101 Best Websites for 2012: Find and Share Family Tree Data Online

By David A. Fryxell Premium

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Ages Online $

“Made by genealogists for genealogists,” this site was launched in 2007 by researchers who were unhappy with existing software options and who also happened to have IT skills. Enhancements have included video tutorials, photo uploading, family stories, collaboration and personalized websites. Annual subscriptions cost $39.95 to $59.95, with a third tier coming soon.


Windows users of most popular genealogy programs can now sleep at night. This service automatically finds and creates a remote, off-site copy of your family tree files, then monitors for changes and backs up the updated files. BackupMyTree even stores previous versions of your file in case yours gets corrupted or you hit Delete by mistake and wipe out a whole branch.


It’s time to stop playing FarmVille and start taking Facebook seriously for genealogy. Not only is there a constant stream of apps for family historians (see our rundown in the July 2011 Family Tree Magazine), but research tools such as WorldCat now even have their own Facebook apps.

Family Pursuit

Family trees created on this collaborative site can now synchronize with trees on FamilySearch (at press time, still in limited beta testing). Contributing to the wiki-based Community Family Tree is free, or you can build your own unique tree for $59.95 a year. That upgrade also lets you upload 10 GB of photos and documents and manage privacy features. Your site gets its own web address, too, such as <>.

Family Tree DNA

A leader in paid testing services (starting at $159), Family Tree DNA also boasts the largest DNA database, with 367,974 records at last count. You also can search its free Ysearch y-DNA or MitoSearch mitochondrial DNA test results databases.

Geni $

A leader in online family trees, Geni has recently branched out to make documents from subscription genealogy websites and GenealogyBank available to members through profile-based alerts. A basic membership is free, or you can enjoy enhanced tools and keepsake products with a new $4.95-per-month Plus membership or $12.96 Pro package. Paying members can find matching trees and merge those into the single world family tree (“the Big Tree”), which currently contains nearly 63 million linked profiles.

MyHeritage $

Known for its online family trees and SmartMatching technology, MyHeritage has invested half a million dollars into hardware and a data center for its SuperSearch system for subscribing members. SuperSearch combines the site’s 1 billion profiles with a new emphasis on records collections (starting with the 1940 US census). It’s free to build a basic family tree on MyHeritage and use SmartMatching to find matches in other trees; trees larger than 250 people are by subscription.


This open-source family tree sharing website requires no software download, sets no limits on the size of your trees, and lets you “debate” your finds with fellow researchers. Plus, it’s all free.

Tribal Pages

This pioneering family tree hosting site has grown to more than 300,000 members with websites containing more than 80 million names and 2 million photos. You can join for free, or upgrade ($24 to $48 annually) for more storage space and advanced features.


The world’s largest genealogy wiki with pages for more than 2.2 million individuals, this free site is sponsored by the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy in partnership with the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind. Recent improvements include better handling of name variants and more powerful “watch” lists.


Since its founding in 2008, this wiki-style tree-sharing collaborative has grown to 3.3 million profiles contributed by 47,500 “WikiTreers.” You can choose to join in and share your family finds or keep everybody less than 300 years old private. Membership is by invitation; you can request one through the site.
Check out the rest of our 101 Best Websites for genealogy in 2012! Click on a category below.
From the September 2012 Family Tree Magazine