The Standard version is completely free, allowing you to sample most of the features of Legacy with no time limit. Family Historian 6 is not nearly as well-known as Family Tree Maker or Legacy, but that doesn't mean it is any less useful when it comes to recording your findings. You can get started right away without having to read a lot of manuals or watch a bunch of tutorials.
The main screen includes both an ancestry chart and a separate details box for a selected individual, letting you enter information without losing sight of the big picture. Family Historian includes a "smart trees" option that lets you expand or collapse different parts of your tree as needed. That means you can concentrate on just a small section at a time without your other branches filling up the screen.
The program also offers tools to view two family trees side by side so you can compare them before deciding if you want to merge them. Family Historian includes a dynamic mapping tool that not only lets you see where your ancestors were, but lets you color code them, zoom in and out, view all the events that happened at a particular location, and more.
Family Historian 6 also offers powerful tools for sharing your family tree with others in print or electronically. It includes about twice as many charts as Family Tree Maker, though not as many as Legacy 9, and they are not as artistic. The lack of backgrounds leaves Family Historian charts looking a little dull compared to other programs.
The Family Historian website includes quick start guides and tutorials, but has a more limited online community compared to other products, especially Family Tree Maker. On the other hand, because it is produced by a British company, the Family Historian community might be particularly helpful for those researching family roots in the United Kingdom. The program links directly with the MyHeritage and Findmypast websites, letting you easily locate information on your ancestors and download it directly into your family tree.
However, unlike the other programs on our list, it does not include direct linking with Ancestry or FamilySearch. Family Historian 6 is available from Amazon here. There is also a day free trial if you want to test it out before you buy.
RootsMagic is not as well-known as some of the other genealogy software, but that doesn't mean it isn't just as good. It offers all of the basics you need, plus some useful bonus features. RootsMagic has some powerful features that you won't find in many programs, including the ability to have more than one database open at the same time.
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This can make doing research on the road, at libraries, courthouses, or wherever, much easier, and lets you enter search results right away. RootsMagic makes it simple to share your findings. Built-in tools help you create custom webpages, CDs, and DVDs, and offers plenty of print options as well. This program is one of the few that currently allows you to include same-sex marriages in your family tree, and can manage other complex relationships as well. Compared to other programs, RootsMagic does not have as many charts available, but it has extensive options for creating every sort of report you're ever likely to want.
On the negative side, RootsMagic's interface is not as nice looking or easy to use as other programs. That can make it more frustrating for folks just starting out in genealogy. RootsMagic 7 works on the greatest range of operating systems of any of our picks, including every version of Windows since Windows and XP, and on Macs The RootsMagic website is more limited than most of the others.
It does include some video tutorials and how-to guides, but not as much other support, and has a smaller user community. RootsMagic 7 is able to connect and download directly from such sites as Ancestry, MyHeritage and FamilySearch, giving you access to a ton of online records and databases. RootsMagic 7 is available from Amazon here. RootsMagic Essentials 7 is a free version of the software which includes all of the basics you need to get started, and can be used as long as you want.
Rounding out our top five picks, Family Tree Heritage 9 lacks a lot of the bells and whistles that the other programs have. Still, it covers all of the basics with flying colors, and has a few great features of its own. Family Tree Heritage lets you connect to Ancestry, FamilySearch, and RootsWeb, giving you instant access to billions of online records. Like our other top five choices, Family Tree Heritage provides web hints for getting the most out of your online connections.
Family Tree Heritage has powerful tools to make it easy to merge two family trees together, saving you hours of crosschecking and identifying duplicate records. The program makes it easy to add news sources, and a ditto tool that lets you quickly connect one source to many individuals. This can be a great time saver. One of the best features of Family Tree Heritage is the way you process bulk changes in your family tree all at once.
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If you find a mistake, like a misspelled town name, you only need to fix it in one spot, and the program can update it everywhere else for you instantly. Other features include a research timeline that organizes what you do and don't know about an ancestor chronologically, color coding to help organize family branches both on your computer and in print, and the ability to add up to three custom tags to each ancestor so you can group them however you want.
It is great for producing quick, easy to read reports, but it has a more limited choice of charts with generally uninteresting backgrounds. So if you want fancy charts, it's not so hot, but if you want to see your info in report format, it's probably the best.
On the negative side, Family Tree Heritage is the only one of our five picks that does not include an in-app browser. That means you have to switch back and forth between programs if you want to look up information online in most cases. However, it does support direct searching of Ancestry and FamilySearch databases from within the program.
Family Tree Heritage 9 does not include a mapping feature, so you can't track your ancestors visually. It also does not support same-sex marriages. Family Tree Heritage 9 has some online tutorials, but overall offers a lot less than the other programs on our list. It has a very limited online community. It can often be set up to work with other websites as well. However, it does not let you directly modify your family tree on Ancestry, only through manual uploads. Family Tree Heritage 9 is available from http: In the end, don't agonize too much about picking the wrong program.
In most cases, all of them will do what you need especially if you are just starting out. Worst case scenario, all these programs let you export your data as a GEDCOM file, which can be loaded into any other genealogy software. It won't copy everything, such as photos and videos, but it will save you from starting from scratch. So decide what your main priority is, pick the program that looks best for you, and get started searching for your family roots today!
My name is Mark Orwig and I am obsessed with keeping my mind busy, keeping active, and staying healthy. I let it run for a couple hours before I forced a shutdown. Why select only those programs? Are others out there, i. Hey thanks John. Family Tree Builder. Family Tree Maker Legacy 9. Family Historian 6. RootsMagic 7. Best For. Getting started, free to use. Best all-around, most collaborative. Good all-around, best report charts. Windows 7 or later Mac Windows 7 or later Windows Vista.
Best Genealogy Software
Windows all Mac Quick Navigation Genealogy Software Basics. Genealogy Software Basics There are a bunch of things that you can expect any genealogical software to do: Build a family tree Record information on your ancestors: Document research sources and link them to your family tree Maintain more than one database for multiple family trees Print out ancestral charts and reports Share your family tree with others in print and electronically Store photos, audio and video recordings, and scans of your ancestors and documents Protect your information through regular backups Give you hints on where and how to search for more clues Export your information to other genealogy programs In addition, some genealogy software today will let you: Download information directly from certain online resources Map your ancestors through time and space Browse online directly, without switching to a separate web browser So if all genealogy software does all this, does it really matter which program you pick?
It packs a lot of power, and is good all-around at just about everything. Pros and Cons Family Tree Maker provides all of the features that you would expect from a genealogy program, and it does most of them very well. Also, the company that produced Family Tree Maker changed in Compatibility FTM is available for both Windows 7. Online Support Because it has been around for so long and is used by so many people, Family Tree Maker has a wealth of online support in the form of tips, step by step instructions and tutorials, and even how-to videos.
Integration For years, Family Tree Maker has allowed you to connect with Ancestry to upload your family tree and to directly download records from Ancestry into your tree. Where to Buy Family Tree Maker is available from http: Legacy 9 Legacy 9, also known as Legacy Family Tree 9, is a fully featured genealogy program that is considered by many to be the best on the market today. It has plenty going for it, and only a couple of weak areas.
Pros and Cons Legacy 9 provides everything you would expect, plus a lot of neat extras that are new in the latest edition. This gives you all sorts of options for printing out your results. The latest release even includes a new X-DNA chart to track your genetic inheritance. Compatibility Legacy 9 is only designed for Windows, though their website includes instructions for how to make it work on a Mac using an emulator. Online Support The Legacy website provides a variety of training videos and programs, and an extensive help center that includes user forums, troubleshooting advice, and even a suggestion box for you to tell them what features you'd like to see added.
Where to Buy Legacy 9 is available from their website here , and is available in two versions. If you want to access all of Legacy's features, you can purchase the Deluxe version. Family Historian 6 Family Historian 6 is not nearly as well-known as Family Tree Maker or Legacy, but that doesn't mean it is any less useful when it comes to recording your findings. Pros and Cons Family Historian's greatest strength is its ease of use. If you're looking for a program that you can use right out of the box from day one, this is it.
Entering information into Family Historian is simple and intuitive. Compatibility Family Historian 6 runs on Windows Vista, 7, 8, and Online Support The Family Historian website includes quick start guides and tutorials, but has a more limited online community compared to other products, especially Family Tree Maker. Integration The program links directly with the MyHeritage and Findmypast websites, letting you easily locate information on your ancestors and download it directly into your family tree.
Genealogy Software for the Macintosh | Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
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