PROS / In case you notice an error or have new information, you can replace names, dates and places in bulk.
CONS / This program doesn’t allow the display of same-sex marriages.
VERDICT / Family Tree Heritage covers the must-haves of ancestry software, but there’s room for improvement with its customizing and publishing features.
As you conduct family history research, you may find conflicting sources. To keep all of your facts straight, you want ancestry software with plenty of organizing and sourcing options. The strength of Family Tree Heritage is its organizing and sourcing tools. It also completes simple tasks like merging family trees and adding sources. In some steps, however, it's much less convenient than the best genealogy software.
This genealogy software gives you the ability to replace names, dates and places in one swoop. As you continue your research, you may find stronger sources that prove your previous information incorrect. For example, if you find that an ancestor’s wedding was actually in 1931 instead of 1935, it can be a pain to change every mention of the event. Family Tree Heritage can swap the dates for every mention of the event, so you don’t have to pick through your files to correct every instance.
Family Tree Heritage links directly to FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com and RootsWeb.com. You can also add any other genealogy sites you enjoy to Family Tree Heritage. This gives you quick access to lesser-known searches such as the Central Database of Shoah Victims, which allows you to search European-Jewish roots.
While you can access these programs from within Family Tree Heritage, you may not be able to directly import the information from the database. Instead you have to copy and paste the information or, in some cases, create a GEDCOM file and import it into this family tree software. FamilySearch is one such site where you will have to manually enter its information into Family Tree Heritage if your search results in any important findings.
We tested the accuracy of GEDCOM files we imported into Family Tree Heritage. It accurately reported the most important information and auto-populated the correct data fields, but a few family connections were lost during the import. It didn’t take long for us to manually correct this within the ancestry software once the files were completely downloaded.
When adding new information, we noticed that this genealogy software didn’t pick up when we entered information incorrectly. For example, we purposefully added a child’s birthdate as before one of the parents’ birthdate. The best genealogy software would alert us of a potential problem, but Family Tree Heritage didn’t give any notice of an inconsistency and allowed us to save and continue with the program.
Another missing feature is the ability to list same-sex marriages. When you enter a spouse for an individual, the program automatically assigns the opposite sex to the spouse without any way of changing or overriding it. While this may not affect older family information, it could cause some headaches for more current generations.
Family Tree Heritage can produce an extensive list of reports about your family history. It has common publications like pedigree, group, ancestry and descendant charts, along with organizational tools such as research logs and custom forms.
While you can create a wealth of possible publications, it’s hard to customize and add flair to anything you publish. Fields of content in these documents are customizable, but you won’t find themes or templates to decorate your charts. This makes the Family Tree Heritage printouts best for records and sources for other genealogists rather than heirlooms and gifts.
One of Family Tree heritage’s unique features is the ditto tool. This allows you to link multiple people or places to the same source. For example, if you have a guest list from an ancestor’s wedding and want to link multiple family members to this event, you can simply ditto each person and link them to the source. This great timesaver means you don’t have to search your file for the same source applied to multiple people.
While you can create a wealth of different publications through Family Tree Heritage, this ancestry software doesn’t create the most aesthetically pleasing charts and reports. It also doesn’t pick up on any potential problems, such as missed dates or duplicate entries, nor does it let you display same-sex marriages. However, many helpful tools throughout this program, such as its unique ditto tool, help you save time and extend your reach into genealogical research.