Genealogy Wise

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I'm currently using Reunion 9, but it annoys me enough that I keep looking for alternatives, including online options. Unfortunately, Reunion seems to implement more of my "must haves" than any of the other options I've looked at.

I want to like MacFamilyTree. I actually started with it but found it too limiting. The new photo tagging stuff in 5.6 is nice though. My biggest gripe against it are that it won't import my Reunion gedcom file without throwing away data. All my custom formatted sources lose most of their data and any tags it doesn't understand are ignored. Throwing away data is an unforgivable act. At least put it into some note field so I can deal with it. Still, the program seems to be evolving quickly and I'd like for it to win me back.

I love Reunion's ability to customize events but the single window with modal dialog approach to editing is awfully cumbersome and since everything is driven from the family group window, adding the same source or photo to multiple people is tedious. But it works, it's been reliable. It just irritates me.

I'd love the ability to geocode events (and make use of geocoded photos) as well as face tagging but until an app gets the genealogy right and has robust gedcom handling, it doesn't matter.

I've tried demos of a couple of other programs including some windows apps, but nothing has encouraged me to switch.

What apps are the rest of you using?

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi, Jennifer.

The context view in iFamily is a very nice feature. There are several ways to navigate the family tree in Reunion (besides the excellent suggestion the Linda Thomas made for using the bookmarks). Since you're a fan of the pedigree view I think you'll like the Reunion 9 overview feature (covered in this screencast).
Ben, thank you for pointing me to this screencast. I am more comfortable with the pedigree view than the family card. Which one do you prefer to working with?
Hi Jennifer,
I too have been using PAF/Ancestral Quest for several reasons. First though, I would like to say that I have been running both on my MacBook under parallels. A couple months ago, something happened to my files and my databases got disconnected. The folks at Ancestral Quest said they have never seen anything like it and are looking to see if they can rebuild it. So, I am a bit reluctant to trust the database to the Mac again. I have resorted to buying a Netbook(windows of course).

I am sticking to PAF/AQ because AQ lets me automate reports in several languages and alphabets without "localizing" the program. Localizing means all the menus, etc. are in whatever language, mostly which I cannot read. With AQ, I can create a language file and create reports (Family Group Sheets, Pedigrees, etc.) in German, Spanish, Ukrainian, etc. to eMail to relatives. They have the advantage of being able to easily read and share with other family members that do not speak English and all I have to do is create a file of headings in other languages.
I only recently switched from a PC to a MAC. I have been using iFamily for Leopard. I was previously a Legacy user, and, unfortunately, they do not offer a MAC version.

I enjoy creating the links for photo transcription. It makes it much easier to find the data in a newspaper or directory.
Also, the events page is set up in such a way that you can easily see whether or not your event is connected with a source.

You can keep a source active until you've attributed it to everyone who may be linked to that source. That's a nice feature.

I am not happy with the choice of documents. I do not like the Family Group page. Legacy gave me a lot of options in setting up my reports that I really do miss with this program. I am quite capable of putting together a beautiful presentation in a word processor program, but I really miss the feature of having the program put something quickly together without much effort on my part.

I have not yet used the HTML pages, but I do hope to be able to take advantage of that feature sometime in the future.
Barbara, how long have you used iFamily? Did you try working with Reunion?
My computer life started with a PC. When I dipped my toe into genealogy, I didn't do much research. A friend turned me on to FTM and that suited me just fine. I particularly liked the look of the family trees that I printed out and sent to every relative who shared information.
When I got sick & tired of the frequent crashes, I bought a Mac and while at the Mac store they pointed out Reunion. This time I did some research and found that Reunion was the only Mac genealogy program that I liked, except that I hated their trees and through various versions, I still hate them. I have tried every new Mac genealogy program and they each have their advantages, but none of them has a tree that I like. I am now using Reunion pretty much exclusively, particularly since Ben came on the scene. Not only are his videos terrific, but unlike much else that I have seen, they are useful.
For sharing trees with family, I've turned to My Heritage. Everyone of my relatives has given me positive feed back (not a few have corrected their birth dates) and they pass it around to their children and grandchildren which is great for me. I not only get the up to date data, but I also develop new contacts
I was a Reunion (6?) user, but when I switched from a PPC iMac to an Intel mini, I had an opportunity to change. I looked around and I was very impressed with MacFamilyTree's photo features. I'm very glad I made the switch. Photos can be attached to an event, so wedding photos are connected to a marriage record, baby pictures to a birth, etc. Sources can include PDFs. Notes can be attached to any person, family, event or source. It has superior web page creation.

The recent changes are great, too, particularly the ability to have one photo attached to multiple people -- great for reunion photos. Linda's right, there are lots of things it doesn't do well; I'd really like a tab-delimited export like Reunion's. But it handles photos so well -- and that's where my research is leading me at the moment -- it's easy to overlook its shortcomings. And because of its robust improvement cycle, I'm hoping its shortcomings are temporary.

Mac Family Tree. I love how easy it is to use, how easy to upload gedcom files. The graphical interface is beautiful, upgrades are free.
Melinda, How long have you been using Mac FamilyTree? Have you ever used Reunion or iFamily? I have a hard time figuring out how to work with it. When I open the file, it opens up to a list of names and I have to search for the name that I want. It doesn't seem to show the relationships with the exception of the 3D Family tree. When I first saw this, I thought it would be really cool, but my file is large and so it is a bit unwieldy. Is there a way to have the program open up with a specific a home
I switched to my Mac just about a year ago and still have not found "the right" genealogy software for me. I was a previous user of Family Tree Maker (v16) and subsequently the web site. I really like the integration between the PC software, the web site, and its research capabilities. I still maintain the site since it allows me to do online research and share information. I would really want a Mac version of Family Tree Maker, but Ancestry states that they are not willing to invest the resources to do so. Additionally, I really do not want to load Parallels and Windows--justing inviting security problems.

I've read numerous reviews and downloaded Reunion, MacFamily Tree and iFamily. I like features of each of them, but am leaning to Reunion. However, I want to find a way to sync my data on my MacBook with the data on I have not really tested the GEDCOM import/export functions since the Reunion demo software does not allow imports and exports. Also, I would want this to an automatic process just like my mail, calendars, contacts are synced with MobileMe.

Does anyone have thoughts?


Reunion does some funky things with gedcom exports, particularly of sources. I've been trying to work on defining the source fields in Reunion such that other software will reliably import them, but Reunion just does some stuff in a way that other software can't cope.

To be fair, this is as much a problem with gedcom or the software doing the import as it is with Reunion, but the end result is that all that effort put into doing good sources can be challenge to move to other software unscathed.

I've also seen a few websites that just won't import a Reunion gedcom at all. They don't say why, of course, so troubleshooting is impossible.

In general, the few imports I've thrown at Reunion seemed to go without incident, but I have seen issues with the data exported by Reunion.

Thanks for the insight. It appears that a common standard is just a bit elusive. Ensuring that sources are accurately transferred is a key component for me, since I want to maintain a high degree of rigor to my research.






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