What are the best family tree websites

Genealogy test 2021 • The 2 best genealogy researches in comparison

What is genealogy?

“Genealogy” is the general term for researching family history, genealogy. The term “genealogy” comes from ancient Greek and is made up of the word “genea”, which translates as “birth” or “descent”, and the word “logos” for “doctrine”. Genealogy is therefore the "doctrine of descent".
Genealogy is about to fathom human relationships.

Genealogy is one historical auxiliary science and is considered an important branch of historical research. However, genealogy is not an academic discipline in the narrower sense that is taught at colleges and universities, but it is mainly carried out by lay people who usually want to research their own family history.

How does genealogy work?

Do you want one pedigree about your own family, start with a test person, in this case yourself. Then draw your ancestors in ascending line and in descending line from yourselfr line their offspring. As a rule (despite the emancipation of women) one still starts from the male ancestors, because they traditionally passed on the family name.

The first “branches” of this Family tree are still easy to determine. The best way to do this is to take a look at the family records. You can get the names of your grandparents from your parents' family register. In turn, you can get the names of your great-grandparents from their studbook - if they still exist. If you have any questions about relatives who are still alive, they can often contact the Creation of the family tree help.

However, the taller the tree gets, the more arduous it becomes to do genealogy. At the latest with the great-great-grandparents, certificates are often missing. In many cases, relatives are no longer able to help either. Now the search begins.

To the January 1, 1875 the registry offices were introduced nationwide. Since then, births and years of death have been recorded at the registry office. If you already know where your great-great-grandfather or great-great-grandmother was born, know the name and maybe even that Date of birth or death you can write to the responsible registry office and ask for a copy of the birth certificate. It is important that you indicate the family relationship, otherwise the registry office can refuse to provide information. The more data you know yourself, the cheaper it is to request the Certificate.

If you only know the name and not a year of birth, the registry office may charge additional search fees. If you have received the birth certificate of your great-great-grandfather, you know the names of their ancestors and you have come a long way with your genealogical research. You can now request further certificates. In thegenealogy you need the Time limit of 1875 note. Before this year you have to consult the church registers for information, i.e. contact the respective Catholic or Protestant church congregations. The church records are the most important source for genealogy. The oldest church registers go back to the 16th century.

If you are lucky enough to be able to inspect an archive yourself, you can make good progress with your genealogy here, provided your family is not widely dispersed. Then you have to write to different parishes and visit them.

Around Church records To be able to read, you sometimes need to be able to read the old Kurrent script. It's easier than it looks at first. There are masks on the internet that will help you decipher writing. You need to be able to read a little Latin in Catholic church registers.

A great help that may give you some tedious work Archival work can lose weight are online portals that specialize in helping with genealogy. There are search masks in which you can enter various information such as name, year of birth and death, place of residence, spouse, wedding day, children, relatives, military operations and other information. In addition, these online portals often have filters that help you to narrow down the search results further by location, period, etc.

The limit of what is attainable lies even for the most committed Operator of genealogyusually in the late Middle Ages. It was not until the 15th century that the parishes began to record births, weddings, baptisms and deaths. Before that, it is almost impossible to get information about your ancestors. Because the tradition of the family name only caught on in the late Middle Ages. Before, you only had your first name and possibly a nickname.

Other sources that can be consulted for genealogical research are funeral sermons, parish registers, wills, university registers or citizen books. If there is any suspicion that ancestors might have emigrated, passenger lists can help of emigrant ships from the 19th and 20th centuries sometimes further.

Local newspaper articles (accessible since 1848) can also provide information about people. If you are looking for family members who disappeared or died in the First or Second World War, the Volksbund's grave search will help you. There are 4.5 million entries on soldiers who died during the wars or who are missing. This website is supported by the Federal Foreign Office.

When and for whom are genealogical service providers important?

The Family history exploring is an exciting and exciting task. If you are interested in history and feel like puzzling, it is great fun to put the historical puzzle of your own family together. With the creation of a family tree, you also have a great birthday present for an interested family member. With the help of genealogy, it is not only possible to find a to create great family tree and to get a comprehensive picture of your own ancestors. Genealogy can also help to find lost members of the family and to get in touch with them.

Today's Living conditions mean that many families live far and wide. There are many reasons for this: emigration in the age of industrialization, dispersal of the family after Second World War through captivity, migration and displacement. Today it is mostly professional reasons that separate families from one another. It is all the more exciting to find out where you come from and who you belong to. At the same time, you can use the Genealogy one make an important contribution to social history.

The village context in which the Large families once grew up has changed massively over the past two hundred years. Your genealogy may also have a serious background. With genetically determined Diseases It is sometimes crucial to find out how often this disease has already occurred in the family. When doing genealogy, you can also specialize in specific areas.

Perhaps you are not interested in creating a large family tree, but rather in the presentation of the professional groups that are piling up within your family. If your last name is “Müller”, it would be exciting to see how many Müller there actually were in your family.

Help with genealogy: Which service providers, platforms, groups, associations and software are there?

In the Find your ancestors There are various types of assistance that have advantages and disadvantages in comparison, depending on personal interests, plans and goals. If you don't feel like searching yourself, there is the possibility of hiring individuals to look for you. These service providers are usually trained historians and archivists who have learned to research quickly and thoroughly, who know the necessary sources and can use them accordingly. The clear advantage compared to online portals for genealogical research is that you are freed from tedious research, can leave it to a professional and can relax and wait for the result.

Disadvantage: These providers naturally want to make a living from their work, sometimes invest a lot of time and are accordingly expensive. In comparison, different platforms such as Ancestry, Family tree builder, Mac family tree or Familysearch, to name just a few of the more common Internet offers, are cheaper. The offers on these platforms range from free to semi-commercial to fully chargeable help offers. With the help of these pages you can access large online databases, network and research your ancestors from the comfort of your own home.

In Germany there are also various regional associations that organize thegenealogy have written on the flag. The clear advantage of these clubs is that they give you a good regional network and that Team research can operate. A disadvantage is that the individual clubs often have only a few members. If you still want to become a member of an association for genealogy, you should choose one of the 71 registered associations choose who in the umbrella organization “German Working Group on genealogical associations e. V. ” (DAGV) are organized. On the website of this umbrella organization you can find out more about the individual clubs and events. A clear advantage: there are always practical workshops with various lectures and exercises that make your personal genealogical research easier.

Which services can offer genealogy research and which ones are particularly important?

Special software for genealogycan help you to easily create databases with all relevant information about your ancestors. These databases give you a good overview of the data collected so far, while such software allows you to supplement your information. You can decide for yourself whether you want to make the results of your genealogy research publicly available on the Internet, or whether your results are only intended for you personally.

The important criterion is that Size of the database. The more users put their data online and use the same genealogy software, the more other genealogists will benefit from each other's study. Many genealogy programs use the GEDCOM data format for this. This abbreviation comes from GEnealogical Data COMmunication.

GEDCOM is a text-based data format. It contains various pieces of information about individuals and enables the exchange of this data through various genealogical programs. This data format was developed by the Mormons, an American Christian denomination for which the family is of central importance. The possibility of making your own notes within the program is also central.

For the search, it makes sense if, in addition to a simple search function, it can also be narrowed down using additional criteria in order to be able to specifically refine the search for the people.

What costs do you have to take into account for various genealogical research offers?

Opt for a single service provider with the Researching your genealogy there are quite high costs to commission. Typically, a professional genealogist takes around 35 euros an hour. In addition, there are travel costs for getting to the archives, possibly also accommodation fees, if the research is more complex.

Look for yourself in the Archives or if you often request certificates, this can also be quite expensive fun. Requesting a birth certificate costs around fourteen euros, and additional documents from the same registry office cost around nine euros each. If you can only provide incomplete information to the office, if you are missing important information such as the full name or date of birth, the registry offices will charge additional search fees, which will quickly land you in the three-digit range.

Both Parishes, dioceses or regional churches the use of the archives is usually free. However, copying fees may apply if the sources are allowed to be copied at all. Often you have no choice but to write off the sensitive materials page by page yourself - laborious, but at least very inexpensive. They are cheaper and more comfortable Offers from various internet service providers.

Some programs are even available for free as freeware. The disadvantage of these free internet services, however, is that the data is mostly based on information provided by other users and can be incorrect. Access to original historical documents is also often denied, which is why these free pages for your genealogical research can often only offer initial contact points.

There is also software that is free altogether, but some paid functions includes such as the Family Tree Builder. The free version of the software already has the most important functions in the paid version Premium version additional features can also be activated. There are two different tariff models for the paid platforms. The first variant is that you pay a one-off contribution for a certain period of time. The second variant is that you take out a subscription with different terms in order to be able to use the software for genealogy. Often there are also demo versions available in which you can act as a Test runcan use some features of the program for free.

The largest online database Ancestry is only available for a fee. Here you can choose between two tariffs. For a Germany-wide search with a six-month membership there is a fee of 9.99 euros per month, if you only want to use the service for one month, you pay 12.99 euros. For a worldwide search you pay 22.90 euros per month for a one-month term and 19.90 euros per month for a six-month term. The difference between the two tariffs: With the Germany tariff you can access 500 million documents, with the international variant you get Access to over 20 billion historical records.

If you would like to join a genealogical association, you should plan around 40 euros per year for membership. This usually includes the books that appear within the clubs. Additional workshops, events and courses must be paid for separately.

This is how genealogy providers are compared

The Selection of genealogy programs is big. In order to find the most suitable program for you, there are various criteria that can be used to compare the different providers.

Ask about the time to invest

The first question to ask yourself is how much time and effort are you going to invest in genealogy? If you would like to find out something about your ancestors, but do not really feel like going on the sometimes arduous search yourself, you are most likely to come to terms private service provider question that you entrust with your search.

However, if you would like to do your own research in any case, internet portals for genealogy research are a good place to go. The question then arises as to which of the programs is suitable for you. To do this, compare the following criteria.

Cost and value for money

An important criterion in the Choosing the appropriate genealogy program is the question, How much money You are willing to pay. The fees vary depending on the software. Here it is important to find out exactly about the prices and the services available for them. Consider carefully whether a free platform might be sufficient for your investigation. Then you can save a lot of money. These free sites are usually not enough for a comprehensive survey of your family's history.

Size of the databases

To achieve the greatest possible success in finding to achieve one's own ancestors, the decisive factor is how many historical documents the respective database has recorded. The principle here actually applies, the more the better - on the premise, of course, that the data is useful. An important criterion for your decision in favor of a platform should therefore be the size of the databases.

Number of other members

The number of other members who use this platform should be just as important for your choice as the size of the databases. Many members evoke a lot of data, which can be very beneficial for your own search.

Features of the software

The different programs for genealogy have different benefits in comparison. In any case, the software you choose should have a function for advanced search criteria, so that you can carry out your search for person optimally. The program should also include the Import and export of GEDCOM files allow so that you can comfortably edit your family tree data.

Also the Function for your own notes and the possibility of inserting your own media such as photos and videos, is very useful for compiling extensive data material. With some providers you can even use a Google Maps connection so that you can follow the history of your ancestors on the map.


Pay attention to the Selection of genealogy software whether you can search in German or in a language that you speak well. The already tedious search should by no means be complicated by a language barrier.

Operation and service

At times it may take a little while to get the Genealogy software so that you can use them safely and purposefully. In order to choose the software that works best for you, it is imperative that it is as easy to use as possible. This includes both good instructions in the form of a on-line accessible manual, as well as a service through which you receive fast and competent help with questions.

Ideally, there is a hotline where you can reach a personal contact or at least a live chat through which you can receive help at short notice.

According to your operating system

The application you choose should be compatible with the operating system of your computer, i.e. you should consider whether you need Windows or Mac software. Most genealogy software runs on Windows systems. For Apple calculator there is, for example, the Mac family tree, which is specially designed for Mac users.

Some genealogy programs will only run if you are constantly connected to the Internet while researching. Therefore, consider whether you want or have to work with your software offline, because then the programs that work exclusively online are out of the question for you.


For the Researching your family history it is imperative that you leave a lot of personal traces on the Internet and highly sensitive data. Therefore, when choosing the Purchase of genealogical software is essential check whether the criteria for data protection are being met by the provider. As a genealogist, you should be in control of the documents and data you upload. You should also check whether the uploaded data is encrypted and who has access to your data.

With reputable programs, you can usually specify in the settings which data and documents you want to make publicly accessible and which data is intended exclusively for you personally or should be made accessible to a limited group of people. The latter is useful if you are working on your family tree with several people at the same time.

When does the purchase of software or a subscription for genealogy pay off?

Would you like your Family history To research independently and comprehensively, you sometimes need a lot of staying power. Requesting certificates and other official documents, searching for the ancestors in different Newspaper archives, church registers or grave sites can cost a lot of time and money. Visits to archives need to be meticulously prepared and you need to know pretty much what to look for there. If the archive to be visited is not in the immediate vicinity, additional travel costs may also be incurred.

Archives are limited opening hours. You can hardly ever borrow the documents. In the best case scenario, it is allowed to take photos or copies of the documents, which at least saves you having to copy them. In addition, the materials in the individual archives only cover limited temporal and regional sources. A visit to a single archive is rarely enough. At Genealogy in the online databases these negative points of an analog search do not apply.

You are not bound by opening times, but can pursue your research around the clock. In addition, these programs save you the hassle of paperwork because you can conveniently process the data you have collected online. An important factor is that Time saving. You do not have to make numerous inquiries and drive from archive to archive for genealogical research, but can search for the information you want directly in the online databases.

If this type of work appeals to you more, you are certainly best served if you decide to subscribe to an online genealogy portal. Genealogy software vendors have many Cooperations to very different archives in Germany and around the world.

Many materials are available online in scanned or copied form. This also saves you having to first learn to read the ancient scripts or to acquire basic vocabulary for genealogical research in Latin. A subscription to an online program is also a good addition if you are already a member of a genealogy association. You can directly and conveniently put the knowledge you have acquired in courses and workshops to a practical test.

What do you have to pay attention to when taking out a subscription or when buying software?

First of all, you need to consider for which period you would like to take out your subscription. If you only need a short period of time for your research, the best option for you is a short monthly subscription. This is usually a little more expensive than if you opt for a longer term (around six months or a year).

When you begin your genealogy research, do you already know that your project take a longer period of time it is best to take out an annual or semi-annual subscription directly to save costs. Make sure that you cancel your subscription in good time if you no longer need it after the time that has been concluded. As a rule, the subscriptions are automatically extended by the duration of the contract. You should also check which contract you would like to conclude.

Some platforms offer a basic contract and a more expensive premium contract that gives you more functions. Complete only the features that you actually need.

The seven leading providers

  • Geni.com
  • Ancestry
  • MyHeritage
  • MacFamily Tree
  • FamiliySearch
  • Ages!
  • Ancestral leaf

The website geni.com is one of the leading providers in the field of largely free genealogy research. This site has a large number of members who use their data to ensure that the data volume grows steadily. Geni.com offers a free basic membership for genealogy, with which the user can create unlimited profiles. However, the data volume for uploaded media is limited; the user may use a maximum of 1 GB in the upload. If you want to use more functions, you have to opt for the paid pro membership. You can then upload unlimited media here. The search functions can then also be optimized.


In comparison, the online database Ancestry has by far the largest database and is the absolute winner here. As an Ancestry user, you can access over 500 million documents and images in the German-speaking area alone, and there are even 28 billion worldwide. The documents to be viewed include the results of censuses, birth and death certificates, extracts from marriage and death registers.

Ancestry is known to be easy to use. The website's search engine is extensive, yet easy to use. To save the results, you can enter them directly in your personal online family tree. The platform has already sold 18 million DNA tests. These come from over sixty countries. Due to the large number of data and members, seventy million family trees have already been created. The portal offers a member forum and a blog for direct exchange with like-minded people. Ancestry is chargeable.


MyHeritage grants free use of the basic functions. Founded in Israel in 2003, this platform offers a variety of web, mobile and software products. It contains around 6.3 billion different documents and images. The MyHeritage app is available for both Android and iOS devices, so you can access your family tree on the go.
MyHeritage offers the opportunity to test if this product is the best with a free trial before purchasing. Overall, MyHeritage is a clearly structured program that enables documents to be compared around the world. Existing family trees can be easily uploaded using the GEDCOM connection. Other family members can be invited to edit this at the same time. One disadvantage of this product is data protection. The data records are not transmitted in encrypted form. A manual is also missing for this product.

MacFamily Tree

This provider is specially designed for Mac computers. MacFamily Tree now has four billion documents available online. A special plus compared to other providers are the diverse display options offered by MacFamily Tree. With the help of a virtual globe, life paths of the ancestors can be drawn. Statistics can also be prepared visually. The software is available from the Apple App Store. Permanent internet access is essential for using this app, because edits are saved directly in the ICloud. So if you choose this product, you should keep this aspect in mind. When you buy the MacFamily Tree app, you have to pay a one-time payment, so you are not taking out a subscription. With the help of a trial version, you can test the product in advance. In addition to German, MacFamily Tree can be used in thirteen other languages. Data is transmitted in encrypted form, and a manual helps with its use.


FamilySearch offers little protection of privacy. This ministry was developed by the Mormons. Because it is a non-profit service, FamilySearch is completely free. A total of four billion documents are available to registered users. Freeware and apps for Android and IOs are available for use.


Ages! is a database software that allows users to save different data formats in databases. A plus for Ages! are the advanced search functions available to users. Search criteria can conveniently be saved. Ages! uses the GEDCOM data format like the other platforms. A Google Maps connection can show the ancestors' lives. Compared to other providers, Ages! a very expensive program that costs just under 40 euros to purchase.

Ancestral leaf

Again a free product is Ahnenblatt's freeware. It's the best free database by comparison because it has a good range of features. A special plus is the plausibility check, according to which the program carries out a check with other data while the data is being entered. Operation is very simple and user-friendly. A manual and FAQ will help you with questions, and email support has also been set up. Ahnenblatt is a good free alternative that can compete with the big genealogy providers.


Online or offline? How do I best do genealogy?

The different Databases now have extensive material that scores well in comparison with a regional archive. Search masks and the large amount of data quickly show whether there is a match for the people you are looking for. Another advantage of online searches is that you can save your data immediately and not lose track of things.

Only when the search on the Internet does not lead to any further results for your genealogy does it make sense to continue the search in an analogue way and to continue the genealogy with the help of media that are not yet digitally accessible.

The history of genealogy

The interest in one's own pedigree is not an invention of modernity. Even in ancient times, a person's ancestry was important. This is exemplified by the genealogy of Jesus at the very beginning of the Gospel of Matthew. In the Middle Ages and the early modern period, the family trees of the nobility were particularly important. Today the interest in researching one's ancestors dominates the whole world.

Genealogy forums

Don't want to be a member of Genealogy platforms genealogy forums are the place to go. Here you can immerse yourself with like-minded people and solve tricky problems together.

Seven tips for long-term genealogy fun

Tip 1

Tip 1

Don't undertake too much!

If you approach your genealogy research with expectations that are too high, disappointment is bound to happen. Best of all, you are realistic in setting your goals.

Tip 2

Tip 2

Treat yourself to breaks!

Nobody can work continuously. Set a realistic time frame for your research and take breaks every now and then. Sometimes you need a few days to breathe deeply in order to draw new strength for your work.

Tip 3

Tip 3

Find the right way!

Before you begin, think carefully about how you want to go about your project and what tools you will use to do this. Also consider what costs you would like and can accept.

Tip 4

Tip 4


Find like-minded people to exchange ideas about your work. Other genealogy operators have important tips and hints that can certainly help you with your research.

Tip 5

Tip 5

Get your family involved!

Ask for information from your own family. Perhaps someone would like to help you and you may not have to tackle this great genealogy project alone.

Tip 6

Tip 6

Use the available help in case of problems!

Every genealogist comes to a standstill in his search. The best thing is to seek help quickly if you don't know what to do next. Perhaps you can contact the provider of your software program. Or you can join a genealogy association and attend courses there.

Tip 7

Tip 7

Enjoy every piece of the puzzle!

Any name you can put on your family tree is a win. Create your family tree with joy and enjoy every little piece of information you can find out about your family, no matter how small.

Genealogy in the test - the results