Beginner's Guide

Decide on a family tree program

There are a number of genealogy programs available.  You have the option of using a program for a desktop or laptop computer, or an internet site.  You can even use more than one.  In my case, I have the following programs on my computer:

  • Legacy 8 Deluxe
  • Rootsmagic 7
  • Family tree maker 2012

And, as well as this website, I have used the following websites to share my family tree.



RootswebWorldConnect and FreePages

There are also apps for smart phones and tablets.  I have used the following on my smart phone (Android):

  • Ancestry
  • Families (works with the Legacy program)
  • Rootsmagic

The problem with mobile/tablet apps and websites is that they don’t have the same range of features as desktop programs, so I would recommend using a desktop program. More of the reasons you should use a desktop program can be found on Renee’s Genealogy Blog Do I Still Need a Desktop Genealogy Program or is Family Tree Enough?.

I personally prefer to use Legacy 8 Deluxe, as it has the most comprehensive set of features, but the decision on which family tree program to use tends to be based on personal preference. The best idea is to try out the free versions, and see which one you prefer. The Top Ten Reviews site lists these 13 programs in their  2015 Best Genealogy Software Review.

  1. Legacy Family Tree
  2. Family Tree Maker
  3. RootsMagic
  4. Family Tree Heritage
  5. Ancestral Quest
  6. Family Historian
  7. Brother’s Keeper
  8. Heredis
  9. WinFamily
  10. DoroTree
  11. Genbox Family History
  12. Agelong Tree
  13. Famtree

Most of these programs have a free or trial version.

Wikipedia also has a more detailed list of genealogy programs, with details of whether there is a free or trial version at, which includes programs for Os X.