Best Family Tree Builders

You can only discover your roots and learn about your family’s history with the right genealogical software. Luckily, there are programs that handle the work of starting and growing a family tree, so you can focus on the fun stuff!
Best Family Tree Builders
Last update on August 8, 2020
This is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. This website tries to cover important DNA kits but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. We appreciate your support by sharing this site with friends and family.
Advertising Disclosure
Recommended
MyHeritageDNA
  • Over 50 million family trees created
  • Software available for all OS & devices
  • Automatic discoveries about your ancestors
  • Free 14-day trial available
9.9
AWESOME!
Visit Website
  • Over 50 million family trees created
  • Software available for all OS & devices
  • Automatic discoveries about your ancestors
  • Free 14-day trial available
System Requirements:
Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android
Historical Records:
11.900.000.000
Trial Version Available:
Yes
Connect with Relatives:
Yes
Ancestry
  • The largest database in the world
  • Engage professional genealogists
  • Apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android
  • Take a look at other's public trees
9.8
AWESOME!
Visit Website
  • The largest database in the world
  • Engage professional genealogists
  • Apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android
  • Take a look at other's public trees
System Requirements:
Windows or Mac
Historical Records:
20.000.000.000
Trial Version Available:
Yes
Connect with Relatives:
No
OneGreatFamily
  • Free 7-day trial
  • Global database of over 250-million names
  • View an unlimited number of generations
9.6
VERY GOOD!
Visit Website
  • Free 7-day trial
  • Global database of over 250-million names
  • View an unlimited number of generations
System Requirements:
Windows or Mac
Historical Records:
110.000.000
Trial Version Available:
Yes
Connect with Relatives:
Yes
Findmypast
  • Simple cheek swab with pre-paid postage
  • Interactive maps showing migration histories
  • Free family tree builder
  • Maternal and paternal lineage tracing
9.4
VERY GOOD!
Visit Website
  • Simple cheek swab with pre-paid postage
  • Interactive maps showing migration histories
  • Free family tree builder
  • Maternal and paternal lineage tracing
GenealogyBank
  • Go back to newspapers from 1960
  • Largest online obituary collection
  • 13'000 newspaper titles from 50 states
  • 95% of newspapers are exclusive to them
9.2
VERY GOOD!
Visit Website
  • Go back to newspapers from 1960
  • Largest online obituary collection
  • 13'000 newspaper titles from 50 states
  • 95% of newspapers are exclusive to them
Genes Reunited
  • Free trial and different payment models
  • Import existing GEDCOM files
  • Many active community members
  • Organize & share ancestry photos safely
9
VERY GOOD!
Visit Website
  • Free trial and different payment models
  • Import existing GEDCOM files
  • Many active community members
  • Organize & share ancestry photos safely
Legacy 9.0 Family Tree
  • Searches through key databases
  • Organize your ancestors with hashtags
  • An incredible number of functions
  • You can create a cause of death chart
8.8
GOOD!
Visit Website
  • Searches through key databases
  • Organize your ancestors with hashtags
  • An incredible number of functions
  • You can create a cause of death chart
Legacy Tree Genealogists
  • Worldwide network for on-site research
  • They do all the research for you
  • Free consultation before you hire them
  • Highly detailed 73 pages report
8.5
GOOD!
Visit Website
  • Worldwide network for on-site research
  • They do all the research for you
  • Free consultation before you hire them
  • Highly detailed 73 pages report

What Is a Family Tree Builder? 

A family tree builder (also known as genealogy software) is a computer-based program that allows you to track your family’s lineage. The program is designed to take away the mundane parts of genealogy and highlight the fun aspects of researching, compiling, deducing, and building

Each piece of software comes with its own additional features designed to make your genealogical journey more enjoyable. For example, MyHeritage has a mobile app integration, a database of 12 billion historical documents, and the ability to contact genetic DNA matches who have also taken MyHeritage’s DNA ancestry test.

What Kind of Family Tree Builders Are Available? 

Most family tree builder software comes from genealogy companies offering a variety of tools to help you with your genealogical needs. This could include accessing historical documents or connecting family trees that overlap with one another. All of these programs exist online, though some offer the ability to be downloaded and saved so you can access anywhere, anytime. 

All of the best software – like those from MyHeritage and AncestryDNA – comes with the ability to import and export a Genealogical Data Communications (GEDCOM) file, which will allow you to share your tree with a lot of other family tree builder software, online and offline. 

What Kind of Additional Features Do Some Family Tree Builders Offer? 

The best family tree builders offer helpful features, making your family tree come to life! Companies like MyHeritage and AncestryDNA allow you to contact genetic relatives who have also taken the respective company’s DNA test. 

These companies have huge genealogy databases and give you access to billions of historical records, including marriage and death certificates, photos, newspaper mentions, military documents, etc. You’ll also benefit from extras like dedicated mobile applications and customer support services. 

MyHeritage even has an image colorizer that lets you colorize a black and white photograph in seconds – you can then put that new color photo onto your tree! We haven’t seen this feature offered by competitors. 

Why Should You Start Building Your Family Tree?

Figuring out who is part of your family is like finding all the pieces to the puzzle of your personal history. You’ll learn more about your ancestors who lived vibrant, interesting lives, and you’ll find related family members whose individual stories are related to you. You’ll also find familial relationships that tell you more about your own personal journey. 

With a family tree, you can call upon your global community to co-create the most beautiful story ever told about you and your family.

Frenquently Asked Questions

How do I start the process of building a family tree?

The first step is to sign up for a genealogy service. If you really want to jump-start your family tree building process, you should first take a genetic DNA test from a company that specializes in genealogy – like MyHeritage or AncestryDNA. Then you can use that company’s database to find genetic matches that can be added to your tree. After that, use the company’s easy-to-follow “how to’s” to start using the platform and growing your family tree.

What information do I need to start building a family tree?

To get started, you just need to fill in your personal details and as much information as you know about your family. Don’t worry if you don’t have too much information to start with – companies like MyHeritage have a “Smart Matching” algorithm, which will quickly suggest people for you to add to your tree. 

The best family tree builders also have large databases of historical records which you will get access to with a subscription, so you can find relatives throughout history and grow your tree.

Are most family tree builders subscription-based, or are they one-time fees?

Most family tree builders are subscription-based, and this is better. With a subscription model, companies want to keep you happy, so you’ll find that the product is frequently updated and additional features are offered. For example, AncestryDNA already has an impressive historical records database of 20 billion – and it adds two million more records every day! 

In comparison, one-time-fee products tend not to get updated after a while, and the customer service system doesn’t have as much of a reason to go above-and-beyond.

Is an online family tree builder safe to use?

Absolutely! Your online family tree portal is unique to you, and each company has safeguards in place to protect your sensitive data – things like password-protected databases and storage modules. MyHeritage even has a customer service policy that it won’t talk to anyone else about your account unless they first have confirmation from you that this is OK.

Is a free family tree maker any good?

Some free family tree makers are decent. But most, if not all, will only offer limited functionality until you pay for the premium software. This limited functionality – things like capping the number of relatives allowed on your tree and restricting access to important pieces of information – will cause you serious amounts of frustration over just a few dollars a month. 

While free family tree builders can work for a little bit, if you’re dedicated to building the biggest, fullest, and most accurate tree, you’ll need to sign up for a paid subscription, like the low-cost MyHeritage PremiumPlus plan.

Does family tree builder software work on all operating systems?

In general, all modern family tree builders will work on the major four operating systems – Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Your family tree provider will give you access to the online family tree management system where you’ll be able to edit and create your family tree.

Even if there’s no dedicated mobile app for building a family tree via the software’s management system, you’ll still be able to access it via your smartphone or tablet browser. That said, some companies – like MyHeritage – do offer dedicated iOS and Android apps.