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Family Tree Builder version 5

Family Tree Builder version 5

by Rosemary Kopittke

For software that is completely free to download, MyHeritage's Family Tree Builder version 5 has impressive features. Though some features require the premium version most are available without purchasing it.

Data entry: I found the software easy to use for data entry.

  • Version 5 supports 36 languages (you can even set a primary and secondary language and do translation of names/places in the tree)
  • It has intuitive data entry
  • Allows the user to select the format of the dates (can also choose which calendar to use: the standard calendar, the Hebrew calendar, or the French Revolution calendar)
  • Importantly, it does checks on your data for duplicate persons and provides warnings on suspect data
  • It is possible to allow AutoComplete of names but this feature can be switched off if desired
  • The user can create custom events which is often very useful
  • Version 5 also allows DNA results to be stored
  • Though the data does not save immediately, AutoRecovery can be set to save every five minutes preventing the loss of newly added information.

Data flexibility:

  • The program allows ready display of half/step siblings and displays multiple spouses as appropriate (not available in many other software programs)
  • Multiple names can be entered for an individual - including a religious name, a nickname or an alias
  • Allows same gender partners

Data management:

  • The user has the choice of displaying one, two or three generations above/below the focus person
  • The “home” person can be set to the user's preferred starting point
  • It has excellent search and find/replace features
  • More advanced privacy facilities are available with version 5 - for selected people, you can choose not to publish information to the website, exclude private information from GEDCOM exports and hide private information in charts and reports.

Convenience features: Features which add significantly to the value of the software. You can

  • Display relationships, the ages of the people
  • Create a person’s timeline
  • Search the internet directly (with the premium version)
  • Locate places on a map (the free version will do half the places in your tree)
  • Do Soundex and Metaphone searches

Sources (Citations): You can

  • Apply citations to individuals or each event, apply multiple sources to each event
  • Apply sources to photographs
  • Select from existing sources
  • Indicate the reliability of the source
  • URLs are supported for source citations - any URLS are automatically displayed as clickable links

Multimedia: The user can

  • Add/attach photographs, video, audio, and documents
  • Link a face in an image to a particular person

Presentation reports: FTB 5 as an impressive array of charts and reports

  • Charts – both ancestor and descendant (including fan charts, hourglass charts, bow-tie chart) – all charts can be extensively customised; a new chart wizard will guide you through all the options
  • Family Group Sheets
  • A variety of ancestor and descendant reports including a book report (not a narrative but a collection of information/charts with relevant indexes)
  • The tree can be easily published to the web

Reporting options: You can

  • Create “To Do” lists (even indicate if research is complete on an individual)
  • Save reports as rtf, pdf or html files
  • Set privacy options

Import/Export: The user can

  • Import and export GEDCOM files
  • Version 5 also allows the import/export of data from/to Excel

Help and support:

  • There is an extensive (320 page) guide available as a pdf download
  • Online upgrades are available (free)
  • There is also online FAQ and technical support

Other great features include a Tree Consistency Checker which is new to version 5 (checks your data in 40 different categories looking for possible errors) and Smart Matches. To receive Smart Matches your tree needs to be published to the web - once loaded MyHeriatge will suggest matches to other trees and enable you to contact them, accept or reject the matches as appropriate.

Click here for a free download of Family Tree Builder 5 and check it out yourself.


My Heritage software

The application is excellent but only allows 250 people in the tree before you have to start paying.

In the free version (Under 250 people) some sections are not available within the application.