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Best Free Genealogy or Family Tree Software | Gizmo’s Freeware Archive


Genealogy software provides a method for recording the subjects of our research, e.g. their names, relationships, and events of their lives. Evidence (citations and sources) should be recorded to support the conclusions reached. They also print the reports and charts to show off the results of our labor.

This article reviews stand alone programs which run on your PC. If you are interested in web applications, see this companion review Best Free Online Genealogy or Family Tree Applications.

Several free applications in this review will do a reasonable job for the novice or advanced genealogist. Read also the Supported Features of these applications in a section of this page.

[Doakio Editor's Note: This article was restored from Gizmo's Freeware archives as a service to the freeware community. Gizmo's Freeware provided high-quality, volunteer freeware reviews for decades. They shut down in July of 2021.]

Rated Products

Gramps  A cross-platform and open-source application to research, organize and share your family tree with outstanding features.

Our Rating: 5

License: Free (Open source)

Cross platform and open source, easy navigation, outstanding place entry, superior date support, best narrative style web sites, create large format reports, support multiple parent relationships.
No foot or end notes, lacks people list, source list, repository list and citation list reports.

Read full review…


ScionPC  A genealogical management system that is easy to use, fully featured and portable.


License: Free

Easy to use, portable, less gender constraints, exceptional date format, creates a complete web site for upload, global merge function and supports other languages.
Only one citation per event, one source format; no private notes, no book print function, no history list and no fan charts.

Read full review…


MyHeritage Family Tree Builder Handy genealogy software for building your family tree, adding photos, historical records and more.


License: Free

Handy list for navigation, auto checks for duplicates, direct upload, import and create GEDCOM files.
No merge tools, no individual or place reports, no date calculator, nag screens, requires registration.

Read full review…


Ancestry  A handy app to access your family trees.

Our Rating: 3.5

License: Free (Limited features)

Horizontal pedigree chart; display, add and edit individuals and events; easy to search by name; add photos to the tree; location aware.
Does not support sources. No descendant, people, or place list view. No bookmarks or history list of viewed people.

Read full review…


Legacy Family Tree Standard  It is easy to use, flexible and has plenty of capabilities.


License: Free (Limited features)

Easy to use and flexible; supports family, pedigree and index views; easy navigation; attach photos and documents; strong report generator and create good looking web pages.
No support for same sex couples; support multiple names but not searchable; only ASCII character encoding is supported; nagging message.

Read full review…


Brother's Keeper  Helps input and organize family history information with basic features.


License: Free (Limited features)

Checks for duplicates; support multiple names, multiple parents and marriages, same sex marriages and parents; no lags.
Does not support Unicode characters; no duplicate merge tools, no pop-up calendar and no people bookmarks.

Read full review…


Ancestral Quest Basics  Easily organize your family history with basic features and automatic searches.


License: Free (Limited features)

Automatic searches in the background, displays matches, perform individual searches, support ASCII character encoding.
No Unicode support, individual view blocked, nags with each startup.

Read full review…

Supported Features:

The above applications support these features unless otherwise noted:

  • They support unlimited entry of individuals, birth, marriage, death, burial, and other events together with their associated dates, locations, and source citations.
  • Alternative names can be entered but are not necessarily searched.
  • Marriages are not numerically limited, i.e. multiple spouses (sequential or polygamous).
  • Polygamous relationships are not completely displayed, e.g. only one pair can be viewed at a time.
  • Multiple parents are supported (adopted, foster, or other possibilities). However, only one pair of parents can be displayed at a time.
  • Incest is supported, e.g. a child can be married to one of their parents and/or be both sibling and parent of another sibling.
  • Same sex marriages and parents are supported by several of the recommended programs.
  • Intersex and transsexual individuals are not supported.
  • They support family group, pedigree, and descendant reports and charts together with the associated foot- or end-notes.
  • They support multimedia attachments but not all support photos in reports.
  • They support import and export of GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMmunication) format files.

Related Products and Links

Related Products

  • GEDView is a portable viewer for GEDCOM files. Save your GEDCOM to a USB drive with this utility and you'll never be without access to your research. Provides name listing, individual screen, and pop up pedigree, descendant, Mitochondrial DNA, and Y Chromosome views.
  • Ged2Web converts GEDCOM files to HTML files for uploading to a website. More features than PAF but either Legacy, Gramps, or ScionPC produce better formatted web sites. If you don't want to install Legacy, Gramps, or ScionPC then you might try this utility.
  • GeneaQuilts is a new visualization technique for representing large genealogies of up to several thousand individuals. The visualization takes the form of a diagonally-filled matrix, where rows are individuals and columns are nuclear families. The system includes an overview, a timeline, search and filtering components, and a new interaction technique called Bring & Slide that allows fluid navigation in very large genealogies.” I suggest watching the demonstration video if you're interested in trying this program.

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