Family tree programs

After returning from school, your son asked you for help with a task he was assigned: for a history research, he has to build your family tree. Having never deepened the history of your most distant relatives and, curious to find out if any illustrious personage is hiding among your ancestors, you have gladly accepted your child’s request and immediately started looking for a solution to accomplish the task. . Unfortunately, however, the tools at your disposal are not of much help and your enthusiasm has had to deal with the difficulty of putting your ideas into practice.

If that’s the case, don’t give up and let me help you out. If you give me a few minutes of your time, I can point you to a number of family tree programs that you can use to help you succeed. In fact, you must know that there are solutions of all kinds and you will be spoiled for choice: there are software that allow you to easily add the various members of the family and automatically create family ties; others that allow you to take care of every detail of the family tree, inserting the personal card of each person and adding photos, information and events and much more.

If you agree, let’s not waste any more time chatting and let’s get to work right away! Take five minutes and read the next few paragraphs carefully. Identify the program that you think best suits your needs, try to put into practice the indications I am about to give you and I assure you that you will be able to create your family tree and trace your most distant ancestors. Enjoy the reading!


  • MyHeritage (Online / Windows / macOS)
  • Gramps (Windows / macOS / Linux)
  • Legacy (Windows)
  • Simple Family Tree (Windows)
  • Online solutions for making a family tree

MyHeritage (Online / Windows / macOS)

MyHeritage is one of the best family tree programs. It is available for free for Windows PC and macOS, as an application for Android and iOS devices, and also in an online version. Its user interface is extremely intuitive and allows you to reconstruct the structure of any family without limits on the number of members. It supports synchronization with the MyHeritage online database and allows you to view the places of origin of your ancestors on interactive maps.

To download MyHeritage on your computer, connected to its official website and click on the button Start your tree , then scroll down the page, press the item  Download Family Tree Builder for free and, in the new open page, click on the button Download for free to start the download.

Once the download is complete, if you have a Windows PC double-click on the family_tree_builder_ [version] .exe file and press the OK button to confirm the choice of the Italian language, then click on the Next,  Accept and Install buttons to start the installation. Wait a few seconds and click the Finish button to close the window and start the program.

To install the program on  Mac, instead, double-click on the family_tree_builder_ [version] .dmg file and drag MyHeritage into the Applications folder of macOS, then open it, right-click on the program icon and select the Open item   from the menu that appears to start the software and avoid macOS restrictions for applications from non-certified developers (this is only necessary for the first run of the program)

When first launching MyHeritage, click the Register Now button to create your account. Then enter your data in the NameSurnameGenderEmail address and Password fields and press the Next button, then, if you wish, enter the optional information in the fields Year of birthAddressCityCountryStateCode Post and Phone and click the Finish button to complete the registration.

You are now ready to create your family tree with MyHeritage. To create a new project, click on the New button in the top menu and enter its name in the Project name field, then press the Next button three times in a row and click on the Finish button. To add new people, presses on the items Add person and Add individual without kinship, enter the data in the fields GenderNameSurnameEmailBirth and click on the More details button to add photos and further information, such as ProfessionReligionEvents etc.

After adding the first person, the family tree of the added person is generated: then click on the Add fatherAdd motherAdd wife and Add family items to add other people and automatically create family ties.

As mentioned above, MyHeritage is also available in a Web version. To access your account, connect to the MyHerigate website and click on the Start your tree button, then press the Login item at the top right, enter your login credentials in the Email address and Password fields and click the Login button to login.

Finally, you should know that with the paid version of MyHeritage (7.49 euros/month with annual billing) you can take advantage of additional MyHeritage features, such as the interactive map, priority support and access to detailed information and documents on people entered in the site database.

Gramps (Windows / macOS / Linux)

Gramps is an open-source program for making family trees for free. It is available for Windows, macOS, Linux and has an intuitive interface fully translated into Italian. In addition to its native functions, it allows the addition of further functionality by installing various extensions.

To download Gramps on your computer, connected to the program’s website and click on Download Gramps located at the top right. In the new open page, locate the software version of your interest between  Linux,  Windows  and macOS and press the relevant link to start the download.

Once the download is complete, if you have a Windows PC, double-click on the file you just downloaded, press the Next and I agree buttons, choose whether to install the program only for you or for all users of the computer and click on the Next and Install buttons to start its installation. Wait a few seconds and press the Next and  Finish buttons to conclude the setup and close the window.

If, on the other hand, you have a Mac, double-click on the Gramps- [version] .dmg file and drag Gramps into the MacOS Applications folder, then right-click on the program icon and select the Open item from the menu that appears (this is only necessary on first start, to bypass macOS restrictions for programs that come from non-certified developers).

At the first start of Gramps, click on the New button to create a new family tree, enter the name in the appropriate field and press the Upload family tree item. Now proceed with entering the first person: select, then, the item People in the sidebar on the left, click on the + icon and enter the required data in the NameSurname and  Gender fields. If you wish, press the  Events,  Addresses,  Internet,  Gallery items, etc. to add further information and a photo of the person in question and, once the entry is complete, click on the OK button to confirm.

To shape your family tree and create the first relationships, select the person added just now, click on the item Relationships and press one of the available options:  Add a new set of parents  (the icon of the three men and the + ) to add the mother and father; Add child to an existing family  (the three men icon  ) to add the person in question as a child of an existing family and  Add a family with this person as a parent  (the two men ) to create a family bond and add a wife and children.

Legacy (Windows)

Legacy is a free program for Windows that allows you to create your family tree with ease. It allows you to generate cards for each member of the family, with interviews and detailed information. It is also available in a paid Deluxe version ($ 34.95) that adds additional features, such as the ability to create charts and search for ancestors.

To install Legacy on your Windows PC, connected to the software website, click on the Free Download Now item and click on the Download Legacy 9.0 Standard Edition (free) option, then enter your data in the Email AddressFirst nameLast fields name, put the checkmark next to the item I’m not a robot and press the Next Step button. Within a few moments you will receive an email containing a download link: click on it to download Legay to your computer.

Once the download is complete, double-click on the  Legacy [version] Setup.exe file, press the Next button twice in a row and wait a few seconds for the installation to complete. Then start the program, select the Italian option and click the OK button to confirm the choice of language, then place the checkmark next to the item  I want to use the Standard edition of Legacy (free), press the Next button and follow the program setup wizard.

You are now ready to add people and create your family tree with Legacy. To create a new project, click the Start a new family file option and enter your details in the Your name,  Your date of birth and  Your place of birth fields.

Then complete your personal profile indicating if you are married and, if necessary, inserting the details of your spouse. Finally, click on the buttons  Add father and  Add mother to enter your parents and those of your partner and then on the buttons  Add father of mother,  Add mother of mother  etc. to add the grandparents, then click the Done button to add the first branches of your family tree.

Simple Family Tree (Windows)

As its name suggests,  Simple Family Tree is a poorly featured Windows PC program compared to other software in the same category. It allows you to add various family members, create relationships between them and add various ancestors and descendants. The ideal program for those looking for an easy-to-use solution.

To download Simple Family Tree, connect to the website of the software manufacturer, locate the item  Simple Family Tree and click on the relevant Download option to start the download. You must know that the program does not require installation: to use it, double-click on the SimpleFamilyTree.exe file and press the Run button.

After starting the program, click on the New Individual item in the top menu to add a new family member and enter the data in the NameBorn  (birthdate) and possibly Died fields to indicate the date of death. Then put the checkmark next to Mr to indicate the male sex or Ms for a woman, then click on the OK button to add the person to your family tree.

Now, click on the Individual’s Info item and, in the new open window, add further information of the person entered just now, such as notesevents and photos. Furthermore, by pressing the Add a fatherAdd a motherAdd a childAdd a spouse button you can enter the father, mother, children and wife of the person in question, creating the first branches of the family tree. Repeat the operations for all the people who make up your family to have a complete family tree.

Online solutions for making a family tree

In addition to the programs proposed in the previous paragraphs, to be installed on the computer, you must know that there are also online solutions to make a family tree that work directly from the browser: here is a list of those that I think are most interesting.

  • Genes: is an online service for the development and sharing of genealogical data that allows you to create a genealogical tree of your family without installing any program on your computer. Supports inserting videos, photos and documents into your personal archive for up to 1GB of space It’s free, but by subscribing to a subscription plan, you can increase the storage space at your disposal and take advantage of additional features.
  • Canva: the ideal solution for less experienced users or those who don’t have much time available. It allows you to create a family tree online using one of the many standard templates to customize with the data of your family members. It is free and in Italian.
  • Genoom: is an online service that allows you to create a family tree without downloading any program. By creating a free account, it allows you to add the various members of the family, create ties and manage personal cards. In addition, it offers interesting features, such as the  Family Forum to create discussions with other family members and the Calendar to enter and manage events. It is also available in a subscription version at a cost of 24 euros/year.
  • FamilySearch: In addition to allowing the creation of a family tree, FamilySearch presents itself as an online service that allows you to discover your ancestors by searching for them in a huge database. It is completely in Italian and free. I also told you about it in detail in my tutorial on how to trace your ancestors.


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