Record and share your family history for free with Family Tree Builder 5.1
Family history software is not exactly an endangered species these days. With genealogy more popular than ever thanks to the internet revolutionising and greatly simplifying the field of family history research, millions are dipping their toes into the field to see whether there’s any money (or scandal) to be found with a trip back into their ancestor’s lives.
There’s only so much research you can do before it needs to be recorded, and it goes without saying that your PC is the perfect tool for the job. There are plenty of capable tools out there, but one of the best is completely free. Family Tree Builder wraps up a powerful set of features in a beautifully designed and user-friendly interface, with plenty of intuitive wizards to step you through the various tools on offer.
The only slight fly in the ointment is the fact you have to sign up for an account with MyHeritage.com. Thankfully, free accounts are available, and all you need to access the bulk of the program’s features. These include the usual tools you’d associated with such programs: the ability to build a tree packed with all the lurid details and key dates of your ancestors’ lives, options for producing charts and reports, and the ability to attach images such as old photos and scanned documents to your research.
When it comes to handling images, Family Tree Builder is the best of the lot, surpassing even Family Historian’s impressive image-handling tools. It’s got facial detection technology, and the ability to tag and create thumbnails of everyone featured in a specific image.
All of this research can also be shared online through MyHeritage.com, although this is where the limitations for free account holders kick in: only the first 250 individuals in your tree can be uploaded, and the smart-matching technology, which links you to other member trees, is severely limited too. Upgrading to a Premium account is quite expensive – $75 for a year’s access – but discounts are available when you install the software. Unless you need this additional functionality, however, the program works perfect without it.
Family Tree Builder is a free download for PCs running Windows XP, Vista and 7. Version 5.1 has just been released, which features a new file importer that makes it possible to import data directly from rival products such as Family Tree Maker and Legacy as well as standard GEDCOM files.