Best family tree software to use [2020 Guide]

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
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family tree software

Genealogy is increasingly becoming a popular hobby and there is a large selection of family tree building software that you can choose from. Whether online or with a CD-ROM, family tree software is a useful tool that publishes, navigates, and organizes facts and data about a family’s ancestry.

At in its most basic form, the software can help organize information about your progenitors, create ancestry books and reports, and share findings online. You may need to interview the oldest living family member in order to get the right information. But after you accumulate enough information, and with the right tool, everything should work great.

The best genealogy is social, speedy, and has plenty of storage capacity to hold data and records about a family. It should have enough space to add generational names, images, attach files, and hold any other relevant information.

It should be easy to use with a more attractive interface. Though there are many online genealogy services, downloadable software is a better option. In this article, we will discuss the best free and paid family tree software.

Before choosing a good heritage tool, you might need to know some of the basic features that it offers. Below, we will answer such questions as :

  • How to choose a good family tree software?
  • Can you add ADN data in it?
  • Does it have access to the FamilySearch database?
  • Can you add media in your family tree?
  • Does it create a map of your family history events?
  • Can you use a free family tree software?
  • Will you find online support?
 Rating(1 to 5)Free/PaidFamilySearch accessAdd DNAAd MediaFamily History MapSupport(online materials)
Legacy Family Tree5Paid(has trial)YesYesYesYesYes
Family Historian 64.5Paid(has trial)YesNoYesYesYes
My Heritage Family Tree Builder4.5FreeYesYesYesYesYes
Roots Magic Essentials4.5FreeYesN/AYesYesNo



Best genealogy software to make family tree charts and reports


MyHeritage (recommended)


MyHeritage Family Tree Builder features one of the best ancestry view navigation tools. The hourglass view can expand the angle of view from descendants view to one person view to an entire generation view at once.

The software can merge relatives from other people’s family trees on the website. It has a high level of accuracy and automatically checks for duplicate entries in the family tree.

When entering dates, a pop-up calendar appears that supports French and Hebrew Revolution calendars. Reports and charts can display the family tree. Also, you can convert reports to PDF, RTF, or saved as HTML.

The software also allows you to upload directly to but not to any other website. The software also supports different types of marriages and gender need not be specified. You can even enter marital status as ‘engaged’ or ‘other’ in the case of complicated relationships.


Family Tree Heritage Platinum 8

family tree heritage 8 platinum interfaceFamily Tree Heritage Platinum 8 is a great software for creating your genealogy using. This tool is known for it’s organizing and sourcing possibilities and tools that you can use. You can easily make changes for one person and all other related events/persons will have the data changed as well.

This software has access to and in order to satisfy your searches. A great feature is that you can add sites that you know so you could create your own database inside your Family Tree Heritage edition.

The program does not focus on how a family tree looks: it is a tool for operating with data about your family rather than software for designing gift cards. However, it is one of the best tools that you can technically use to build your genealogy and we strongly suggest you give it a try.


Legacy Family Tree

legacy family tree software

Legacy Family Tree helps you create informative reports and appealing charts that help you visualize your ancestry and share your findings online. The Legacy Family Tree can link directly to popular genealogy sites like and FamilySearch. It comes with a built-in browser that allows you to research your online family directory and import your findings to your family tree.

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Legacy gives you a wealth of options to display your findings and you can choose from any of the 20 report templates provided. And if you prefer to display your findings in charts, you can choose from the 25 different charts available.

In addition to reports and charts, Legacy allows you to create a full web page for your family history. This comes in handy especially if you want to share with your family or intend to start a genealogy blog. The interface is smooth and uncluttered.

Legacy uses color-coding to define complex marriages and relationships. It also has inbuilt tools that check for duplicate entries. In addition to all the identification documents, Legacy also allows you to add media as sources. Legacy Family Tree is considered one of the best and affordable genealogy tree software.

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Gramps is another feature-rich family tree software that runs on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. This tool allows you to easily navigate or filter by name, ancestry, relationship, family, notes, media, repositories, sources, places, or events. The tool is extremely detailed and every entry gives more than you need.

For instance, in the ‘Place’ window, you will find entries for street, latitude, city, church, parish, etc. and you can add internet links to each place. Dates are based on different calendars including Islamic and Gregorian. For the dates, you have to specify if they are accurate or estimated.

Gramps generate very detailed reports that can either be printed on individual reports or put together like a jigsaw puzzle. You can copy-paste the citations and attach sources to family, people, multimedia, and events.

One unique thing about Gramps is that it supports all form of relationships and marriages, whether adoptive or same-sex.

Same-sex marriages are supported and each party is labeled as ‘spouse’. It even has a place for ‘cloned individuals’ where one person can be labeled as both the father and mother.

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Family Historian 6


If simplicity in a family tree is one of your greatest concerns, then Family Historian 6 is your best option. This software allows you to input details about a person’s entire life in just some few clicks.

The program is not limited in features. It comes with full web-enabled features, paperless charting, search window, an in-app browser, and other essential tools to map all family events.

The web hints tool connects you directly to MyHeritage, but can also connect you to other popular genealogy sites like and FamilySearch.

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Family Historian opens different dialogue boxes for different types of individual information like children, marriage, etc. Since the data is spread out in long vertical fields, it becomes very easy to modify and add more details related to an individual.

As you enter people’s places and locations, Family Historian plots these places on a world map. This way you can see how your family has spread out over the years.

The software also allows you to attach images of important events in the life of an individual such as wedding etc. You can also use the software to print reports and display charts.

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RootsMagic Essentials

RootMagic Essentials

RootsMagic Essentials is probably the most commonly recommended tool to use for all family-tree hobbyists. As the name states, it carries all the essential features of the premium genealogy solution called RootsMagic.

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An advantage of RootsMagic Essentials over some other tools is probably the simplicity, with the well-adapted interface. The variety of relationships you can add is also quite welcome. It includes adoptions and foster parents, while you can assign sound bites, photos, videos to every tree entry.

RootsMagic Essentials also has the Unicode support, importing family trees from other genealogy software solutions. It’s definitely a viable option and has more than enough things going for it, although not as much as some premium solutions we listed.

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The best family tree programs provide more than genealogical databases. They also double as good research tools. They have features that sync with online tree makes while connecting you to popular genealogy websites.

Though all of the programs discussed above offer very competitive features, Legacy Family 8 is our choice which also happens to be the most popular family tree software.

It’s also seamlessly links and explains complex relationships like adoptions, divorce, and remarriages that cause other programs to struggling.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.