Family history (or genealogy) software is computer software used to record, organise and publish genealogical data. With this software, you can help unlock the past, discover secrets and surprises from your past. Genealogy, the study of one’s ancestry, allows people to personalise the past.
There are useful websites devoted to helping would-be genealogists. Further, radio and TV programmes such as the immortal Who Do You Think You Are?, and other shows such as Secrets of the Clink have encouraged a growing band people to trace their roots, sparking new interest. It’s not just celebrities when tracing their ancestry who come up with secrets and surprises from their past.
There are a huge raft of sources to trace ancestors including the General Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, Census Returns, International Genealogical Index, National Burial Index, Parish Registers, Wills and Other Probate documents. These traditional sources are often available to review over the net, although it’s often not free access. Not all records are online (particularly those before 1837) so visiting local records offices, churches, graveyards or libraries can help in the quest. Huge online genealogical databases also help people discover their history.
Tracing your ancestry is painstaking work, it can be very addictive and creates large amounts of data. Storing that information suggests using some form of database. However, standard relational databases lack the functionality that hobbyist genealogists typically need. This has led to the development of software which offers tailored functionality, to store data and relationships between parents, spouses and children, as well as handling additional events in an individual’s life, photographs, free-form notes, and other multimedia, and source citations. Moreover genealogy software can produce a variety of graphical charts and text reports, such as ahnentafel reports, pedigree charts, and Register reports.
Most genealogy programs can import and export using the GEDCOM standard. GEDCOM is an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunication. It is a specially organized text file for organizing genealogy data.
This article is a brief roundup of GEDCOM compatible software for tracing your ancestry. Dig up a few skeletons or surprises. Here’s our verdict captured in a legendary LinuxLinks-style ratings chart.
Click the links in the table below to learn about each program.
|Family History Software
|Genealogical Research and Analysis Management Program
|Mature, feature-laden, web-based genealogy program
|Web-based genealogy application intended for collaborative use
|Personal genealogical database
|Web-based genealogy viewer and editor
|Generalogy software that keeps your research under control
|Genealogy software in PHP / MySQL
|Genealogy software with a Web interface
|Console based genealogy software for family history research
|Full-featured viewer and editor for genealogic data
This article has been revamped in line with our recent announcement.
|Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.
There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.