But I Have a Family Tree Online . . .

While it’s important to maintain an online presence so cousins can find you or to work with your DNA test results, the most important place for your family tree is on your home computer. There are several reasons why:

    • Your tree on your computer means that it is entirely in your control, and no one can touch it or change it but you.
    • Although it is hard to imagine, any website, even super-popular ones like Ancestry or Family Search, can be breached or suddenly close down.
    • If your tree resides on a website that is hacked or disappears suddenly, your data can easily be irretrievable.

Having your tree on your own computer necessitates having special genealogy software, and there are several good choices available.

What Genealogy Software Program Should I Buy?

While this question is easy to ask, usually the answer begins with, “That depends . . .”

    • First, do you have a Mac or a PC? Some genealogy software runs only on one system and not the other.
    • Second, which program is going to fit your research style, your computer expertise, and/or your need for sharing information with others.

Programs You Might Consider

Here are the best of the software programs currently available (alphabetical list, not in order of recommendation):

  • Family Tree Maker 2019 (Windows and Mac versions)
  • Legacy Family Tree 9.0 (Windows only)
  • RootsMagic 9 (Windows and Mac)
  • Reunion 13 (Mac only)

Each of these programs has a trial version; some have limited free versions as well. There really is no “best,” as what is comfortable for one user may not be for another, so you may want to try out a program before you invest in it.

You will also want:

    • Ease of use in entering data
    • Ability to add media (photos, documents, etc.)
    • Ability to add thorough and diverse source citations
    • Ability to create GEDCOM files to share with others

Usually there is a volunteer in the office with knowledge of one or more of these programs, so don’t hesitate to call and ask, if you want to talk to someone or get some assistance.

Last modified: 31-Mar-2023 11:42