Best Genealogy Software Online: MyHeritage vs Ancestry vs FindMyPast vs GenealogyBank & More

To keep the lights on, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. Rankings remain impartial. Our review process.

Want to know when your family migrated to the U.S. or where your great-great-great-grandmother was born? Or learn more about your heritage. Thanks to the best genealogy websites you can.

With the evolution of the Internet, genealogy has become a hot hobby. It’s now easier than ever to trace your family roots back multiple generations online, but where do you start? An online genealogy software program is a great place to begin your genealogy journey.

Why Genealogy Software?

Online genealogy continues to be one of the fastest growing hobbies. In fact, the Genealogy products and services market is projected to be worth over USD 8.5 billion and grow at an annual clip of over 11.2% from 2021 to 2028.  And there’s no doubt that genealogy websites will continue to gain new fans, from serious genealogists and hobbyists to casual family history curators, in the years to come.

Discovering your family’s roots is a fun mystery to unravel history (and once you start going down the rabbit hole, it can be quite addicting).

What Are The Best Genealogy Websites?

Below are our choices for the top three genealogy software websites. Each one has billions of searchable international historical records and an easy-to-use family tree maker. See their key features, pros and cons and pricing options to help you decide which family history website is best suited for your family research needs.

Winner: Ancestry Review

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Coming in at our top spot for best genealogy website is Ancestry.com. Back in 2012 Ancestry.com was acquired by Permira, a European private equity firm, for a whopping $1.6 billion — a testament to the popularity of the field (and to the company itself). Ancestry sets the bar pretty high with over 20 billion historical records in 67 countries, excellent beginner and advanced search options and an abundance of features. They’ve also recently added millions of Holocaust-related records and images that are free to search and explore.

The FamilyThruLines feature connects you to potential ancestors and see how you’re all related. Another handy feature is the TagMyTreeTags, which lets you add labels to people in your tree to highlight specific details.

While it’s on the expensive side compared to other sites, it’s worth the investment if you’re serious about doing genealogy research the right way. Plus, with a 14-day free trial, you can try before you buy.

Ancestry family tree screenshot
ProsCons
Comprehensive records, with more than 100 million family treesCredit card required for free trial
Easy to navigate website with more ancestry search options than competitorsJump through hoops to cancel your subscription
View public member treesConsumer feedback that customer service reps aren’t very helpful
Learning Center with tutorials, videos, articles, webinars and blog
Active online community with a member directory, online forum, message boards and social media
Android and iOS mobile apps
Free templates to help you keep track of research, sources, charts, etc.
Ability to give a gift subscription

Key Features

  • Easy to use Card Catalog with the ability to filter searches by collection, location, dates and languages
  • Hire one of their professional genealogists to do expert research for you
  • AncestryDNA: with their advanced DNA autosomal testing technology you can discover your genetic ethnicity and find new family connections with their dynamic list of DNA matches.
  • My Shoebox tool lets you store records you find but wish to review at a later time
  • Highly active Twitter feed, as well as Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr and YouTube

Pricing

Ancestry.com offers a 14-day free trial.

Ancestry.com Pricing

U.S Discovery Plan: access all U.S. records on Ancestry.com

  • $24.99 per month
  • $99 for 6-month membership

World Explorer Plan: access all U.S. and international records on Ancestry

  • $39.99 per month
  • $149 for 6-month membership

All Access: access all records on Ancestry.com, Newspapers.com and Fold3.com (an excellent U.S. military genealogy website and partner of Ancestry.com)

  • $49.99 per month
  • $199 for 6-month membership

Coupon Code

Save up to 30% on an Ancestry gift membership.

Read Our In-Depth Ancestry.com Review

Runner-Up: MyHeritage Review

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Based in Israel with U.S. offices in Utah and California, MyHeritage is one of the oldest (launched in 2003) and largest international genealogy sites with more than 96 million registered users and 82 million family trees. They come in close second for best family tree software. MyHeritage has an intuitive platform, and seemingly endless features including downloadable tree builder software. Their robust database of over 13 billion records is impressive but does not match that of Ancestry’s 20 billion records.

While they do offer professional assistance, their customer support and help resources lack compared to those on Ancestry. Otherwise, MyHeritage.com is a major player in genealogical research — and to top it off, they offer a free forever plan for those who just want the basics.

MyHeritage family tree screenshot
ProsCons
Free basic plan and affordable pricing for premium plansCan’t upgrade to Premium or Plus plans without signing up for at least a 1-year subscription
82 million family trees and 96 million registered usersPhone support is available Monday through Saturday, 24 hours (no support on Sundays)
Some records date back to the pre-1000sSmaller record base than Ancestry.com
Good collaboration tools to sync with other members
You can build a Timeline or Timebook documenting your family roots
Supports 42 languages
Android and iOS mobile apps
Customer service is prompt and knowledgeable
Active on Facebook, Twitter and Google+

Key Features

  • Free download of Family Tree Builder software, the preeminent family tree finder used by millions worldwide
  • Smart Matching technology uses algorithms to match your family tree to hundreds of millions of profiles in other family trees
  • Face Recognition technology: when you upload a photo, the face recognition tool scans each face and finds any possible matches already in their database
  • Megadex tool: with one click you can search the world’s top genealogy sources with name spelling variations
  • MyHeritage: offers at-home autosomal DNA testing
  • Instant Discoveries feature allows first-time users to enter a couple of family members and they’ll find at least one ancestor they think is a match (as well as more information about your family)
  • Family Graph API: you can family-enable any app or service to reach a broader number of people

Pricing

MyHeritage Pricing

Basic Plan: up to 250 individuals in family tree

  • Free

Premium: up to 2,500 people in family tree, plus smart matches, priority support and advanced DNA features

  • $89 for the 1st year
  • $129 per year

PremiumPlus: all features from Premium, plus instant discoveries and tree consistency checker for unlimited family tree size

  • $149 for the 1st year
  • $209 per year

Data: up to 250 individuals in family tree, priority support, access to 16.1 billion historical records, record matches and save records to your tree

  • $129 for the 1st year
  • $189 per year

Complete: unlimited individuals in your family tree, all features from PremiumPlus, plus access to 16.1 billion historical records, record matches and save records to your tree

  • $199 for the 1st year
  • $299 per year

Coupon Code

MyHeritage is offering a holiday sale at 38% off for a limited time.

3rd Place: Findmypast Review

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Rounding out our top three Best Genealogy Websites is Findmypast. This site is Britain’s foremost genealogy website and owner of The British Newspaper Archive and Lives of the First World War. Findmypast is an excellent website for those who already know that their ancestors are of British origin. They also have a strong emphasis on records from the U.S., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

They’re not nearly as community-centered as other websites, but that’s not their purpose. Their strengths lie in their rare and exclusive records and their easy to use family tree generator. Findmypast doesn’t offer it’s free search any longer, but in its place they now have a 14-day trial.

Findmypast family tree screenshot
ProsCons
Only site we found to offer pay-as-you-go pricingNo weekend customer support
Easy to use, intuitive platformPhone support is 9am – 5:30pm (GMT) on a UK phone number
You can add up to 5,000 people on your family treeNot as community-centered as other top sites we reviewed
More than 8 billion historical records, the earliest dating back to 850ADPremium Plan is expensive
You can build a profile for each family member
Excellent how-to resources and blog
Customer support via live chat, phone and email (located in England)
Android and iOS mobile apps
Active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Key Features

  • 1,000 exclusive collections that you can’t find anywhere else online
  • Extensive U.S. and World Newspaper collections from 21 countries and all 50 states
  • Complete U.S. Census records from 1790-1940
  • A majority of records are scans of original documents, the gold standard in genealogy research
  • Partnered with some of the most well-respected genealogy societies, including FamilySearch.org, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Society of Genealogists, and the UK National Archives

Pricing

Findmypast Pricing

US & Canadian Records

  • $14.95 per month
  • $129 for 12-month subscription (save up to 29%)

World Subscription

Access to records from US & Canada, Britain, Ireland and Australia & New Zealand.

  • $19.95 per month
  • $179 per month for 12-month subscription (save up to 29%)

Coupon Code

Save up to 29% by paying annually vs monthly.

Comparison Table

1st: Ancestry2nd: MyHeritage3rd: FindMyPastArchivesGenealogy BankMyTreesOneGreatFamily
Price Per Month$24.99-$49.99$7.42-$16.58 (for first year)$14.95-$19.95$9.99$19.95$20$14.95
Price Per Year$99-$199$99-$299$129-179$119.88$69.95$120$79.95
Free Trial14 Days14 DaysFree Limited Search14 DaysNone31 Days7 Days
Research AssistanceHire a professionalThrough Partnership with LegacyTree (users get a discount)Search Results for Professional Genealogists One hour consult (extra fee)
TutorialsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
US CensusCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
International CensusCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkOnly UK & PanamaCheckmark
BirthCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
MarriageCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
DeathCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
CemetaryCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
ObituaryCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Social Security Death IndexCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
MilitaryCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
ImmigrationCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
EmigrationCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
SurnamesCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Native AmericanCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Court & LandCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
MapsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
NewspaperCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
PhotosCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
School RecordsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Family Tree BuilderCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Family HintsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Integrate with Other Family TreesCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Upload GEDCOMCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Upload ImagesCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
DNA TestingCheckmarkCheckmark
Mobile AppsCheckmarkCheckmark
Social MediaCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
BlogCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
User ForumsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Member DirectoryCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
1st: Ancestry2nd: MyHeritage3rd: FindMyPastArchivesGenealogy BankMyTreesOneGreatFamily

Terminology

  • GEDCOM: a specially formatted text file with genealogical information and metadata linking records together. Most genealogical software programs allow you to import and export GEDCOM files.
  • Surname Index: You can search a database of surnames and also get the meaning and history behind each last name.
  • Family Hints: As you fill in your family tree, the website will suggest related family members found by their own search engine. It’s fairly hit or miss, but you can get some good leads with this feature.

More Genealogy Site Reviews

Archives.com | GenealogyBank | Mocavo | MyTrees | OneGreatFamily

Archives.com Review

Archives.com logo

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Archives.com started in July 2009 and shortly thereafter was acquired by Ancestry.com in 2012. While it pales in comparison to its parent site it is more affordable. Archives.com gives you most of the basic ways to search, but the records only go back to the 1500s. They do sport an impressive and growing collection of 11.6 billion records however. If you’re just starting out and looking to make a family tree, you might want to give them a try with their 14-day Free Trial.

ProsCons
Competitive monthly pricingMust enter credit card information for free trial
More than 11.6 billion records dating back to 1500sOnly includes U.S., U.K., Ireland and Panama records (not Canada)
You can pay to have them do an in-house search of county courthouse recordsArchive search is not as comprehensive as the competition
Living people searchSome customer complaints about still being billed after cancellation
Customer support 7 days/week via phone and email
Live on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Pricing

Archives.com offers a 14-day free trial.

  • $9.99 per month

GenealogyBank Review

GenealogyBank logo

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More of a niche genealogy website with records only from the U.S., GenealogyBank is an excellent resource if you’re looking for historical newspaper content. They do have a decent collection of historical documents (1789-1994) and books (1749-1900) as well as the Social Security Death Index, but the vast majority of their records are newspapers.

If you’re looking for a family tree maker or online groups, this is not the site for you. But for what GenealogyBank.com is, they offer good search options and resources to help you with your discoveries. Their collections date back to 1690 and they offer a 7-day free trial.

ProsCons
Historical newspaper collections from all 50 statesNo international records
Ethnic collections search includes African-American, Hispanic and Irish American newspapersNo family tree maker
Good Learning Center with tips on how to do genealogy research and how to get the most out of their websiteAbsence of any member forums or discussion groups hinders your ability to share discoveries with other family history seekers
Phone (Mon-Fri 7am-6pm MST) and email customer supportNo weekend customer service hours
7-day free trial
30-day money back guarantee
Available on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube

Pricing

  • Free 7-day trial
  • $9.95 for 30-day trial
  • $19.95 per month
  • $69.95 for 12-month subscription

Coupon Code

Save 44% on an annual membership by clicking here.

Mocavo Review

Mocavo logo

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Mocavo was acquired in June 2014 by FindMyPast and is no longer a genealogy site on its own. Check out our FindMyPast review.

MyTrees Review

My Trees logo

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MyTrees has been in business for more than 10 years and has an impressive pedigree-linked database of international records as well as thousands of family trees. While My Trees has many search options, it lacks some crucial types of records such as land, deed and court records. They are also missing Native American collections.

However, they do offer some unique features not found on most other sites like a professional genealogist directory, a date converter and the ability to embed family YouTube videos into your family albums. You also have the option of downloading free software Legacy 8.0 Family Tree if you don’t want your family tree online. MyTrees.com is fun to use once you figure out the cluttered homepage.

ProsCons
Ancestry Archive tool lets you search 1 billion names and thousands of family trees around the worldA lot of their records are extractions and therefore not as complete as on other sites
Create multiple family albums, a family world map and timelineNo member directory
Sign up for “Notify Me” to get emails when new content is available based on specified criteriaAbsence of court, land records and Native American records
Free templates and newsletterNo DNA testing
You can upload your GEDCOM family treeFree trial is conditional
Customer support by phone and email 6 days per week

Pricing

MyTrees offers a free 31-day trial, but you must upload your family tree to get started (minimum of 15 families; 60 individuals)

  • $10 for 10-day subscription
  • $20 for 1-month subscription
  • $45 for 3-month subscription
  • $120 for annual subscription

OneGreatFamily Review

OneGreatFamily logo

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OneGreatFamily is similar to a genealogy co-op. Unlike other sites, OneGreatFamily.com is a 100% shared community of members and their 190 million unique entries. Using its Genealogy Handprint technology, this website searches for you 24/7, merging two trees when an individual in both trees is an exact match, identifying and eliminating duplicates, and identifying areas on your family tree that have different information from other members’ trees.

Some serious genealogists may not like the automatic updates. You can manually search on your own, but other members submit most of One Great Family’s records, so you’re taking some risk with unverified information. But this is a fun site, and the idea of contributing to a globally linked family tree is intriguing. It’s worth trying out OneGreatFamily’s free 7-day trial before committing to their site.

ProsCons
Advanced technology does a lot of the searching for youCredit card needed for free trial
Community-centered website is all about connecting and sharing with members around the worldUser-contributed content may not be reliable
Verification of data feature to prevent conflicts with other usersNo searchable international census information
Free printable genealogy templates to help with researchNo DNA testing
Links to other sources for research, learning center and newsletter archives are good resourcesNo weekend customer support

Pricing

OneGreatFamily offers a 7-day free trial.

  • $14.95 per month
  • $29.95 for 3-month subscription
  • $79.95 for annual subscription
  • $149.95 for annual subscription, plus a one-hour consult with an expert

Where Else To Look Online To Trace Your Roots

There are a handful of must-see resources online that we don’t review here but absolutely must mention to help you uncover your roots.

  • The USGenWeb Project: Volunteer-run, it provides free ancestry sites in every U.S. county and state
  • FamilySearch.org: Free genealogy website/database, run by the genealogy experts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • NewspaperARCHIVE: More than 170 million newspaper pages dating back to 1607
  • Fold3: The place to go for U.S. military records going back to the Revolutionary War (and it’s just a cool site!)

Video: A Unique Global Effort To Preserve History

Ancestry.com is leading an exciting effort to digitize as many historical records as possible with the help of everyday volunteers. Check out this video to learn more about the Ancestry World Archives Project and how you can be a part of making and preserving history.

What Will Your Past Tell You?

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your family tree. Genealogy is a fun way to find out more about who you are and where you come from. Want to explore even further back in time? Through a simple, at-home DNA test, you can map out your lineage and family’s migration dating back thousands of years.

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