Best genealogy sites : guide


Do you want to research your family origins and build your family tree without breaking the bank? Discover our selection of the best free, feature-rich and easy-to-use genealogy sites.

The best free genealogy sites and software for making a family tree

  1. MyHeritage : best free genealogy site to create a family tree and a large database 
  2. Heredis : best genealogy software offering free access to online archives   
  3. Family Search: best genealogy platform equipped with a powerful search engine
  4. Ancestry: best genealogy site for reliable genealogy research and DNA testing. 

MyHeritage Familly Tree Builder: the most popular genealogy site


MyHeritage is a paid genealogy site with over 12 billion genealogy data. However, you can use Family Tree Builder, its totally free tool that lets you build a family tree and trace your family history.

Here are the main features of this software, ideal for beginners and advanced genealogists alike. 

  • Compatibility and language support: the software is available in 42 languages, making it accessible to a worldwide audience. It is also compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems.
  • Easy addition of family members: You can easily add family members or import existing genealogical documents in GEDCOM format. The software also lets you add unrelated people to your family tree for research purpose
  • Multimedia support: Family Tree Builder supports the addition of photos, documents and other multimedia files to profiles, making the family tree more attractive and informative.
  • Advanced privacy settings : you can customize privacy settings for family members or individual events, to ensure the confidentiality of sensitive information.
  • Useful search tools: Family Tree Builder offers various tools to check data consistency, detect duplicates and automatically search for deceased people to help you keep your family tree accurate and up-to-date.
  • Tables and reports: the tool gives you access to a variety of tables and reports, including tree consistency checkers, upcoming events and customizable family trees. These tables and reports can be easily printed or shared with family members.
  • Map integration: the software lets you view your family tree on a map to highlight the geographical locations of different life events and make it easier to find specific places.
  • Synchronization with the MyHeritage website: your family tree can be  synchronized with their your MyHeritage account. This makes it easier to share, access additional research tools and receive alerts for new matches and records.
  • Task and event management:Family Tree Builder lets users create, manage tasks and events associated with your research, helping you stay organized and focused on your genealogical goals.
  • Task and event management:Family Tree Builder lets users create, manage tasks and events associated with your research, helping you stay organized and focused on your genealogical goals.
  • Dedicated support and community: users have access to MyHeritage’s extensive database, webinars and social media communities to enhance their genealogy skills and knowledge.

Data is collected from public sources, government archives and user contributions. So you can perform a simple free genealogy search by surname to find out more about your ancestors.

And if you wish, you can perform a DNA test to discover your ethnic origin among the 2,114 geographic regions listed.

We invite you to read our full review of MyHeritage to better understand its features.

Heredis : the free genealogy software

Heredis is a paid-for French genealogy software known for its user-friendliness and many features. You can also use it free of charge to carry out your investigations and build your family tree. 

Here are the features you can access for free:

    • Heredis Online: the search engine that gives you access to online archives. It lets you search through 600 million historical and genealogical documents. The tool can help filter and refine results according to various criteria (names, dates, places, etc.).

    • Create family trees: you can create and view a family tree comprising up to 50 individuals.

    • Multimedia support: you can integrate photos and documents into your family tree

    • GED GEDCOM import and export: support for GEDCOM file import and export to facilitate data sharing and integration.

    • Collaborative indexing: participation in document indexing to enrich the collective database.

    • Tables and reports : consult genealogical statistics to refine your research

    • Data sharing: ability to share trees and information with other users.

The data provided by the algorithm is available in several languages, including French, English, Spanish and German. They are collected from many reliable sources, such as public archives, civil and parish registers, as well as user contributions.

Familysearch: a global treasure trove for genealogists


FamilySearch is a free genealogy research site, managed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has a vast database and powerful research tools that you can access free of charge to carry out your research. 

Here’s what you can do on this totally free site 

    • Discover your family history: search through billions of ancestor profiles, photos and archival documents

    • Search your ancestors in the common family tree: view the information other people have provided about your ancestors in a family tree of over a billion profiles

    • Create family trees: you can create your family tree online and add as many profiles as you like.

    • Consultation of digitized documents: free access to parish registers, civil status records, census records, wills, and other digitized archives.

    • Access to collaborative indexing: participation in document indexing to enrich the collective database.

    • Research guides: access to detailed articles and guides to help navigate the archives and improve research techniques.

    • Family history activities:  learn more about you and your family by taking part in a variety of activities. You can compare your face to that of each of your ancestors to see who you most resemble. Find out how you’re related to famous people, tell anecdotes about yourself or your family members.

    •  Mobile apps: download and use the FamilySearch mobile app to search and add information to your family tree on the go.

Furthermore, FamilySearch supports multiple languages for easy access and research. It’s a valuable resource for genealogists of all levels.

Ancestry:  the reference source for genealogy enthusiasts


Popular in the USA, this genealogy site is also widely used in Europe. Ancestry boasts a database comprising billions of historical records and offers powerful genealogical research tools. The site is designed to be intuitive and easy to use, even for those with little information about their family history.

Here are the main features of this platform: 

  • Family tree construction: you can start building your family tree with a single name. The more information is added, the more detailed and complete the tree becomes, with each name constituting a new part of the family history.
  • Access to archives and community : Ancestry provides access to billions of records and a community of millions of other family history researchers. This vast resource can lead to unexpected discoveries, such as the discovery of an infamous relative or a photo of a great-grandparent.
  • Tips from Ancestry: as you build your family tree, clues in the form of leaves begin to appear. Each clue is a potential discovery that can lead to new information about family history.
  • Tips and support: even if you’re not sure about certain details, you can make educated guesses that can help them uncover new clues about your family history. Ancestry provides automatic hints every time it identifies a potential piece of the user’s family history, guiding you towards new information.


Furthermore, you can combine the results of your DNA test performed with Ancestry DNA to obtain precise geographical details and clear historical information.

Feel free to consult our review of Ancestry DNA, if you’d like to carry out a full DNA test. 

Other resources for genealogical research

In addition to these free genealogy research sites, there are other resources you can consult to build your family tree and obtain accurate information. 

Here’s a list of sources you can consult to conduct genealogical research and create a family tree for free:

    • RootsWeb: this is a free genealogy community that uses online forums, mailing lists and other resources to help people research their families.

    • Gramps : is free, open-source software available on Windows, Mac and Linux. It offers many features for genealogy, such as family tree creation and event management.

    • Legacy Family Tree :  is a comprehensive genealogy program available for Windows. It offers a host of features, such as family tree creation and media management. It makes it easy to document and organize your genealogical research.

    • Ancestris:  is free, open-source software compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. It offers many features for genealogy, including family tree creation and source management.


How to structure your genealogical research ?

Adventuring into the twists and turns of family history can be an exciting exploration, but without methodical organization, the risk of getting lost is great.

Here are a few techniques for structuring your genealogical research and optimizing your chances of success. 

Defining clear objectives

Before plunging into the archives, take the time to define your research objectives. Do you want to trace a specific branch of your family tree, discover the origin of your surname, or simply learn more about your ancestors’ way of life? Clear objectives will guide you in your exploration and prevent you from spreading yourself too thin.

Gathering existing information

Start by gathering all the family information you already have : birth, marriage and death certificates, old photos, anecdotes handed down from generation to generation. These elements will form the basis of your research and point you in the right direction.

Establishing a search plan

Determine the key stages of your research and the sources of information you wish to consult. Departmental archives, parish registers, online databases. Each source can add valuable pieces to your genealogical puzzle. 

Plan your archive visits and organize your online queries to optimize your time and effort.

Meticulously mark your discoveries

Create a research notebook in which you scrupulously record all your finds: names, dates, places, sources consulted, etc. Don’t forget to indicate the source of each piece of information and the degree of certainty you attach to it. A well-kept research notebook will enable you to retrace the progress of your research and avoid repetition.

Exploiting technological tools

There are many software programs and applications dedicated to genealogy that can make your job easier. Use them to create your family tree, store your data, organize your photos and documents, and share your findings with other researchers.

Adopt a methodical approach 

Proceed step by step, systematically checking the consistency of the information you gather. Don’t hesitate to compare data from different sources, and explore alternative avenues if necessary. Thoroughness and patience are essential assets in genealogical research.

How to choose the right genealogy software ?

For freeware

Before choosing a genealogy program, be sure to do your homework and find the right software to meet your needs. When it comes to free software, be sure to carefully compare the features of each before proceeding. 

Make sure you have unlimited access to your tree and can work at your own pace. Also check that you have the same customization and reporting options.

Another important point to consider is whether the software publisher is active in the genealogical community. Does it attend conferences or participate in other local or national genealogical events?

 Does he participate in genealogy podcasts to discuss the latest software features, or write articles about the technology for genealogy magazines? This is an indicator that this is not just any company. It also means that it listens to its customers and the industry, and seeks to innovate and meet the needs of today’s genealogists.

For paid software or sites

Here are some of the points to consider when comparing family tree programs 

    • Capacity GEDCOM – Can the program support data from the website where your online tree is located?

    • What type of report does the program offer, and do the options match your needs? This function may be particularly important for those working on a story or family book.

    • Does the program offer tutorials or a “learning center” for new users, or an online forum for users to connect and learn from each other?

    • Carefully examine the software version: has it been updated recently? If a program hasn’t been updated in a long time, this usually means that the developer is no longer working on the product, resulting in “bugs” that will never be fixed and the absence of new features. This will eventually render the program obsolete.

    • Does the product offer a free trial period, allowing you to test it before you buy?

Among the advantages of paid software is the fact that you own the disk and the product key. Once you’ve registered your software, you can reinstall it on a new device if necessary, and benefit from online support from the software manufacturer.

Moreover, many genealogy software packages are very reasonably priced for the average user.