I am not content with the limited options that I have been able to find for viewing a tree. Many of the software packages I have located limit the tree to direct descendants and ancestors of one person, rather than displaying the whole tree - all relatives of the starting person in one view, including multiple sets of parents, multiple wives, all siblings etc.

I am looking for a software package that enables the whole tree to be imported (from GEDcom) and displayed. A nice extra facility would be the ability to include unrelated individuals in the display and navigation.

I already know some software - GenoPro, Gaia Family Tree (if only it was more like Family.Show derivative I currently use to navigate my tree), also Family Tree maker/builder printed charts, and Branches and GeneaQuilt - but I want to know if there are other examples out there to see, if maybe there is better solution for my needs.

  • 2
    Have you tried GRAMPS? It has many different output options and because it is open source, there are many plugins for it. I pretty sure it can do most everything you have listed here.
    – Luke_0
    May 27, 2013 at 21:24
  • Have you looked at the answers to genealogy.stackexchange.com/q/3052/104, where there is some discussion of "Everyone" diagrams that might be helpful.
    – user104
    May 30, 2013 at 12:22
  • @ColeValleyGirl Care to share what that package would be? From your edits I am still not sure, if you understand what I meant - most popular applications I've tried show you person you've focused on and few generations around them, excluding more complex relationships and you need to navigate the tree by clicking to jump from one person to another - you don't see everyone, you just know they are there. Ability to see whole tree would be just that - the application shows every single person on your screen (pan and zoom to navigate), but this is complex and ones I've seen are far from perfect
    – Risiki
    Jun 2, 2013 at 16:22
  • @Risiki, It's Family Historian (which is why I upvoted the answer that Colin made rather than create my own answer). See family-historian.co.uk/tour (scroll down to "Interactive Diagrams and Smart Trees"). "All Relatives" is a very useful view. "Everyone Diagrams" less so, as per the caveats about that I pointed you to above.
    – user104
    Jun 2, 2013 at 16:31
  • You might take a look at FamilyHero: muddyheroes.com/FamilyHero.aspx
    – user3913
    Apr 14, 2015 at 18:57

6 Answers 6


Have a look at Family Historian there is a free 30 day trial. It creates charts in the same way that others do and then you can add other individuals to the main chart who aren't related. There are YouTube videos here showing how to use diagrams (what FH calls charts) and this covers some of what you want to do. However, if you have a lot of unrelated individuals it may become a bit tedious.


My recommendation would be for you to try gramps - http://gramps-project.org. It is opensource and written in python so you could even modify it to fit your needs if you were so inclined.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'singular parent child most software provides' so I can't comment on whether it will meet all your needs. I've found it quite useful. It uses graphviz (http://www.graphviz.org/) for it's visualization engine. If gramps doesn't make exactly the graph I wanted, I sometimes take the intermediate graphviz output and modify it directly to get the picture I want. I've found it's sometime easier in graphviz to prune branches, or merge two trees. Because graphviz is a versatile general purpose graphing program for complex networks, I'd guess it could do anything you wanted wrt parent/child relationships.

Another option you might pursue is putting your gedcom into a graph database like neo4j (http://www.neo4j.org/). It's a database not a visulaization but it may help with the relationships you are trying to manage. And it obviously plays nice with visualization tools for network graphs.

  • 1
    What I meant was that in almost every program the default view is parents and their children, it might show few more generations, but it almost always is limited to single blood line. As far as I can tell this is exactly what GRAMPS does too, maybe if you are a programmer you can do something else with it, but I was meaning ready made package...
    – Risiki
    May 28, 2013 at 14:13
  • GRAMPS can output everyone in your tree in a PDF format in addition to outputting just one bloodline.
    – Luke_0
    Jun 1, 2013 at 17:28
  • Duly noted, but it apparently requires selecting several starting people (need to consciously work out, which ones will result in everyone being selected) and the few times I tried GRAMPS just crashed on me. I gather I could use graphviz or some other graph drawing software, but that apparently requires learning programming language.
    – Risiki
    Jun 2, 2013 at 16:31

GenoPro is the best I have found so far that shows the ancestry and descendants of all (not just the blood line) from my gedcom file, in a tree format. Others just show blood lines up or down but not siblings upline. I am still looking for something that will provide a report on a family which includes both ancestry and descendants of all family members (including siblings and there families) rather than me saving a multitude of reports, which tends to repeat individuals. Of course I can manipulate the documents with effort but each time I add new information I have to amend and redo (remove duplicates and re-number) my documents. Gramps is good but I am no python programmer, but given it is open-source it may be an option to pursue. I hope if there is something out there it is reported here. I will keep my eyes open.


Take a look at Family Circles a project of mine and see if that addresses what you had in mind.

  1. No limit on descendents or ancestors
  2. All relations are shown in one view
  3. Software does assume a person can only have a single biological mother and father (no support for rendering adoption relations)
  4. Supports unlimited spouses
  5. Supports unlimited children
  6. Supports GEDCOM data files if you use the Service software
  7. GEDCOM can be converted using a Service command line program to Family Circles JSON which can then be used directly with Viewer and Builder.
  8. No limit on unrelated individuals

The only caveat to the above is your model size is limited based on the hardware that you render the model in. If your graphics card/memory or CPU are not up to the size of the model you are attempting to view then it will not render.

This can't be done on an average computer but this is an example image from rendering the entire US Presidents Family Circles JSON file based on GEDCOM. Zoomed in on Barack Obama but the other presidents can be seen in the distance.

3D Visualization of US Presidents Genealogy


Ancestry.com does a nice job with the family view. It shows cousins, aunts and uncles, siblings, etc. It's not the 'whole' tree, unless you have a small one, but it's more than the family or pedigree view available in most desktop programs.

You don't need a paid subscription for this, so if your internet access is free, you can use this for free too. And once your tree is on-line, you can also download it to an Ancestry app on your smartphone or tablet, and edit it there.

Note that with standard options, deceased persons in your tree are visible to other Ancestry members. You can switch that sort of sharing off in preferences though.

  • New update: Ancestry know can show all spouses & children at the same time. Oct 18, 2023 at 23:23

Look like Gramps and the Graph View addon is what you need. https://gramps-project.org/wiki/index.php/Addon:Graph_View

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