Are you interested in discovering your family’s history and building a family tree? Genealogy software can help make this journey easier and save you time. Many people find it frustrating to trace their family’s roots manually, but with the right genealogy software, you can simplify the process.
I tested various family tree builders and looked into their features to find the best genealogy software options. After careful consideration, I’ve narrowed down the choices that are easy to use and have large databases.
Based on my tests, I highly recommend AncestryDNA. It has a big database and smart matching tools that help connect family members and reveal shared ancestry. The detailed reports and tools make it perfect for discovering your family’s story and connecting with relatives, both near and far. Plus, you can also start browsing its records and build your family tree for free with a 14-day free trial.
Short on time? Here are the best picks for genealogy software
- AncestryDNA – Largest database available, billions of records, and a comprehensive learning hub.
- MyHeritage – Find relatives and enhance your family tree with photos, music videos, and information from its vast database of records.
- FamilyTreeDNA – Great for finding new branches of your family tree.
- Findmypast – Ideal for British or Irish ancestry, with the ability to upload existing trees from elsewhere.
- LivingDNA – Tests your entire genome to provide accurate results when it comes to ethnicity and more.
- Nebula Genomics – Whole genome sequencing and consultations with genetics experts.
Our Best Genealogy Software Reviewed
- 14-day free trial
- Access to 27+ billion historical records
- Huge DNA database with over 16 million samples
- Hints to people and historical records
AncestryDNA is one of the best for tracking down records because it has the largest genealogy database available. There are over 13 billion records. These include marriage certificates, death records, military certificates, census data, and immigration records.
Even though there are billions of records, it’s really easy to find what you’re looking for. You can filter the search results by category, year, and country to make finding the right records even simpler. And we liked that you can preview each one to check it’s what you’re looking for before attaching it to your tree.
It also has a huge DNA database with over 16 million samples, which makes finding ancestors very easy, because there are more people on AncestryDNA than any other genealogy website. Of course, this only counts if your ancestors have actually taken the AncestryDNA test, but it saves a lot of research because it finds relatives for you.
You can find ancestors using the search tool just by searching their names and birth dates or places. Even with minimal information, we tracked down many ancestors.
The family tree builder is straightforward and intuitive. It comes with a shareable link. We really liked this feature as it lets you send your tree via email to another family member and give them editing authority, so they can help you with your research (if they have a subscription).
AncestryDNA helps you build your tree and finds links between you and other people by sending you hints. It can identify your long-lost ancestors and locates records that might be linked to your tree.
We were able to review these quickly and link them to ancestors’ profiles if they were a match. The only downside is that you don’t get email notifications, so you can only see hints when you’re logged in.
We found that some areas of the world are better represented than others, so it depends where you’re looking. There are millions of records from Europe, but not many from South Africa, for example.
We tried AncestryDNA’s mobile app and it was great for the most part. The only negative is that you can’t see ancestry member tree hints, so you have to be logged in from your PC to review these and link your trees.
You have access to a 14-day free trial, which is ideal for getting some free clues. It’s very well-priced, though, with a variety of subscription options available so you can find the best one for you.
You can also buy the DNA test to uncover more about your heritage and link your results to your tree.
- 19.4 billion historical records to explore
- Fun features like photo albums, music videos, and more
- Find relatives and add them to your tree
- Connect with people with interest in genealogy
MyHeritage is an excellent choice for anyone interested in exploring their family history and building their family tree. The platform offers a user-friendly experience combined with a wide range of features and tools to help you uncover and document your ancestry.
One of the standout features of MyHeritage is its vast database of historical records. With over 19.4 billion records from around the world, you’ll have access to an extensive collection of birth, marriage, death, census, and immigration records, among others. This wealth of data greatly enhances your chances of finding valuable information about your ancestors, making your research journey more fruitful and rewarding.
The family tree builder is another highlight of MyHeritage. The intuitive interface allows you to easily create and expand your family tree, adding relatives and connecting generations with a few clicks. The software also provides smart matching technology, which automatically searches its database to find potential matches between your tree and others in the community. This feature can be particularly useful in discovering new relatives and uncovering previously unknown branches of your family.
One aspect that sets MyHeritage apart is its DNA testing service. By submitting a DNA sample, you can gain insights into your ethnic origins and connect with DNA matches who share a common ancestry. The platform provides a comprehensive DNA matching system, enabling you to reach out to potential relatives and expand your family network.
Additionally, MyHeritage offers useful tools for collaboration and sharing. You can invite family members to contribute to your family tree, allowing for a collaborative effort in documenting your shared heritage. The platform also facilitates the sharing of photos, documents, and stories, making it easier to preserve and pass on your family’s legacy to future generations.
It’s worth noting that while MyHeritage offers a wealth of features, some of them require a subscription to access the full range of benefits. However, even with the free version, you can still build your family tree and make use of basic features.
- Build a family tree that spans generations
- Identify new relatives
- Explore historical records
- Results in several weeks
If you’re looking for genealogy software to trace your ancestors, FamilyTreeDNA is an excellent choice. With this software, you can easily build a detailed family tree that spans generations. You can add family members, record birth, death, and marriage dates, and include relevant family history. This feature allows you to create a visual representation of your family’s lineage and provides a platform to share your research with relatives.
FamilyTreeDNA’s ability to connect with a vast database of individuals who have taken DNA tests is another great feature. By using the Family Finder tool, you can find and connect with relatives you may not have known existed. The tool compares your DNA with other DNA samples in the database to identify relatives and provide an estimate of the degree of relationship. This feature can be especially helpful if you are adopted or have limited information about your family history.
In addition to building family trees and finding relatives through DNA testing, FamilyTreeDNA also offers Y-DNA and mtDNA testing. By analyzing specific markers on the Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA, you can determine where your ancestors originated and potentially find previously unknown branches of your family tree. This feature can be particularly beneficial if you have hit a dead-end in your research.
When you use FamilyTreeDNA, you also have access to an extensive library of historical records. You can search for and view birth, death, marriage, and census records, as well as immigration and naturalization records. This feature can be incredibly valuable if you are trying to fill in gaps in your family tree or confirm previously unknown information.
One thing to note about FamilyTreeDNA is that it may take several weeks or even months to receive your results. However, the service offers regular updates and communication to keep you informed of the progress. Once your results are ready, you can access them online and begin exploring your family history.
- 14-day free trial
- Over 8 billion historical records
- Hints to matching records
- Trace maternal and paternal lines with ancestral DNA testing
With Findmypast, you can access over 8 billion historical records in a database that contains more British and Irish entries than any other genealogy site. It’s one of my favorites for uncovering British and Irish ancestry and it’s always adding new records every week.
It has records going back hundreds of years, including immigration records, court records, and newspapers, so you can trace your ancestry back all the way to the 1500s. It goes deeper than a lot of other genealogy websites we’ve found, and we really liked that you can access historical newspapers so you can read even more about your heritage.
We also like the 1939 register, which tells you the precise location of people in England and Wales at the start of WW2. We were able to browse through handwritten letters, neighborhood maps, lists of household members, and much more.
The search function has loads of filters which is great for locating what you need. You can narrow down by category and extra sub-categories relating to different document types, plus type in extra keywords to help you.
The family tree builder comes with step-by-step advice from Findmypast’s genealogists to help you uncover your past. This includes links to possible ancestors, relevant records, and important information like missing birth dates. It helped our researcher track down their great-great-grandmother’s birth date and certificate.
You can see your tree mapped over 80 regions, which is a great added feature. And any relatives you add to your tree come with photos, facts, and timelines to help you dig deep into your ancestry. You can also upload these yourself.
If you’re interested in taking a DNA test, Findmypast’s ancestry kit uncovers your ethnicity percentages and allows you to track your maternal and paternal lines across the globe.
- Build an interactive family tree
- Test your genome for complete results
- Get information about your ethnic ancestry
- Results in 10-12 weeks
LivingDNA is a powerful genealogy software that can help you discover your family’s roots and trace your ancestors back through generations. With its advanced DNA testing capabilities, LivingDNA can provide you with detailed information about your ethnic ancestry and even help you connect with living relatives.
One of the most useful features of LivingDNA is its ability to create interactive family trees that allow you to easily visualize your family history. With LivingDNA’s family tree builder, you can quickly and easily add information about your ancestors, including their names, birth and death dates, and other important details. You can also add photos and documents to your family tree, creating a rich, visual record of your family’s history.
Another great feature of LivingDNA is its advanced DNA testing capabilities. By analyzing your DNA, LivingDNA can provide you with detailed information about your ethnic ancestry and even help you connect with living relatives. With LivingDNA’s DNA matching tool, you can discover relatives you never knew you had and build new connections with your extended family.
LivingDNA is also known for its comprehensive and accurate DNA testing process. Unlike other DNA testing companies, LivingDNA tests your entire genome, providing you with the most complete and accurate picture of your genetic ancestry. This means that you can trust the results you receive from LivingDNA and use them to build a more complete picture of your family’s history.
When you order a DNA test from LivingDNA, you can expect to receive your results in about 10 to 12 weeks. While this may seem like a long time, it’s important to remember that LivingDNA tests your entire genome, which is a much more comprehensive process than other DNA testing companies offer. The results you receive from LivingDNA will be highly detailed and accurate, giving you a complete picture of your genetic ancestry.
- Match with your relatives
- Build a visually appealing family tree
- Connect with genealogy experts
- Results in 1-3 weeks
Nebula Genomics provides you with access to a massive database of genetic information. This means that you can easily identify genetic matches with other individuals in the database, who might be your relatives. By connecting with these matches, you can learn more about your family history, and even uncover new information about your ancestors.
It uses cutting-edge algorithms to analyze your DNA and provide you with insights into your family tree. The software can help you identify your ethnic origins, determine your genetic predisposition to certain medical conditions, and even pinpoint your ancestors’ migration patterns. This information can be incredibly useful in tracing your family’s history and understanding your genetic heritage.
You can use its family tree builder to construct a visual representation of your family history. The software makes it easy to add new family members, connect them to your tree, and update information as you learn more. You can even share your family tree with relatives and collaborate on building a more complete picture of your family’s history.
If you need help interpreting your DNA, Nebula Genomics provides access to a team of genetic counselors. This means that you can be confident in the accuracy of your results and feel empowered to make informed decisions about your health and your family’s history.
What We Look for in the Best Genealogy Software
In our meticulous evaluation process, we focused on identifying companies that provide specific features, ensuring that you receive the utmost value for your investment.
- Ease of use: We sought out software that boasts an interface that is easy to navigate, equipped with intuitive search tools. This ensures that users of all proficiency levels, whether novices or genealogy experts, can comfortably navigate and utilize the software.
- Comprehensive records database: Our selection process favored companies that possess vast genealogy databases comprising a diverse range of archives. Whether you are searching for birth certificates, immigration records, or other relevant documents, opting for companies with extensive databases enhances your chances of finding the information you seek.
- Guidance through hints and tips: Recognizing the challenges of starting a genealogical journey, we prioritized companies that offer valuable hints and tips to assist you in your research. These resources can provide valuable guidance, particularly for individuals who are new to genealogy, helping them navigate the intricacies of tracing their family history.
- Value for money: Given that many genealogy software companies offer subscription-based services, we took great care to select companies that offer high-value packages. We assessed the regularity of new record additions and sought out unique features that set these companies apart. By choosing such providers, you can ensure that you receive an excellent return on your investment, with access to a wealth of new records and compelling features.
What’s in the Fine Print?
When choosing genealogy software, it’s essential to carefully consider the details, especially regarding recurring subscription fees. Take the time to assess the different plans available to understand the features and access level provided by each.
For instance, AncestryDNA offers a variety of features in its basic package, but if you require more extensive information on immigrant ancestors or access to unlimited international records, you may need to upgrade to the World Explorer plan.
Be cautious when considering free versions of genealogy software. They often come with limitations in terms of features and access to records, which can restrict the scope of your research. It’s important to choose a plan that aligns with your genealogy research needs.
What Can I Learn by Using Genealogy Software?
Genealogy software can uncover all kinds of information about your past and your ancestors. With genealogy research, you can:
- Explore billions of historical records relating to your ancestors, including birth, death, and marriage certificates
- Find your long-lost ancestors and connect with living relatives
- Map out your family tree and start to uncover your ancestry maps
- See where your family comes from and how they lived
How Our Top Choices Compare
|Top Feature||Free Trial||Ancestor Finder||Genealogy Records Hints & Tips||Starting Price|
|AncestryDNA||Access billions of historical records (more added daily)||✔||✔||✔||$0.00|
|MyHeritage||Enhance family tree with media||✔||✔||✔||$89.00|
|Findmypast||Huge bank of British and Irish records||✔||✔||✔||$0.00|
|LivingDNA||Tests your genome to get accurate results||✘||✔||✔||$105.00|
|Nebula Genomics||Consult with genealogy experts||✘||✔||✔||$249.00|
Start Your Genealogy Research and Uncover Your Past
Genealogy software is a great tool for exploring your heritage, finding your ancestors, delving deep into historical records, and ultimately, learning more about you and your family.
Ancestry is the best option with its easy-to-use family tree builder, automatic records finder, and DNA matching tool. It also sends you tons of tips to help you with your genealogy research and point you in the right direction.
Want to take a DNA test to help you build a bridge to your past? Check out our review of the 9 best DNA tests to find your perfect match.
Do you have to submit a DNA sample to use a family tree builder?
Absolutely not! But they can help.
Ancestry scans the database to find potential DNA matches, unlocking hidden relatives. Based on your shared DNA, you’ll know how you are related, and with their permission, you can contact these relatives and perhaps add whole branches to your family tree. You can add all of these ancestors to your family tree, too.
Can you upload raw data from a DNA kit to start building a family tree?
Companies that offer both family tree builders and DNA testing sometimes allow you to upload raw data from other companies to find matches in their DNA databases. This may save you the time and expense of having to get your DNA tested all over again. However, not all companies offer this service or accept raw DNA in certain formats, so you should check a company’s website to find out what your options are.
Can genealogy software prove you are related to someone?
Many of the family tree builders on this list provide automatic hints to matches of your relatives in genealogy databases. This can help you find individuals that seem to be related to you. AncestryDNA is our top pick for helping you track down ancestors.
For example, if you find a match to your Grandmother in a genealogy database, associated historical records may uncover more relatives you haven’t yet discovered.
Finding an entry in a genealogy database that matches the name and dates of a family member isn’t a guarantee that they’re your relation. It could simply be someone with the same name, so try to find more than one source of information to reinforce the familial connection before adding a new relative to your family tree.
Is a large genealogy database important when choosing a family tree builder?
The more historical records you can access, the likelier it is that you’ll find potential matches to relatives, which may lead you to photos and documents, as well as clues to as-yet-unknown family members.
Some geographical populations are better represented in some genealogy databases than others, which you should consider before choosing a subscription.
How can you find pictures of distant relatives?
Adding pictures of your distant relatives can really bring your family tree to life. However, it’s not uncommon to only have images of relatives going back a few generations, so where do you find pictures of your more distant ancestors?
Companies like Ancestry offer images as part of their historical records database. You can find these attached to different records and ancestors’ profiles. And you can upload them to your ancestors’ profiles, too.