Family Tree Software Comparison
Welcome to the Software Selection website where you will get an
independent review of the different family tree software packages
available for genealogy. Whether you are just beginning your family
history or a professional genealogist we hope that the reviews on this
site will help you make an informed decision about which software is
right for you.
We are not aligned to any particular manufacturer and not all the
software has to be paid for. The reviews include software that is
freely available for download
or websites with online
as well as high quality genealogy software
be purchased for use on your own computer.
Things to consider when choosing a method of storing your
- What exactly do you want to achieve? Do
you just want to record a few basic details about your relatives or are
you getting serious about your family history.
How much privacy does your family demand?
How much of your family data do you want to submit to an online
website? The dead people in your family may not be bothered about
privacy but parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins
may not want to see their details on the web so make sure you have full
control over your data.
- What is your level of ability in computing terms?
If all you want to do is record very basic details about your family
relationships then there are applications available at GenesReunited, Find My Past.com and Ancestry.co.uk
that will allow you to enter family data via a website screen. However
these sites can be frustrating if the screens are changed over a period
of months between your research sessions. A more stable approach would
be achieved by choosing a program according to your needs and
capability and then having it there on your own PC whenever you want to
update your family tree.
- Who is going to see the results?The
majority of family
members may be happy to look over the results of your research and the
more interesting it becomes the more likely they are to ask questions.
Whilst a printed version of events is probably essential for older
family members, consider the needs of the next generation of computer
literate youngsters in the family who may be more comfortable clicking
and browsing family details as they would browse the internet.
- Archiving your data?Consider the amount
of time you are
putting into the family research and decide how best to archive it for
future generations to access. You may decide that leaving it in digital
format is fine but consider the ease with which you would be able to
access a computer storage device from 25 - 30 years ago compared to a
book printed 120 years ago. An average generation is usually about 30
years so data could easily be lost, especially if the interest in your
family's history skips a generation before someone takes more than a
passing interest again.
- Cost? A short term saving achieved by
using a free online
service can be very beneficial if you are undecided about whether to
make genealogy a long term hobby. If you decide to go for a family tree
software package to go on your home computer then make sure you
carefully consider what features you really need to avoid paying too
much for a program that is over complicated to learn. However beware as
the older cheaper packages are sometime more difficult to use than the
higher priced modern applications.
Why bother with software on your PC when it can all be done
Here we compare the differences between keeping your family tree online
and on a personal computer or laptop at home. However there is
best-of-both-worlds solution outlined below the table.
|Storing your family tree data online at a site such as
Ancestry, FindMy Past, Facebook etc
Compare free websites
- Free or low cost access to basic online facilities.
- Other family members can be given access to your data.
- The site is always up-to-date with your latest
- Enables distant relatives who share a common ancestor
to make contact with you.
- Access your information from anywhere in the World.
- You may download your data and submit it to other
websites for publication.
- Privacy and security could be compromised.
- Host organisation has access to your data.
- Limited storage for notes, sources and other
interesting stories about your ancestors.
- Very limited range of charts.
- Little or no reporting.
- Relies on relatives knowing where to look to find
- Difficult to determine if the site will still be
around in 10, 25, 50 or 100 years time for your descendants to access.
- Host organisation will keep altering the software to
stay ahead of other website applications.
|Recording your tree in a family tree program on your
Compare family tree
- Once only cost of purchasing software. It is yours to
use for as long as you wish.
- You may store sensitive family data knowing you are
the only person who has access to it.
- More fields for storing data and notes etc.
- Much better methods of recording sources.
- Usually a much higher standard of reports and charts.
- The software will not change between sessions. Once
have learnt to use the program it will remain the same until you decide
- Some software programs will allow you to create basic
- Better quality programs will allow you to create PDF
files of diagrams/reports to distribute to relatives via email.
- Software will allow you to be very selective about
information to submit to online websites via the Gedcom transfer
- Initial cost can be between £10 -
£40 for a PC application or £70 for MAC
- Not so easy to give others access to your work in
- You will have to pay to upgrade the software every
few years if you want to keep up to date with software technology.
- You need to be organised to keep backups away from
the PC in case of hardware failure, theft or fire etc.
If you decide to keep you data on a computer at home then you will be
able to output sections of your data to upload onto the many online
websites to assist you with your research. Your data will be secure and
you will be able to produce elaborate charts and reports that are not