Creating Family Trees

If you are like me, you like to check things out for yourself.  I will note whether each company has versions for Windows (W) or Mac.  Several of the companies have free or trial versions; they are based in the U.S. unless noted otherwise:

Ancestral Quest 15– W and Mac, has a free version

Brother’s Keeper – W only, has a free trial version

Family Historian 6– W only, 30 day free trial, based in UK

Family Tree Maker 2017 – W and Mac, no free version

Heredis 2017– W and Mac, no free version, based in France

Legacy 8– W only, standard version free

RootsMagic 7– W and Mac with MacBridge, free standard basic version

Reunion – Mac, no free version that I see, based in Australia

Check out The Best Genealogy Software of 2017 for individual product reviews.

I had to think twice about posting the second part of this section, so I will begin with a warning. It is not wise to have your one and only family tree on an online site. Why? If it is a subscription site and you decide not to renew, you will be able to view your tree but NOT ACCESS any of the images you have attached to it. If you save images directly to an online tree and the link goes bad, you have lost the image. If the website contract ends with a database provider, the database can disappear overnight and, with it, goes your images. Lastly, if the image came from someone else’s tree and they decide to take it down, you again will lose the image or document as the link will be broken.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS use a home-computer based software program as your main family tree. ALWAYS,  ALWAYS, ALWAYS save online images and documents to your own computer and rename the file into a format you like. By following these two steps, you will maintain control of your personal family tree/s.

Having said that, I am certainly not against online family trees, even if many are riddled with huge mistakes. They are a great source for hints and, even more so, for finding distant cousins hunting for the same ancestors.

There are a number of sites that permit users to post family trees for free. These allow you to upload your own, full tree and maintain them as individual trees, as opposed to the one-universal-tree concept:



Several sites are working on building one universal tree through worldwide collaboration. Note that the downside of the one tree idea is that registered users can edit, make changes and delete your information if they think it is wrong. You can also do the same, but if your information is correct, you might be spending some time rebuilding and replacing what you had already entered. Here are the one tree sites:


Geni – This company is owned by MyHeritage


There are also a handful of websites that allow individuals to host their own (by subscription) family tree site. The only one of which I am really aware is:

TNG – The Next Generation of Genealogy Site Building