Free family history software – a guide to what’s available for family historians


14 January 2021
Discover what family history programs are available free of charge and how to decide which is the best software for your needs in Family Tree’s get-started guide.

Is there a free version of Family Tree Maker?

Family Tree maker is not available as a free or lite version, to use the program you need to buy the download.

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What are the main genealogy programs?

Major current family history software programmes include:

What are the free and cost-effective versions?

A number of programs offer cut-down versions which, while they don’t offer access to all the tools in the program, can be used on a permanent basis very usefully. Other programs offer a time-limited free trial.

It’s worth looking around and having a play with the various options out there before deciding which one to buy.

For cut-down free versions see:

In addition, many of the major data websites (Ancestry, Family Search, FindMyPast and MyHeritage) provide online family tree builders to which you can add your information.

Plus there are additional standalone family tree builders such as Famberry and TribalPages.

Why use family history software?

Family history software is suitable for those new to family history but most family history software packages are also capable of advanced research projects too.

Most of the programs allow you to:

Create a digital famiy tree (in various layouts)

Add notes, digitised photos and documents to your tree

Set reminders and create to-do lists

There are programs available for PC, Mac, Linux and for use from the cloud too. Some of the major programs will allow you to search the major databases (often via a subscription) for further information to add to your research.

Some will allow you to sync your research so you can have it on your computer and added to the cloud too. This can be useful, allowing you to access your research via your smartphone while you’re out and about.

QUICK LINK: 5 family history hacks that will save you time

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