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

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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.

Article Overview

Why Genealogy Software?

Online genealogy continues to be the fastest growing hobby. 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 best 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.

Ancestry Review

#1

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Coming in at our top spot for best genealogy website is Ancestry.com. 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 16 billion historical records in 60+ 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

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent records, with more than 70 million family trees
  • Easy to navigate website with more ancestry search options than other sites
  • View public member trees
  • You can create a personal profile
  • Excellent Learning Center with tutorials, videos, articles, webinars and blog
  • Extremely active online community with a member directory, online forum, message boards and social media
  • Free Android and iOS mobile apps
  • Free templates to help you keep track of research, sources, charts, etc.
  • Ability to give a gift subscription
  • Credit card required for free trial
  • Hard to cancel your subscription
  • Consumer feedback that customer service reps aren’t very helpful

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.

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

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Read Our In-Depth Ancestry.com Review

MyHeritage Review

#2

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Based in Israel with U.S. offices in Utah and California, MyHeritage is one of the largest international genealogy sites with more than 88 million registered users. MyHeritage comes in a close second for best family tree software. It has an intuitive platform, endless features including downloadable tree builder software. Their robust database of over 7 billion records is impressive but does not match that of Ancestry’s 16 billion records.

While they do offer professional assistance, their customer support and help resources lack 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

Pros

Cons

  • Free basic plan and affordable pricing for premium plans
  • 38 million family trees and 88 million registered users
  • Some records date back to the pre-1000s
  • Good collaboration tools to sync with other members
  • You can build a Timeline or Timebook documenting your family roots
  • Supports 40+ languages
  • Free Android and iPhone mobile apps
  • Customer service is prompt and knowledgeable
  • Active on Facebook, Twitter and Google+
  • Can’t upgrade to Premium or Plus plans without signing up for at least a 1-year subscription
  • Phone support is available but difficult to find a contact number
  • Smaller record base than Ancestry.com

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

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 9.7 billion historical records, record matches and save records to your tree

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

Complete: all features from PremiumPlus, plus access to 9.7 billion historical records, record matches and save records to your tree

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

Coupon Code

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Findmypast Review

#3

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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 have a free trial, but you can conduct a free search of more than 830 million records to get you started.

Findmypast family tree screenshot

Pros

Cons

  • Search 830 million records for free
  • Only site we found to offer pay as you go pricing
  • Easy to use, intuitive platform
  • You can add up to 5,000 people on your family tree
  • More than 8 billion historical records, the earliest dating back to 850AD
  • 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)
  • Active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
  • No weekend customer support
  • Not as community-centered as other top sites we reviewed
  • Premium Plan is pricey
  • No mobile apps

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

US & Canadian Records

  • $14.95 per month
  • $129 for 12-month subscription

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

Coupon Code

Our link above applies discounts if available.

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.

Other Genealogy Software Reviews

Archives.com | GenealogyBank | Mocavo | MyTrees | OneGreatFamily

Archives.com Review

Archives.com logo

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Acquired by Ancestry.com in 2012, Archives.com pales in comparison to its parent website. Yes, it’s much more affordable, but in this case, you get what you pay for — which isn’t much. Archives.com does give you most of the basic ways to search, but the records only go back to the 1500s. 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.

Pros

Cons

  • Affordable monthly pricing
  • More than 4.3 billion records dating back to 1500s
  • You can pay to have them do an in-house search of county courthouse records
  • Living people search
  • Customer support 7 days/week via phone and email
  • Live on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
  • Must enter credit card information for free trial
  • You must cancel; otherwise, they begin billing you
  • Only includes U.S., U.K., Ireland and Panama records (not even Canada)
  • Archive search could be more comprehensive
  • Not as sophisticated as many other sites
  • Pricing is very difficult to find
  • Several customer complaints about still being billed after cancellation

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. Note: their collections date back to 1690.

Pros

Cons

  • Historical newspaper collections from all 50 states
  • Ethnic collections search includes African-American, Hispanic and Irish American newspapers
  • Good Learning Center with tips on how to do genealogy research and how to get the most out of their website
  • Phone and email customer support
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube
  • No free trial
  • No international records
  • No family tree maker
  • Absence of any member forums or discussion groups hinders your ability to share discoveries with other family history seekers
  • No weekend customer service hours

Pricing

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

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. You can find all of Mocavo’s content on FindMyPast’s website.

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.

Pros

Cons

  • Ancestry Archive tool lets you search 1000s of family trees around the world
  • You can create multiple family albums, a family world map and timeline
  • Sign up for “Notify Me” to get emails when new content is available based on specified criteria
  • Free templates and newsletter
  • Customer support by phone and email 6 days per week
  • Website is difficult to navigate with dozens of links on the homepage alone
  • A lot of their records are extractions and therefore not as complete as on other sites
  • No member directory
  • Absence of court and land records and Native American records
  • No DNA testing
  • Free trial is conditional

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.

Pros

Cons

  • Advanced technology does a lot of the searching for you
  • Community-centered website is all about connecting and sharing with members around the world
  • Data provided by OneGreatFamily is verified and reliable
  • Free printable genealogy templates to help with research
  • Links to other sources for research, learning center and newsletter archives are good resources
  • All subscriptions automatically renew
  • Credit card needed for free trial
  • User-contributed content may not be reliable
  • No searchable international census information
  • No DNA testing
  • No weekend customer support hours

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.

What are you hoping to discover with genealogy sites?

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