1 son, 7 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, 57 great great grandchilden -- it adds up fast!

Software to Help You with Your Genealogy Research

Data Recording Software: A way to record, organize and publish data. Data recording software uses the GEDCOM standard to structure how the data is held in the program. It is not cross-platform. There is sofware for Window and Macintosh.

Add On and Specialty Programs: Other software offers additional utilities that can be used with your data recording software. Most of these can be used with any data recoding software. There are also some specialty programs that stand alone.

I cover some of the more well known programs below. For a comprehensive, searchable listing of dozens of programs, both Windows & Macintosh, with links to further information, use the Genealogy Today Page: Genealogy Software Guide. See also this interesting compilation of pages regarding Genealogy Software.

Data Recording Software

** Windows Programs * Macintosh Programs * Reviews and Comparsisons * GEDCOM

Windows Software

* Legacy Family Tree * Family Historian * Family Tree Maker * PAF *
* Roots Magic * The Master Genealogist *

Legacy Family Tree (Millenia Software) This is the software I use.

Family Historian: (Enteractive Software) A very poplular program in the UK, now marketed in the U.S. at Target Stores.

Family Tree Maker, (Ancestry.com) is one of the most readily available and used programs and has been around for a long time.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF). It's free and a good basic program, but is not being updated.

RootsMagic I've never used this particular program, but I have heard good things about it. I also talked to the developer at a conference, and concluded that he is committed to making one of the best products on the market.

  • Versions: Offers a free trial version, fully functional, 30 days
  • Where to buy: online at the Roots Magic web page
  • Help: Roots Magic Forum " a message board where you can ask questions about RootsMagic, or leave suggestions for enhancements to future versions." There are separate forums for the Roots Magic Add Ons.
  • Roots Magic Customer Support forum for very specific problems with the software. Includes a knowledge base to answer commonly asked questions.
  • Reviews

The Master Genealogist is the favorite of many people. It has features not found in other software, but also a higher learning curve.

  • Versions
  • Where to buy
  • Help
  • Reviews

Macintosh Software

If you are using a Mac, you will want to bookmark or subscribe to MacGeneaology.org, a frequently updated blog that offers advice about the myriad of programs that work with a mac and can help you with your family history. See also Dick Eastman's Sept. 6, 2008 blog covering Genealogy Sofware for the Mac.

iFamily for Leopard /iFamily for Tiger: the person who developed iFamily died Sept. 2008. We will have to see if this program will be supported and developed.

  • Versions
  • Where to buy
  • Help
  • Reviews

MacFamily Tree: I've never used it, but it is for sale at the Apple Store, so I think must be a well developed program. There is also a Mobile Family Tree add-on that will allow this software to display on iPods and iPhones.

  • Versions
  • Where to buy
  • Help
  • Reviews

Personal Ancestry Writer II: This is a free genealogy program for the Mac, developed by a person who clearly knows Macs AND genealogy. His page is in frames, so if you click the "Home" button on the top of the page you will see his full site. To find the PAWriterII page there, on the left had column, under Genealogy, at the very bottom of the list for that caterogy, click on PAWriter II and that will open a frame that gives you information about the softward and instructions for downloading.

Reunion: When I used a Mac, I used this and loved it. Great support and frequent updates. Despite the embergence of other good programs, Reunion remains the most popular for Mac users.

  • Versions
  • Where to buy:
  • Help
  • Reviews

Reviews and Comparisons

Genealogy Software Reveiw 2009: This site reviews several Windows programs. A chart tells you at a glance which features are offered in the different choices and evaluates such factors as ease of use, documentation and quality of reports and output. I strongly recommmend starting with this site to get an overview of the several factors that will influence your choice.

Genealogy Software News: this site covers both Mac and PC softare, as well as PDA applications. However the last updating seems to have been done in March 2008, so it may rapidly become out of date.

GenSoft Reviews: a compilation of reviews and comments by users of many genealogy programs. You can add your comments and reviews too. A very helpful site.


Understanding GEDCOM


Add On's and Specialty Software

Windows Mac

Family Tree SuperTools (Whollly Genes Software)

  • Versions: free trial version, fully functional, 30 days
  • Where to buy:
    • online at website
    • bundles with RootsMagic; also sold as add-on from the websites of other software, e.g. Legacy,
  • Help:
  • Review

Personal Historian: Personal History Writing Software

  • Versions: Maintained and sold by the makers of Roots Magic, which acquired it in 2005, it often budles with Roots Magic and Family Atlas
  • Where to buy: Online at their website, where you can order online, by telephone or mail. Also at the Roots Magic website or other online vendors of genealogy software. I don't think it is sold in stores.
  • Help
  • Reviews

Family Atlas (Mapping software)

  • Maintained and sold by the makers of Roots Magic; it often bundles with Roots Magic and Personal Historian

GenSmarts (helps you search for missing data)

Ged Com Utililities



For a longer list, with links, see Genealogy Utilities


Return to Bobbie's Genealogy Classroom

This page last updated April 14, 2013