Best Genealogy Software Programs – Your Top 5

By | March 19, 2018

There are several choices when it comes to selecting software to create your family tree. But what are the best genealogy software programs that you can purchase? Do you know which one to buy? Which family tree program is right for you?

Best Genealogy Software Programs

* Affiliate Disclaimer *

Here I will give an overview of the five best genealogy programs that you can purchase today. If you are after complete genealogy software reviews then please click on the link at the end of the product review which will give you a fuller overview of the program.

These programs are in my opinion the best on the market today. Each of them have their certain qualities and features that make them stand out on their own. So have a look at what they offer and whether they are right for you!

The Top 5 Best Genealogy Software Programs To Buy:

Legacy Family Tree          Family Historian 6        Family Tree Maker 2017

RootsMagic 7          Family Tree Heritage 9

Comparing The Competition!

Legacy 9 Family Historian 6 Family Tree Maker 2017 RootsMagic 7 Family Tree Heritage 9
Rating 5/5 4/5 4/5 3/5 3/5
Platform Disc and Download Disc Download Disc and Download Disc and Download
Compatible Windows Windows Windows and Mac Windows and Mac Windows and Mac
Connects FamilySearch, Find A Grave, FindMyPast, GenealogyBank, MyHeritage FindMyPast, MyHeritage FamilySearch, Ancestry FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindMyPast, MyHeritage FamilySearch, Ancestry
Bottom Line
Best All Round Software Easy To Use Most Popular Offers A Lot Best For Printing

Bonus Program Review:

Ancestral Quest 15 – The best for storing large family trees!

Please note

All of these genealogy programs can be used on a Windows computer, (exception Family Tree Heritage 9 and Ancestral Quest 15 which can both work on both Windows and Mac).

These family tree programs are available to purchase from either the US or UK. Please check from the sellers that I have included if you can purchase your choice of program from outside of these countries.

When you have finished reading these family tree software reviews you may want to head over to Top Ten Reviews where there is a Top 10 Best Genealogy Software of 2018 guide. Just thought that I would put that out there for you!


What To Expect From A Genealogy Software Program?

Before I show you my top pick of the best genealogy programs that you can buy today I first want to discuss what you should be looking for in a program. Or rather what should come standard with a genealogy software program.

What To Expect From A Genealogy Software Program

Genealogy Software Program Requirements:

  • Build a family tree – Pretty obvious that you want a program to do this, but you do want a program where you can easily create a tree and add your relatives and all of their details. You want to add their name, important dates, locations, any notes, etc.
  • Add media – Genealogy software programs these days allow you to add multimedia to members of your family tree. These can include pictures, videos and even sound clips or your relatives.
  • Add your DNA results – As DNA genealogy testing has become increasingly popular these days it is only right that you have somewhere to store your results. This information can also be stored in your program.
  • Produce charts – A program should be able to produce relationships charts based on the family tree that you have created. You can expect hourglass, pedigree and fan charts to name but a few.
  • Produce reports – Reports are a great way to easily see information about your family tree. You can expect family, descendant and a genealogy report at least from these programs.
  • Map your ancestors – The best programs should allow you to see the migration of your ancestors. They should as well show you where they were born, married and died, and also other important events.
  • Create books, CDs, and a website – Not only can you produce charts and reports but there are other ways that you can showcase your family tree. Most programs these days will allow you to create a book that you can print out and share with your family. Creating CDs and a website should also be an option.
  • Import & export – If you have already created tree elsewhere then you should be able to upload it into your new software program. Alternatively you will also be able to export your tree so that you can then pass it onto other family members. Doing so means that you can work together on your genealogy.
  • Getting tips – The best thing about using a program is that you can get tips or hints for building your tree further. This is possible as they can be connected to popular genealogy search websites such as Ancestry, FindMyPast and FamilySearch. Be advised though that to access this additional information you will need a subscription to these sites.
  • Getting support – You should also get basic support such as help files, telephone and email support. You can also get access to video tutorials and maybe forums on the respective company’s website.

1. Legacy 9 – The Best Genealogy Program Available Today!

Regarded as the best family tree software on the market today. Legacy 9 has got this title because of the many features it contains. This software offers a lot of different chart types to the user, which is the most compared to any other program that is available. As well as charts you can also display your results in the form of a webpage.
Legacy Family Tree

Legacy 9 Product Details

Legacy 9
Rating 5 Stars
Normal Price Bundles vary from $34.95 to $99.95
Discounted Price (upgrading from Legacy 8) Bundles vary from $26.95 to $89.95
Platform PC Disc and Download
Compatible Windows
Features Charts, Reports, Maps, Hashtags, Color Coding, and more!
Connects FamilySearch / Find A Grave (FREE); FindMyPast / GenealogyBank / MyHeritage (PAID)
Help and Support FAQs, User Groups, Email
Place To Buy Legacy Family Tree Store
Full Review What’s New With Legacy 9?
Previous Version Legacy 8 Full Review (read more what Legacy can do here)
Bottom Line All Round Software

What Does Legacy 9 Offer You?

Legacy 9 can link you to popular genealogy sites such as FamilySearch and Ancestry to further help with your research. It also has an embedded browser so that you can find information and import it into your tree easily. So you don’t have to switch between computer programs and lose your concentration.

Credit:   Legacy Family Tree

The color coding system makes your tree simple to follow!

Legacy 9 makes adding multiple marriages easy to follow as you can color code different spouses and descendants. Errors are flagged with red warning symbols so that you can clearly spot any mistakes that may have been entered.

This program allows you to add comprehensive information when citing any record. It is important for any family historian to record where they found information regarding their ancestor. By adding all relevant information then you will be able to know where to return to your ancestor’s record if you need to.

What Are The Drawbacks Of This Program?

Unfortunately even the best program does have its drawbacks. One disadvantage is that you do not have the option of adding same-sex marriages to your family tree. There is however a planned update to rectify this.

One earlier drawback with the previous version, Legacy 8, was that there were no web-hints available to you. I am pleased to announce now with this latest version of the Legacy Family Tree software that they are now available.

Legacy 9 Is Still The Best Software Program!

Despite this minor flaw Legacy 9 is still a great investment to help you research your family history. So if you want to make a start and find out about your ancestry then check out the Legacy Family Tree Store.

Read more what about Legacy 9 by checking out my What’s New With Legacy 9?  post. Here you will see what has been improved on and what has been added to the best genealogy software program that you can buy today.

Many Reasons Why Legacy 9 Is Far Superior Than Any Program Today!

There are too many reasons for me to list and describe here. But I will point out a few reasons why you should consider Legacy 9 as your genealogy software program.

Top 5 reasons why Legacy 9 is superior:

  1. Customize the interface – If you are not completely satisfied with the layout of the program then no worries. You can customize it however you feel.
  2. Huge capacity – Add as many people to your family tree as you like. And also information about your ancestors. You are not limited to size with this program.
  3. Powerful and intelligent merging – If you have more than one file of information then you can easily merge all of this into the one file. Ancestral Quest makes it very easy to see the differences between the files.
  4. Powerful searching capabilities – With any program you want to find your ancestor and their information effortlessly. This is easily done with the search function of the program. This is performed by a simple fill-in-the-blanks form or by using a powerful detailed search.
  5. QuickFill fields – This is one of the best features of the program in my opinion. When you are entering information the program will automatically fill in the remainder of the information. This will allow you to then to go onto the next ancestor to add to the tree.

==> Check Out 20 Reasons Why You Should Buy Legacy! <==

Legacy 9 Family Tree Software Bundles Explained!

When you click through to the Legacy Family Tree Store you will be presented with a choice of 6 different bundles that you can choose from. The prices listed in brackets are the discounted price if you are upgrading from Legacy 8.

The first three bundles offer you Legacy 9 as a download and CD together with:

  • Printed and PDF manual, 272 page guidebook, and webinar membership – $99.95   ($89.95)
  • Printed and PDF manual, and a 272 page guidebook – $54.95   ($46.95)
  • Printed and PDF manual – $39.95   ($31.95)

Legacy 9 Family Tree Software Bundle

 

The second three bundles offer you Legacy 9 as just a download plus:

  • Printed and PDF manual, 272 page guidebook, and webinar membership – $79.95   ($71.95)
  • Printed and PDF manual, and a 272 page guidebook – $49.95   ($41.95)
  • Printed and PDF manual – $34.95   ($26.95)

Legacy 9 Family Tree Software Bundle

Pros

✔   13 new and enhanced features with Legacy 9!
✔   Red warning symbols to highlight errors
✔   Connects to FamilySearch/Find A Grave (FREE); FindMyPast/GenealogyBank/MyHeritage (PAID)
✔   Sync trees to web
✔   Web hints now available!
✔   25 different charts and 20 reports
✔   Print books and wall charts

Cons

❌   Same-sex relationship not possible
❌   No email or telephone support, (but does have online resources, printed material, video tutorials and FAQs)

My Verdict

There is a reason why Legacy is the leader when it comes to helping you create and build your family tree. It is because this software gives you exactly what you want and need for your genealogy research.

The user interface is lack luster I must admit but when it comes to a program do you want something that actually works for you or just looks pretty?

Plus it does offer many exciting new features such as connecting to the FindAGrave site, backing up your tree online, creating cause of death and X-DNA charts, and more.

I am very excited to put Legacy 9 at the very top of my list of best genealogy programs!

==> Check What’s New With Legacy 9! <==


2. Family Historian 6 – The Easiest Genealogy Program To Use!

Although coming in third this program is by far the easiest to use that is available to you. Don’t you want software that you can use straight away and not have to worry about how to use it? Well, adding your ancestry information with this software package will be very quick for you.
Family Historian 6

Family Historian Product Details

Family Historian 6
Rating 4 Stars
Normal Price $49.95 (US) – £39.50 (UK)
Platform PC Disc and Download
Compatible Windows
Features Charts, Reports, Maps, Books, Booklets, CDs, DVDs, Websites
Connects FindMyPast / MyHeritage (PAID)
Help and Support FAQs, Guides, User Groups, Video Tutorials, Email
Place To Buy Amazon (includes 33% discount to MyHeritage)
Also available for Amazon Prime customers!
Book Getting the Most from Family Historian 6
Full Review Full Family Historian 6 Review!
Bottom Line Easy To Use

So What Can You Get From Family Historian 6?

Family Historian 6 offers nearly twice as many chart options than Family Tree Maker. It does though give you less charts than the number one rival Legacy.

Family Historian 6 is primarily of use if you wish to do online publishing. So if you want to share your family’s history to the online world then Family Historian 6 is for you.

Credit:   Family Historian

You can enter and view information quite easily with this program!

The main screen of this program shows a pedigree chart showing your ancestors. The details of a selected member of your family will be displayed to the right of this chart. Entering personal data as mentioned above is very easy for you to perform.

As with other available choices you can view your ancestors origins on a world map. Images can also be uploaded to the map. For me seeing a map of where your ancestors lived, worked and moved just gives me an appreciation of their lives and the struggles that they faces in order to find work.

Different media types can be uploaded and attached for each person in your family. Any source material added can also be rated on its quality. All of the sources for an individual can be viewed in one area of the program.

Create Books, Booklets and More!

Creating charts and reports is a common feature with any genealogy software program today. But you may want to do more than that.

Family Historian 6 will allow you to create books, booklets, websites, CDs, and DVDs as well. All of these great gifts that you can then share with your family, or maybe your friends if you wish.

But What Are The Drawbacks of Family Historian 6?

Despite Family Historian 6 having twice as many charts than the popular Family Tree Maker program there are no background templates installed. This therefore will make your charts look quite dull.

Another disadvantage with this program is the inability to enter any DNA results that you may have. As DNA research is beginning to become an important avenue of discovering your ancestry I feel that an update will be added for this.

There is unfortunately no video tutorials provided to to help you use this program. But if you do get stuck there are online resources and FAQs that are available to you.

Family Historian 6 will run on any of the recent Windows OS except for Windows Vista. Any genealogist will be happy with this choice to buy Family Historian 6.

           

 

Pros

✔   Connects to FindMyPast/MyHeritage (PAID)
✔   Sync trees to web
✔   Get web hints
✔   Quick and easy input of your ancestor’s details
✔   Same sex relationships
✔   19 different charts
✔   Great for publishing your family history online

Cons

❌   Visually unappealing charts
❌   Unable to input DNA results

My Verdict

This program does not offer stunning charts to print out your family tree. So if you want to make some special gifts for your relatives then this software is not for you.

Connecting to genealogy sites such as FamilySearch and FindMyPast is a must these days as they both help you to extend your knowledge of your ancestors and help build your tree. Getting web hints from these sites is also a bonus.

If you want something that is easy to use then I highly recommend Family Historian 6.

==> Read The Full Family Historian 6 Review! <==


3. Family Tree Maker 2017 – The Most Popular and Well Known Program Today!

By far the most popular and well known genealogy software program available to digitally create your family tree. Some of the advantages it offers over Legacy is the ability to create same sex marriages and providing web hints to help with your research. Even though it comes in at number two Family Tree Maker is still regarded as a top genealogy software to use.

Family Tree Maker 2017

Family Tree Maker 2017 Product Details

Family Tree Maker
Rating 4 Stars
Platform Download
Compatible Windows and Mac
Connects FamilySearch (FREE) and Ancestry (PAID)
Features Charts, Reports, Maps, FamilySync
Connects FamilySearch (FREE) and Ancestry (PAID)
Help and Support FAQs, Online Chat, Email
Place To Buy Mackiev
Full Review Full Family Tree Maker 2017 Review!
Previous Version Full Family Tree Maker Deluxe Review!
Bottom Line Most Popular

What Can You Expect From Family Tree Maker?

The hints featured in Family Tree Maker show up when you are connected to the Internet. These hints can help you further with discovering your roots. You will be able to connect with two of the biggest genealogy search websites – Ancestry and FamilySearch. So you can build your family tree quickly with the Family Tree Maker program.

Credit: FreeTutorials

Entering your family information is easy with this program!

Most of the information that you will enter will be through the program’s People tab. By using this tab you can easily enter your family’s details such as birth, marriage and death. From this tab you will also clearly see your ancestors in a pedigree form. The children of a selected ancestor will be listed in a table below the pedigree chart.

The task of entering individual information is very intuitive and easy to do. You will also be able to add media content such as videos, stories and images for each member of your family.

Color Code Your Family Tree!

The latest version now allows you to color code each member of your family tree. You maybe wondering what is the point of that? Does it serve any purpose?

Well actually it does!

By selecting one or more colors to an ancestor you can effectively set an attribute to that person. For example, if you add a dark blue to several ancestors then that may signify that they served in the military.

It’s just another cool visual representation of your family that makes finding what you’re looking for easier.

View A Map of Your Ancestors Migration!

I really like to see the path that my ancestors took as they went from their homeland to a new world. If you are like me then you are probably keen to see what path that they took.

Their route may have been subjected to a number of conditions, such as the topography of the area or the likelihood of work. For whatever factors that affected their decision you can see their path of migration with an embedded aerial or satellite map in the program.

Synching Your Tree

You can take your family tree and your genealogy research with you on the go thanks to FamilySync. So you’re not tied to your computer at home.

If say for example you do some research at your parents house then you can sync your tree. That means that you will also see any latest additions to your tree on your computer at home.

The Sync Weather Report will allow you to view any errors that may occur when synching your tree. If there is a major problem then a red box will appear or if there is some caution then there will be an orange box. But if everything is ok with the process then you will see a green box.

What Are The Negatives?

Despite being a great program to help you with your family history research Family Tree Maker does gives you significantly less charts than its’ main rival Legacy. But the easy and intuitive feel of the program does more than make up for this.

With this family history software program you can connect to FamilySearch. This is the world’s largest genealogy search website where you can access millions of records for free.

This program also connects to Ancestry. However, in order to access any records on that site you will need to have a paid subscription.

Whether you want to call that a negative for Family Tree Maker or not. I just thought that you may like to know that.

Pros

✔   Stunning user interface that makes it easy to use
✔   Connects to FamilySearch (FREE) and Ancestry (PAID)
✔   Sync trees to web
✔   Get web hints
✔   Same sex relationships

Cons

❌   No connection to other genealogy search sites

My Verdict

The reason that Family Tree Maker is the most well known genealogy program today is because of its’ past association with Ancestry. And that is why, in my opinion, it is so popular.

But with saying that I have personally used this program and have found it really ease to use. So being an intuitive, simple and easy program definitely contributes to it being one of the more popular choices amongst genealogists.

If you want a program that is easy to use and does offer you appealing reports and charts then this program is for you.

==> Read The Full Family Tree Maker 2017 Review! <==


4. RootsMagic 7 – This Genealogy Software Program Offers You A Lot!

By using this software you are able to link with the top genealogy sites FamilySearch and Ancestry. And a helpful lightbulb icon will help you make connections with your family’s past. With RootsMagic 7 you can also print out various kinds of family reports from what you have discovered.
RootsMagic 7

RootsMagic 7 Product Details

Roots Magic 7
Rating 3 Stars
Normal Price $39.95 (US) – £49.95 (UK)
Platform PC Disc
Compatible Windows
Features Charts, Reports, Maps, CDs, Websites, Export Tree
Connects FamilySearch (FREE) and Ancestry / FindMyPast / MyHeritage (PAID)
Help and Support User Group, Webinars, Video Tutorials, How To Guides, Forums, Phone and Email
Place To Buy Amazon
Also available for Amazon Prime customers!
Full Review Full RootsMagic7 Review!
Bottom Line Offers A Lot

What Can RootsMagic 7 Give You?

To start off RootsMagic 7 does offer you significantly less choice of charts for you to chose from. Despite this you do get a wide range of reports that you can use to display your family’s ancestry. With RootsMagic 7 you get the most reports out of all the top five programs.

Finding your ancestors records is clear and simple with the aid of the in-app browser. Within the program there is a lightbulb icon that will next to your ancestor’s. This lightbulb will clearly show you if there are any online matches.

Credit:   RootsMagic

Working with more than one database is also available!

One clear advantage with this program is the ability to open more than one database at a time. When working on different family groups if there is a relationship between the two then you can drag and drop people between the two. RootsMagic 7 will also keep track of these changes.

There is nothing worse than dissecting the difference between two trees that you may have. RootsMagic makes this job easy for you.

RootsMagic 7

With this program there is also a diverse number of relationships that is also supported. So if there is a same-sex marriage within the family then you can add this as well.

You can add all sorts of information for each member of your family. The media that you can add includes photos, sound clips, videos and more.

What Are Negatives There With RootsMagic 7?

One of the benefits of RootsMagic 7 is that you can connect with the top genealogy software sites. However, you will not be able to sync your tree to the web. You will also not be able to import any online information that you may find. So whatever you do come across you will manually have to add this to your family tree.

Another drawback is that this software is not the easiest to use due to the outdated interface and the misleading tabs that feature on the toolbar.

Although support is provided by online resources, printed material and video tutorial there is unfortunately no FAQ support available to you.

Despite these drawbacks RootsMagic 7 is still a popular choice among family historians to purchase.

          

 

Pros

✔   Connects to FamilySearch (FREE) and Ancestry/FindMyPast/MyHeritage (PAID)
✔   List same sex marriages
✔   Similar web hint feature called lightbulb
✔   Can open more than one family tree so you can easily compare them
✔   Organize large volumes of data

Cons

❌   Less charts but more reports
❌   Cannot sync trees to web
❌   Outdated interface
❌   Misleading tabs
❌   No FAQs to help you

My Verdict

I like how RootsMagic can connect to FamilySearch and Ancestry. However, due to the fact that you cannot sync your tree to the web this will mean that any new information that you do find you will have to enter it manually into this program.

One thing that is going for RootsMagic is the ability for you to open more than one family tree file. Keeping track of the changes between these two files is very easy to use.

Why would you want to have two trees? Well, you may have received a tree from a family member. So you may want to compare the two to see any differences before you add the information to your tree.

So if you want a program that will help you to organize your large family tree then RootsMagic is for you. For that reason I highly recommend it.

==> Read The Full RootsMagic 7 Review! <==


5. Family Tree Heritage 9 – The Best To Print Out Your Records!

The last of the top five programs for the genealogist is Family Tree Heritage 9. With this package you can connect to the top genealogy sites such as FamilySearch, Ancestry and RootsWeb. Although coming in last this is still one of the best genealogy software programs on the market today.
Family Tree Heritage 9

Family Tree Heritage 9 Product Details

Family Tree Heritage
Rating 3 Stars
Normal Price (Windows) $39.99 (US) – £39.28 (UK)
Normal Price (Mac) $59.99 (US) – £38.65 (UK)
Platform PC Disc and Download
Compatible Windows and Mac
Features Charts, Reports, Maps, Color Coding
Connects FamilySearch (FREE) and Ancestry (PAID)
Help and Support Tutorials, Address, Phone, Email
Place To Buy in US Amazon US (Windows) – Amazon US (Mac)
Place To Buy in UK Amazon UK (Windows) – Amazon UK (Mac)
Also available for Amazon Prime customers!
Full Review Full Family Tree Heritage 9 Review!
Bottom Line Best For Printing

What Can You Expect From Family Tree Heritage 9?

The great thing about Family Tree Heritage 9 is that you can easily add any genealogy site to this program. So if you do use a site other than what is listed then you will still be able to use it within the program.

As with the other top five programs a web hints feature though is included with this package to aid you with finding new information.

Credit:   Family Tree Heritage

Correcting mistakes and merging trees is easily done with this program!

Adjusting errors in your tree in bulk is one of the advantages of this package. If you do find any anomalies then you can simply replace the details and any other occurrences will be altered as well. This will save you time sifting through your entire tree.

Another benefit of this program is the merging of two trees. This is easily done with Family Tree Heritage 9. Citing sources to any new information is also easily achieved with this program.

A ditto tool is provided that will enable you to attach numerous people to the same source. So this can save you a lot of time when you are citing your records.

Are There Any Disadvantages With Family Tree Heritage 9?

Although Family Tree Heritage 9 is a great program for the researcher there is undoubtedly some drawbacks with this choice. For one you will not be able to sync your tree to the web in order to enter any found information.

So if you do find any interesting details concerning your ancestors you will manually have to enter it. This is not really a big problem as this will give you a chance to ascertain whether the found information is correct.

Despite disadvantages it is great for printing out your records!

There is also no in-app browser is provided so a separate window is needed when searching online. This can lead to confusion when you switch between the two programs.

Although you could split your screen into two to compensate for this. Or if you do have two screens then this will rectify this problem.

The number of available charts and reports is limited with this choice. And the lack of background templates makes charts rather dull. But if you just want a program that simply prints out your research then Family Tree Heritage 9 is for you.

Relationships such as same sex marriages is not supported and there is no mapping ability is featured. So you will not be able to plot your ancestors trail.

Amazon US – Windows & Mac:

        

Amazon UK – Windows & Mac:

          

 

Pros

✔   Connects to FamilySearch (FREE) and Ancestry (PAID)
✔   Add other genealogy sites if you wish
✔   Easily replace many occurrences of new information, such as a place name

Cons

❌   No online searching capability within the program<
❌   No same-sex relationships
❌   Doesn’t sync to web
❌   No web hints

My Verdict

Family Tree Heritage will offer you what you want from a basic genealogy software program. But there is room for improvement with this option.

It is a great tool for you though if you want to organize your family tree. And it is excellent for citing your references. Merging trees is also a seem-less process with this program.

Basically if you want a program that will give you stunning reports and charts to share with family and friends then Heritage is the one for you.

==> Read The Full Family Tree Heritage 9 Review! <==


Ancestral Quest 15 – Best For Storing Large Family Trees!

When it comes to adding ancestors to your family tree you want the process to be both quick and easy. So if you have already done a ton of research and you don’t want to be wasting your time and getting frustrated with the program then Ancestral Quest 15 is the one for you.
Ancestral Quest 15

Ancestral Quest 15 Product Details

Ancestral Quest 15
Rating 3 Stars
Normal Price (Windows) $29.95 (Download) or $34.95 (CD ROM)
Normal Price (Windows upgrade) $19.95 (Download) or $24.95 (CD ROM)
Normal Price (Mac) $38.95 (Download)
Normal Price (Mac upgrade) $24.95 (Download)
Platform CD ROM and Download
Compatible Windows and Mac
Features Charts, Reports, Maps, TreeTips, NetFam Collaboration, Memories Manager
Connects FamilySearch (FREE) and Ancestry (PAID)
Help and Support FAQs, Video Tutorials, Newsgroup, Phone and Email
Place To Buy Ancestral Quest Store
Full Review Full Ancestral Quest 15 Review!

What Do You Get From Ancestral Quest 15?

Ancestral Quest 15 allows you to enter your family tree easily as I have just mentioned. You can view your tree in one of four different ways. You can choose from Family View, Pedigree View, Name List View or Individual View. So whatever your preference there will be a view for you.

Enter your family tree with ease. No matter how large it is!

The interface is a bit basic I must admit. But for me that is not a problem. At the end of the day you want a program that is both intuitive to use and is easy for you to add information and to find it.

Do you want to waste your time figuring out how to use the software? Do you want to be checking the help files every so often?

Of course not! You want to be working on your genealogy research. And this is what Ancestral Quest allows you to do.

Organizing your family tree is also simple!

As you have a large family tree to work with you want to be able to organize your research. This is done possible with the Research Manager and Log feature of the program. This can show you what information you need to research next.

The manager will also help you to group your tasks by either location or type, or anything else for that matter.

Sharing your research is simple!

If you have got a large family tree then chances are that you are working on your ancestry with other family members. If so then Ancestral Quest is the program for you as it allows you to share information effortlessly!

This is accomplished with the NetFam Collaboration feature. You will however need to subscribe to this feature, but it is a worthwhile extra to consider.

Even more new and improved features with the latest version!

With every incarnation of this program the developers add new and improved features. They listen to their users and give them what they want.

There is not enough room here to describe all of these latest features. Instead why not check out my full Ancestral Quest 15 Review and see for yourself why this is such a powerful program.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Ancestral Quest 15?

To me the only real drawback of this software program is the lack of a stunning interface. But in hindsight as I have discussed before, what do you really want from a program?

Do you want something that is fancy looking but can be tricky to understand. Or do you want something that will allow you to effortlessly add your ancestors and their information.

And that is why Ancestral Quest have been developing this software for more than 20 years!

Pros

✔   Connects to FamilySearch (FREE) and Ancestry (PAID)
✔   Straightforward and easy to use
✔   Excellent supported help in the form of online video tutorials
✔   Also FAQ section, online discussion groups, in program help section and telephone support
✔   Can research online within the program
✔   Can easily connect and share research with others

Cons

❌   Basic interface design

My Verdict

If you want a program that will make your genealogy research a whole lot easier to perform then Ancestral Quest 15 is for you. Ideally it is suited to the family historian who has amassed a large family tree over the years.

But the beginner can also take something from this program as well. The simple design does make it easier for the newcomer to add their ancestors effortlessly.

So it can be a great program for any level of experience. That is why I highly recommend this software for anyone wanting to researching their family tree.

==> Read The Full Ancestral Quest 15 Review Here! <==


My Final Thoughts on the Best Genealogy Software Programs

So there you have it, my pick of the best genealogy programs that you can choose to buy to create and build your family tree. Which ever program you do decide to buy I’m sure you will be more than happy with it.

Don’t stress too much though which program that you do go for. They all have the same basic features and will ultimately do what you want. And that is to create and build your family tree.

Don’t worry if you do feel though that your chosen program isn’t right for you. You can easily export your family tree and load it into a new genealogy program.

My Recommendation!

My personal recommendation though does have to be Legacy 9. It does everything that you would expect from such a program and more. You can read my What’s New With Legacy 9? to find out what cool features you can expect from the best genealogy program.

My main reason for this choice is because that it connects to many genealogy search sites that can really help you with your family history research. Connecting with FamilySearch and FindMyPast have really helped me with my own research. And it can with yours too.

But at the end of the day it is your choice. So all the best on your decision and I wish you all the best with creating your family tree and your genealogy research.


Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed reading this review about the best genealogy software programs available to the family historian. If you think that this post will be helpful to others then please share it with friends and family using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

48 thoughts on “Best Genealogy Software Programs – Your Top 5

  1. Donna

    This is really great information! We had a family reunion last summer and there was SO MUCH family history that was made available. I don’t think anyone has thought of using software to log everything.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      It is certainly a wise decision to make. With so much information in your family all that can be put into the program. Your family members could decide to work on separate branches and bring it altogether. That is the beauty of using genealogy software, the sharing of information and incorporating it into your tree.

      Also, if you and your family members decide to purchase a genealogy program then all your family memories will be remembered. Over time stories and memories can get forgotten and that would be a shame.

      Reply
  2. Jackie

    Thanks for this review. I think you gave a good review of each product. I was just a little disappointed you didn’t put the price of each in your post (so that I didn’t have to go over to Amazon to compare.

    I’m curious, which do you use? And how did you get interested in this?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Thank you for liking the review. And I’m sorry I didn’t put the prices up. I just didn’t want to scare you. Only joking. I would’ve done but as you may know Amazon always changes their prices so often and I would have to fix it up all the time. I was more concerned with giving my top 5 and explaining all that they have to offer.

      I use Family Tree Maker. It was the first genealogy program that I heard of. It’s real simple to use and I like creating charts so that I can put it into my family history book.

      I started this hobby mainly because of my father. He would tell me countless stories of our ancestors. I didn’t want all of that history to be lost. So I wrote them up. But I soon discovers that I needed to create charts so people could see how my ancestors related to me. And that’s how I came across Family Tree Maker

      Reply
  3. Suzette

    Really nice review Owain. I love the way your compared the programs in one review. I understand that the prices may vary but I too would have liked to have maybe an average cost of each program.

    I have never looked into my genealogy but my twin sister did and she said it was very interesting. I believe that she was using Ancestry.

    Not being familiar with any of these programs, I wonder what is the difference between the software in this review with Ancestry? You said that they can be integrated. How do they differ?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Thank you for liking my review of the top 5 genealogy software programs. Due to a few requests I will add prices so people can compare between the program’s further.

      The software programs integrate with Ancestry in pretty much the same way. Although Family Tree Maker is synonymous with Ancestry

      Reply
  4. Bohemian Collective

    Very interesting! I had no idea there were programs you could use to trace your genealogy and history – I’ll be sure to look into these five!

    I like the idea that Legacy can link to major genealogy sites and work in a ‘community’ fashion rather than leaving you in the daunting path of doing much of your own research – great post!

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      These programs can not only help you build your tree where you enter names, dates, etc, but also allows you make further progress through genealogy sites. Each of these programs will do just that. They will show hints where there maybe a record that you haven’t discovered yet waiting for you

      Reply
  5. Jodes

    Interesting. I have seen the ads about getting the DNA testing done. I have been toying with the idea. Due to a rugged life as a child and no longer really being in touch with many of my family members I know very little about my family history. I think you may have spurred me into action. Thank you for the nudge!

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      You’re quite welcome. Please keep this site as a reference. I am adding new content all the time and I have plenty more interesting topics that I will be covering

      Reply
  6. Joe

    A nice job with your reviews, clean and very readable. I find genealogy interesting, and all I know is that we are from England, but I never really went through with my interest. Which one of these programs will be good for beginners?
    I also thought about getting the ancestor blood test done too. Any suggestions on that?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      I personally use Family Tree Maker. I have found it a very easy program to use and have amassed quite a large family tree using this program. Family Historian 6 is also a great program for creating your family tree.

      You may have success with DNA testing where they take a sample of your saliva. You then wait for results to be sent back to you. I am planning on writing a post regarding this in the near future. Stay tuned

      Reply
  7. Courtney

    Hello Qwain, i am curious,Is the Q in your name silent?
    I have commented on your content before, this is a great guide for persons interested in genealogy. One of my nieces who was born in Canada and who i have never met is putting together a family Tree. This is important for us because we have close adult family members that have never met and our family travels. we live all over the world and recently i received an email asking for information. we also carry foreign last names -French, Dutch,German African, Polish among them. It can be dangerous if you don’t know who your family are.Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      My name is Owain not Qwain. It’s the Welsh equivalent of Owen. Most people call me that even though saying Owain is quite easily “O-Wine’.

      It’s really interesting when we have connections all over the world. I too have cousins in Canada, from my mother’s side. And they have helped me build up my mother’s family tree. As information can be freely and easily exchanged these days we can reach out all over the world. And it is great when we do so as it can even help us build our genealogy research

      Reply
  8. Anastazja

    I liked this page alot. My wife is into genealogy. She will find this kind of information very helpful. The graphics were good, particularly the top picture. It fit the content. I also like that you wrote about advantages and drawbacks for each reviewed program. Your ranking was a good idea. There is lots of information on your page, but it was well organized and easy to follow. I really liked this page.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      I’m glad that you like the page. Please refer your wife to the site. There is plenty more useful information on here. Also I am adding new content all the time

      Reply
  9. Jenna

    Thank you for introducing me to all these five best genealogy software, you are resourceful and I think they are cool! Since Legacy 8 is your best recommendation, I will take a look at it. Especially like the color code idea, i like using colors to differentiate things, they make it so much easier and organized. Funny thing that same sex marriages are not in the setting probably the software only recognizes a male and a female to be a spouse.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Having different colors sure do make things easier. As with the same sex marriages this will be fixed in a lter update. It is the best option for your genealogy research so if you do decide to get it then all the best with your family history.

      Reply
      1. Jenna

        Sure thing, will consider that since it deserves your five stars! Thank you for the great recommendation! All the best to you too 🙂

        Reply
  10. Jonah

    Wow, I did not expect that there are software like these. I really have limited knowledge as to the roots of our family. I only knew the immediate family of my parents and grandparents and that’s it. I have never even attended reunion ever. This helps a lot so that we could connect more to our family.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      It is quite interesting to know further back than your grandparents. Those times must have been so very different to what they are like now. I hope that you do take the journey and discover your ancestry. It is a very enjoyable adventure

      Reply
  11. SmileAfresh

    Hi Owain
    This is definitely an eye opener for me! I never knew there existed geneology softwares and I’d indeed be curious to find out a few of my ancestors using your reviewed softwares- but what country’s databases do they feature? That would help to know if my quest is valid- 🙂 Thanks, and remember to smile to yourself and at someone today!

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      These ones cover USA and also UK. I will have to review genealogy software programs for other countries.

      Thanks and I hope this is of use to you

      Reply
  12. Doreen Thompson

    I used Generations Deluxe Edition Sierrra Home software when I started to do my family history & had over 2,000 names, then my computer crashed & I lost every thing.
    I do still have all my records on hard copy so not all is lost.
    I would like to re enter all my records to a programme.
    I loved that programme, is it still available?
    If not what software would you say was similar if any?
    Any help would be appreciated

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Doreen, that is a terrible shame that your computer crashed. I have found Generations software on Amazon. You can check it out by clicking here.

      Alternatively you could try Legacy Family Tree. Check out the review and see if it is for you. They do offer a trial version. Just follow the link in my review of the software.

      Hope that helps Doreen,
      Owain

      Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      I am sorry but I am not familiar with the program. I did try checking out screenshots but was unable to see any.

      Reply
  13. Kihler

    I worked on my tree for years started back when I had to go the libraries and search by microfiche and then onto Family Tree Maker but havent worked on the tree for about 6 years and have a new computer now. Im trying to decide if I want to get the latest of FTM or try Legacy. Do you know if both can get along on one computer or would it cause file errors? I like the hints with FTM but the many chart options sound good with Legacy.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      I don’t see why you couldn’t have both programs running on your computer. At one time I had two versions of FTM running on mine. Although it’s still the same company I must admit it still worked and so I don’t see it being a problem here.

      Hints are exceptional with FTM. Not only have I found records but also have compared my tree against other members family trees on Ancestry.

      There is plenty of choice with Legacy, and that’s why I like that one too. But I do only use a handful of charts to be honest, so FTM has always been my choice.

      Reply
      1. Kihler

        Thank you for all the helpful information. I decided to get FTM just downloaded it and think I will work with it for awhile again but most likely out of curiousity will get Legacy to try it later. Sticking with the familiar is good for now. Unfortunatly right after I got 2014 version I noticed the newer 2017 version is coming out on March 31, hopefully wont cost a lot to upgrade. Great article, Thanks again.

        Reply
        1. Owain Post author

          I am glad that I could help you. Choosing the right genealogy software program is important. You want something that you are comfortable with. Also, sticking with what you know is a good idea. I did try an update to FTM 2014, but I reverted back to it because I didn’t like how charts were presented in the newer versions. At the end of the day it’s what you like and are comfortable with.

          Reply
  14. M. Norton

    I have Legacy 8.0 and so far I really like it and the features….. there are a few drawbacks to it, mainly when I upload media/photos to a person from my hard drive, they tend to come over severly distorted, fuzzy, whatever you want to call it, definitely not as clear as the orginal I have on my computer. 🙁 I have a few other gripes about it, but that is my main concern! 🙁

    I was hoping there would be a place within Legacy where I could store photos that I use over and over, like cemetery / church photos and just attach them to people straight from Legacy. If there is a way to do that, I have not found it.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      I am glad that you really like Legacy 8. It is a shame though that you got a problem with uploading pictures. Could you try putting them to your computer first and then to the program. I don’t know if that would help but it’s worth a go.

      If the problem still persists you could contact Legacy here.

      As for adding photos that can use over and over there is the Media Gatherer tool. You can read about it here, as well as other new features that you can find in Legacy 8.

      Reply
  15. Anne-Marie

    Hi,
    I was wondering about privacy on these apps. If I use one that I download from the website, will my info remain private? Or is it connected to a database which then uses your data? Not sure how it all works really but would like some clarification.

    Also, can you print from the other programmes like Legacy or just from Family Tree Heritage?

    Thanks
    Anne-Marie

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Anne-Marie,

      Thank you for your comment. If you decide to use any of these programs to build your tree then your data will be private. However, if you decide to upload your tree to any of the genealogy search websites, such as Ancestry, then you will be giving up your right to ‘your’ data.

      If you are concerned about your privacy then you could do what I do. Use any of these programs and also use a site such as Ancestry, but don’t upload your tree. Sure Ancestry maybe able to see what your searching but they won’t be able to create a tree from your search results. It’s a bit of a pain to do this, but do whatever you are comfortable with. You could though try FamilySearch where you will have access to FREE records.

      You can print out your trees, charts, reports, etc from any of these programs. It’s just that Family Tree Heritage offers you the most when it comes to printing your research.

      I wish you all the best with your genealogy research Anne-Marie and I hope that I have answered your questions.

      Reply
  16. Anne-Marie

    Hi Owain,

    Thank you for this detailed reply. I think that I will do as you do and keep my tree to myself and family and add in information manually.

    One other question that has nothing to do with apps but with general research: I have been using FamilySearch and it’s good to a point. And I haven’t signed up to Ancestry.com yet. I was wondering, as they both are American sites, how better is Ancestry.com on European data (and data in general) ? That should be my last question!

    Regards,

    Anne-Marie

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      My pleasure Anne-Marie. Please feel free to make a comment or use the Contact Me form whenever you wish to do so.

      As they are American sites there data on European records will be sparse. If you do have ancestors in the U.K. though you could go to Ancestry UK. Family Search has also helped me immensely with my U.K. Ancestors.

      Hope this information helps.

      Reply
  17. Rodger

    I have used a number of different products over the years based upon reviews only to have watched them disappear. When searching for a new product, two issues are important but seldom covered.
    1. Handling exact and possible duplicates when merging multiple data files received from relatives.
    2. Importing files directly from other software programs without first exporting to GEDCOM and importing. This can occur when replacing your own software or when importing data from a relative who is contributing information.

    I currently have the latest version of Family Tree Maker and am not impressed with their current handling of merging. Maybe this will change with the new ownership. How does your top two picks address these issues?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Rodger, thank you for contacting me about these genealogy software issues. My top two picks are Legacy and Family Tree Maker. For the moment though I would suggest that you check out . My review does so you what you can expect from Legacy 8. However, the latest version Legacy 9 is out now.

      Anyway to answer your questions any duplications or errors that do occur with merging will come up with red flags. So it’s quite easy to spot any mistakes when this does happen.

      And importing should be quite easy with Legacy. You shouldn’t need to export and then import.

      All the best,
      Owain

      Reply
  18. Jaran Gaarder Heggen

    You forgot to mention that Legacy 9 is still not UNICODE/UTF-8 compatible… and because of that an outdated software product… sadly

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Thank you Jaran for bringing this up. It is true that Legacy does only support Western European fonts which includes English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, and the Scandinavian languages.

      And as such it does not yet support Eastern European fonts, like Polish, Asian fonts, Hebrew, or any other non-Western European fonts. So I do apologise if you feel that this software is outdated to you.

      There is however a work around to this issue which you can find on the Legacy Family Tree Support page.

      I hope that this is of help to you and others.

      Reply
  19. Pierre Kraft

    Hi Owain,
    Thanks for all the work you have done. I am currently looking at buying a computer based program and have extracted info out of most of the sites under a trial version. eg Ancestry, Myheritage etc
    Qu – if I buy one of the computer based programs like Legacy Family does it link to my trail account and allow me to download my already entered info? Can I then stop trialling the monthly subscription based sites? Can I share the trees across the web with family?
    Sorry for all the questions.
    Thanks again
    Pierre

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Pierre,

      Thank you for your comment and your questions. I will try to answer them as best I can.

      I can’t see anywhere with these programs that you cannot link them to a free trial account. So I would say that it should work. I’m sorry if that’s an affirmative answer.

      You can share with your family if you create a GEDCOM file from the program. You can then send this file to your family. It does then depend then if your family has a genealogy program to open it.

      Or you could create charts and reports and save them as jpg files and then send them that way.

      Let me know how you get on.

      Kind regards,
      Owain

      Reply
  20. Bruce

    I have a huge family and as I get older, they are all dividing up and going their separate ways. It is sad to see, because now I have only one grandparent and each grandparent I have lost left their whole lineage with them with nothing much left. I this was something available thirty years ago! I used the Family Tree, but it’s been hard putting the pieces of my family puzzle together. Get these programs quick…soon it will be too late and much will be lost!

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Yep I fully agree Bruce. You need to get those family stories and useful information from your grandparent before it is too late. It’s sad but I never did. I only have my father who has fortunately shared with many stories and has helped me a great deal with our family history.

      Reply

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