Constructing a family tree is an enjoyable method of delving into your family’s past. However, it can become daunting without the proper tools. What you need is a user-friendly solution that simplifies the process of creating your tree while offering valuable insights into your ancestors’ details.
I dedicated considerable time to evaluating various family tree builders, and assessing their user-friendliness, information retrieval capabilities, and tree design features. Based on this thorough analysis, I’ve identified the top-notch genealogy software available.
My top pick is AncestryDNA. It’s easy to use, has a lot of information about family history, and lets you design your tree the way you want. Plus, it works well with Ancestry’s DNA tests, so you can get a full picture of your heritage. Best of all, Ancestry lets you try their family tree builder for free.
Short on time? Here are our top picks of family tree builders
- Trees by AncestryDNA – Our top pick thanks to its 14-day free trial; has the largest database of family trees and allows you to access billions of historical records and comprehensive learning hub.
- MyHeritage – A very affordable option, with a free trial available; allows you to design your family tree with images, music, and can even improve old images through its software.
- LivingDNA – DNA test-based service which allows you to find your siblings and even learn more about your health and how your genes affect your nutritional needs, health risks, and more.
- FamilyTreeDNA – Traces your maternal and paternal linage, and allows you to build a family tree, as well as share it with other people.
- Nebula Genomics – Easy and accurate family tree building with whole genome sequencing available.
- FindMyPast – Great features to bring your family tree to life.
What We Looked For in the Best Family Tree Builders
To determine the best family tree builders, we researched a number of important criteria that contributes to user experience:
- Usability – We tested each family tree builder thoroughly to make sure they were easy-to-use for even the most novice genealogist.
- Historical records – Without access to historical records, it’s difficult to progress your family tree beyond your personal knowledge. We ensured each family tree builder allowed easy access to historical records, either with integration with other genealogy websites or directly.
- Price – Are you getting features and services that are worth the subscription fees or one-off download cost?
- Features – Are there any unique features that enhance your family tree and genealogy research? Is there a wide variety of charts and reports to choose from?
- Shareability – Sharing your family tree is a large part of the genealogy journey, so is the tree easy to share with your relatives with attractive print outs or on your own website?
Best Family Tree Builders Reviewed
- 14-day free trial
- 27+ billion historical records
- DNA database with 18 million samples
- Integrated hints to historical records
You don’t need to worry about compatibility issues with Trees by Ancestry as everything is done online through your Ancestry account – no software download required.
It costs nothing to start building your tree, courtesy of a 14-day free trial, which allows you to test out a bunch of premium features including access to over 27 billion historical records, DNA matching to a DNA database of Ancestry users, and visually-appealing charts.
Track the movements of your ancestors around the globe with access to ancestral information from over 80 countries and learn about the events that shaped their lives on their journey.
- 19.4 billion records in the database
- 62 million family trees built with MyHeritage
- Intuitive, interactive, and user-friendly
- Find relatives and connect with them
MyHeritage is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a powerful and user-friendly family tree builder. With its intuitive interface and robust features, it offers a seamless experience for both beginners and seasoned genealogists.
One of the standout features of MyHeritage is its extensive database, which includes billions of historical records and an active global community of users. This vast collection makes it easier to discover and add new branches to your family tree. Whether you’re searching for birth certificates, census records, or immigration documents, MyHeritage provides a wealth of resources to help you uncover your family’s history.
Creating a family tree on MyHeritage is a breeze. You can start by inputting basic information about yourself and your immediate family members, and then gradually expand it by adding more generations. The platform provides helpful hints and suggestions to guide you along the way, ensuring that you don’t miss any vital connections.
One of the most impressive aspects of MyHeritage is its Smart Matches technology. This feature automatically compares your family tree with others in the database and suggests potential matches. It greatly simplifies the process of finding relatives and collaborating with others who share common ancestors. The Smart Matches system even notifies you of new discoveries, saving you valuable time and effort in your research.
In terms of privacy and security, MyHeritage takes user data protection seriously. They implement robust encryption and offer various privacy settings to ensure that you have control over who can access your family tree and DNA data. This commitment to privacy is reassuring, especially when dealing with sensitive and personal information.
- Connect with relatives and expand your tree
- Search through billions of records
- Integrate your DNA test data
LivingDNA offers a comprehensive and user-friendly platform for building your family tree and exploring your ancestry. With its intuitive interface and robust features, it makes the process of discovering your roots an engaging and informative experience.
The platform’s family tree building capabilities are impressive. You can easily create and expand your family tree, adding multiple generations, siblings, and extended family members. LivingDNA allows you to attach photos, documents, and stories to each individual, making your family tree come to life with rich and meaningful details.
One standout feature of LivingDNA is its integration with DNA testing. By combining your genetic data with the family tree you build, LivingDNA provides insightful DNA-driven ancestry reports and matches you with potential relatives who share a common genetic heritage. This integration adds a fascinating dimension to your family tree research and enhances your understanding of your familial connections.
- DNA testing for ancestral origins and family connections
- Extensive database for potential DNA matches
- Surname projects for in-depth research
- Collaboration tools to engage family members
FamilyTreeDNA offers excellent family tree building capabilities, making it a valuable tool for exploring your genealogical roots. With its user-friendly interface, you can easily create and organize your family tree, capturing generations of your ancestors and descendants.
Creating your family tree is a breeze with FamilyTreeDNA. The platform provides a straightforward process, allowing you to add individuals, link relatives, and include essential details such as birth, marriage, and death dates. You have the flexibility to customize and expand your tree as your research progresses.
FamilyTreeDNA recognizes the importance of collaboration in genealogy research. You can invite family members to contribute to your tree, making it a collective effort. By sharing access, you can work together to uncover connections, share photos, and exchange valuable information, enhancing the richness of your family history.
- Seamless integration with existing genetic data
- Accurate ethnicity estimates and familial relationship analysis
- Intuitive and visually appealing family tree builder
- Access to comprehensive research tools and databases.
Nebula Genomics offers a robust set of tools and features to help you build your family tree with ease and precision. With their user-friendly interface and advanced genetic analysis techniques, you can uncover fascinating insights into your ancestry and create a comprehensive family history.
You can seamlessly upload your genetic data from various sources, such as 23andMe or AncestryDNA, to Nebula Genomics. Their platform supports a wide range of file formats, ensuring compatibility and convenience.
Nebula Genomics employs cutting-edge algorithms to analyze your genetic data in-depth. By cross-referencing your DNA markers with vast genomic databases, they provide accurate ethnicity estimates and uncover familial relationships.
- Extensive historical record collection
- Intuitive interface for easy family tree building
- Smart matching technology for discovering new connections
- Collaborative tools for sharing and verifying information
FindMyPast offers a user-friendly platform for building your family tree, providing a range of helpful features to assist you along the way. You can easily input information about your relatives, including names, dates of birth, marriage, and death, and even upload photographs to bring your family tree to life.
FindMyPast’s advanced algorithms scan their extensive database to automatically match your family tree with relevant historical records and other users’ trees. This can help you discover new branches and connections you might not have known about.
It also provides access to an extensive collection of historical records, including census data, birth and marriage records, military records, and much more. This wealth of information can help you add depth and context to your family tree.
How to Build a Family Tree
Building a family tree is a wonderful way to discover more about your family’s history, learn about your ancestors, and connect with distant relatives. Here are some steps you can take to create your own family tree:
- Start by gathering information: Before you can begin building your family tree, you’ll need to gather information about your family members. Talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and ask them about your family’s history. Record everything they tell you, including names, dates, and places.
- Use online resources: There are many online resources available that can help you build your family tree. Websites like AncestryDNA offer tools to help you research your family history and build your family tree.
- Create a family tree chart: Once you have gathered all the information you need, it’s time to start building your family tree. You can create a family tree chart by hand or use online software to make it easier. Start with yourself at the bottom of the chart and work your way up, adding your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.
- Organize your information: As you add more people to your family tree, it can become difficult to keep track of all the information. Be sure to organize your information in a way that makes sense to you. You may want to use color-coding or different symbols to represent different branches of your family.
- Share your family tree: Once you have created your family tree, consider sharing it with your relatives. You may be able to connect with distant cousins and learn even more about your family history. You can also use social media to share your family tree and connect with others who are interested in genealogy.
- Continue to update your family tree: Your family tree is never really “finished.” As you discover more about your family’s history, be sure to add that information to your family tree. You can also use DNA testing to learn more about your ancestry and connect with distant relatives.
By following these steps, you can build a family tree that will help you discover more about your family’s history and connect with your relatives.
Types of Family Tree Software
When it comes to building your family tree, there are several types of software available to make the process easier and more organized. Each type has its own unique features and benefits. Let’s explore a few popular options:
- Desktop software: This type of family tree software is installed directly on your computer. It provides a comprehensive set of tools and features to create, edit, and manage your family tree offline. Examples of desktop software include Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Maker, and Gramps. Desktop software is great for those who prefer to work offline or have more control over their data.
- Online platforms: Online family tree platforms, such as AncestryDNA, offer web-based tools to build and maintain your family tree. These platforms often have extensive databases, historical records, and collaborative features, allowing you to connect with other researchers and explore your family’s history together. They are convenient for accessing your tree from any device with internet access and offer integration with DNA testing services for additional insights.
- Mobile apps: Mobile apps like My Family Tree, Findmypast, and FamilySearch Tree provide a portable solution for building and updating your family tree on the go. These apps usually sync with online platforms, allowing you to access your tree from your smartphone or tablet. With mobile apps, you can easily capture and add information, upload photos, and search for records while on the move.
- Genealogy software suites: Genealogy software suites like RootsMagic and Heredis offer a comprehensive range of features for researching and documenting your family history. These suites often combine desktop software with online connectivity, providing you with the best of both worlds. They allow you to sync your tree with online databases, collaborate with other researchers, and generate detailed reports and charts.
- Open-source software: If you prefer flexibility and customization options, open-source family tree software might be the right choice for you. Programs like Gramps and GeneWeb are free to use and allow you to tailor your family tree to your specific needs. With open-source software, you can modify the software’s code and add your own features or extensions.
When selecting family tree software, consider your preferences, the scope of your research, and the level of collaboration you desire. You may even choose to combine different types of software to leverage their unique strengths. Ultimately, the software you choose should provide a user-friendly interface, helpful features, and a seamless experience for exploring your family’s fascinating history.
Best Family Tree Builders: Comparison Table
|Genealogy Records||Record Matches||DNA Upload||GEDCOM Import||Phone Support||Mobile App|
What software and devices work with family tree builders?
It’s never been easier to build your family tree. There are many benefits of genealogy software over the old fashioned way, with pen and paper. Not only can you easily rectify mistakes, but you also have billions of historical documents at your fingertips. Most of the best family tree builders on this list can be used online or are compatible with both Windows and Mac. Many also have apps for iOS and Android.
Which family tree maker is the best?
Each family tree builder has its own pros and cons. Some have large databases of historical records to help with research into your ancestors. Others give you ways to connect with relatives linked to your tree. It’s important to determine what features matter the most to you before choosing your genealogy software.
Our top pick is AncestryDNA as it scores well in all the areas we tested. A subscription lets you access more than 27 billion historical records, connect with other users who are potential relatives, and even link DNA test results to your tree.
Can I build my family tree for free?
Yes, anumber of family tree builders on this list – including Ancestry – offer unlimited free trials, so you can try out all the software has to offer, risk-free.
How can you protect your privacy when building your family tree?
Built into most family tree software is the option to make your tree public (visible to others) or private (only visible to you). However, doing so can limit your ability to connect with other potential relatives.
How can you find pictures of distant relatives?
Adding pictures of your distant relatives to your tree the fun part and it can really bring your charts and reports to life. The majority of the family tree builders on our list allow you to add media to your tree, and some even have photo editing software.
What if you only have photographs of relatives going back a couple of generations? Where do you find pictures of your more distant ancestors?
A simple web search may provide you with some images of your ancestors, particularly if they appeared in newspaper articles or submissions to Wikipedia. But, if you don’t get lucky, subscribing to a genealogy – like MyHeritage or Ancestry – may unveil photos of your distant relatives in their archives.