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Free family tree software - Features

Easy Data Entry

Alfred (Tosh) Jones aged 4XY Family Tree builds by adding parents, siblings and children in a logical way. You can also enter unlimited spouses, other associations and unrelated people. XY recognises half-siblings and marks them as such.

Multiple Families

XY can handle any number of families. If you're researching several families simultaneously it's easy to switch between them. Each family has its own folder and is self-contained. You can search for words across all families.


A citation is the entire textual reference to the source. Read Evidence Explained for reasons why you need citations. You can add any citations you wish and link them to their sources. Citations are the essence of a believable family tree; without them, or if they're unproven, your family tree should not be shared, nor should you accept anyone else's contribution.

Genealogy Sources on your PC

XY Family Tree handles photographs, scanned documents, video files, sound clips and office documents - in fact anything on your PC can be indexed to your family tree.

Genealogy Sources on the Internet

XY Family Tree can connect to external web pages. As these can change it's best to capture information from them and use it locally. You will still need to verify the accuracy of such sources though.


navigate by kinship diagramYou can navigate each family tree in many different ways: by parent, sibling or child; by spouse or associate; by ancestor, child or grandchild or by distant cousins and great aunts and uncles. The picture on the right shows a kinship diagram where we see second cousins 2x removed and it is possible to navigate to any of these.


You can search by ID; by name or part of name; by date; by places; by notes; by similar sounding names; by sources. Searches can be limited to one family or all the families you are tracing.

Alternative Names

XY Family Tree gives you a way to search by alternative names for people and places. Alternative names are entirely in your control. XY Family Tree uses alternative Given Names, alternative Family Names and alternative Place Names. For alternative Given Names you could set Freddy, Ferdinand, Ferdy to be equivalent so that a search for Fred would find all of these. For Family Names you could set Thompson, Tomson and Thomson or Weissman and White to be equivalent and a search for any of these will find all. For Place Names you could set Leningrad and St Petersburg to be equivalent, or London/Chelsea/Acton, or New York/Bronx/New Amsterdam or Mumbai/Bombay or Berlin/Kitchener etc. It's your data - YOU set the rules. This is a powerful feature.

Same sex marriages

XY Family Tree assumes that marriages are usually between male and female, but it does not insist on this. It is easy to show a marriage between two of the same sex and indeed, there is no need to show the gender at all - there is an option to use a sex = "U" (unclassified) and marriage can be MF, MM, FF, MU, FU, UU. This probably doesn't have much use in showing the X and the Y of generations crossing and uniting but it does show that XY Family Tree is more flexible than GEDCOM.

Project Notes and To-Do List

XY Family Tree supports project notes and a to-do list. These can be kept in any format you choose and are easily accessible.


There are several levels of privacy. Privacy applies to information that is intended for output - obviously you can see all details but you may want to hide some things from your audience: Private Notes allows you to keep notes about a person but not display them in outputs; Hide or Show - if hidden, a person will be removed from all output. This option also hides all others who depend on the hidden person. The effect is the same as if the person has never existed; If you're displaying a family tree on the XY Family Tree.com website you can obscure names and dates in various ways; If you have a web folder it can be protected with a password so that only those who know the password can view your family.

Import and Export XYXchange

XYXchange files are zipped family folders that can be sent by email or even placed on your website. XYXchange files contain everything from your family folder on your PC - data, images, documents, media and links. Using XYXchange files is also a great way to back up your work.

Import and Export GEDCOM

GEDCOM files can be imported to get you started. This is especially useful if you have already created some data using another family tree program. XY Family Tree isn't constrained by the many tags used by GEDCOM. Instead, apart from the essential fields to contain names and connections, it uses free-form, searchable text to give maximum flexibility. Just use the GEDCOM import feature. If you want to convert your GEDCOM to HTML or just see your GEDCOM file on a website, you can do it here. Files can also be exported to GEDCOM format. All the information in your family file, except Private Notes, can be exported as a single .ged file for use with other GEDCOM compatible programs. Just one caveat, all GEDCOM programs are different and importing from and exporting to a .ged file will always leave some information to be fixed manually. This applies to most of the programs that promise GEDCOM compatibility and also to XY Family Tree (which does not make that promise). You can read more about the woes of GEDCOM here.

XY Family Tree compared to GEDCOM

XY Family Tree is Evidence Based rather than Believed Reality. In XY children have a single father and a single mother, even if they are not married. In XY a marriage is between two people and is separate from any connection with children. In GEDCOM a child must be connected to a family, even if the family does not contain the actual parents, and this leads to very wrong associations when children of a second marriage become connected to grandparents of the children of the first marriage. XY can import your GEDCOM files and go beyond the restrictions of GEDCOM based programs. XY uses a data structure that avoids inconsistent links. See details of data structure.

Export as CSV

Exporting your data in CSV format allows you to inspect it as a spreadsheet, Excel for example. This allows you to sort the various columns and inspect each entry; check for duplicates; check for mistakes, etc.

Output Templates

There are many templates included with XY Family Tree that let you output your family files as Ancestry Charts, Family Lists and Family Pages. Trees can be printed on any size paper, from A5 (210 x 148 mm 8.3 x 5.8 in) to A0 (1189 x 841 mm 46.8 x 33.1 in) plus non-standard sizes. You can show up to 6 generations before and after a focal person.

Below is a family tree with 5 generations of children and 5 generations of ancestors printed on A1 size paper.
picture 1

And this is a close-up. The background image is a picture of a tree in mist. You can use your own background image if you wish.
picture 2

Display on the Internet

If you wish, you can export your XY Family Tree files to a web folder on the XY Family Tree.com website. Privacy can be guaranteed according to the settings you apply (See Privacy). If you want to include pictures and sound on your webpages these can be uploaded and used too. You can even include your webpages in your own blog. See "Display in your Blog" below. This uses a live example to show pictures and sound clips.

Display on your own website or blog

Using an iFrame you can include your family tree in your website or blog if it's been uploaded to the XY Family Tree.com website. Here's an example that includes photographs and sound clips. Click Elizabeth Humphreys and hear for yourself.

USB Memory Stick

Because XY Family Tree does not bind itself into your PC it will work quite happily from a USB Memory Stick; ideal for backing up your data, working in a library or sending your family trees to relatives. The CD option is usually best for those times when you want to allow viewing but not allow changes. You can take it to family gatherings or send it to relatives - it'll work immediately on any other modern PC.

XY Family Tree on Apple, iPad and Android

XY Family Tree is designed to run on a PC and store all its data on a PC. If you want to use any other device you will still need to install XY Family Tree on a PC first but most other devices can control your PC using RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) so you may be able to use your iPad or Tablet to run XY Family Tree on that PC.