Author Topic: What free Family History Tree builder software would you recommend?  (Read 1622 times)

Offline Leon47

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What free Family History Tree builder software would you recommend?
« on: Wednesday 24 April 24 21:47 BST (UK) »
Hi.

I'm steadily making progress with my family searches, with a massive amount of help on this forum.

I'm currently using a free tree builder called 'My Family Tree' to save search results. It seems OK but I can't seem to get the report creator to work - and the help isn't much use. It also has a few annoying problems (eg when you create a birth date and realise you made a mistake, you can't just fully delete it without deleting the whole record for that person and reinstating it). So I'm wondering if there is a better solution.

I've signed up only to The Western Front Association for now (mainly to get access to Fold3) and I can use the Ancestry.co.uk site free at the Library.

I've read that you can use a free tree builder from Ancestry but I wonder how good that is to use, bearing in mind that I don't want to subscribe to that program.

I'm happy for the tree to be 'stand alone' - not linked to searches etc. just for saving all my searched results.

Any recommendations? Thanks.


Offline MaecW

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Re: What free Family History Tree builder software would you recommend?
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 25 April 24 07:32 BST (UK) »
I, and several of my wider family, use Brother's Keeper, which is available free on line @ www.bkwin.org.
We find it does everything we want and is trouble-free.

Maec
Baron (of Blackburn), Chadwick (Oswaldtwistle), Watkins (Swansea), Jones (x3 Swansea), Colton (Shropshire), Knight (Shropshire/Montgomery) , Bullen (Norfolk), White (Dorset)

Offline KGarrad

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Re: What free Family History Tree builder software would you recommend?
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 25 April 24 07:51 BST (UK) »
I have used RootsMagic for years; it does what I need it to do.
There is also the free, cut-down, version RootsMagic Essentials.
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline Spelk

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Re: What free Family History Tree builder software would you recommend?
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 25 April 24 09:30 BST (UK) »
I use Apple tech.
I chose to use Reunion some 8 years ago. I have tried RootsMagic but find it lacks two things over Reunion.
With Reunion I can use Reunion Touch on my iPad or iPhone. This lets me view and alter my files at remote places where there is no internet or phone signal. RootsMagic lets you view but not update.
With Reunion I can switch from Family View to a Tree View with one click. Other programs tend to make you produce a Report if you want to see a Tree View.
Few people use several different programs so we are all somewhat biased in favour of what we are used to.
Most programs have a free trial facility. Worth checking as what you start using is likely to be with you for years though you can always use gedcom to transfer your data from one to another.
Some programs will automatically sync with a tree on Ancestry.
Media files will not generally move between programs.

PS there are lots of discussion on this topic on a sub-board to the Technical Help board.

PPS just realised I forgot the “free” bit.



Offline KGarrad

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Re: What free Family History Tree builder software would you recommend?
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 25 April 24 10:53 BST (UK) »
I use Apple tech.
I chose to use Reunion some 8 years ago. I have tried RootsMagic but find it lacks two things over Reunion.
With Reunion I can use Reunion Touch on my iPad or iPhone. This lets me view and alter my files at remote places where there is no internet or phone signal. RootsMagic lets you view but not update.
With Reunion I can switch from Family View to a Tree View with one click. Other programs tend to make you produce a Report if you want to see a Tree View.
Few people use several different programs so we are all somewhat biased in favour of what we are used to.
Most programs have a free trial facility. Worth checking as what you start using is likely to be with you for years though you can always use gedcom to transfer your data from one to another.
Some programs will automatically sync with a tree on Ancestry.
Media files will not generally move between programs.

PS there are lots of discussion on this topic on a sub-board to the Technical Help board.

PPS just realised I forgot the “free” bit.

RootsMagic is Windows software.
I believe you can use it on Apple, but I never use any Apple products :D

Within RootsMagic,you can seamlessly switch between Pedigree View and Family View.
There is also a Facebook page for Help, often manned by RM Developers.
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline Spelk

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Re: What free Family History Tree builder software would you recommend?
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 25 April 24 12:03 BST (UK) »
Yes I see that RM does let you jump from Family view to pedigree (Ancestors) chart or a list of descendants. However I prefer Reunion's Hourglass view which lets you see a chart of up to 4 or 5 Ancestors and Descendants at the same time and the central person can be altered within the chart as you go. Very handy for trying to remember how people relate together.
Attached chart just shows 1 up and 2 down of some distant cousins. The quality is deliberatley made poor.

Facebook - never used.

Offline Leon47

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Re: What free Family History Tree builder software would you recommend?
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 25 April 24 15:26 BST (UK) »
Thanks everyone. Very helpful

I'll have a look at that other thread mentioned by Kgarrad and I'll keep an eye on this one too.

One of my main hopes is that I can get a program that, apart from storing all of my family search information, also allows me to provide that info (on printed reports or charts - that might include images and pdfs?) to members of my family, who probably won't want to bother downloading their own version of the tree builder software.

Another hope is that there are good instructions and/or interactive help from the developers/suppliers. e.g. "I'm trying to do xyz and it doesn't work. Can you explain?"

Thanks again.




Offline AngusMcCoatup

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Re: What free Family History Tree builder software would you recommend?
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 25 April 24 20:22 BST (UK) »
Been using Brother's Keeper since the early 1990s.

This was used to record essential person information (such as BMD) and make it a simpler affair to correct errors and add in multiple spouses when they were discovered - far easier to do it on screen than on the back of a roll of wallpaper.

It was originally bought as Shareware on a 5¼" floppy disk and was pleased to see when the internet came along that development was still ongoing so have kept the software up to date through a number of new PCs.

A relative introduced me to one of those online genealogy sites and uploaded the trees there via an exported GEDCOM file from BK. While the online information is useful and vast, I prefer to update the online tree with the BK data in parallel so that if the online account is lost for whatever reason, there is still the offline data to fall back on.

It is free, it works, it is pretty straightforward to use for my basic needs.

Offline Leon47

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Re: What free Family History Tree builder software would you recommend?
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 25 April 24 21:03 BST (UK) »
Thank you.

Ahhh floppy disks. That takes me back.