Best Genealogy Software of 2018

Ryan Brown ·
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We researched 16 different genealogy software programs by importing GEDCOM files, creating family trees, exporting charts and analyzing reports. We tested programs for both PC and Mac computers, and Legacy Family Tree stands out as the best genealogy software. Legacy Family Tree is FamilySearch certified and imports information found online directly into your family tree. This software can track important events in your ancestors’ lives and also generate an origins report that estimates what percentage of your ancestry comes from a specific country.

Best Overall

Legacy Family Tree

Legacy Family Tree’s software has an in-app browser to locate matches from popular family search websites and incorporate those matches into your family tree. It’s our pick for best genealogy software.
Best Value

RootsMagic

RootsMagic is our pick for the best value because it’s an inexpensive program to buy and it costs the least to upgrade from an old version. This company also offers a basic free version of the software.
View on RootsMagic
Best for Accuracy

Family Historian

Family Historian imported our test GEDCOM file with 100 percent accuracy. This software also makes it easy to find and input details from FamilySearch, MyHeritage and Ancestry.com.
View on Amazon

Our Test Results

Product
Price
$49.95Amazon
$79.95-
$29.95-
Overall Rating
9.7
9
8.9
8.7
8.7
8.3
7.8
6.9
6.8
4.6
Web Capabilities
9.8
9.6
9.5
9.8
8.8
10
8.8
7
9
2.5
Creating Connections
10
8
8
7.5
8
6.3
6.8
7
2.5
3.8
Charting Capabilities
8.8
8.5
8.5
7.8
10
7.3
6.5
5.3
7.8
7.3
Citation & Organization
10
10
10
10
8.3
10
10
10
10
8.3
Help & Support
10
10
10
10
7.5
10
5
5
5
5
Import/Export GEDCOM Files
Connect to Ancestry.com
N/A
N/A
Connect to FamilySearch.org
N/A
N/A
FamilySearch Certified
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Accuracy Score
98%
100%
98%
95%
90%
100%
95%
90%
100%
N/A
Import Online Sources
N/A
Connect to Web
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Create Web Page
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Web Hints
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Connect to Genealogy Search
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Sync Trees to Web
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Create Ancestor Pedigree Reports
Print Forms
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Number of Report Types
N/A
N/A
27
N/A
25
33
N/A
N/A
N/A
14
Print Wall Charts
N/A
N/A
Custom Data Fields
Background Templates
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Number of Chart Types
25
19
10
24
45
6
4
9
12
6
Print Books
List Adoptive or Foster Relationships
Religious Options
N/A
N/A
Automatic Age Display
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
List Same-Sex Marriages
N/A
N/A
N/A
List Multiple Marriages
Multimedia Support
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Renumber Individuals
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Family History Map
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Privacy Options
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
DNA Results
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
County Pop-Up Selections
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Problem-Spotter Alerts
N/A
N/A
Video Tutorials
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Online Resources
N/A
Telephone
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
FAQs
N/A
N/A
Printed Material
N/A
N/A
N/A
Email
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Mac OS X Sierra
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Windows 10
N/A
Windows 8
N/A
Mac
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Minimum Mac OS X Support
N/A
N/A
10.5
N/A
10.7
10.7
N/A
N/A
N/A
10.5
Windows 7
Auto-Format Source Citations
Relationship Calculator
Soundex Calculator
N/A
To-Do Lists
Rating System for Sources
Link Sources to Media Files
Best Overall

Legacy Family Tree

Legacy Family Tree is our pick for the best genealogy software. You can access popular family history search websites like FamilySearch, MyHeritage and Ancestry.com through its own search portals.
This is important because those sites are the best place to find additional family history information and new individuals to add to your family tree. One downside is that this software doesn’t have the ability to give you web hints that can guide you in your research. When we tested this website’s importing accuracy, it imported our test GEDCOM file with 98 percent accuracy, among the highest of all the software we tested. When items weren’t able to be imported accurately into Legacy Family Tree, the program generated an error message letting us know that certain fields from the GEDCOM file weren’t compatible with the software. The program also generated a report that included the information that wasn’t compatible and we were able to enter it manually. However, this takes extra effort and we liked software like Family Historian that had 100 percent accuracy when importing GEDCOM files. This software has more than two dozen different charts you can export showing relationships and family trees. You can also download and print research forms to take with you to archives and family history libraries so you can collect the right information when researching offline.
Pros
  • This software is FamilySearch certified.
  • You can import connections directly from Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.
  • This software estimates your geographic ancestry origins.
Cons
  • You don’t get web hints about your family research.
  • It isn’t available for Macs.
  • You can’t list same-sex marriages with this software.
Best Value

RootsMagic

RootsMagic is one of the least expensive programs that we tested, and it’s our pick for best value.
If you already purchased an older version of the software, this software’s upgrade cost was the cheapest we found. If you would like to try out the software before buying, you can download RootsMagic Essentials, a free version of the software that is still FamilySearch certified and has full GEDCOM support. In our GEDCOM import test, RootsMagic imported our test file perfectly with 100 percent accuracy. The only issue was that it sometimes duplicated people from our GEDCOM file, and there isn’t a feature that automatically merges these duplicated individuals. You’ll have to go through by hand and make sure there aren’t any duplicates. This program lets you search online for research hints and connections, and you can browse websites such as Ancestry.com, MyHeritage and Family Search from within the program. If you find matches in FamilySearch, you can import them directly into your tree. RootsMagic is available on both PC and Mac computers, but the Mac version requires you to purchase MacBridge, an additional piece of software. The Mac version is also missing some features, such as Dropbox support and the ability to burn CD backups of your trees.
Pros
  • This software is FamilySearch certified.
  • You can download a free version of RootsMagic Essentials.
  • This software is the least expensive to upgrade to the newest version.
Cons
  • There is no email or telephone support if you have questions.
  • This program duplicated individuals in our GEDCOM import test.
  • Mac users can’t save to Dropbox or burn info to CDs.
$29.95RootsMagic
Best for Accuracy

Family Historian

If you have a lot of GEDCOM files that you’re trying to bring together in a family tree, Family Historian has the best import accuracy of any software we tested.
This program imported our test files with 100 percent accuracy. This is great because you won’t have to go back and make changes or fill in missing information like you do with other software. Family Historian is one of the few programs we reviewed that lets you browse genealogy websites directly from the program. Most of the web hints direct you to MyHeritage, but you can also find matches on other services such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch. If you find a historical source you want to link to your family tree, you can drag and drop images into your database and the software will convert it to a formatted source. This software isn’t the best if you want to print out charts and reports. There are only a few print style options, so it is used best for paperless charting. If you do want to print out charts, there are 22 different types you can choose from, which is nice if you want to compile the charts into a book.
Pros
  • This software had 100 percent accuracy in our GEDCOM import test.
  • You can import hints from MyHeritage, Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.
  • It only takes a few clicks to create relationships between individuals.
Cons
  • This software isn’t the best for printing out charts.
  • No telephone support is available.
  • It doesn’t allow you to import DNA results.
$49.95Amazon

Why Trust Us?

We reviewed 16 different family history and genealogy software programs. We compared programs on price, web features, how easy it was to create connections and how accurate each program was at importing information from a GEDCOM file. We tested each program in a real-world situation by making a GEDCOM file with a family of 68 different individuals and importing that file into each program.


We used trial versions of the software where we could, and purchased versions of the software that didn’t offer free trials. This means we reviewed the programs in exactly the same way an everyday consumer would. We also made sure to rate products based on features most people use, like printing charts and creating reports and forms for offline genealogy research.


We rated each software on 48 different criteria to ensure that we were being as thorough as we could and that we were covering a wide range of scenarios that are important to people working on their family trees.


Top Ten Reviews has been reviewing genealogy software since 2004.

How We Evaluated


We first installed each program on our test computers, using a Mac where needed for Mac-only software. We then imported our test GEDCOM file into each program to see how well it could handle the information for 68 different family members. Some programs imported everything correctly, while others duplicated or omitted information. Any mistakes in the import were counted against the GEDCOM import accuracy score.


We also paid close attention to the charts and reports that each program offered. We rated each program on how aesthetically pleasing its charts were and how many it offered.


Finally, we imported each program’s scores and ratings into our proprietary ranking software and calculated final scores for each product to determine the best overall genealogy software.

What Features to Look for in Genealogy Software


Today, most genealogy research takes place on the internet so it’s important to pick software that connects to your favorite family history research websites. Most programs let you search Ancestry.com, FamilySearch and other online databases. However, many programs limit the information you can transfer from those sites and may require you to manually enter the information into your family tree.


FamilySearch certified programs like Legacy Family tree allow you to import data directly from FamilySearch without needing to manually enter the information piece by piece.


Creating Connections


It’s important to understand that not all families follow the nuclear model. Different programs treat relationships like same-sex marriages, divorces and adoptions differently, so it’s important to see if the software you want categorizes these relationships in ways that fit your needs. Some of the software we tested requires you to create each individual’s record separately before you can join them in same-sex relationships or step-relationships.


Other Helpful Genealogy Tools


Because family trees can grow to contain thousands of individuals, it’s important to save your files to more than one spot. One great way to back up your genealogy is on an external hard drive. You may also benefit from a digital voice recorder for recording oral interviews and a scanner or printer for preserving old documents. 


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