Your Legacy: Making Your Family Tree For Free

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Have you ever wondered and asked yourself “How can I make my family tree for free?”.  This is a very common question among beginner family historians. Genealogy can become a very expensive hobby so here are some ideas to get you started and create your family tree for FREE!

Download a free family tree software package

You can create a family tree on paper but with today’s technology of computers, it makes more sense to do it on your computer. And you can do it for FREE! Below is a list for you to check out:

  • Family Tree Builder: from My Heritage which is a very good free genealogy software
  • Family Tree – Ancestry Photo Manager: a FREE photo organizer to consolidate photos, videos, thumb drives, etc into a single unified library.
  • RootsMagic: Essentials is a FREE genealogy and family tree software – very popular with genealogists
  • Legacy Family Tree 9.0: FREE – setting a New Standard while supporting a wide range of reporting features.
  • Family Historian: FREE – rated as the BEST Family Tree Software in 2020, it is great for beginners.
  • Gramps – Genealogy Software: FREE – developed for Linux and UNIX-like operating systems, but it is also available for Windows and Mac OSX. Gramps is an open source software using free tools and services from GitHub.

There are lots of them available on the Internet so you will have to do some initial research. Next you will have to select one that you would be most comfortable with using. Download one software genealogy program to get yourself started and remember this tool will give you the ability to create an awesome family tree.

You may want to start your family tree with an online family tree research program. Below is a list of 5 that I would recommend you researching and deciding on one. It’s hard to make a selection with so many out in cyberspace so this my shortlist for you to make a selection from.

Creating your online family tree

  • Create a FREE Online Family Tree to discover your family’s past. Has over 12 billion historical records in their database. Build your online family tree. Once you have your tree started you can always upgrade to one of their paid subscription services and get more detailed information on your ancestors.
  • My Heritage: Family Tree – With My Heritage you can also make a FREE Online Family Tree. If you downloaded the Family Tree Builder mentioned above you can merge the data from your standalone computer software version to the online one. The site provides you with free online family tree search capabilities, tutorials on how to make your tree and billions of international, searchable genealogy records to discover your ancestors. MyHeritage also has an awesome photo enhancer that can colourize old photos, something to check out. An excellent choice if you want to build your online family tree.
  • Findmypast: Family Tree – UK based with a new look. Findmypast online family tree builder, you can easily build a family tree and access it anywhere. In addition to the benefit of digitally preserving your family history research, Findmypast offers you accurate ancestor search results thanks to their genealogical society partners. Their search filters are quite nice, too, as they narrow your ancestor search results to save you valuable time. Build your online family tree. 
  • Family Tree Now: Offers you a FREE online family tree building experience. With one of the largest collections of genealogy records (census records, birth records, death records, marriage & divorce records, living people records and military records), you’re sure to find some long lost ancestors by using their search features. The best part about the Family Tree Now family tree builder is that you will never be charged fees to search,  view details or fill in your tree. It has the ability to search billions of genealogy records 100% FREE to find your ancestors. A GREAT choice to build your online family tree. 
  • Family Tree by FamilySearch – Free Online Tree: largest collection of free genealogy records in the world owned by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only has an Online version with full syncing capabilities with the FamilySearch app and partial individual person syncing with Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic. Has a huge variety of printable charts, forms, keepsakes, maps and more… You can easily share and collaborate with family and other community members. Family Tree – Family Search has an extensive online support, learning center, research wiki. A GREAT choice to build your online family tree. 

You have to start somewhere and to begin your tree it is always best by starting with yourself and work back. 

I would highly recommend for you to download my FREE PDF ‘22 Steps in Researching Your Family Tree’. It is the ‘22 Steps’ that is required for you to use as a guide when you start your tree.

Interviewing your parents, grandparents and other relatives

This is an important step in making your family tree–interviewing relatives. Remember it’s free and it is best to get these facts before it’s too late! Better to get this information as soon as you start. 

Sit down with your parents, grandparents and other relatives and find out as much information as they know-names, dates, places-about their parents and their grandparents. These interviews should definitely help you with your family tree back to your great-grandparents or even your great-great-grandparents! If possible, and with permission gather photos, documents, videos, etc. The information you gather during this phase in your research will be the building blocks to your tree. 

Searching for ancestors on free family tree websites

Many family tree websites require you to have a subscription and many have a FREE one available to start. There are a handful of excellent websites that can help you get started:

1) – One of the best places to start searching for your family tree. Search for each of your ancestors from your family tree who have passed away by name and with any other identifying information (birth date, death date, etc.)

2) – With more than 250,000 links to genealogy websites, this is a must-stop for any person trying to make their family tree. Browse through the links related to your family surnames-you may find websites with information that can help you expand certain of your family lines.

3) GenForum and Ancestry Boards – There are thousands of message boards for surnames where you can post as much information as you have on each surname from your family tree and see if there are others also researching the same line who may be able to help!

4) Family Tree Magazine list of 25 beginner-friendly websites which will get you started.

Visiting a local Family History Center

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is very involved with genealogy and has over 30,000 congregations in more than 160 countries and territories. In Family History Centers volunteers can give you free advice on how to make and research your family tree. These volunteers can also help you search for microfilms that you can look at to find your ancestors in records from all over the world.

Sharing your family tree

After you have followed the steps above to make your family tree for free, share what you have found with other family members. Consider making a family tree website so that others who are researching similar lines may find parts of their family tree for free!

So, what are you waiting for – go ahead and get started – be the detective and solve your family history!

Don’t forget, download my FREE PDF ‘22 Steps in Researching Your Family Tree’.


Published by Darrell Gibbs

A father of three children and five grandchildren who retired in 2015 and began a career as a non-fiction writer in genealogy resource ebooks for new family historians. Aspiring towards the future as a Historical Fiction Author of his premier book "Wessex Reign".

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