How To Build Your Family Tree With

Bakari Chavanu 01-09-2012

free family tree makerFrom the day we’re born, each of us becomes a part of a family tree that is often larger than we imagined. The personal genealogy site, is a powerful, and easy-to-use set of tools  that helps you keep track of your family heritage and kinships by providing tools for building and growing personal family trees, with timelines, photo sharing, and event web pages. MyHeritage looks to be the largest site of its kind and it includes a good basic free plan to get you started.


Founded in 2005, MyHeritage has over 64 million registered members from around the world. Each member of the site gets pages for building family trees, family event pages, timelines, memory card games, charts, and geographical displays, and several other practical features and artifacts.

Building Your Family Tree

MyHeritage provides a PC-based Family Tree Builder, but since I’m a full fledged Mac user, I used the site’s online tree builder application.

free family tree maker

MyHeritage gets you started with building your family tree right when you register. As a site manger, after you provide your name and that of your parents’ names, you’ve just developed your first branch.

family tree search


The basic resources you will need to build your genealogy tree are family photos (preferably portrait shots, or crop photos to fit) birth and death dates, and knowledge of kin relationships. As you grow your tree, you can add other personal information for each member of your immediate and extended family. You can also email and invite members to your site to help build the tree and add data.

Adding Branches

Once you’re in the family tree builder, you continue by clicking on your name or one of your parent’s names to add another branch, e.g., your partner, brother, son or daughter.

family tree search

For each family member on your tree, you add their photo, name (married and maiden names if applicable), birthdate; and indicate whether they are alive or deceased.


family tree search

Don’t worry about filling in all the personal information in order to get started. MyHeritage makes it easy to come back and edit profiles as you go along. Depending on your family size and how wide you want to develop your tree, this project could take a several days or months. And because it’s online, your tree is persevered for other family members to extend the branches. Extended family members will probably want to build their own trees and connect to yours, which of course can be done in MyHeritage.

free family tree

As you might expect in a web application like MyHeritage, each person on your tree gets his and her own profile, in which additional information (place of birth, additional photos, and baptism) can included.


free family tree

All the family members and dates you add to your tree also become part of a family timeline. The latter feature is part of the Premium package, but you do get a preview of what it looks like. The site also uses your family data to build a report that includes where family members live, their ages, who married whom, divorces, and the names of children.

free family tree

Mobile Apps

MyHeritage also developed mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone, Google play. These apps however don’t include a tree builder. They sync with your online family site, and are for displaying family trees and sharing photos. I’m quite sure in future updates the apps may allow users to edit basic information on the fly.


Myheritage 2

MyHeritage has Basic, Premium and PremiumPlus plans. The basic free option allows for limited storage of 250 photos—more than enough to get your immediate clan tree started. The premium plans are for when you’re ready to store lots of photos and make use of MyHeritage’s wide variety of other features. There are options for families to collectively pay for a plan.

free family tree maker

There’s probably an unlimited amount of features that could be added to the site, but for now it works well as being a clean, easy-to-use web and desktop application, but let us know what you think of MyHeritage. It is a site that will be cherished by family members for years to come.

And for a review of other family genealogy sites, check out Ryan’s Top 10 Free Genealogy Websites to Find Ancestors The 10 Best Free Genealogy Websites to Find Your Ancestors Researching your family tree is fun! Here are several free genealogy websites you can use without spending a dollar. Read More

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Al
    January 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    This soft is NOT available for MacOS still, and for unknown reasons... I do not like to work in a cloud, preferring to prepare my file before publication, and My Heritage does not allow me to do that. I have my tree already in WinXP version and have no idea how to transfer it to iMac.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 20, 2013 at 7:10 am

      AI, be sure to write the company and let them know that you would like to see a Mac client for the service.

  2. fatihamzah
    September 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    i think thats privacy, but okay if you want to search relative

  3. Eike H
    September 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    This is pretty interesting stuff, My landlord has been trolling the internet looking for relatives, but has for some reason avoided paying anything. Maybe i should tell him about this, then i wont have to listen to him complain about not finiding anything conclusive

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 7, 2012 at 1:45 am

      Glad this will be useful to you, Eike, but he'll probably complain to about how difficult it is use, though it's not. C'est la vie.

  4. Ahmed Khalil
    September 3, 2012 at 11:19 am

    every thing now is under control of FBI and KGP,....

    why i have to but my family history to be avaliable like that

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Lol, Ahmed, I can't doubt what you say. People who have the concerns that you do, probably should be hesitant about posting more personal information online. It's an issue that doesn't get talked about enough.

  5. Paul Harris
    September 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    I've used for several years now, and have a tree of over 2000 ancestors and descendants. I have the free version. With the pre-paid plan you get expanded search and matches. An offline software program syncs with he online one.

    When you add a persons email address to their data, an invitation can be sent to them, thus giving relatives access to the tree. This allows relatives to add to the data and make corrections.

    They have multiple databases for searching, census, military, immigration, etc.

    There many other options available...try the free version.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 3, 2012 at 6:55 am

      Paul, I invited my sister to update some items my tree, but she said the site wouldn't allow her to. Do I need to give her special permission even after I invite her, or does she need to create an account to make the updates?

      • Paul Harris
        September 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm

        You probably need to go to account settings > Content > Permissions
        you may have to check off the correct boxes.

        Her email is required and should be in her profile. I just go to the Tree section and add to the persons profile.

        MyHeritage has done some updating to all these sections, and it has been 2 1/2 years since I set my account up, so I had to stumble through some of this.
        Hope this helps.

      • Paul Harris
        September 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm

        Bakari, Your sister may have to wait for the email invitation and reply through a link sent with the email.

        • Bakari Chavanu
          September 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm

          Okay, yeah I sent her the invitation and she was able to view the tree, but she said she couldn't make edits. I'll look back into it next week. Thanks for your feedback.

        • Paul Harris
          September 6, 2012 at 1:30 am

          Bakari, I received your message about the software. You are correct, the software is only for PCs.
          Here's the link...

          its a free .

  6. Dionyshs El
    September 2, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Nice program, anything mac equivalent?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 3, 2012 at 6:53 am

      Dionyshs, there's MacFamilyTree in the Mac App Store, I haven't used it. You might write MyHeritage and request a Mac version of their app.

  7. Kaashif Haja
    September 2, 2012 at 1:07 am

    I tried a long back and got a PDF. My family is quite big!
    I added more than 100 members from my great grand parents!

  8. Ganesh Kumar
    September 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    nice site info

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm


  9. josemon maliakal
    September 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    wow ..I would like to make one of my family

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 1, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      Go for, it's not difficult to get started.

  10. Ashwin Ramesh
    September 1, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    How about Geni?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      Hmm, Ashwin, I didn't come across that one. Thanks for sharing it.

  11. venkatp16
    September 1, 2012 at 2:47 am

    hahhahaha... i would like to see one succcessfully built up tree. Is this possible?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 1, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      Lol, sorry, venkapt16, I can't provide that yet. Though my immediate family is small, I'm still working on adding stuff. I believe MyHeritage does provide links to public trees and such.

  12. Paul Harris
    September 1, 2012 at 1:54 am

    I've been using Heritage Family Tree for several years now and have over 2000 ancestors and descendants. Heritage has an offline software offering(free) which links to the online version. When you've finished editing on the offline software, you publish it to the online site.
    Very good site.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Thanks Paul, for letting us know about the software. I just want to add for our readers, that at present, I believe the MyHeritage software is only for PC, not for Mac.

  13. Tom Bogan
    September 1, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Nice place to start, but I'm also thinking about and how it compares. Being an old fart, I need to start.

    • April Eum
      September 1, 2012 at 2:31 am

      haha i tried using to go search for my older generation ancestors too. but it got really difficult

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      Tom, yes, I would check out them both. I briefly looked at Ancestry, but for my meager needs, MyHeritage suits me just fine.

  14. Alex
    September 1, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Thanks for the review, but it doesn't mention at all which seems to be the big daddy of this kind of thing. How does it compare? Does it reference the same databases to find lost family members etc? Won't switch without that info.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Alex, I don't think Ancestry has a free account plan, but I could be wrong. I reviewed MyHeritage because it offers free tree building to get you started.

  15. xbalesx
    September 1, 2012 at 1:03 am

    One option for everyone to consider is to hire a professional genealogist to build it. We tried building one at our family reunions every 2 years and were somewhat successful. Problem being, some people put a ton of time into it and others really didnt bother. That being said, we held a family auction where each family member pitched in something and other family member would bid on them. The proceeds go to pay a professional as well as covering the next reunion. It was soooo worth the money to hire a professional.

    • jpgwapo
      September 1, 2012 at 6:00 am

      Try its free... and it is soooooooo worth it if you done it with your self...

      • Bakari Chavanu
        September 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm

        Thanks for sharing another resource.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Good point, xbalesx, especially if you want to grow and establish the roots of your family history. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ed Brand
      September 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      My ancestors are from Switzerland. I hired a genealogist in Switzerland in 2001. I paid $1000 back then. He did a nice job and deserved every penny. However, I'd like to gather more information about my ancestors. There are resources at my fingertips but they all seem to be prohibitively expensive, to me at least. is $35 per month. Picton Press has the rights to the Swiss Church records in the U.S. from each church in Bern and other countries. The problem is that the records from each church cost about $250. That's out of my price range. My point is that genealogy can get extremely expensive.

      • Bakari Chavanu
        September 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm

        Ed, you're correct. I didn't even touch on the subject you address here. Ancestry research can take lots of time and money. It's useful though if it's important to you. I'm not sure how the research services between MyHeritage and Ancestry compare.