Genealogy is not only a fun hobby, but it is also a great way of recording your family history for generations to come. Finding the right software to record all the information you gather is key to being successful at genealogy. There are some really good programs out there. Unfortunately many of these programs cost a small fortune. The good news is that there are great free genealogy programs too.
Family Tree Builder
Family Tree Builder is a relatively new program. It has many of the great features you will find in expensive programs. It is fun to use because it allows you to build your family tree visually, supports 35 different languages, includes access to maps, can match your tree to other peoples trees that contain the same information, allows you to publish a family webpage, can tag faces in photos, you can customize and print charts, and automatically research your tree at the 100 most popular genealogy sites. This is one of the best free programs out there.
Geneweb is a great free genealogy program that uses a web interface. You do not have to be online to use this program, just have a web browser. This program is good because it has a great display, helps determine relationships between individuals, corrects your spelling, allows import and export of GEDCOM files, and best of all lets you have a very large data base of individuals. Most genealogy programs have a limit to the number of entries you can make for free.
Legacy Family Tree
Legacy Family Tree Software has a complete source citation system. For those of us who are not so familiar with how to cite our sources this is a great feature. This program includes pre-written interview questions that make it easy to get all the information that you need from living family members. Legacy Family Tree also includes unlimited generation entries and LDS support.
Personal Ancestral File (PAF)
This is one of the oldest genealogy programs out there; it is also one of the most popular. PAF is easy to use and great for beginners. If you want to publish fancy charts, books or websites this may not be quite what you are looking for. It includes a 5 generation pedigree view, which makes it easy to navigate. This program is created and supported by the LDS Church.
All of these programs are perfectly adequate for recording your family history, and they are all free. The one you choose should be the one that is easiest for you to use. Since everyone is different you will want to check them all out and see which one is best for you. Doing your genealogy should be fun, and as easy as possible. Choosing the right free software is a good first step.