Free genealogy software is not as rare a commodity as one might expect. There are a number of places to get free software, if you know where to look.
Three Leading Software Programs
Personal Ancestral File
Family Search.org, the website sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, offers a free download of Personal Ancestral File (PAF), which is a free genealogy and family history program. PAF allows you to quickly and easily collect, organize and share your family history and genealogy information. Print your family tree in colorful ancestor and descendant charts. PAF Companion is easy and fully compatible with PAF. You can download both the PAF and PAF Companion software free from their homepage.
Family Tree Builder
My Heritage.com provides a free download on its website for its genealogy software, Family Tree Builder. This software allows you to create your family tree quickly and easily. This genealogy software supports 18 languages. Featuring "Smart Matching" technology, it offers support for photos as well, including face recognition technology.
Family Tree Legends
Family Tree Legends Genealogy Software is a free, full-featured, easy-to-download professional genealogy program. It allows you to track, print, organize and share family history reports, slideshows and multimedia applications. This software allows you to search from Legacy Program to the pedigree-linked archives available at MyTrees.com. Also available at ABC Genealogy.com are the SmartGenealogy software (available in English and French) and the GRAMPS Project, a genealogy software program for Linux and other UNIX systems. GRAMPS is an Open Source (collaborative public) project that is covered under the GNU General Public License. You are allowed to freely distribute the program and its source code.
More Free Genealogy Software
- Arbor Vita is another freeware which allows you to display your family tree on the Internet by generating HTML pages for you.
- Bygones, a freeware program designed to assist laptop owners in organizing genealogy notes offers databases for non-laptop users as well. It is compatible with Macintosh 8.1 computers as well as Windows versions 95/98/me/XP and NT.
- GedTree is utility software that automatically generates genealogy websites. This software reads GEDCOM files (which is the standard genealogy format for the Internet). GedTree is free and there are no restrictions on its use; however, you may make a donation at the website if you choose.
- GeneWeb is free downloadable software for genealogists with an Internet interface. It can be used either offline or as a web service.
- Lifelines is second-generation genealogy software, available under MIT license for free download. As an open source project, Lifelines is continually being improved upon. It offers a variety of scripts (report-writing) and it reads *GEDCOM files. The 3.0.29 release supports English, Danish, French, German and Swedish. An official manual is included in the distributions.
- Cyndi's List offers an exhaustive resource list for more free genealogy software, programs and website generators. In addition, discover free software for:
- Writing and creating family history books
- Organizing and planning family reunions
- Creating timelines
- Website generation and creation
- Photo and digital image programs
An Abundance of Genealogy Resources
There are hundreds of paid software programs, of course, including the leading Family Tree Software. After comparing all your options, you'll be able to choose from a very wide array of software options, both free and paid versions, to assist in your family history search.