Greenstreet Family Tree Heritage is a bit of a copycat product in a fairly well-populated product category. It immediately betrays its US roots with an onscreen prompt to enter our country of residence if outside the US, but seemed to provide sufficient UK-related education, work and time of life categories for us to be able to accurately assign details of each of our relatives. It’s no match for the excellent, neatly-configured and UK-centric Family Historian family tree, but it covers the essentials.
As with most such products, you can import and export details you’ve already established from other genealogy programs.
Thankfully, Family Tree Heritage also lets you collaborate with other researchers via the web. You don’t have to export a finished file and publish it online in order to find yourself contradicted at every point by a hitherto unknown second cousin. A neat touch – and an acknowledgement that this is the way such research tools are heading.
Once installed, you can choose whether to go by LDS Data (Latter Day Saints, who compiled the world’s largest repository of family details) or to manually enter everything. You are given immediate and unrestricted access to a billion genealogy records held at familysearch.org, worldconnect.rootsweb.com and worldvitalrecords.com and can buy details of a further five billion held by ancestry.com. Unlike some family tree software, there’s no voucher to get you started buying records in this way.
This isn’t a problem, but for newcomers to family tree research, the lack of instructions or obvious way to get started may well be. Despite having tried numerous such programs over the years, it took us ages to work out whether we needed to create a new file to import existing research, or even how to create a brand-new database.
As with most of these programs, the value is in being able to add detail, include source verification information and to attach associated documents such as scans of church and census records along with captioned photos. But since Family Tree Heritage does all this and is able to export and import data to and from other genealogy software, it seems harsh to criticise it unduly.