Making your own family tree doesn’t need to be a complicated or expensive activity. Using one of the free programs available, it can be fun and won’t cost you a penny either. At the end of it you’ll have a fantastic visual representation of your family, complete with info about each family member and pictures of them.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started.
Step 1: Download the software
We’ll be using MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder 7.0 to create our family tree. To download it, head to MyHeritage and press the green Free Download button on the right side of the screen.
Once downloaded, run it, and you’ll have to register, but don’t worry, it’s quick and easy, and you won’t get sent any spam emails.
Step 2: Run the program
Family Tree Builder will give you option of upgrading to a premium account, which you’ll have to pay for. This will give you extra features like merging smart matches, all-in-one charts, and full map support. But we’ll stick with the free version for this demo.
It’ll also give you the option to automatically sync your family tree, so that it’s always backed up online. We advise doing this as that way, if your computer crashes or the battery on your laptop runs out while you’re still working on your family tree, you won’t lose any of your progress.
This will also let you share your family tree online when you’ve finished. Don’t worry about sharing your project before it’s ready to be seen – nothing will be published without your authorisation.
Step 3: Get started
Click Create New Genealogy Project, and give your project a name – it can be your family name or anything memorable. Click Add Family link to get started.
It’s advisable to start with your immediate family, as well as that of your spouse - if you’re married. Enter the details of your husband or wife, including dates of birth, maiden name, where they were married, and so on.
You’ll have to set a Home person as well. This helps the program work out interconnecting relationships. By default, the first person you create will be the Home person, but you can alter this at any time – just select the desired family member, right-click their profile in Navigation View and choose Set as Home Person from the Person menu.
Step 4: Add more family members…
Next you can enter details for sons and daughters. You can include their email addresses, to invite them to view your creation, and even photos so you can add some more personality to your family tree. Scan in your old photos, and it’ll use face detection technology to pick out each member.
Want to find out more about a family member than just the basic info shown on their card? On their card, just click any tab that has a green indicator, and this will reveal more of the info you entered.
You can flick through family members quickly and easily using the panel on the left, called the Selector. Double-click a name to go to that family member’s card, or hover the mouse over to see info about them at a glance
Step 5: Add their parents or children
To add any family members’ parents or children is simple – just click the relevant link. The link to add parents appear above the family member, while the link to add children appears below them, which makes sense.
If you’ve built your family up going back lots of generations, you can click the Generation Picker in the top right to select how many generations you can see at once. We found that three is the most clutter-free.
Step 6: Share it
When you’ve finished, it’s time to publish your family tree and share it with the world! Click the Sync button at the top of the screen to start the process. You can invite people to see your family tree by sending them invites. Click the Family Site - Go To Site, and you can view your tree in all its glory.
And there you have it - a simple and free way to make your own family tree.