Genealogy Software Reviews

Introduction to Genealogy Software Reviews

The comparative reviews probably give the best indication of which software performs the best and reviews in The Guardian and Computer magazines seem to be giving a clear message.

The leading packages are RootsMagic, Family Historian, Legacy and Family Tree Maker with RootsMagic consistently scoring the highest marks.

Top Reviews

RootsMagic Version 5

The popular RootsMagic family tree software programme has a deservedly high reputation, and the new version packs as big a punch as its predecessors!

Family History Software: Tried and Tested

A comparison of popular family history software, which included RootsMagic, Family Historian, Family Tree Maker, and Legacy. Which one came out on top?

TreeView 2

You won't often come across the words 'free' and 'excellent' in the same sentence - but as this is free and excellent, why waste your money on buying a program?


Reviews by Date

March 2012

RootsMagic Version 5 Featured Review

The fifth incarnation of the popular RootsMagic family tree software programme packs as big a punch as its predecessors! First released in 2003, it is designed in the US by Bruce Buzbee and distributed in a British format by S&N Genealogy Supplies (via READ FULL REVIEW...

February 2012

RootsMagic UK Platinum Edition v5

Over the past ten years, RootsMagic has proved to be a leading light in the genealogy software market, and this latest version continues the trend. I found it incredibly easy to install and was swiftly inputting my family tree details. Intuitive and simple to use, I can see why it is so popular. READ FULL REVIEW...

Online Special (July) 2011

RootsMagic 4

RootsMagic 4 ( is a popular piece of software that offers much the same functionality as FTM 2011. However, RootsMagic is a bit faster on its toes when it comes both to opening up and moving through its various functions. It also offers... READ FULL REVIEW...

March 2011

Top Family History Resources

Includes a selections of websites, software and data CDs. READ FULL REVIEW...

Spring 2010

RootsMagic Essentials 4

An unlimited trial program is a difficult balancing act, as it must contain enough tools to stop users getting frustrated, yet offer enough carrots to tempt them to upgrade. In the case of RME the publisher has got the balance just about right; retaining all the tools you need to build a tree while withholding some of those needed to share your researches with others. READ FULL REVIEW

January 2010

UK RootsMagic Essentials

RootsMagic has long been established as one of the leading genealogy programs. Now readers can enjoy a free copy of this award-winning software with the newly released UK RootsMagic Essentials. READ FULL REVIEW...

September 2009

Getting the Most out of RootsMagic 4

Don Bradbury browses the author’s newly published manual for RootsMagic v4, in the review from Practical PC Online.

"Written by the author of the program himself, and with the usual outstanding simplicity of expression - not to mention the touches of humour - that we have come to expect from Bruce Buzbee, this manual covers most aspects of database creation and usage that will be found necessary."

"GRM4 is a comprehensive and easy to use manual for the user of RootsMagic version 4. It is a worthy buy for the user of RootsMagic v4, then, and is a recommended add-on to the user’s library."

To read the full review, go to the Practical PC Online website, or click here. You can purchase the book at

August 2009

Software Tutorial - RootsMagic UK v4 Platinum Edition

Hot from S&N Genealogy Supplies comes RootsMagic version 4 (RM4). It's a lineage-linked family history software database program, developed by the American publisher RootsMagic Inc, from whom you can also buy an American version. You're better off with S&N's offering though because it's been anglicised using a proper (UK) English dictionary, and it also adds S&N to its list of web search pages. READ FULL REVIEW...

July 2009

Magic Roots - James Taylor looks at the latest edition of RootsMagic

RootsMagic 4 (RM4) is a family history database program from American publisher RootsMagic Inc. As with previous versions, there is also a British edition, published here by S&N Genealogy Supplies. In fact, there are three bundles: the Basic edition at £27.45, a Standard edition at £37.45 and the Platinum at £52.45, all available on CD by post. READ FULL REVIEW...

June 2009

Software Review: RootsMagic 4

Over the past few years, RootsMagic has esablished itself as one of the key family history programs. John Hanson tries out the latest version and its developments. "This is a good feature upgrade to an already good product. Some of the new features are worth the extra on their own but all seems to work well and there are many enhancements to existing features." READ FULL REVIEW...

RootsMagic 4 - It's been a long time coming, so is this new version worth the wait?

A solid blend of powerful features wrapped up in a user-friendly interface. READ FULL REVIEW...

May 2009

RootsMagic 4 UK EditionFeatured Review

The latest edition of one of the best family history programs out there. We would recommend this program to any family historian, be they a newcomer or an experienced and demanding user. READ FULL REVIEW

March 2009

Brother's Keeper 6.3

Brother's Keeper (BK), one of the oldest family history programs available, looks as fresh now as ever - a polite way of saying its interface is not among the most modern. It is, in fact exceddingly plain and colour-free, but it does provide access to important tools needed by any family history enthusiast. READ FULL REVIEW...

February 2009

Family Tree Maker 2009

James Taylor looks at the new version of Ancestry's family history software. Published under licence by Avanquest and released in October to less than a fanfare, Family Tree Maker (FTM) 2009 is Ancestry's latest offering in its family tree software line. READ FULL REVIEW...

Who Do You Think You Are? FTM v3

Now published under licence by Avanquest and released in October in serendipitous synchronicity with Series 3 of the eponymous DVD set comes Version 3 of the Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA) software. READ FULL REVIEW...

January 2009

Using Family History Software

Online expert James Taylor takes a look at the most popular family history software packages and gives his top ten tips for getting the most out of them. Most genealogy database programs offer the same fundamental functionality as each other, especially the mainstream products, where new versions are often used not only to introduce new features of their own but to catch up with the competition. READ FULL REVIEW...

The Official Guide to Family Tree Maker 2009

If you're struggling to cope with Family Tree Maker 2009's features, then this official guide is definitely for you. It takes the reader through just about every aspect of the program... READ FULL REVIEW...

Christmas 2008

Choosing Software

Would the keen genealogist in your life like some family history software for Christmas? - of course they would. But which is the right one to choose? James Taylor, FHM's online editor, looks at the best five programs on the market and makes some helpful suggestions. READ FULL REVIEW...

October 2008

Legacy 7.0 Deluxe

James Taylor assesses this new version of an old favourite. Version 7 of Legacy has been a long time coming, but it's been worth the wait. We're looking at the Deluxe edition, and among its new features are a mapping facility, improved charts, an easier and more consistent way of recording your sources, a relationship calculator, and much more. READ FULL REVIEW...

Who Do You Think You Are? Family Tree Maker Deluxe

The latest version of this licensed package offers tips and clips as well as a great software package... READ FULL REVIEW...

March 2008

A Beginner's Guide to Genealogy

PCs and genealogy go hand-in-hand - we look at a simple tree-building programme that also comes with two handy books for budding family historians. READ FULL REVIEW...

February 2008

Who Do You Think You Are? Deluxe

Family Tree Maker 2008 has come under scrutiny, generating mixed feelings - the gains made by the information-packed home screen, the timeline and the potential of the gazetteer and map were offset by the loss of useful chart and report features. This month we turn to the new Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA?) software package, now in version 2. READ FULL REVIEW...

Family Tree Maker 2008

Completely different in feel and functionality, Family Tree Maker 2008 is a complete rewrite of earlier versions of the program. David Frost's previous version of Family Tree Maker was version 11 so he was certainly expecting some major improvements for Family Tree Maker 2008 and he wasn't disappointed. READ FULL REVIEW...

January 2008

Family Tree Maker 2008

Family Tree Maker (FTM) is now in its 17th manifestation and, aside from the updates it has made to content and packaging, makes two interesting claims for this latest version - that it has been the number one selling family history software for 18 years and that it has undergone a total rewrite of its database engine and interface. READ FULL REVIEW...

September 2007

Legacy 6 Standard - Article Sept '07

Legacy is a family history computer program that makes it easy to store your genealogical information. Legacy keeps track of millions of names, alternate names, dates, places, events, notes, sources, pictures and sounds and presents them on screen in an intuitive manner, allowing you to see the big picture of your entire family. READ FULL REVIEW...

Kith and Kin Pro 2 - Article Sept '07

Kith and Kin Pro 2 is a software package with an interactive pedigree style view, which allows you to drag members of a tree around the screen. This layout can then be printed out as a chart. READ FULL REVIEW...

August 2007

RootsMagic UK Edition - Article August '07

RootsMagic has quickly become one of the UK's favourite genealogy packages, being easy to use and with powerful features. READ FULL REVIEW...

July 2007

Family Historian

Family Historian was written by a leading UK family history software designer and it allows you to enter your family by drawing a tree. Full support is given for sources, notes, facts and linked multimedia elements. READ FULL ARTICLE...

Brother's Keeper 6

Brother's Keeper 6 (BK6) is available online now as 'try before you buy' shareware. Once you have paid, you get the current version on CD with a printed manual and an instructional video, and free technical support. The program is under continuous development with minor upgrades available online. READ FULL REVIEW...

Shareware: Brother's Keeper 6 - Article July '07

Brother's Keeper is a Windows genealogy shareware program that allows you to record and organise your family history data and create various reports and charts with pictures. It lets you import and export GEDCOM files (file format for sharing family history information). READ FULL REVIEW...

June 2007

The Best Genealogy Software - RootsMagic V3

With a user-friendly interface, RootsMagic boats a wonderfully friendly approach, and throws in enough powerful features to make it a real contender - it's not hard to see why it's critically acclaimed by many. If you want the right balance of tools and accessibility, RootsMagic is well worth considering. READ FULL REVIEW...

Genealogy on your Mac

Should you have an Apple Mac, then there are two major programs you should take a closer look at: Reunion and Heredis. READ FULL REVIEW...

Legacy Deluxe 6.0

Legacy is much underrated lineage-linked software that doesn't get the exposure it deserves. The interface for each individual shows seven tabbed views, each reflecting different information for the selected person, which all make for easy data entry and navigation. READ FULL REVIEW...

May 2007

PFH Magazine - RootsMagic Family Atlas

Family Atlas is Windows place-plotting software from RootsMagic, publisher of RootsMagic 3. It works by importing your family files, then geo-coding your ancestral places (allocating latitude and longitude to them) using its integral 3.5 million-name world location database. READ FULL REVIEW...

PFH Magazine - 'GenBox' Software - Article May '07

GenBox is a comprehensive, flexible package that has many charting options and is ideal for both new and experienced family historians looking for a good all-round product. READ FULL ARTICLE...

April 2007

Guardian - Group Test

After reviewing popular family history software, which included Family Historian, Family Tree Maker, Legacy, and Heredis, the one that came out on top, scoring higher in the categories than the others, was Roots Magic Platinum Edition. READ REVIEW...

March 2007

TreeDraw 3 Software - Article March '07

Article on the software package, TreeDraw 3. READ FULL ARTICLE...

RootsMagic UK Edition - Article March '07

RootsMagic 3 UK Edition is now one of the UK's favourite genealogy packages... READ FULL ARTICLE...

February 2007

Kith and Kin Pro - Article Feb '07

An article about the genealogy software, Kith and Kin Pro. This is a software package with an interactive pedigree style view that allows you to drag members of a tree around the screen. READ FULL ARTICLE...

January 2007

Legacy 6 Software - Article Jan '07

An article about the genealogy software, Legacy 6. READ FULL ARTICLE...

October 2006

RootsMagic UK (V3) Platinum Edition

"The application is packed with features to make the genealogist's life so much easier. This is probably the most fully-featured genealogy programme I have ever seen and, for the money, no other genealogy package even comes close." READ FULL REVIEW...

July 2005

RootsMagic UK Platinum Edition

  • The wealth of information makes it a highly useful resource.
    5 stars Recommended

Link to PC World review

Personal Computer World

April 2005


  • PC Advisor 8/10, April issue 117
    "Roots Magic combines an easy-to-use database with a good selection of resources and output options."

March 2005


  • Computer Active, Buy It!, 5 stars, Mar 05 issue 184
    "RootsMagic won't leave you's still the top of the genealogy tree."
  • PC Format, "High Score" 81%, Mar 05 issue
    "There's no better genealogy package for the money"
  • Family Tree Magazine, Mar 05 issue
    "RootsMagic has a nice feel to it. The screen displays are crisp and uncluttered, navigation is easy, most features are intuitive...and there are enough charts, lists, reports and other facilities to satisfy any serious genealogist."
  • PC Answers, 81%, March issue
    "If you've been meaning to do a family tree for years, then RootsMagic 2 could be just what you need."

February 2005


There are reviews of Roots Magic UK in the following magazines:

  • Family History Magazine, Software of the Month, Feb issue
    "This is an impressive upgrade to a program which was already a pleasure to use."
  • PC Home, 4 stars, issue 159
    "For quick, easy yet flexible family tree creation, RootsMagic proves hard to beat."
  • Computer Shopper 4 stars, Issue 206
    "RootsMagic is a useful organisation and research tool for anyone who's serious about geneaogy."
  • Windows XP Magazine Issue 43
    "An extremely good family tree program."
  • PC Plus Issue 227
    "What makes RootsMagic different are the discs it comes with...the other CDs are very useful."

December 2004

RootsMagic UK Platinum Edition

Roots Magic packshot

RootsMagic...has been written by Bruce Buzbee for UK researchers. The platinum edition of RootsMagic 2 includes a printed manual, online subscription to, and over £90-worth of genealogy resources on seven CDs... READ FULL REVIEW...


November 2004


Roots Magic combines easy data entry with a very wide selection of reports and projects. It crams large amounts of information on the screen without ever losing its clarity... MORE

September 2004


RootsMagic's wall charts...are impressive...You can also produce printed books... MORE

August 2004


To start from scratch in RootsMagic you click on the Add person icon, which requires minimal information: given names, surname and gender, dates and places of birth, death and burial. This in turn opens the Edit Person dialog box, where you can add more data... READ FULL REVIEW...

June 2004

Roots Magic UK Edition

RootsMagic screen shot

Altogether I found the program really easy to use with an impressive range of facilities, suitable for all users... READ FULL REVIEW...