Managing your family tree using genealogy forms can get overwhelming and sometimes very disorganized. In this blog post, I will make the case as to why you should be using genealogy software to manage your family tree.
So you have gathered as much information that could possibly be gathered from your family, now what?
If you attempted to organize it but were not successful that is fine. You probably noticed that the family charts and forms are kind of hard to follow and organize.
At this point that is where software that has been made especially for genealogy comes in handy.
The Benefits of Using Genealogy Software To Manage Your Family Tree
Here are a few reasons why you should be using genealogy software to manage your family tree.
- All Your Family Information in One Place – Software lets you enter names, dates, and every possible fact about your ancestors. You can also attach images, documents, and photos.
- Your Family Tree at a Glance – Most programs let you see up to five or six generations of your family tree. This makes it very simple to view gaps in your research.
- Easily Share Your Tree With Family and Friends – Genealogy software provides you the ability to create reports, family sheets, and even full books in pdf format. Many even let you share to email and social media from within the program.
- Ancestor Hints – Programs also compare your information to Ancestry and thus provide you with hints as to possible records about your ancestors.
- Back up All Your Information – Many programs also let you back up your whole family tree including any attached images with the click of a few buttons. Having the ability to protect your information is vital.
Things You Need to Know about Genealogy Software
The first thing that you need to know is that most software follows the Gedcom standard or at least they try to follow it.
The Gedcom standard is the format that all your data is saved as and makes it easier for you to change or upgrade software, it is also used to back up your data.
Just be aware that if you change from one software to another there will always, if not most of the time, be errors since some programs go above and beyond Gedcom standards and collect extra information that other vendors do not support.
The three software programs that I have used extensively are Family Tree Maker from mackiev.com, RootsMagic from rootsmagic.com, and Family Tree Builder from myheritage.com.
See the following reviews of each and my recommendations as to which one I recommend you use.
Genealogy Software To Manage Your Family Tree
Here I will recommend to you only software that I have used and can provide you with honest information. Later on, you can explore other ones that will better fit your needs.
Family Tree Maker
Family Tree Maker (FTM) is my favorite since it lets you back up your family tree online for no additional cost and has superb citation capabilities. The timeline is great and it also has a map to easily see all your locations. FTM lets you also keep track of your research and has tools to help you analyze your data and has a feature to find duplicates. It also lets you print reports to share information with friends and family. Visit Website
Roots Magic is great and very affordable. It also lets you sync to Ancestry and FamilySearch. The only thing I did not like is that creating citations is hard and also the popping up of windows to enter information can get confusing. It also lets you print reports to share information with friends and family. RootsMagic also has a free version that you can download and test. Visit Website
Family Tree Builder
This software is free to download and install all you need to do is register with a valid email address. They let you upload a 250 person tree to the web for free and anything beyond you need to start paying a subscription fee. But to use this software on your computer there is no limit as to how many people you can enter. It also lets you print reports and charts, but does not have a good research tracker nor very good citation capabilities. Visit Website
As you can see, all of these programs are great and have great features and in my opinion, they are the best.
What Genealogy Software To Manage Your Family Tree Do I Recommend
My recommendation is if you can afford it, to go with Family Tree Maker since it has better capabilities for citations and lets you keep better track of your research.
Also, the backing up to the internet and their Apple and Android app is great.
But if you are short on cash and don’t want to spend a dime go with Family Tree Builder just be aware that the citation capabilities are not as powerful and you can only back up family trees of less than 250 persons to the internet. They also have an android app that I never tested, but I have heard people say they like it.
I used their free software for over seven years and still use them since their software will let you know of any matches on other online trees.
Try them both and see which one you prefer.
The important thing here is that you choose one and start entering the information that you have already collected. Remember don’t enter any information that you don’t have proof for and if you do decide to enter it, make notes indicating that more research is needed to verify the information.