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January 6, 2012

Guest Author: Best Family History Software

I'm pleased to introduce my readers to my guest author today - Jenna Smith.  Jenna has written an article comparing various Genealogy Software. Enjoy!

Best Family History Software

More and more people are interested in studying their family history. From people perusing Brookdale senior living reviews to professional genealogists, the human race wants to know its roots. This isn't new thing, but in the past people have found digging into the past to be daunting logistical challenge. Fortunately, there are a number of tools out there now that will help you to conduct your research efficiently and have a bit of fun doing it. The following are three of the top pieces of software you can use to flawlessly trace your family tree:

Family Tree Maker

The proprietary, award-winning genealogy software from has been kicking since 1989 and as of 2010 is available for both PCs and Macs. The program allows users to organize and track information related to family history searches. In 2006 it won the CODiE award for “Best Consumer Productivity Solution.” Since then, FTM has been upgraded a number of times. While the software shares many similar features as other genealogy and family tree services, Family Tree Maker has received high marks for its ease of navigation and user-friendliness. New bonus features allow for customized narratives, 3D options, and quick information retrieval.


Developed exclusively for Macs by Leister Productions, Inc., Reunion consistently receives rave reviews. Like Family Tree Maker, Reunion allows users to create family history reports, including charts that illustrate family trees and tools for publishing their results online. Also like Family Tree Maker, Reunion is beloved for its ease of use. Released in a number of different versions over the years, the latest Reunion 9 provides even more options for customizing your family history research experience. Newer features include enhanced file importing capabilities, an expansion of output formats, a with-the-times approach to same-sex couple documentation, and the ability to flag people and events with historical significance.


RootsMagic runs primarily on Windows operating systems, although some users have been able to utilize the software application Wine in order to run it on Linux. The latest version of this software has a revamped interface that is FamilySearch certified and the new layout allows integration with Family Tree Maker and other software like Family Origins. RootsMagic also allows for DNA research and can be used to create 6 different types of CSS websites, including pedigree charts, and multiple forms of narrative reports. While its multimedia functions don't operate as seamlessly as the previous two programs listed here, RootsMagic has a stellar support staff and supports a number of 3rd party software.

Whether you use a PC, Mac, or Linux there are software options here for you to conduct extensive family history research. The programs discussed above also offer state-of-the-art methods for sharing and storing your reports. There's never been a better time to discover your roots!

About Jenna: Jenna is a journalism student at Saint Louis University. Upon graduation, she hopes to travel the world while producing compelling content for the masses. When she isn't writing,  you can find Jenna with her nose in a book, or her headphones in to block out the rest of the world. 


jerocis said...

Is this article to be continued? It barely scratched the surface in discussing desktop genealogy software and made no indication that apps for Android or iOS platforms even exist.

Rosemary said...

There was also no mention of Family Tree Maker's very close tie-in with Ancestry allowing a user to synchronise trees both online and offline. This needs to be addressed particularly since RootsMagic's tie-in with FamilySearch was mentioned.

Admittedly the sync feature has teething problems; for some users they are quite severe. For myself, after experimenting with it I'm very happy with how it is working.

Anne Wollin said...

'In 2006 it won the CODiE award for “Best Consumer Productivity Solution.'
OMG! Who wrote this? WTF is codie? Did she copy from wikipedia?

That award was for FTM 16, what they are pushing now is much worse.
FTM 2012 isnt a 'top piece of software, it is a piece of crap.
Do yourself a favor, stay away from it.

BTW, FTM has 3D options'? She just made that up right? And where is that comparison you promised?
Really now, did she even try any of these programs? Reads like she just copied and pasted from wikipedia or, and did not even bother to select trustworthy sources.
That's 'journalism' nowadays? OMFG, we're doomed.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Poor Jenna! I realize that many of us know quite a bit about genealogy programs but Jenna's a newcomer.

I felt she deserved an opportunity to have an article published but it seems she may have missed the mark.

I hope she didn't copy the article; I have no reason to believe she did.

Perhaps she'll respond in the Comment section to everyone's concerns

Jenna said...

Missed the mark indeed. While I can assure you that the content is original, I can't assure that you laides aren't always going to know more abou this than me.

I'll give it another go, and maybe I can turn these opinions around.