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(Pocket-lint) - There has been something of a boom in history studies of late with a slue of popularist TVs leading the way. This has resulted in the growing popularity of software that helps you trace your ancestors. Family Tree is one of the most affordable packages we’ve seen and is a great way to see whether the pastime is right for you.

What you get for your money is two main applications and a number of ways to search out background material on your family. The main interface is clean and ease to view, with the main features running across the top of the page. Naturally, the rest of the page is made up of a family tree layout so you can insert family lines as and when you discover them.

To be fair, we weren’t that impressed with the initial look as it’s a little sparse. However, it gives you enough to be starting with, without daunting the user. Once you get more used to the package, you can choose from a variety of templates and styles – all of which are a little more impressive to look at.

Each box on the family tree is a live cell that you can click on and add the names and details of your family member. Once a cell is active you can link through to a separate page, which acts as a scrapbook, where you can add notes and even photos. For those looking for something a little more dynamic, you can even add multimedia files, so if you’ve old video or audio footage you can link this to a specific person.

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Naturally, the aim of creating the family tree is so you can share it with other members of your family. To this end, once you’ve created your family tree its possible to save it off in a number of formats, including PDF. If you’ve opted for plenty of multimedia footage, this won’t readily apply so you can just as easily burn the file off to disc.

The second application is there to help you delve deeper and start filling in the family blanks. Not so much a program as a resource for connecting to the Family Tree website. The one problem we had was the rather American bias for the package, which rather gave away the origin of the software.

The website may be limited for most UK users but the program also gives you information on close to 400 other websites and resources that are definitely more practical to use.


It’s true that you get what you pay for but with Family Tree you have to admit that what you get is a great introduction to tracing your family roots. It may not be the most comprehensive suite, nor the easiest to use, but we found it a great starting point.

Writing by Mike Browne. Originally published on 25 April 2007.