©2021 Donald R. Snow - Last updated 2021-05-01

Don's Freeware Corner articles are printed in the UTAH VALLEY TECHNOLOGY AND GENEALOGY GROUP (UVTAGG) Newsletter TAGGology each month and are posted on his Class Notes Page where there may be corrections and updates.


Word clouds are pictures formed with words and which can be of various sizes, shapes, and compositions. For instance, the size of the words may indicate their frequencies of their use in the text. Or the words may represent the locations of items. Below is an example of a word cloud using all the words in my Freeware Corner article from March 2021 which dealt with the RootsTech Connect 2021 website. The size of the words here represents the frequency that they were used in my article. The "stop" words, "the", "and", "or", "but",  and a few others, have been removed. The "mask" (shape) I used is the shape ofe the United States. I generated this with the free website word and that's our discussion topic for this Freeware Corner article.
Screenshot of a word cloud of the words in my RootsTech Connect 2021 Freeware Corner article, March 2021, in the shape of the United States of America.

This text file had more than 1000 words and many were used only one time.  Fewer words gives charts with easier-to-read words.  If all the words are used the same numbers of times, they all end up the same size, so it doesn't show what's important.


The above word cloud was generated with the free website .  I copied the text from my Freeware Corner article in March 2021 and pasted it into this website and set the parameters.  To enter the text you can copy-and-paste or open a doc, txt, or pdf file.  On the website home page you see several boxes of things you can select such as the shape (th U.S. map for the above picture), the colors, the theme, the font, plus several other things. Somewhere I read that this website requires Java on your computer and that's free and most computers have it already. This website is basic to produce these word clouds and doesn't have some more advanced features, but is a good place to start.  Several others word cloud websites and programs are listed below.  There is also a slider across the middle that opens and closes a large diamond shape in the middle of the U.S. map.  I guess that's so you can add a title or something there, if you want.  I slid it to the right to close the diamond opening.


Mother's Day is this month and a personalized gift might be to make a word cloud picture for her of the first names of her ancestors or their surnames.  Or the countries they lived in. You could get the text files for such lists as reports from your genealogy program.  There may also be a way to get such lists from FamilySearch, but I don't know how.  If you can see the text you want on screen, you can make a pdf screenshot of it and the website does take pdfs.  I've thought about doing a name list of all my descendants and their spouses to give out at our family reunion this summer, but I don't know what shape would be good to use. 
I've also thought of doing a word cloud of the states where our UVTAGG members live.  There are ways to use a spreadsheet to get the data into the website.  Then the size of the state name would indicate the size of the membership from it.  FamilySearch has a color-coding way of showing the countries your ancestors are from and there may be a way to use that data for a word cloud.  Anyway, you get the idea of what's possible here. 


Word clouds are sometimes called wordles, so you see that in some of these lists and reviews. -- 

MonkeyLearn -- 

Best Free Word Cloud Generators --  

WordItOut --  

Word Clouds for Teachers -- 

Wordaizer --


Word clouds are attention-getting and teach people about the data and have uses in family history.  And they are a fun way to use and visualize your genealogy data.  This website is a great place to start.  For more information and more features, try some of the other websites and programs listed.