Wednesday, January 2, 2013

GenSoftReviews Announces the Top Genealogy Software Awards for 2012

Louis Kessler sent this press release today:, is where users go to rate and review their genealogy software. The site has more than the 700 programs listed, and users have contributed almost 1,500 ratings and reviews.

January 1, 2013

The 4th annual Users Choice Awards have been tabulated at the GenSoftReviews website, and 19 programs have been awarded the "Top Rated Genealogy Software" designation for 2012. To qualify for the award, a program must have achieved a user-assigned average score of at least 4.00 out of 5, based on a minimum of 10 total ratings with at least 1 rating or review in 2012.

The programs winning a "Top Rated Genealogy Software" designation include:

Ancestral Quest - 4.94 out of 5
Ahnenblatt - 4.83 out of 5
Family Historian - 4.82 out of 5
Personal Ancestral File - 4.80 out of 5
XY Family Tree - 4.70 out of 5

The Next Generation - 4.67 out of 5
GenSmarts - 4.62 out of 5
Clooz - 4.49 out of 5
iFamily for Leopard - 4.47 out of 5
Brother's Keeper - 4.46 out of 5

Family Tree Maker - Up to Version 16 - 4.36 out of 5
Heredis for iOS - 4.33 out of 5
Heredis for Mac - 4.33 out of 5
Reunion - 4.19 out of 5
My Great Big Family - 4.18 out of 5

RootsMagic - 4.18 out of 5
Genbox Family History - 4.18 out of 5
Legacy - 4.17 out of 5
Family Echo - 4.09 out of 5

Congratulations go to all the 2012 winners. They have developed programs that their users rate highly.

For more information and a complete listing of current and past winners, see the Users Choice Awards page.

About Louis Kessler:

Louis Kessler has been a genealogist and a programmer for over 35 years. He developed and maintains the GenSoftReviews site. He is also the author of his own genealogy program known as Behold that can be found at

The URL of this post is:


Frank said...

It is great that someone is collecting user reviews but the rankings are hard to believe. It seems like the data contained so few responses that it was fairly easy to skew the results.

For example, the top ranked application, Ancestral Quest, had only 3 reviews in 2012. GenSmarts and iFamily for Leopard made it into the top 10 with only a single review each in the past 12 months.

The entire top 10 in aggregate only represent 142 reviews and two-thirds of those reviews were for just two apps (Ahnenblatt & TNG).

Do you know of any other review lists that are based on a larger sample?

Louis Kessler said...

Frank: Your observation of the number of reviews in 2012 for the top 10 is a good one. GenSoftReviews had just 467 reviews in total during 2012 for all programs. I would love nothing more than those numbers to be ten times higher across the board. But you can only do with what you get.

I don't know of any other TripAdvisor-like site for genealogy software which ranks programs by user ratings. The only one that comes close is FindThe Best, where users can rate and review the programs, but there appear to be very few reviews. It computes a smart rating that includes the GenSoftReviews rating:

There used to be a good one many years back at which allowed user reviews of many categories of software. See:

When closed up shop, I said that's a service that will be missed, so a few years later, I built GenSoftReviews.

p.s. My listing from January 2000 had 33 programs listed, with Family Origins (the precursor to RootsMagic) number 1 with 4.1 on 371 ratings, The Master Genealogist number 2 with 3.8 on 346 ratings, 3. Legacy 3.7 (210), 4. Brother's Keeper 3.7 (217), 5. Ultimate Family Tree 3.6 (167), 6. PAF 3.4 (131), 7. Reunion 3.4 (95), 8. Family Tree Maker 3.0 (2.7).

Thomas said...

I cannot take these awards seriously. The numbers are clearly being gamed!
The only serious awards are the annual genealogy industry awards created by industry analyst Tamura Jones.
Look at those. The 2012 awards and motivations are spot on as usual!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across this site a few weeks ago, linking from one blog or another (perhaps this one), and reviewed some of the reviews myself. Believe me, the reviewers aren't even on the same planet as those who contribute to TripAdvisor!

I use Family Tree Maker, myself, so was curious why the ratings on this site are so much lower than on any other. It was hard to tell, since so many reviewers didn't make any substantive comments. It also doesn't help that all versions of FTM from 2008 on are reviewed together, and many reviewers seem to be confusing with Family Tree Maker (one posted that he couldn't enter a password, which was odd since FTM isn't password-protected).

I think until this site is more mature its reviews must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

Louis Kessler said...


Every web poll, even Trip Advisor, is biased and dependent on what groups of people decide to participate. Can anything be done about that?

As far as the numbers go, they are mathematically calculated.


Louis Kessler said...


The ratings on this site are lower than other sites likely because these are real users who use the software who are reviewing it.

Other sites are reviewed usually by people who review many different programs and get enamoured by what appeals to them and program features, without respect to attempts to actually use the program.

On your suggestion, I've changed "Since 2008" to "Current Version" to hopefully avoid the confusion you point out.

Also you're right on the password issue. I hadn't noticed that. I've moved the comment to Ancestor Member Trees, which is probably what he was really talking about. I've also taken the comment about that post out of the review Dave L (most likely you) added, since it is no longer applicable.

The person who commented is 83 years old, so give him a break if he entered the review on the wrong site.