Choosing Family Tree Software

There are many different options for software that can help manage your genealogy data and build your family trees. This page summarizes a few of the more popular computer and web-based options.

Cyndi’s List does a great job of compiling a larger list of software options. See

Disclosure: My primary tree is kept on my local computer using Legacy Family Tree. I also use trees on Ancestry, My Heritage, Geni, WikiTree, and FamilySearch to connect with cousins.

Questions to consider:

Format: Would you prefer options for a Mac computer, Windows computer, smartphone, or tablet?

End Goal: What are your end goals? For example, do you want frameable family tree, reports to share with family, or a way to manage collected research.


Most computer-based systems and some web-based systems allow you to import and export family information as a gedcom [An acronym standing for Genealogical Data Communication. A plain text file containing genealogical information about individuals, and metadata linking these records together for exchanging genealogical data between different genealogy software. ( : accessed 15 May 2021)]

Legacy Family Tree Genealogy Software, $35-80 (
• For Windows only
• Hints from key websites – FindMyPast, FamilySearch, GenealogyBank, and My Heritage
• Cite your sources easily and correctly with the new SourceWriter.
• Build multiple charts and reports. Additional charts in Charting Companion add-on

RootsMagic, $30 (
• For Mac and Windows
• Shows hints from web sources
• Build multiple charts and reports

Family Tree Maker, $80 (
• For Mac and Windows
• Synchronizes with
• Shows hints from and
• Build multiple charts and reports

Web-based, Separate Trees

Ancestry, free to build a tree, $25 to $50 fee to access research (
• Also available as mobile app
• Tress can be set as private or public. Able to share with other Ancestry users via link
• Able to purchase DNA testing kits

MyHeritage, free basic tree, $130 to $300 enhanced (
• SmartMatches (aka hints) from records collections and major genealogy websites
• Print charts and books
• Creates website based on gedcom
• Site has tools to colorize, enhance, and animate photos
• Able to purchase DNA testing kits

Web-based, Shared Trees

On a shared tree, other people can add, edit, and delete people and information.

WikiTree, free (
• Volunteer supported
• Tools for profile comparison and merging
• Visibility settings range from unlisted (great for living people) to open.

FamilySearch, free (
• Also available as mobile app
• Easily add sources from internal collections on FamilySearch and external sources.
• Able to search FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, Geneanet, and Google
• Tools for finding similar profiles and merging.
• Print a variety of charts
• Partner apps and tools available in Solutions Gallery

Enjoy building your tree, sharing your ancestors stories, and connecting with cousins.

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