Compare Genealogy Software Programs

Welcome. It’s good to see you again. About now, you might be considering if you need a Genealogy Software Program on your PC. Let’s talk about that for a minute.

If you have joined one or more of the Genealogy Websites and feel having the ability to build your tree or pedigree and print reports is all you need at this point, that is great.

There is nothing wrong with exclusively keeping and accessing your tree or pedigree in an online genealogy website.

That is the point these Powerful Genealogy Websites are your focus; if you are researching primarily online, they help you with your research by giving you hints, matches, or task suggestions.

After all these websites have the digitized record sources, you are looking for to find your ancestors.

I naturally use websites, having my pedigree chart on a few, because I research most of my time online.

And remember, you already have your filing system with your Pedigree Chart, Family Group forms, etc., to keep a paper trail.

So, do I need a Genealogy Software Program?

To answer the above question:

Yes, if you plan to do extensive research and have a quest or passion for going back as many generations as possible on all surname lines and extended families.

Possibly Yes, if you are doing moderate research and want to have your 8-generation pedigree complete with extensive family information. You also can carry this out by using genealogy websites.

Probably No, if you are doing genealogy research as a hobby and with not a lot of time to spend on research but want to find your ancestors.

As we talked about in the article, Genealogy Research Sites – Let’s Compare is your primary easy-access tool for research.

Compare Genealogy Software Programs

Yes, Tell me more about Software Programs

As you get deeper into your research, you might want to consider a software program. My reasoning’s are:

  1. A software program allows you more control over what information you add to an ancestor.
    • My reasoning is, as you find information that you think is beneficial to your ancestor, either from a source document or another’s family tree, you need to make sure that this information is correct.
    • Yes, your website will let you save the document for viewing later and once verified attach to the ancestor, that will work.
    • But what I find especially useful is to be able to enter the information into my PC software program and use that info while researching my ancestor, to help find verification or more information.
    • Once I am confident of the correct info with confidence and have sources to prove my claims, and I am ready to share with the public.
    • I will go to my website tree or pedigree and attach the document or information discovered.
    • It is easier to correct for own program (using notes to document the changes) than to have to make corrections online.
    • With your program, you can also make tons of notes to explain your reasoning.
  2. Most genealogy programs have research links to several of the search websites, which is very convenient.
  3. The ability to work in your program adds and edits as needed off-line.
  4. The ability to attach or sync your information on an ancestor to the search websites.
  5. Print all types of reports and charts.

Below you will find information to compare genealogy software programs. I have carefully reviewed each software program and what they have to offer.

Compare Genealogy Software Programs

Genealogy Software Programs – Desired Features

Here is a list of the Key Features w/definition we would want to see in a software program.


  1. Pedigree view: The feature Tab on the main screen. Shows all ancestors in a pedigree usually displays five generations at a time, as many generations as needed.
    • Pedigree report: This feature prints pedigree of any individual in the database, several generations per sheet.
  2. Family view: Has a feature Tab on the main screen. Upon opening the tab, there’s a view of parents, children, and highlighted person parents.
    • Family Group report: Printed report of a selected family with several options of included information.
  3. Name list: Feature Tab on the main screen. List of all individuals in the database.
    • Research Manager: Review and manage all the To-Do items missing info you need to complete about an individual.
  4. Individual view: There is a Feature Tab on the main screen that shows a full view of all the information in your database on the highlighted person plus sources.Individual chart/narrative report: Printed Individual summary with several print options, including DNA.
  5. Timeline view: Here, the Featured Tab on the main screen shows a full view of the Timeline of highlighted persons based on info in the database.
    • Mapping: The ability to find places ancestors have lived via internet map connection.


  1. Descendant charts: You can Print pedigrees of descendants of any individual in the database.
    • Descendant narrative report: Printed report of descendants of any individual in the database with options to the information displayed and style of chart.
  2. Ancestor charts: Printed chart of ancestors from any starting individual in the database.
    • Ancestor narrative report: Printed report of ancestors of any individual in the database with options for information displayed and chart style.
  3. Name variants: The ability to record individual AKA, also known as, etc.
    • Research guidance: When in pedigree tab suggestions can be made then connect directly to website searches engines.
  4. Conflicting evidence: If you want to edit a collaborative database, you must first Check Out the file to obtain exclusive editing rights and prevents two researchers from making conflicting changes simultaneously.
    • Source surety: the Quality code is a sign of how reliable the source is, this helps evaluate multiple sources for an event.

The following comparison chart shows several software programs that are active and still providing updates, there were a couple more that I left off the list that is still downloadable, but they have not had an update for many years.

Comparison of Genealogy Software Programs

Download (PDF, 104KB)

As you can see, there are a few programs to consider as we compare genealogy software programs, they all have some unique features primarily in their appearance, that alone attracts our attention.

You will find it highlighted in a darker shade of blue four programs that have all the key features and then some, the most prominent feature being direct Research Suggestions to Search Websites, conflicting evidence, and source surety. Each of these software programs has free program downloads (not a free trial) that have excellent features. Later, when your file gets more significant, and you need more features, you can upgrade. Pricing is very reasonable, and if you are serious about extensive genealogical research, either one would be a great choice.

But if I was starting and new to the word of genealogy research and wanted a software program on my PC.

I would be seriously looking at downloading *FAMILY TREE BUILDER by My Heritage; as you remember, My Heritage is a genealogy research website. Once you join, the program is free to download. Also, their software program would have a direct connection to their search website, a neat feature.

Compare Genealogy Software Programs

My favorite

is *ANCESTRAL QUEST it has everything I need, and I am still finding more features I didn’t know it had, and an excellent price to upgrade in Windows or Mac. I could go on and on about everything I like about it, but that would take another article, that can come later.

Software Programs

  • Ahnenblatt: is a good starter program. I liked the setup.
  • Brother’s Keeper: is too high a price for what you are getting.
  • Family Historian: I like their setup but a bit pricey as well.
  • Family Tree Maker: excellent program but the price too high.
  • GEDitCOM II: This program is beautiful but too expensive, and Mac users only.
  • Genbox Family History: It has lots of features and a reasonable price.
  • GenEarth: is a Microsoft app and a high price. (Update 2019 does not exist anymore)
  • Genney: has excellent features, the site is in Swedish, and once downloaded, you can change to English if needed.
  • Gramps: has incredible features and a free download you might want to consider; they do ask for a voluntary donation.
  • *LEGACY FAMILY TREE: has all the essential features and more their free download Legacy 9 Standard Edition all would need a while and several great price bundles to choose from when upgrading.
  • MacFamily Tree: has a genuinely lovely setup but is Mac only and naturally works on all Apple devices.
  • My Family Tree: is a Microsoft app free to download.
  • Reunion: is a Mac-only, genuinely lovely, and very pricey.
  • *ROOTS MAGIC: All the key features and more their fee download RootsMagic Essentials has all the features you would need for a while and an excellent price when you decide to upgrade.

Please check-out the following links and see which website you are most interested in and if you have any questions let me know I would love to help.

Please leave a comment with your opinion on the topic of genealogy software I can help you with, please ask.

Thanks for taking the time.



8 thoughts on “Compare Genealogy Software Programs”

  1. Rose,
    Just reading this article (Compare Genealogy Software Programs), hoping for some advice. I am a casual hobbyist that tunes in and out of researching genealogy. I currently own Family Tree Maker 2012 Essentials and have come to realize it isn’t being supported any longer. In your opinion is better to switch over to another program and if so, which one? Thank you in advance!

    • Hello Kim,
      Thank you for taking the time to read Compare Genealogy Software Programs. Seeing you are like most of us and find it hard to find the time to devote to genealogy research. My suggestion would be Ancestral Quest Software; it’s inexpensive; and starts at 34.95 has everything you would ever need from beginner to professional. The cool thing is you can search for your ancestors from the software as it connects to your favorite websites like FamilySearch (free to everyone no annual fees), Ancestry, MyHeritage, FindMyPast and more.
      Also, if you are only able to devote a small amount of time to your research AQ is the best software. And paired with FamilySearch, you have the perfect inexpensive combination the price of the software only and no yearly fees.
      As much as I like Family Tree Builder Software, which is free to download, you would still need a membership. Their plans are a good value when you consider the free software download, and their software connects directly to their Website.,

      Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. I would love to hear about the choice you made.

      Kindest Regards

  2. I have always wanted to be able to trace my family lineage but it has always been so hard. I have tried using Ancestry, familysearch, and other sites but it has been hard to get the information that I require. But this Genealogy Software Program sounds so in-depth. It comes with so much information and I will definitely be checking out this software as it might just be what I have been looking for.

    • Hello Stacii, Searching for your ancestors isn’t a simple task but have the battle is the desire to find your ancestors and you have that desire. I am not sure how long ago it was when you searched last but keep in mind that new microfilm, microfiche, records are being indexed and digitized daily so give it some time and try again. A Genealogy software program does help in that it connects to popular websites directly and all the info you have entered into your file about your ancestor is ready to be used in your search. They are extensive in what they can do, but you do not have to learn everything about the program to get started. It would be an excellent choice to check them out and when you decide and need some assistance, let me know.

      Thank you for responding and taking the time.

      Kindest Regards


  3. Researching my families genealogy is on my list of things to do when I retire. I really appreciate how you listed all the software programs available and made comments about them. This will help me when I’m ready to choose a software program for the job and will for sure checkout Ancestral Quest. Thank you for this post!

    • Hello Jackie, I understand why searching for your ancestors is on your to-do list, I have been there myself. It is time-consuming and so rewarding when you have the time to spend, but you already know that seeing it is on your to-do list. I’m glad that you found that the list of software programs will be of use when you are ready to get started. If by chance you find some time to do some research before retiring, please return and check out the section Chronological reading order, you will find the information you need to get started. Thank you for taking the time. 

      Kindest Regards


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