Genealogy Software & Family Tree Research

Genealogy software programs provide a fast and accurate means with which to store, view and save your genealogy work. While the features vary from program to program, most of the largest genealogy software packages aim to provide similar services. This means you will likely see the same features between programs; the major differences, therefore, are often found with support services and ease of use.

If you want to find a comprehensive genealogy software program, aim to find a program that you can easily navigate and one that has clear directions and instructions for organizing and inputting your data and family tree research. Also, make sure the software program you choose features live tech support in case you need assistance anytime throughout the process. Good genealogy software programs should allow you to easily import, change, search and view your family's history. In short, you should be able to find a program that helps you create a truly comprehensive family tree, through the use of advanced features that are easy to understand and use.

Genealogy Software Reviews and Comparisons

With so many different genealogy software programs available online, it can be quite overwhelming to find a software program that is trustworthy and easy to use. We have therefore provided you with a comprehensive list of today's top genealogy and family tree software programs.

Free Genealogy Software

Free software packages (aka "freeware") may seem like the best road to travel, but that's not always the case. Because free software doesn't generally have a full company to support it, updates are rare, and help is quite difficult to find. You are often left to your own devices to understand and navigate the software. Furthermore, the software generally isn't as dependable as more professional products, which means that you are more likely to experience glitches or problems in the software.

Many Free, Shareware, or Demo Genealogy software programs are available online:

  • Free Family Tree Builder - Start building your family tree for free with Research your ancestors, then share your tree with family and friends on Facebook.
  • Bygones - Bygones is a free software program available for Windows & Macintosh; designed to enter and keep genealogical research notes on a personal computer.
  • Calendar Conversions - Fourmilab's calendar converter allows user to convert dates in a variety of calendars, including Gregorian, Julian, Hebrew, Islamic, Persian, French Republic and many more.
  • Family History Research - BYU's Center for Family History and Genealogy is a large organization that provides resources to simplify the finding of ancestors.
  • GEDCOM Standard release 5.5 - Developed by the LDS's Family History Department; its purpose is to foster the sharing of genealogical information and the development of a wide range of inter-operable software products to assist genealogists, historians, and other researchers.
  • Hypertext Indented Narrative (pedigree format) - Article on formatting genealogy data for the web; expands on Burke's Peerage format, which has been used for hundreds of years to document, on paper, the family tree of the Royal Family of England
  • LDS Family Search - FamilySearch is a service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is the largest genealogy organization in the world.
  • Legacy Family Tree - A comprehensive genealogy software program. This program is Windows-compatible only, but will run on Macs with Windows, as well as Linux machines with a Windows emulator. Choose from their Standard Edition (free) or Deluxe Edition (purchase from $29.95).
  • Lifelines - Lifelines is a free and open source genealogy program with versions for Unix-like, Mac, and Windows operating systems. Also take a look at their directory of sources and programs, featuring binaries for several Unix systems, including Linux.
  • Macintosh Genealogy Software FAQ - Information source of Macintosh genealogy programs; provides program descriptions and links.
  • Personal Ancestral File 4.0 - PAF is a Windows-based genealogical management program designed to help users organize their family records; can be downloaded free from
  • PSU genealogy FTP site - This directory contains utilities for, as well as information on, the PAF genealogy program.
  • Silicon Valley PAF Users Group - Now known as the Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group (SVCGG), the nonprofit organization is dedicated to improving the standards for family history research through classes, publications, and research tools.
  • Southern Oregon PAF Users Group - An organization of genealogists, family researchers, and hobbyists; the website is designed to help novice genealogists by providing resource information and links.
  • Utilities - An index of utilities which can create or operate GEDCOM files

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