Monday, October 8, 2012

Genealogy Software Comparisons and Ratings

On the Beyond Genealogy blog today, Illya D-Addezio wrote What is the Best Family History Software?  He introduced the FindtheBest genealogy software ratings on

Here is a table of the programs with the highest ratings:

Compare Family Tree Software

Use the scroll bars to see further down the list or the price on the right side of the list.

The list above and on the site includes stand-alone genealogy programs, online family trees, and utility programs that perform specific tasks (e.g., GenSmarts).

The user can select a number of genealogy programs for comparisons in many categories and sub-categories.  Here is one I did for Family Tree Maker 2012, Legacy Family Tree 7.5, RootsMagic 5 and Family Tree Builder 6.0, all of which I have and use (7 screen shots in approximate order):

As I looked through these comparisons, I saw what I thought were errors in the ratings (I think the green check means the feature is included, and the orange X means the feature is not included).  I'm not going to highlight the possible errors I thought I saw (other than what I note below).

These ratings don't seem to include some software features like Source citation templates and standardized place lists.

It is not clear to me what the basis of these ratings are.  Do they reflect one person's review of the features of each software program?  If so, I think that they are incomplete.  For example, Legacy Family Tree 7.5 has a blog, and webinars, and a book, among other features not attributed to the program.  Another example:  Family Tree Maker 2012 does have  GEDCOM Import of images (well, links to images) and does have an Export to the Web (an Ancestry Member Tree).

Or do they reflect an evaluation by a limited number of "experts?"  Or do they reflect an evaluation of a broad spectrum of the genealogy community?  Frankly, this is the first time I've heard of this effort.  

I think that the results should be vetted and tested by a broad spectrum of users and the program developers, and modified or updated after those tests.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Louis Kessler said...


Unfortunately, what was done was a blantant copying of another site's copywritten material. If you go to you'll see where he took the content from, almost verbatum. At the bottom of that page, it is clearly written as © 2012, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Nowhere on the Genealogy Today site, is it stated that permission was given to reproduce it.

I'm sure when FindTheBest finds out about it, they will ask Genealogy Today to take it down.


Louis Kessler said...

I contacted FindTheBest, and they did inform me that they do license their product guides, so that copy is indeed okay at the Genealogy Today site - although they should still include the copyright and permission statement.

Feel free to delete this and my previous comment.

Diana Ritchie said...

I too found many errors when I looked at this. I compared a number of programs that I use including TMG. For TMG they indicated many reports as not available even though they are standard reports within the software. They also had and X by custom reports - which I think is one of TMG's strongest features! Not sure how the ratings were done, but what I saw able the software that I know makes me highly suspicion of the ratings for the ones I *don't* know!

Nettie said...

In the past, some vendors paid to have a good rating on their software. Not sure if this is the case. Several others including the list in Wiki are not up to speed with what is really out there. I agree with Randy about having users send it their reports. has them but not RootsMagic which I use. Put Reviews ~ genealogy in Google and you get quite a list.

Nettie said...

The website that was started many years ago is still out there. With personal ratings and reviews. Has a lot of information.

Aylarja said...

Any assessment that can grant a score of 100 to a complex piece of software is highly suspect. If the scoring were based only on a narrowly defined subset of features, that would be the only legitimate reason to score any of these programs with a perfect 100 (assuming that 100 is a perfect score). Clearly from the comparison charts, no program has every conceivable feature, and converting a handful of product reviews from various sources into consistent numeric scores woudld be a questionable and subjective process. I would find the comparison charts valuable, if they were accurate. But as other readers have noticed, those charts do not appear to be reliably accurate.