There are basically two types of family history software available:
- Internet/web-based family tree builders
- Desktop software programs
Both these types provide options to view your data via your mobile devices.
Internet/web-based family tree builders
Using this type of software requires that your data resides with a third party website such as:
- familysearch.org (A collaborative tree which aims to create a single family tree)
- myheritage.com (A collaborative tree which aims to create a single family tree)
These programs are usually easy to use and to share your family tree with others. They are most likely to be useful to researchers who get the majority of their information from one source. Your information is kept on the provider’s website so you don’t need to worry about backups. You may also be able to access your data through an app on mobile devices such as mobile phones and ipads.
As this type of software has fairly limited features you should check to see if part or all of your tree can be kept private, if others can make changes to your tree and what your ownership rights are for your tree.
Desktop software programs
These are programs that you load onto your desktop or laptop computer. Some of these programs now offer an app as well so that you can access and update your data from your mobile devices. Programs such as Ancestry, Family Search and My Heritage allow you to sync your web-based trees with your computer-based trees.
Typically desktop programs have a much wider range of features than those that are internet/web-based. They usually offer charting, reporting, book creation, maps, pictures, family tree websites and more.
Researchers who locate their information through a range of different sources such as, online, newspapers, certificates, document, other genealogists and family members will typically find this type of software more comprehensive.
Most desktop software programs are usually written for either the Windows or Mac platforms but some programs are available in both.
The most popular of the programs are:
For the Windows platform:
For the Mac platform:
A search of the internet for family history software will give you a multitude of programs to choose from, some of these you will find are free or partly so. You will also find some that let you trial the software before you buy. Do some research before you decided on the best program for you, make sure that it suits you needs.