Question of the Week: Do you use a genealogy program?

+36 votes
Do you use family tree software, other than WikiTree? Which one? What are some features that you like?
in The Tree House by Deborah Collier G2G6 Mach 3 (38.0k points)
edited by Chris Whitten
Unless you count WikiTree, No.
I use Ancestry and Find My Past at the minute. Only joined FMP for the 1939 register
I have spent a lot of time and money on Ancestry and have gathered some interesting information.  Not enough to justify the money spent but as a beginner it helped me get started and I was able to grow my family tree on my mother's side quite a few generations back.

What it has never been able to do, which is why I turned to Wiki tree is answer the two questions that have been unanswereable. First and most important,  who was my grandmother,  Veronica Reilly? Why, was she given to Joseph and Ida Wiesner at birtthe though they had their own children, Otellie, Ruth, Walter  and Frederick?  Why did they raise her for her entire life?  Why can't I find info on her family?  And why can I find no info on the father of her son,  my father Frederick,  though she named him after the 2 Wiesner boys, Frederick  Walter?

Second,  why can't I find info for my daughter on her father, Albert Ray Jones except what I put in, his mother,  Lucille Smith and Albert Jones.
I was asking something similar about my grandmother, German descent in the Brisbane Valley. Turned out that her mother had passed and the many  children, especially young ones, were farmed out to different family members and when their father remarried and begat another large brood, they stayed with the families they were being raised by.   Another had to do with funds. When I family couldn't support a child sometimes they went to another family member. Wish you luck in solving your questions.
I use Ancestry and Im a Volunteer on Find A Grave . I have taken 900 Grave Stone Pics in the last 3 months.
Yes I use Family Tree maker since 1995 and have upgraded to FTM14 and still use it. I am also a member of Ancestry where I have uploaded all my family trees that I am currently working on also I use Family Search. I am new to WikiTree and do not have a firm grasp on what it can do for me at this time, only time will tell. The one thing that I see as a positive is the Collaboration and the source checking of information
I use MyHeritage currently but it expires soon and I will not be able to continue a paid subscription which has become quite expensive.  I am currently learning WikiTree and trying to get all information over to it but my GedCom file seems to be to big and I'm having to split it in order to get all information over to Wiki.  Wish me luck!
I built my tree on RootsMagic starting with version 3 and upgrading until I now have version 7. For $19.95 with each upgrade it has given me a lot for a small amount and best of all the main programmer Bruce Busbee stands behind the product.

When a problem arises that can be fixed at once he does it and t no extra cost. They have a setup where you can put your database online and I have 2 up, but I have some 30 years of research to put online for sharing and Wikitree is doing that for me.

I would never go back to FTM or PAF which I used at first and are now being replaced by RootsMagic. With both a free and paid version RM is tops in building your basic tree.
I used Myheritage through 23andMe. Same issues with cost. Am giving WikiTree a try. I have not figured out how to transfer all the work I've done so far from MyHeritage to here. In your post you mentioned GEDCOM. Is this a file created from the MyHeritage account? I'm curious and would like to keep my data.
Keep what you have on My Heritage. A Gedcom is a data transfer program.

It only transfers the basic data. Go to your file menu and see if there is a

tab called export or something like that.

I would go to Wikitree and do a search to see if some of your family is already on there. You can add sources and other data to them if they are. Get acquainted with Wikitree before uploading a Gedcom.

I have used since 2008.

I use Reunion software because it's really the only game in town for Mac users.

I like several things about it:

I like that when adding source citations, it has both ready-made templates to follow for typical sources one may use (website, periodical, newspaper, etc.) that can also be customized and free form for sources like a personal interview or family bible. Once you've used one reference it's saved and you can use it again, which is a fantastic time saver for those instances where one source can be used for multiple individuals (like a German Familienbuch entry).

I also like the Find feature which allows me to search under a number of things, including "any field".  I have several instances of pedigree collapse and being able to search within the family tree for identical surnames or villages has been helpful.  I find it also useful when I want to quickly navigate back to an ancestor or family whose profile(s) I want to work on more.

44 Answers

+13 votes
Best answer
I use Legacy & Family Tree Maker. The Family Tree Maker ability to auto synch with Ancestry is great. The report & publishing versatility of Legacy is great.
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
selected by Anonymous Barnett
+18 votes
Ancestry for a year--too expensive--bailed.

My Heritage for a year--bailed.

Still use Reunion for Mac at home--but not adding to it.

Now only WikiTree!
by Robert Hvitfeldt G2G6 Pilot (141k points)
+21 votes
Yes, absolutely.

I use Family Tree Maker and have for as long as I can remember.

I use it as a repository for research, and I can see the entire family that I'm working on, not just one person at a time. When I'm finished doing as much research as I can, I can then create a profile on Wiki if I choose to do so.

It may seem like extra work to most people, but it's the only way I can stay organized!
by Christine Daniels G2G6 Pilot (101k points)
I also use Family Tree Maker with my trees synchronised to Ancestry Member Trees. I've also some of my tree on Family Search. The more places the better.
I used Family Tree Maker for years, then when I upgraded to, um, FTM12, I think it was, the changes were enough that it no longer really met my needs. I've been using just WikiTree ever since I discovered it in May 2012.
+17 votes
After many years of using PAF (the freebie program from LDS, which they no longer supported), I tried a couple trial versions of programs and settled on RootsMagic7 - it was the most user friendly for me.  

Your question made me realize it has been many months (maybe even a year) since I've opened it.  Now work exclusively on WikiTree and on my to-do list is to update RootsMagic with all the additions and edits I've done on WikiTree.  Well, just opened the program to refresh what I liked about it and WOW, clicking on the little lightbulb on RootMagic profile, opens a list of possible online matches INCLUDING the WIKITREE profile.  This should make updating it from WikiTree easy :)
by Patricia Roche G2G6 Pilot (428k points)
edited by Patricia Roche
I've used RootsMagic since before it was RootsMagic. Think it was just called Roots. When I switched from PC's to MAC, I even kept a PC in the office to run RootsMagic. Fortunately there is now some totally invisible programming that allows it to run on my MAC
+14 votes
I'm also a Family TreeMaker user.  I picked it up at the local electronics store and upgraded it about every other time till the most recent version.  I still use it to store source material as well as about 100 trees from a few hundred  to 28,000 for my mother's tree.  the last 10 months I'm using it to get the sources I already have and attach the data and sometimes the documents to WikiTree.
by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (407k points)
I use WikiTree to record all the information, biography and sources included.

Once in a while, I download a gedcom to my computer and transfer the info to a program named Anaged to build an.up to 15 generations peacock shaped tree. Impressive and a pictured way of seeing where to continue to develop next. I have the peacock range printed on a 36" x 72" format for conservation or I can refer to it on my computer. Love it!
+11 votes
I was using Legacy Family Tree and Roots Magic until my home computer crashed four years ago.  I'm still trying to earn enough money to get a new home computer.  The only computer I have now is my business computer and I don't want to load a genealogy program on it.

I used Legacy Family Tree for my main files, but some of the pre-1700 files were done on Roots Magic.  I started computerizing my files originally on GenCircles, entering the appropriate sources, but when I moved them to, many of the sources I listed on did not transfer or transferred only by the program I titled.  I have also used gedcom readers before, but don't have any gedcom readers installed on this computer.  Therefore, I cannot read the gedcoms I have stored on my computer using Legacy or RootsMagic or what I downloaded from the web. is more complicated than the other sites as it's a volunteer co-op allowing only one profile per person.   You have to learn to share information with your fellow genealogists (especially since we're not being paid to do it.)

I do have some cousins who were professional genealogists, but that's not my business.
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+10 votes
I use MyHeritage windows application, because there are user trees that you can take photos from and information, mostly I use WikiTree
by Campbell Braddock G2G6 Mach 5 (55.4k points)
+9 votes

I am a Mac user and have used GEDitCOM for years. I really like it, but as with most here, I now put all my work on WikiTree and my Geditcom program is hopelessly out of date.  Still a great program though. . . 

by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (546k points)
+10 votes
I have used Brother's Keeper right from the start as it was very inexpensive at the time (still is, as well as having a freebie trial version).  I have found that it has suited my needs and is not real difficult to use.  I have tried some others but didn't like them as much as my Brother's Keeper.
by James LaLone G2G6 Mach 5 (57.8k points)
I thought I was one of the few who had used this program - I have an old Windows Millenium (ME) computer in storage that might still work that probably has a very old version of this on it. After a little research, it appears that they're still in business and have current versions! I might have to check this out again.
+15 votes
Gramps. Free, cross platform, open source. Wish citations were a bit more advanced but that's a work in progress.
I also am a Gramps user. Rich functionality.
+9 votes
I still use MyHeritage as they alert the members for birthdays and anniversaries and such ... daWife would shoot me if she didn't have those notifications.  Not sure that Wikitree wants to go into the notification business ... don't think so.
by Bob Jewett G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
Bob, but WikiTree has Anniversaries / Birthday notifications ! It's the first line in your menu ( MY WIKITREE).
Well, duh ... I need to check that out
+9 votes

I used Family Tree Maker 3 computers ago, sadly 2X crashed & I lost most of my work. (I now keep a master list of login information).  ♥ the community. ♥ their Fan Chart, it is free, links to ♥ the easy search & free, met two helpful cousins. I hope that after the 1st of the year I can leave & save $. Will leave when subscription runs out. Helps me w/ most everything I do / create, especially Projects, Clan EdmonstoneScottish Clans ProjectNotables ProjectMilitary and War Project, Roll of Honor ProjectGerman Roots ProjectWilliam Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project | Quakers | Quakers ProjectTexas ProjectsEuropean Aristocrats Project Just now trying to learn the ropes w/ Magnus Sälgö Videos .

by Anonymous Vickery G2G6 Pilot (240k points)
+10 votes

I have Family Historian and find it has absolutely everything I want. It includes a variety of plugins and you can write them yourself,

Also a user group at

by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (256k points)

I also use Family Historian.

I've used it to keep my own family history on for years (recently updated from version 3 to 6)

 Recently found it  very useful to produce sections of pedigrees  I've come across on here, where there seem to be problems. The JPGs of the diagrams can then be uploaded to a Freespace (I'm sure it works with other programs but am really pleased with the way it works with this one)

Here's an example of the tree diagrams it produces .As it's just to demonstrate one thing,  I've only sketched in some of the data. (. NB there weren't really 2 Priscilla Searles married to different Thomas's, that's the problem )

+10 votes
I started out years ago using Brother's Keeper - back when one backed up on floppies - remember those?.  Ditched the program when my then new computer came without a floppy disc  drive, and went to Family Tree Maker which synced to Ancestry online.  Last year or maybe early this year when Ancestry decided to no longer support FTM, I bought Rootsmagic. I imported everything to it, but kept my FTM also.  Then some company bought FTM and contracted to sync with Ancestry so I still use my FTM as the main program and keep an Ancestry subscription.  I only use them a few times a year.  I am full time on Wikitree now, and loving it!.
by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (180k points)
+7 votes
I use Reunion on my Mac, but it's strictly for my own tree. I've been concentrating lately on a one-name study on WikiTree, so I've neglected my own research. I have no idea if I will continue to maintain my personal files in the future... I'm still adjusting to WikiTree's features (I've only been on a little over a year), but I've been working on my personal tree for almost 20 years.
by Kitty Linch G2G6 Mach 4 (40.7k points)
+9 votes
I am using Rootsmagic free version. I like it because i downloaded my ancestry gedcom before my sub ran out and i got to keep all my source citations!
by Tamara Flora G2G5 (6.0k points)
+5 votes
No.  George Pattison
by George Pattison G2G Crew (350 points)
+8 votes
I do all my work on WikiTree. But I periodically upload a gedcom and copy my tree into a free program. I have tried free versions of Roots Magic 7, Ancestry and Find My Past. I found Find My Past does the best job of preserving my research without additional effort from me, while Ancestry was the poorest.
by Dave Rutherford G2G6 Mach 6 (68.1k points)
Does Find My Past have a software program now ? Just wondered.
I registered for a free account at Find My Past and was able to upload my gedcom and create a family tree there without any difficulty. Everything copied (except for photos of course) and even the links in my bio's and sources work. At free Ancestry only the names copied. Everything copied at Roots Magic but everything is lumped in a file called 'notes' and the links don't work - only at Find My Past.
That's nice to know about Find My Past tree software. I agree that Ancestry is the worse.
+7 votes
I use Ancestry and My Heritage I am trying to find info about my Great Grand-father Nicolas M. Igalo (Igallo), he immigrated from Italy to America and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the 1800s. Of course I use Wikitree!
+8 votes

Reading the replies makes me think that I am a total beginner. I checked out 6-8 different programs and I'm really not completely satisfied with any of them yet, Wiki included. I like the ease of adding family members and the way they write a printable book version on MyHeritage but so far I am just using the free version and I am topped out at 250 people. I thought about using Ancestry, but I'd like to try it before I arbitrarily give them my CC information. I was planning on paying the fees and joining MyHeritage unless someone can suggest something better. I just started using WikiTree but it is a little more time consuming and difficult to use, but I have found some "live" family members doing the same thing, so it has been useful. 

by Bobby Brown G2G Crew (440 points)
I agree.  I have tried many different programs and haven't found a golden star in the lot.  As far as sustainability though, I love Wiki the best.  I think the truth is, they all have some good features and some not so good features.  It is just a matter of finding what feels the best, personally.

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