Recommendation for a free (or cheap) family tree website

For a long time now, I’ve thought about researching my family tree. I know there are a lot of websites out there that have tools for creating a family tree, searching birth/death records etc. Has anyone here used one that they recommend? Free would be best obviously, but I’m willing to pay a small fee if it’s a good site.

I have worked on my family’s genealogy off-and-on for over 20 years, and have used tools from Roots (MS-DOS) up through the current version of The Master Genealogist. I’ve hoofed it to various state libraries and various genealogy collections over the years.

Part of me hates to admit it, but has an incredible collection online that is easy to search and easy to work with (example: in about 3 minutes of searching/clicking I found a Civil War Widow’s Pension file record online there - not an abstract, but an actual digital scan of the handwritten record). It’s not super-cheap, but I can’t think of a better one-stop-research tool that lets you actually view the original records.

You can’t do any research here, and I’ve not compared it to any others, but I think this site offers a nice visual representation of a family tree. Plus, it makes it easy to include others in the process.

I’m using, but finding their search results disappointing. They have tons of information, but the search results are really jumbled. You need to be willing to sift through a lot of names and states that have no apparent relationship to the search criterion you entered. (The cynical side of me thinks they do this on purpose so that people will keep renewing their subscriptions.)

My favorite for ease of use and good results (with a limited but growing transcribed database) is the LDS Family Search. They’re doing an outstanding job!

Another thing you might try is the public library. My library card has a code that lets me log in online and reserve books or browse their databases. They do have US census collections available, access prepaid by your tax dollars.

From, you can also get a PC program called ‘Personal Ancestral File’. It is free and a great way to maintain a family tree. It can export standard GED files to share with others, or import them from others.

Lots of folks share GED files on WorldConnect and you can search there quite easily.

Thanks for the suggestions. I ended up ponying up for It’s been a huge help with some branches of the family, but a complete dead end for others. I was able to trace back to Dudenheim, Germany, which is awesome because we alread had a trip planned to Heidelberg in May. Dudenheim is only about half an hour away from Heidelberg. I’ve got birth dates and death dates for several ancestors who lived and died there. If I can figure out where they were buried, I might be able to see their gravestones. :c)

I meant Dudenhofen. :smack:

I have heard good things about this site.