Building your family tree can be a long and complicated process. If you’re lucky, you may have a family historian (usually a grandparent or an older relative) that can give you a precise accounting of your family history – but sometimes, you just have to build your genealogy on your own.
If you don’t have any experience in genealogy but still want to build your family tree and look up your family legacy, then genealogy websites or genealogy software are your best bet. You don’t even need to be particularly tech-savvy to use them – plenty of genealogy sites help you build your family tree without too much effort!
Building Your Family Legacy
If you’ve ever wanted to create your own family tree but don’t have the tools, information, or access to a resource that can help, then a family tree website is always an option. A genealogy site is one of the best ways to not only check on your family roots but also to keep the traditions and culture of your ancestors alive.
When military records, census records, or online databases aren’t enough, genealogy programs and tools can help you search for the crucial information that you need to learn more about your past. The right family builder is an effective tool to make sure that you can accurately pick out your past from the millions out there.
Family tree builders are also a great way to connect families by encouraging them to research and record their legacy together. Whether the activity brings up nostalgia or an appreciation for how far your family has come, it’s an excellent activity that everyone can learn from and enjoy.
The Best Genealogy & Family Tree Sites
Genealogy research has become more refined in the past few years, and many of them double as a family tree maker. The best genealogy tools not only help you build family trees but also tell you a little more about your ancestors – names, historical records, and more.
Here are some of the best genealogy sites we’ve found, and how they can be of help to you as a family tree builder:
Ancestry.com remains one of the best genealogy websites and for good reason: it’s family tree software is one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use systems we’ve ever seen. It’s not a free genealogy website, but you do get plenty of incredible features.
Ancestry makes building a family tree easier by adding other family members into your family tree builder. They can contribute and build on your family tree the same time you’re working on it, so it takes less effort and can be completed in half the time.
But even with research, Ancestry.com is a site that can make building a family tree extremely easy to accomplish. With a sophisticated mapping tool that can search around the world, you can research everything from marriage certificates to census information. Keep in mind that your membership level determines the kind of information you can access.
For more flexibility with file options you can upload or export genealogy tools and formats from other genealogy software to Ancestry.com when building your family tree. GEDCOM files are the most common, but you can also use file formats from other sites like Family Tree Maker or a Personal Ancestry File.
For the budding family historian, Ancestry.com offers what is possibly the easiest gateway to building a family tree of your own. Its features are easy to understand and use, with plenty of dedicated support from the website if you’re ever stuck on a feature.
For those more interested to learn more about their genetic roots, MyHeritage is one of the most popular DNA testing sites for genealogy research. It’s DNA test is a simple kit that you can use at home, and it’s genealogy program is easily searchable and cross-referenced with millions of databases all over the world.
MyHeritage offers a full DNA test and matching with it’s package, which allows you to search for your closest genetic ancestors based on location, your date of birth, and your age. This information can be great if you want information about where exactly your ancestry originated. You can get your results in as early as two weeks, though some users reported having to wait until a month.
A great add-on from MyHeritage is to upgrade to its health test access, which can help you pinpoint genetic conditions and other diseases that you may be predisposed to. These reports are reviewed by it’s in-clinic physician, and the entire process is protected by client confidentiality. You also have the option to receive genetic counseling.
MyHeritage works well as a family tree maker, with tools that can match you with pre-existing family trees on its database, cross-check historical records, and provide links to publicly accessible records for the people in your family tree. You can also upload images and media to your family tree, as well as give access to other family members so they can work on it as well.
Overall, MyHeritage is a well-packaged genealogy website that can help you find your genetic ancestors, but its family tree building features can feel a bit lacking. Nevertheless, it’s still a powerful tool that you can use in your genealogy research, especially if DNA testing is involved.
Find My Past
Find My Past is a bit different from some family tree builders since it serves a certain niche: people from Britain and Ireland. While its services, search function, and tools aren’t as vast as other websites, its focus on British and Irish historical records makes them an excellent resource if you want to know more about your ancestry there.
The site itself allows you to build your own family tree and give other family members access, which makes it an excellent collaborative genealogy tool for the entire family. By adding more family members (especially ones who are based in the UK and Ireland), you can complete your family tree quicker.
There’s even the option to go through a DNA test, which gives you a detailed breakdown of your ethnicity, ancestry, and specific place of origin in Britain and Ireland. With records dating back to the 1700s, it’s an amazing source of historical records that you’re unlikely to find on most genealogy software.
Find My Past’s family tree maker is pretty intuitive. You can build and view your completed family tree in different formats and filters, making it easy to parse through information. The site itself can give you clues on areas to do research with its trove of articles and records, allowing you to easily mark and note dates of importance.
Overall, Find My Past is one of the better sites that you can use to search for your ancestry, but only if you come from the UK or Ireland. While it may lose to other websites with the limited scope of information that it has, the records that you do have access to makes it one of the best sites for anyone looking into their British or Irish ancestry.
Legacy Family Tree
Legacy Family Tree isn’t a genealogy site but rather genealogy software that’s gone through many different versions since it’s launch. While the old-school user interface may be off-putting to a lot of people, it’s still one of the best programs that you can use to check your family history and build a family tree on your own.
The Standard Family Tree maker is one of the best free genealogy tools out there. Legacy 9 (the latest version of this genealogy software) can run on mid-tier PCs on Windows 7 and above. The free version of the program has all the essentials you need for making a family tree – all you need is your GEDCOM file or Personal Ancestry File to get started.
Legacy 9 is even more efficient once you unlock its Deluxe features. The X DNA chart allows you to use an at-home DNA test to see how you’re genetically linked to other members in your family. The Online Cloud Backup feature can keep your research safe and accessible without taking up space on your hard drive. You can even check if your family tree is accurate by comparing your records to other family trees, complete with an overlay that allows you to check for discrepancies.
You can also involve other family members in building your tree, especially with the Deluxe Census and Questionnaire feature. Family members can fill in these questions so you can get more leads on possible relatives.
Overall, Legacy 9 remains a firm favorite of amateur and veteran genealogists alike since it makes building family trees extremely easy. It takes minutes to start building a family tree of your own, without the need to pay a monthly subscription. This makes it one of the best platforms anyone can use to build their own family tree.
RootsMagic is arguably one of the best genealogy software for anyone to use, especially since it’s one of the few genealogy programs that are Mac-compatible. With RootsMagic Essentials, you can have all the basic features of a family tree maker without having to pay for anything. This is great if you’re simply curious about your ancestry, or if you’re aspiring to become a family historian.
Since it uses the same matching technologies with MyHeritage and FamilySearch, building your family tree is easier than you’d think. By accessing the records from these two websites, you’re able to build more potential matches to distant family members, though you will need to pay for the subscription fees to fully utilize them.
With the option of importing all of your work as a GEDCOM file, you can easily use your family tree with other family tree makers. The recent version of RootsMagic implemented TreeShare for Ancestry.com, allowing your family members easier access to the RootsMagic family tree you’re building so long as they have an Ancestry account. Any data that either of you input will automatically sync across platforms, which makes shared research easier to input in the tree.
Using the paid version of RootsMagic doesn’t limit you to the WebSearch tool to look up records, but it can also use links from other family tree builders. This can be a great way to cross-reference any historical records or information that other people in your family have compiled. Its features become even more efficient to use if you have an Ancestry or MyHeritage account, though some users may view the costs of subscription to be too high and settle for the free features instead.
RootsMagic is an excellent site for any amateur genealogist to use, with excellent customer support and features that are easy to understand and use. While it isn’t as comprehensive compared to other websites and programs that we’ve put on this list, it’s still an effective program that can make genealogy research go by much faster.
Preserve Your Family Stories And Records With The Image Restoration Center
Building your family tree is far more interesting if you add other tidbits and information besides names and dates. One of the best things you can add to your trees are photos, especially of your ancestors. But since photos aren’t always in the best of shape – especially when pulled from old family records – it’s best to bring them to a photo restoration service to make sure that they last.
Image Restoration Center has plenty of experience with restoring and preserving old family photos, using the latest in color-correcting technology to bring life into old pictures. If you’re looking to add that missing touch of color to your family tree, contact us today for more information.