Family History Software

There are a large number of Family History programs and generally speaking they all do a similar job, with some offering better features than the others; however all the commercial programs that I have seen are satisfactory.

A number of the manufacturers offer free or trial versions and you should avail yourself of these trials, as well as looking up the reviews of the programs on the web.

Using a Family History program you can create a record of you family – you can start recording at any stage of your family and work backwards or forwards. Most programs allow you to create family tree charts in various forms, create web pages from your data or even write a simple family story.

All the major Family History programs allow you to create a ‘Gedcom’ file from your data; this allows you to send your data to another researcher, even though they may be using a different FH program to you. The Gedcom file also allows you to post your data on public web sites, so that other researchers are aware of your interests and possibly assist you in your research. The Gedcom file allows you to only send or post on the web, what you consider appropriate for your privacy and that of others in your data files – for instance you may wish to exclude living persons from the Gedcom file, before you post the information on the web. A Gedcom file is a universal format and could be considered similar to a PDF file, in that it can be read by any recipient with a FH program.

legacy screenshot

Screen shot showing data entered in the Legacy program

The following is a list of available Family History programs; however the list is not exhaustive. The prices are at late May 2008 and you should check various sources for bargains.

Atlas of Britain & Ireland 1899 – showing traditional Counties – freeware – 31.55mb download.

Brothers Keeper – available as a free download – Registered copy $45 – 10mb – suitable up to Vista – well regarded program –

Custodian - $99.50 – a collection of 100 different preformatted database forms for all your genealogical research – requires 40mb hd space – available Gould’s store.

Family Atlas - $49.40 – Create personalized maps of where your family lived in the world – available from Gould’s store.

Family Historian– $115 - 3 out of 4 stars overall – requires 20mb hd space.

Family Tree Maker – $99.95 – includes 6 discs of English FH data and 90 days subscription to – Total package requires 400mb disc space - No 1 best seller – rated second in one review. Free Starter Edition available 15.9mb download – access from ‘Searchforancestors’’ site.

Hereditree- $55 –

Legacy – available as a free download or $5 disc from Gould’s Store – Delux version $60 – top rated in one review –

Master Genealogist – Gold edition $82 – supports to Vista – 3 out of 4 stars overall in one review

PAF(Personal Ancestral File) – available as a free download – 9.7mb download - obtain from ‘searchforancestors’ site -popular program – no further updates available

Reunion – Apple Family History program

Roots Magic - $49.50 – supports all Windows versions – rated third in one review

The Genealogical Finder – provides more than 750 genealogical sites divided into 27 categories – 4 stars out of 5 – freeware 777kb download.

Software Review Sites

Software Sites

Various software –

Goulds Store –


Warwick Sherring

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