Over the years, I have been asked many times if it is better to use a genealogy software that is installed on a computer or an online website that specializes in genealogy and family trees. The honest answer to this is preference. There are pros and cons to each and I personally use both. So lets dive in to genealogy software vs. online websites so you can decide which is right for you.
Easy to Use Genealogy Software
First, lets explain a little about Genealogy software. Genealogy software is a program that you download to your computer, laptop or tablet. Once it is downloaded and installed on your electronic device it is there until you remove it.
There are some great user friendly genealogy software programs available on the market. Some are free, some are paid versions, some are easy to use, and some are a bit difficult.
The pros of using a genealogy software is that once it is installed it is yours to keep. You can use it with or without internet (without internet your functions can be limited) and as long as you have the device it is installed on, you have the software with you.
The cons of using a genealogy software is that is only available on the device you installed it on. You cannot sign in from a different computer and access the information from that software.
To learn more about using genealogy software, check out our post Genealogy Software for Beginners.
Online Genealogy Websites
I think just about everyone who has looked into genealogy has heard of Ancestry.com. Ancestry is only one website in a vast and what seems to be endless supply of genealogy website. Websites like these allow you to document, search, and store your family tree online as well as collaborate with other family members and genealogists. They make it easier for you to search you family history by making everything available in one place.
The pros to using an online genealogy website are that not only is it easier to share your information with others, you can sign in from any computer or device. If you are on a library computer, you can still sign in and access you genealogy information. Also, by using a website vs. your own personal device, you are not using up hard drive space for storage as it is saved to the website servers. Should your computer crash, you will not have lost your information as it is not on your computer.
The cons to using an online genealogy website are if your internet is down or the website server is down, you have no access to your information. If you are not careful, there is also the chance of your account being breached and other people stealing your information.
To learn more about some of the online genealogy websites that are available, check out our post Are There Any Good Free Genealogy Websites?
Genealogy Online Lessons
With all of these online genealogy websites and genealogy software comes learning. No one starts out knowing how to do genealogy. The great news is most online genealogy websites offer simple lessons, videos, and in some cases, classes to teach you what to do. There are even some free classes available.
Interested in learning more about free online genealogy lessons? Check out our post Learn How to do Genealogy.
Genealogy Software vs Online
The choice between genealogy software vs. online really is a matter of personal choice. As I stated before, I use both. It is always nice to know I have a backup of my family tree online should something happen to my computer, and also nice to know I have it on my computer should something happen to the files online. Both have their pros and cons, but the important thing is to do what works best for you.
The Legal Stuff
Please keep in mind that when you click our links and make purchases, we may receive a small commissions. This does not impact our reviews and comparisons as I try my best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.