PROS / In addition to over 20 charts and reports, Legacy is one of the few programs that creates research forms.
CONS / This program doesn’t display same-sex marriages.
VERDICT / Legacy Family Tree is a powerful genealogy program that creates appealing charts and reports to help you visualize your family line and share your research with others.
Legacy Family Tree, with its many tools for researching, charting and organizing your family tree, is the best genealogy software we reviewed. Legacy links directly to popular genealogy sites like FamilySearch and Ancestry.com. It has an in-app browser that allows you to research your family online directly from the software, and when you find new information, the program can import it directly to your family tree. After you gather family records and information, you can choose from a variety of charts to display your findings; within the charting section, there are 25 different charts and 20 reports. Because of these extensive features and tools that help you every step of the way, Legacy receives our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for family tree software.
As in any other research-heavy field, the web and its many resources have quickly become essential to genealogists. Like all the best genealogy software, Legacy has web-enabled research assistance that comes in many forms. With the exception of web hints to alert you when new information is found, Legacy Family Tree has them all – though the web hints are a significant missing feature that most of the best genealogy software has.
Legacy exports and imports GEDCOM files offline quickly, which is useful when you work with other genealogists. The program also connects to the web via popular sites like FamilySearch and MyHeritage. From here, you can log and import these online sources into your own database. You can also sync your family trees to the web.
In addition to the classic paper charts, Legacy lets you create a full webpage to display your family history. This is a good feature if you are considering starting a genealogy blog or want to share your work with your family. The program gives you the choice between a Java-based or HTML-based page, but both are easy to create in just a few clicks.
The interface of this genealogy software is smooth and uncluttered, so it’s easy to find the tools you need. You can also customize the ribbon menu and toolbar for quick access to the features you use the most.
Within the family tab, you can view multiple marriages and other types of complex relationships. You can also add notes and media about individuals using this tab. Sometimes multiple marriages make genealogy confusing, and for this purpose, color-coding is another one of Legacy’s talents. This feature allows you to label names, places and events associated with different family branches. For example, if one of your relatives had children from two different marriages, you can use the color-coding feature to label each branch’s descendants. However, a type of marriage that Legacy doesn’t display is same-sex marriages, which may become increasingly problematic in years to come.
This family history software checks for duplicate entries, gaps in time and other potential problems throughout your tree. When it catches such an error, it flags it with a small red warning symbol. This is especially useful because these errors can be difficult to spot on your own.
Legacy has some of the best features found in genealogy software. For example, several tools note where your ancestors’ most significant events occurred based on your records. It also offers several reports to give you more information, such as the origins report, which shows you what percentage of blood you have from each of your countries of origin, and the migration report, which tells you how far a person’s descendants spread out in the world. Legacy even animates your ancestors’ movements through time in several modes, including street, aerial and 3D, with the migration-mapping tool.
When you complete a family tree in Legacy, there are several ways to exhibit your research. To display the ancestors and children of a husband and wife, you can use the family bow tie chart. There is also the descendant chart, which shows how the family line progressed from one pair of ancestors. If a common ancestor had multiple marriages, the descendant tab is the best way to see how each branch split from this individual. You can hide duplicate lines in wall charts to save room for more photographs and captions. You can also add photos, videos and sound bites from members of your family to add to a genealogy blog, slideshow or wall chart.
Legacy is one of the few family tree programs that provide templates for genealogy worksheets, which genealogists often use to record their research and gather information from others. Backgrounds for websites, charts and reports are completely customizable. You can add your own pictures or adjust the backgrounds Legacy provides.
You can collect information from relatives by sending questionnaires, interview notes and research logs to track progress. This genealogy software also produces relationship diagrams and forms based on U.S., U.K. and Canadian censuses. Fonts and formats are customizable, along with changeable content and fields for any of these forms. If you prefer to conduct paperless research, all of the available forms can be produced as PDF files. This means you can send them to other genealogists online while collaborating.
Citation & Organization
As you conduct your research, you'll want to record how and where you found your sources. Legacy Family Tree can use sourcing information from your records to create correctly formatted citations. Entering a source into Legacy takes longer than other processes in the software. This is because the fields and requirements change based on what you enter into the system. When you enter items like birth certificates, the fields change to ask for information like certificate number and the county where the birth took place. If you’re unsure of what to enter, you can find a helpful dialogue box next to each field that guides you through the section.
The index and research tabs come in handy when your family tree starts to get large. The index allows you to access individuals and their information, including Reference Identification Number (RIN), sex, birthdate, birthplace, date of death and place of death. The research tab connects you to suggested sources and a to-do list to keep your process organized. This tab serves as a great guide for novice researchers.
In addition to documents like birth certificates, you can add media as sources into Legacy. When you amass a large amount of information on your family, it’s best to store all of your multimedia together for easy keeping. The Media Gatherer feature in Legacy allows you to place your genealogy pictures in one common folder. With this tool, you have quick access to your files, making it easy to share them with another computer or family member. When you find sources and multimedia related to your family online, you can link them to a gallery in Legacy for easy access.
Help & Support
Legacy is easy to use, but there may come a point when you have a question or two. Most of these can be answered in the FAQs section or online resource sections. Legacy also has video tutorials that give helpful step-by-step instructions on how to use the program.
Legacy Family Tree had a wide variety of customizable charts, reports and research forms. Within the program, you can find 25 different kinds of charts and 20 report types alone. For researching offline, you can print helpful forms that take you through the digging process. Generally, Legacy is easy to use, but it lacks the useful feature of web hints that guide your research. For all the features it does have, though, Legacy is the best genealogy software in our review.