Free 30-day trial

Personal Ancestral File 5.2
Price: free download, $8.25 on CD with PAF Companion
Manufacturer: FamilySearch, (800) 537-5971, www.familysearch.org
Biggest draws: Ease of use, excellent help files, price, foreign language versions, well-designed print and Web reports, good graphical charts with PAF Companion
Drawbacks: Reports don’t include alternate personal names
Read our review

RootsMagic 3
Price: $29.95 download, $39.95 on CD with printed manual
Manufacturer: RootsMagic, Inc., (800) 766-8762, www.rootsmagic.com
Biggest draws: Shareable CDs, excellent printed reports, ease of use
Drawbacks: Less sophisticated online searching than other programs
Read our review
Free trial

MACINTOSH SOFTWARE

GEDitCOM 3.72
Price: $49.95
Manufacturer: John A. Nairn, www.geditcom.com
Biggest draws: Ability to customize interface to your liking, native GEDCOM format
Drawbacks: A bit pricey for shareware
Read our review

iFamily for Tiger
Price: $29.95
Manufacturer: Keith Wilson, www.ifamilyfortiger.com
Biggest draws: Source documentation, numerous viewing options, gadgets
Drawbacks: Limited help section; lacks features to privatize data, create Web pages and record conflicting information
Read our review

Heredis Mac X.2
Price: $69 download
Manufacturer: BSD Concept, www.myheredis.com
Biggest draws: Nifty graphics, 3-D family tree
Drawbacks: Slow GEDCOM importing
Read our review
Free trial version

MacFamilyTree 4.5
Manufacturer: OnlyMac Software, www.onlymac.de/html/stammbaum4en.html
Price: $49
Biggest draws: Easy setup, attractive interface, fast GEDCOM imports
Drawbacks: No family group sheet, more flashy than functional for serious genealogists
Read our review
Free trial version

Reunion 9
Price: $99.95
Manufacturer: Leister Productions, (717) 697-1378, www.leisterpro.com
Biggest draws: Ease of use; many charts and reports; creates excellent Web sites; support for nontraditional family relationships
Drawbacks: Price
Read our review
Free demo

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