2017 Donald R. Snow - page last updated 2017-05-10.
These Freeware Corner notes are published in TAGGology, our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) monthly newsletter.  They are also posted on my Freeware Corner Notes page on  where the links are active and there may be corrections and additions and other related notes and articles.
There are many free programs that help with nearly anything you are doing on a computer; the problem is learning what they are, finding, downloading, installing, and learning how to use them. This is my third FREEWARE CORNER article on the subject. One way to find freeware is to search online, but that is usually time consuming and sometimes you don't really know what to ask for. That's where catching a vision of what the computer can do to help by hearing or reading about it really helps. Hopefully, this article will give you a few more ideas.

In an earlier note we pointed out that freeware is completely free and can be used, given away, posted on your website, etc., with no cost. Shareware is available to download and try out and, if you decide you want to continue using it, you are on your honor to send the author a small donation, usually $5-$20. Be careful when you find a "free to try" note since that usually means it is a commercial program and you can only use it for a couple of weeks before it stops working, unless you pay for it. I seldom bother with free-to-try programs since many times they ask for a credit card number before you even try it and sometimes you don't even know the price until after you have downloaded and/or installed it. Shareware sometimes has a "nag screen" that comes on after a couple of weeks that requests that you send a donation, if you want to continue to use it. Freeware usually doesn't have any nag screens and remains completely free.

To find programs you can always just do a Google search for things like "freeware for genealogy". After working with a few different websites that list programs and downloads, you begin to feel more comfortable with some and you have confidence that you won't get a computer virus from them. Another approach is to use a website like FamilySearch Wiki or Wikipedia to get information and ideas. Once you find a program that does what you want, you may have to do Google searches to find where to download it.

Cyndi Howell is a housewife in the state of Washington that started making up lists of family history websites for her friends and, as the lists grew larger, she and her husband eventually formed a company with a webpage that lists all the links she finds. The links on her webspage now number more than 300,000 in more than 200 categories. A search there for "free genealogy software" yielded more than 170 hits and most of these are links to entire collections. Her category of Free Genealogy Software contains 18 links itself and some of these are in foreign languages. This is a worthwhile site to browser through, and not just for software, since it's a major source of family history information.

This website contains reviews of genealogy software, freeware and commercial, with links to their webpages. It contains over 4000 reviews that have been written by hundreds of people since it first started in 2008. To search it there are boxes where you can select various types of filters. I recommend just leaving those at their default values and entering your keywords, then filtering down after you have some results. The filters are for things like all licenses, only freeware, or only commercial (purchase); all platforms or only Windows, Mac, etc.; and all types, such as Full Featured, Utility, Auxiliary, etc. The results can be sorted by best rating, latest, most, least, date, etc. Most programs useful in genealogy have been reviewed here at some time and it is an easy site to navigate. Most, if not all, of the FamilySearch Certified apps are reviewed here. Each review includes the website for the program or item, so it is easy to find their website, if you are interested. I typed in "descendants" as a keyword and got 982 reviews. Narrowing these down to Free, Windows, and Full Featured, reduced the list to 48. The reviews were all in English, but a few of the programs were in Dutch, German, and French. You could add "Dutch" as a keyword, if that's the language in which you want a program. This is a very helpful website for reviewing and finding genealogy programs.

The FamilySearch Wiki just lists a few of the full-featured programs and links to them. There may be articles about the FamilySearch Certified apps, but it seems to list only a few programs. Since it is a wiki, someone has to write an article about a program for it to be there. To see a list of all the Certified apps that go with FamilySearch see the FamilySearch App Gallery (link at the bottom of every FamilySearch page) -- .

  1. Comparison of Genealogy Software --
    This website is a color-coded comparison chart of full-featured genealogy database programs, not auxiliary or utility programs. It has many comparison features, including latest version, latest date, whether free or not, operating systems, types of reports, and even the languages it is available in, but, unfortunately, it doesn't cover freeware, except the free versions of some of the full-featured programs.
  2. Categories of freeware --
    This includes links to Wikipedia articles containing lists of freeware in categories such as for different operating systems, types of licenses, whether source code is available, for audio, and other categories.
  3. Outline of Freeware --
    This gives a list of organizations producing freeware and their history.
  4. Genealogy Software --
    Lists only full-featured genealogy programs
  5. Software Comparisons Lists --
    You may find some comparisons of software of interest here.
  6. About freeware --
This is the site for free open source genealogy software. Open source means that the program is free and even the programing code is available so, if you know enough about programing, you can even alter the code to make it do things the way you want. Most of us don't know enough about programing to alter the code, but many of the programs are very helpful. The authors or groups of authors frequently update open source software and send out notes when new versions are available, so you can keep up to date with the latest version. On this webpage when I checked today (Feb 2017) there are 9 pages of genealogy programs, each page with about 25 programs on it. Clicking on the program or the pick arrow (small downward pointing arrow at right) opens that box, so you see the short write up about it, the date it was last updated, and a download button. On the left side of the frame is a statement about Hot Topics in Genealogy Software with several different links you can go to. On the right side of the frame is a list of the top 10 downloads during the last week. This is a major website for freeware and this last week it says there were 31 million downloads of programs of all types, not just genealogy.

This is a wiki-type website where people ask questions about various topics and knowledgeable people contribute their answers. Of the many questions discussed here, one is What is the Best Free Genealogy Software? Those who write answers seem to assume that this question only refers to full-featured programs and not auxiliary or utility genealogy programs, so that's what the discussions are about. However, you may still find some helpful comments here, as well as helpful links to other sites.

These are a few more of the many websites, lists, and reviews of genealogy freeware and I will probably write more Freeware Corner articles about this topic another time.