The Best Family Tree Websites Compared: Where to Build Your Tree

By Rick Crume Premium

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Online family tree sites are terrific tools for organizing your family history, collaborating with other relatives, and sharing your findings. Most let you build a tree from scratch or upload a GEDCOM file generated from another program or website. And you can search most online family tree collections that others have uploaded, and get automatic matches in historical records and other family trees by uploading your data.

The massive trees at sites like, FamilySearch and MyHeritage offer the most-robust set of features, which we’ve compared here. But developers have planted a whole forest of other online tools that are worthy of your consideration.

Here are the top online family trees and their unique features, plus what you should consider when trying to find the best fit for your research. We’ve sorted the trees into three categories: those managed by individual users, collaborative trees managed by communities, and those designed for specific areas of genealogical interest.


What to Consider in an Online Tree

  • Individual vs. collaborative: Who can make edits to profiles in your tree? Some sites (notably the FamilySearch Family Tree) allow any user to make changes.
  • Cost: Does the program allow only a limited number of profiles for free? Do you need a subscription to take full advantage of certain features, such as attaching digitized records?
  • Compatibility with software: Most of the trees listed below can export as GEDCOMs, the nearly universal file format for family trees. But some also sync directly with desktop software, allowing you to easily work across programs.
  • Sharing options: Can you invite specific users to edit your tree, or non-users to view it? Can you share a tree on social media?
  • Database size: How many other user-created trees are in the database? Can you search them?
  • Hints and record-searching: Does the website also offer digitized records? If so, does it provide record hints and the ability to easily search for family members?

Individually Managed Family Trees

Individually managed family trees give you complete control. You decide who has access to your tree and (generally) whether it’s public or private.

WebsiteDatabase sizeCostWho can access your tree?Syncs with software?Hints and online record-searching?
American AncesTREESNot availableFree for Standard tree-building (2GB of media storage)

$19.95/year for Advanced (10GB and ad-free; also available as part of American Ancestors memberships)
$39.95/year for Premium (100GB, ad-free, DNA tools)
Invite family to view or edit your tree

Public trees can be searched by FamilySearch users; private trees require permission to view
NoneHints from American Ancestors, FamilySearch, Findmypast, NewspaperArchive, BillionGraves, Find a Grave and others

Membership required to access most American Ancestors records ($34.95/3 months, $99.95/year) Member Trees1.9 billion in public trees; 1.5 billion in private treesFree for tree-building

$10/month for Pro Tools (tree-checker, advanced filters, additional charts and reports); available only to existing subscriber
Invite other users to view or edit your tree.

Public trees can be viewed by subscribers; private trees require permission
Family Tree Maker 2019; RootsMagic 9Hints from censuses, vital records, family trees and more.

Search records and family trees with one click
Records memberships start at $24.99/month
FindmypastNot availableFree for tree-buildingInvite other users to view or edit your tree.

Public trees can be viewed by Findmypast subscribers; private trees require permission
NoneHints from vital, church, census and military records.
Search records and trees with one click
Records memberships start at $14.95/month (USD)
MyHeritage5.7 billion in public treesFree for Basic tree-building (up to 250 profiles)

$129/year for Premium (2,500 profiles, plus cross-tree Smart Matches)

$209/year for PremiumPlus (unlimited profiles, plus bonus tools)
Invite other users to view or edit your tree.

Public trees can be viewed by MyHeritage subscribers; private trees require permission
Family Tree BuilderHints from censuses, vital records, family trees and more.

Records subscription costs $189/year ($299/year when bundled with PremiumPlus subscription)

American AncesTREES

Tutorial by Sunny Jane Morton

The basic version of this tool from American Ancestors is free. But you can upgrade to higher-level plans (starting at $19.95/year) to get more room for photos, plus DNA tools. Import a GEDCOM file or branch of the FamilySearch Tree, or build your tree from scratch. Hints may appear on your tree from American Ancestors, FamilySearch, Findmypast and more. You can make videos with narration and music, then share them on social media. You can search American AncesTREES as part of the FamilySearch Genealogies collection, but not yet on the American Ancestors website itself.


American Ancestors is produced by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. As a result, AncesTREES is especially strong for New England. Member Trees

Horizontal tree view at

Tutorial by Gena Philibert-Ortega

An extensive range of tools, powerful online searching, and ease-of-use make Member Trees a strong rival to desktop genealogy software. You can create, edit and share family trees for free. Hints may appear from records and family trees, but you’ll need a subscription to view most records.

No other online tree or software makes it so easy to work with sources. Linking historical records to people in your tree is a snap, and automatically generates source citations. Sources are visually linked to the facts they support. Sync your tree with Family Tree Maker or RootsMagic software on your computer to retain access to records, even if you let your membership lapse. Member Trees offer three access options: public, private and searchable, or private and not searchable. You can also invite guests to view, add comments or edit your tree and add photos and stories.

In December 2023, launched Pro Tools, a collection of enhancements to its Member Trees. A paid Pro Tools subscription gives you access to an automated tree-checking tool that spots data errors and allows you to filter people and hints using additional fields, among other features (with more expected to come).


Profile at Findmypast

Do you have ancestors in the United Kingdom or Ireland? If so, build a free family tree on the London-based Findmypast to discover shared connections in members’ family trees (many with links to the British Isles), plus billions of genealogy records.

In addition to UK and Irish records, such as the National Burial Index for England and Wales and Irish Roman Catholic parish records, Findmypast has large US and Canadian collections. You’ll get hints for free, but you’ll need a paid membership or pay-as-you-go credits to access most records and make the most of family tree hints. (Certain US census records are free.)


Fan chart view at MyHeritage

Tutorial by Sunny Jane Morton

If you’d like to connect with relatives in other countries, create a tree on MyHeritage, whose website and software support 42 languages and have users around the world. Build your tree online (or use the mobile app or free Family Tree Builder software), and you’ll get hints from historical records and family trees.

An online tree with up to 250 people is free, but you’ll need a subscription for a larger tree and to view most records. Make your online tree public or limit access to only MyHeritage members you invite; optionally, let family members edit it. Sync your tree with the free Family Tree Builder software on your computer to retain access to most of your records, even if you let your MyHeritage subscription lapse.

Collaborative Family Trees

A collaborative family tree involves working together with other researchers to add personal profiles, edit existing ones and merge duplicates. Other people might make changes to profiles that you have added.

WebsiteDatabase sizeCostWho can access your tree?Syncs with software?Hints and online record-seaching?
FamilySearch Family Tree1.54 billionFreeAll users

Share links to people, photos and albums
Ancestral Quest 16, Family Tree Maker 2019, Legacy Family Tree 9, RootsMagic 9Hints from records. Search on FamilySearch, Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage, Geneanet, Filae or Google with one click
Geni184 million in World Family Tree (250 million total)Free for basic tree-building (up to 1GB of media)

$119.40/year Pro subscription (unlimited media, plus tree-matching and enhanced search features)
All users can view and edit public trees including those in the World Family Tree; private trees require permissionNoneHints to other tree profiles (Pro subscribers)
WeRelate3 millionFreeAll users, plus people you inviteNoneNo
WikiTree36 millionFreeAll usersNoneNo, but the site allows you to compare a GEDCOM against existing profiles

FamilySearch Family Tree

Fan chart view at FamilySearch

Tutorial by Dana McCullough

The FamilySearch Family Tree is arguably the best tool for sharing your family history, stories and pictures and preserving them for posterity. And it’s completely free. Any registered user can contribute to the Tree, a global effort to create a single profile for every deceased person who has ever lived. Take advantage of multiple tree and fan chart views, timeline and mapping tools, record hints and research helps, plus access to billions of online records.

FamilySearch excels at handling Memories (photos, documents and sound files). You can organize them into albums and easily share individual Memories and albums. Tag faces in photos and people mentioned in documents to link them to personal profiles.

Since this is a shared family tree, you can even tag people who aren’t related to you, such as classmates in your grandfather’s graduation photo or friends mentioned in your grandmother’s diary. Likewise, you might discover your ancestors in photos and records submitted by people who aren’t related to you.

Note that you can’t upload a GEDCOM directly to the Family Tree. You first have to upload it to the Pedigree Resource File, then copy information into the Tree. The site will try to match profiles in your GEDCOM to those already on the site to avoid duplicates.

That said, the site has a separate Genealogies section that collects published family histories from various sources. These have been uploaded by individual users or imported from published sources or other databases.

Given the wide variety of trees in the Genealogies section, there’s a good chance you’ll find some of your ancestors in them. Some trees cover an entire town or community, and others use artificial intelligence and historical records to create computer-generated trees. Note that these trees are generally static—unlike with the main FamilySearch Family Tree, users aren’t actively editing pedigrees after they’ve been uploaded.


Tree view at Geni

Acquired by MyHeritage in 2012, Geni is the second-largest collaborative family tree. With a free account, you can add unlimited profiles and up to 1GB of photos, videos and documents. To get tree matches, view other family trees and add room for more media files, you have to upgrade to a Pro subscription ($119.40/year). That’s pricey, especially given that Geni doesn’t offer any historical record collections.


Person profile at WeRelate

WeRelate, a free service from the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy and the Allen County Public Library, is much smaller than most of the other tree collections described here. To create a tree, upload a GEDCOM with up to 5,000 names or manually build your tree. You can add photos and digitized records. To search the trees, use the search box at the upper right of every page or click on Search > People to get a form with more fields.


Image section of profile in WikiTree

Tutorial by Sunny Jane Morton

Another relatively small collection, WikiTree is hard to navigate and has a dated look. Sign the Honor Code, and you can create an unlimited number of profiles and upload an unlimited number of photos. While you can’t upload an entire GEDCOM file at once, you can compare your GEDCOM file to people already in the shared tree, then add and edit profiles one at a time. To search for a person, click on Find > Search.

Specialty Family Trees

Though they may have user bases that tend toward certain regions, the programs we’ve covered thus far are designed for use by genealogists at large. But there are also websites whose trees cater to people from specific countries or ethnic backgrounds.

Note that all of the trees here are individually managed except for Genealogy of Canada (which offers a collaborative tree). You can upload a GEDCOM file to create a tree on any of these sites.

FocusWebsiteDatabase sizeCostPublicly accessible?Online editing?
African Americans who were enslaved10 Million NamesUnder developmentFreeYesNo, but users can contribute GEDCOMs
Canada (French-speaking)Genealogy of CanadaNot availableFreeYesYes
Canada (Quebec)YourFolks.comNot relevant; trees cannot be searchedFree for basic functions

$19.99/year for Premium (access to records of baptism, marriage and burial, plus expert help and information about famous relatives)
Europe (continental)Geneanet1.6 billionFree (up to 1GB of media storage);

~$14/3 months for Premium (10GB, plus advanced search options and indexed records)
To Geneanet and usersYes
FranceFilae278 millionFree (for tree-building)

~$15/month for Premium (for details in records and other user’s trees)
To Filae and MyHeritage subscribersYes
GermanyGEDBAS ( millionFreeYesNo, but users can contribute GEDCOMs
Jewish familiesFamily Tree of the Jewish People (FTJP) by JewishGen9.5 millionFreeYesNo, but users can contribute GEDCOMs
The NetherlandsGenealogyOnline77 millionFree (tree-building)

~$52/year for Plus subscription (unlimited media uploads and access to vital certificates and gravestone photos)
To GenealogyOnline and usersNo, but users can contribute GEDCOMs
SwedenArkivDigitalNot relevant; trees cannot be searched~$38/month or ~$183/yearNo, but you can invite up to 25 people to viewYes
United KingdomGenes ReunitedNot availableFree for tree-building; credits or subscription required for record accessTo Genes Reunited subscribersYes
United KingdomTheGenealogist50 millionFree for tree-building; credits or subscription required for record accessYesYes

10 Million Names

Focus: African Americans who were enslaved

In 2023, American Ancestors and partner organizations launched this project to create a free collection of documents pertaining to the estimated 10 million people of African descent who were enslaved in the United States prior to emancipation. Still in its initial stages, the project is gathering information on both the enslaved and people who enslaved others. Submit a GEDCOM file or research notes, memories, photos and traditions.

Genealogy of Canada

Focus: French-speaking Canada

As its formal name (Généalogie du Québec et d’Amérique française) suggests, this free collaborative tree focuses on all French-speaking Canada—not just Quebec. You can add information on your own family, along with family pictures, and link to data already in the tree. The earliest generations are already well researched, so new participants can only add persons born after 1850 and married after 1875. Learn about more great Canadian genealogy websites here.

Focus: Quebec, Canada

Also known as, this site partners with Library and Archives Canada, BAnQ and others. Create a tree, add photos and get limited access to records for free. Only friends you invite can view or collaborate on your tree; you cannot search other users’ trees. Access comprehensive records of Quebec marriages, plus some baptisms and burials, for a fee.


Focus: Continental Europe

Tutorial by David A. Fryxell

Upload a GEDCOM file to this Paris-based site, and you’ll get hints from trees and records. There’s a fee to access indexes to civil records, parish registers and censuses, and to store more than 1GB of media. But you can contact a tree’s submitter for free. Click on Search > All Records to search trees and records. Since 2021, Geneanet has been owned by


Focus: France

Based in Paris and owned by MyHeritage since 2021, Filae claims to have the most-comprehensive collection of French records. You can create a tree, get hints, and search trees and records for free, but you need a subscription to view details.


Focus: Germany

Launched by Germany’s Verein für Computergenealogie (Association for Computer Genealogy), this project is intended to connect German genealogists researching the same families. Register for free and click on “My files in GEDBAS” to submit a GEDCOM file. You can search the trees and contact submitters for free.

JewishGen: Family Tree of the Jewish People

Focus: Jewish families

The goals of this project are to collect Jewish family trees and connect researchers interested in the same families. The site also has millions of records from around the world. Find more Jewish genealogy websites here.


Focus: the Netherlands

Upload a GEDCOM file, and you’ll get matches in family trees and historical records. With a paid subscription, you can add unlimited photos and scanned documents and access birth, marriage and death certificates and gravestone photos. You can also search this collection on


Focus: Sweden

Build a tree manually or import a GEDCOM file. With a subscription, tap into indexes of Sweden’s largest archive of church records and other documents directly from your tree, and attach sources to your tree.

Genes Reunited

Focus: United Kingdom

Build your family tree, and you’ll get free record matches on this site, a sister of Findmypast. Attach records and photos to people in your tree. You need a subscription to view trees and a subscription (or pay-per-view credits) to view records.


Focus: United Kingdom

Build your tree, and you’ll get free tree and record matches. View public trees for free, and request permission to view private trees. You need a subscription (or pay-per-view credits) to view records and produce charts or upload more than a handful of images.

A version of this article appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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