Genealogy Software Program Picks

By David A. Fryxell and Katie DuMont Premium

Here’s a guide to finding your way through the forest of family-tree software programs.

Family Tree Maker may be the best-selling genealogy software program, with more than 2 million copies sold, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for your needs. (For details on Family Tree Maker and 50 tips for getting the most out of this program, see page 48 of our premiere issue.) Here’s a quick rundown of other programs worth considering; watch future issues of Family Tree Magazine for full coverage of each of these options.


Ancestors & Descendants
Lets you create and maintain genealogy databases, access census data, enter custom events and information in other languages. Reports include ancestor charts, descendant reports and family group sheets. Keyboard abbreviations allow for faster data entry. PC-compatible, requires Windows 3.x or higher. Includes five books/manuals and two keyboard templates. $47. Adventures in Ancestry Inc., 10714 Hepburn Circle, Culver City, CA 90232-3717, (800) 237-5333, fax (310) 842-7443.

Ancestral Quest
Version 3.0 combines a genealogy program with scrapbooking features. Options include source documentation, professional reports, custom events entry, relationship calculator, Personal Ancestral File (PAF) reports. PC-compatible, requires Windows 3.x or higher. $39.95. Incline Software, 9547 S. 700 East, Sandy, UT 84070, (800) 825-8864, fax (801) 250-0845.

Family Origins
Version 7.0 lets you create a family tree, design a multimedia scrapbook with video and audio clips, and generate a family Web page. Features relationship and date calculators, wall-chart printouts, pedigree charts, family-photo trees, research logs, SmartMerge for combining files, photo-editing tools. PC-compatible, requires Windows 95/98. $29.95. Parsons Technology, 1700 Progress Drive, Hiawatha, IA 52233, (800) 973-5111 or (319) 395-0115, fax (319) 395-7449.

Family Reunion
Features pedigree charts, reports in portrait or landscape orientation, photo family group sheets and pedigree charts, photo albums, individual data sheets, ancestor linking, and address, birthday and lifespan listings. PC-compatible, requires Windows 95/98. $29.95. FAMware, 8822 S. Aspen View Drive, West Jordan, UT 84088-3357, (888) 236-2446 or (801) 280-4747.

Family Treasures
Version 3 features unlimited databases for inputting information and source references, interactive tree editor, research tools, source documentation, multimedia image and sound files. All reports can include pictures. Book output option includes pictures, captions, alphabetical index and timeline. PC-compatible, requires Windows 3.1 or higher. $49.95. Family Technologies Inc., PO Box 309, Westfield, NY 14787-0309, (800) 770-0567 or (716) 792-9679.

Generations Family Tree Grand Suite
Generations 5.2 allows you to input, manage and output family trees. Grand Suite also includes: SnapShot Special Edition photo-enhancing software, MasterCook recipe-collection software, 12 CD-ROMs with data on 200 million names and 36,000 Web links. Lets you create slide shows, photo albums and Web pages. PC-compatible, requires Windows 95/98. $69.95. Sierra, 3380 146th Place SE, Suite 300, Bellevue, WA 98007, (425) 649-9800.

Legacy Family Tree
Version 2.0 features link navigation, calendars, timelines, research logs, book output with pictures, relationship and date calculators, source database system, record-merging tools, wide variety of reports, picture gallery, Soundex calculator, ready-made templates for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints documentation. PC-compatible, requires Windows 3.1 or higher. $49.95. Millennia, PO Box 1800, Duvall, WA 98019-1800, (800) 753-3453, fax (425) 788-4493.

The Master Genealogist
“TMG” version 4.0, generally considered one of the most powerful genealogy software programs, features Genbridge, which transfers data from other genealogy programs to your word processor, database or spreadsheet format, and a chart-customization features that let you vary colors, fonts, box sizes and data contents. PC-compatible, requires Windows 95/98/NT. $99 gold edition, $59 silver edition. Wholly Genes Inc., 5144 Flowertuft Court, Columbia, MD 21044, (410) 715-2260 or (877) 864-3264, fax (410) 379-5424.


One of the few Mac-centric programs, Reunion version 6.02 helps you record names, dates, places, facts, notes, sources of information, pictures, sounds and videos. Outputs all common genealogy reports, charts and forms, as well as birthday calendars, mailing lists, questionnaires, indexes and other lists. Lets you creates large, high-resolution, graphic charts, including wall charts, with customizable boxes, lines, fonts, and colors. Calculates relationships, ages, life expectancies, and statistics. Supports Web publishing. Macintosh, operating system 7.5 or above. $99. Leister Productions, PO Box 289, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055, (717) 697-1378, fax (717) 697-4373.

Ultimate Family Tree
Features multimedia tutorial, Family Album Maker, World Photo Studio with access to historical photos, adjustable interface between beginner and advanced modes, records requester, Social Security Death Index, U.S. gazetteer, family Web page. Now owned by the same company as Family Tree Maker, it’s touted as appealing to more-experienced genealogists. PC-compatible, requires Windows 3.1 or higher, or for Macintosh, operating system 7.1 or above. $50 for five-CD Platinum version, $30 for two-CD Deluxe. The Learning Co., PO Box 7865, Fremont, CA 94537-7865, (888) 891-1919, fax (510) 795-4488.

David A. Fryxell and Katie DuMont are on the staff of Family Tree Magazine.

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