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Discussion Forum

3D Family Tree software - looking for beta testers 1 Reply

Started by Pierre Clouthier. Last reply by Pierre Clouthier Feb 27, 2013.

What software are you using? 31 Replies

Started by Linda Thomas. Last reply by Pedro J. Sanoja Jan 10, 2012.

Relationship calculator that uses a GEDCOM 2 Replies

Started by bcarney. Last reply by Meg Bate Apr 14, 2010.

Just purchased Reunion 9 - Want to download .ged file from to get started? 5 Replies

Started by Saul Anuzis. Last reply by Sue McCormick Jan 30, 2010.

Saving images and information about them 1 Reply

Started by Ron Setzer. Last reply by Barbara Jan 12, 2010.

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Comment by Roger Moffat on August 24, 2009 at 12:11pm
There's a note on the ReunionTalk forum today that there are a couple of small incompatibilities between Reunion 9.09 and Snow Leopard, which Apple has announced will be available on Friday 28 August.

An update to Reunion 9.09 is expected next week to take care of this, but until you have the update don't use Reunion 9.09 under Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

It will be announced on the ReunionTalk forum as well as by eMail to registered users and on

Comment by Larry Davies on August 23, 2009 at 8:50am
Hi Joan, The interface is probably TMG's weakest point. It remained a DOS program until after Windows 95 came out and even now still has the look and feel of a Windows 3.1 program. If one of the Mac programs added the features I've grown used to, I would gladly make the switch. Larry
Comment by Joan Foster on August 22, 2009 at 5:06pm
Hi Larry, Learning a program as it grows is certainly easier than trying to absorb too much all at once as I tried. My experience with TMG was with an earlier version (can't remember which, but about 10 years ago(?), and I tried again with a trial a couple of years ago and decided it wasn't worth changing from the by-now, very familiar Reunion. I also found myself really disliking the ugly interface (“old-Windows”) appearance of the last TMG I saw. Has that improved?

I do know that you can maneuver from single-person to family at will (you could back then too), but the orientation still seems to be single person. It requires more maneuvering to go to single person in Reunion. That's what I like about iFamily used in side-by-side with Reunion, and one of the wishes on my wish list is that a single-person view option could be easier within Reunion. Multiple names? not so big an issue with me as I don't need it much, but if I were doing doing Scandinavian work, for example, I'd be much more concerned. (I'm getting to hope more for that feature as I am now working with a Samoan line that requires more flexibility. One person even has to be asked which name he is using today.)

Color-coding, well there you really have me! I do not actually need color-coding, but flexible color-coding would really be something I’d like (not just the red, yellow, blue, etc. for the four grandparents, but using my choice of colors to distinguish among the various lines I carry in my db). I, too, keep everything in one big file: my line, my husband’s, our son-in-law, daughter-in law and various persons of interest I want to follow, I have set up a fact field called LINE (such as SMITH & JONES, or Cuz DOE) that addresses my needs so far, but my choice of color coding would be wonderful for these, especially available in the Index and my other “essential” lists.

And there are other things on my wish list as well. . . . such as a way to set and use multiple “marked” groups, that is, red-marked people and blue-marked people visible at the same time in my index/lists; and improvements in Match & Merge; and most of all, an upgrade from GEDCOM 5.5 (but I guess that latter is not to be).... But no one program is perfect, just one that overall suits each of us best, so far as it goes. We can all hope that that the one we are using keeps growing, and that there are enough choices to provide each of us something that we enjoy using. After all, what we want to be doing is genealogy, not fussing with our software (at least, that is true for me).

I had to laugh, Doug, when you reminded me of HyperCard stacks.... me too.... I had forgotten, and used them a lot, for lots of things, including genealogy.....
Comment by Doug Tallman on August 21, 2009 at 8:33pm
Lisa --

I've been a Mac user since 1985. My first genealogy application was a HyperCard stack, moved to PAF, Mac FTM, Reunion and now MacFamilyTree. I was reasonably happy with what Reunion could do, but switched to MFT when I needed to upgrade because I switched to Intel hardware. I'm very pleased with MFT.

It handles photos better than other software. Photos can be attached to events, so baby pictures go with births, wedding photos to marriage records, etc. And source records can include PDFs of the source document. That's way cool. Plus, a single photo can be attached to multiple people, so it handles group shots very well.

For another, it makes great Web pages.

It has a lot of quirks, and a long way to go to be among the best at reports. (In Reunion, I used to be able to generate lists of who should be in what census; I really miss that.) But it does some things so much better than others, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they'll get there.
Comment by Larry Davies on August 21, 2009 at 12:26pm
Hi Joan, I've been using TMG since version 2, so I never had to learn all the features at once. I'm puzzled how you found it restrictive as I've found it to be extremely flexible. I prefer the single-person focus, but TMG also has a family view. The person view is somewhat of a misnomer. From the person view, you can see and easily maneuver to the persons parents, all spouses, all children and all siblings. The features that I depend on that I have not found anywhere else are 1) multiple names for a person with all names shown on the list of people and 2) color accenting where individuals are color code. I keep all names in a single database and use separate color schemes for my relatives, my wife's relatives, my ex-wife's relatives and finally any that are common. The accenting also allows be to differentiate between direct ancestors, siblings of direct ancestors and cousins. I would love to see these features implemented in a Mac program, so that I would truly have a choice. Regards, Larry
Comment by Joan Foster on August 21, 2009 at 11:37am
I have used TMG as well, Larry, but found it too non-instinctive and restrictive for my taste, with a too-steep learning (and remembering how I did it) curve for its more powerful features. I really love the easy accessibility of Reunion's power in field-creation, etc., and have not, so far, found anything that I could do in TMG that I cannot do in Reunion in, for me, ways more suited to my relatively more care-free work style. My experience with TMG, though, is another reason I like iFamily.... like TMG, it uses a single-person focus rather than the couple focus of most others, and that is a good way to change how I look at my data. To each his/her own style, and that is why I urge Lisa to give the others serious consideration to find something to suit her. Maybe she'd like your route using Parallels for TMG if it offers her features she needs. . .or to try Legacy or RootsMagic or any of the other PC programs.
Comment by Lisa B. Lee on August 21, 2009 at 11:07am
Wow; Thanks SOOO much for such great responses to my comment, particularly Joan, for taking such time to present such a well thought-out response. Though we probably won't agree, I appreciate your passion (from everyone), which is a trademark of a true Macophile. Having been a Systems Admin for over 20 years, I support Macs, PCs and Unix at work, so I'm pretty fluent in all of the commonly used operating systems. That said, using Macs at home (and at work) was a no-brainer.

I knew about the history of Reunion and though it was originally created for the Mac, for far too many years, it lacked basic Mac-like functions (like Apple + b to bold text, etc.) and wasn't nearly as intuitive as a Mac program should have been. Oh, and the letters I've written Leister asking them to fix problems or replace items they'd removed -- fell on deaf ears, not even the common courtesy of a response -- until I called the company, at which point they told me that the tone of my last letter was a bit strong and if I want them to respond to me in the future, I have to play nice.

Huh? Part of customer service is taking the heat. One upgrade of Reunion (can't remember which one) caused major pain, and since I often teach Reunion to other genealogists, I had a right to expect some sort of response. I had to remind them that in the day of Intel processors, ALL Mac users now have more of a choice and if they want to chastise loyal customers for raising complaints, they can kiss their meager market share goodbye.

In the end, I think I'm going to try both Larry's suggestion and Al's. Reunion HAS gotten better in recent years, yes, but it's still moving at a snail's pace as compared to other programs. As a consumer, I have the option to stay with them or migrate to another program, and running Windows on my Mac (something I do from time to time) is more of an emotional issue to me rather than a functional problem. Oh, how we Macophiles have suffered with sub-standard applications, discontinued drivers, software vendors who've abandoned us ...

I guess I need to ask myself, "Why suffer with Reunion any longer when there are so many better options out there?" "Is it really worth the trouble?"

I think this forum has helped me to finally answer this question.

No. Reunion isn't worth the pain and inconvenience. It's time for me to bite the bullet and learn another program.

Thank you, to everyone. I'll let you know what I decide to do.
Comment by Larry Davies on August 20, 2009 at 7:50pm
I have to echo Lisa's sentiments regarding being stuck with Reunion. I have downloaded the demos for Reunion, Mac Family Tree and iFamily for Leopard. Although I found all the programs to be lacking, I would have to choose Reunion, if I was set on having a native Mac program. Since program function is more important to me than the platform it was written for, I have opted to stay with TMG running under Parallels. If and when the Mac programs catch up, I would gladly reconsider.
Comment by Joan Foster on August 20, 2009 at 7:24pm
I have been a Mac user since the first Mac (a 128, coming to it from the old OS CP/M on our home-built Heathkit), and a genealogist since before there was any personal computer to keep my hand written records; my experience goes back with Al's. I started with Roots on CP/M, then PAF for Mac, and then to an early Reunion. Once with Reunion, I have not changed nor looked back (except for a brief experiments with FTM and Legacy to accommodate correspondents). For me, Reunion has always been very powerful and clean and, unlike Lisa's feeling, very Mac-like. I am sorry that Lisa's experience has not been so satisfying. Reunion was not written by a PC user; it is/has been a Mac program through all the versions I have known it (I believe it started in early 1980s, maybe picked up from the old Roots?, but I came onboard about 1985-6). For a time, Leister maintained a PC version of Reunion alongside its primary Mac program, but they sold that off years ago. Buyer Sierra continued it for some years as the PC db called Generations; then Sierra dropped it, and a supported Generations PC db (thus a "Reunion for the PC"), no longer exists.

I must also disagree with Lisa's assessment that Reunion's customer service is "horrendous," a strong word to use. I do not know her particular issue, but for me, their service has been outstanding, often within hours or up to a day or so. I have never met with such great service for any program, Windows or Mac, and its Forum is outstanding with queries often answered immediately by Reunion staff as well as experienced "power users." If, as she suggests, her issue is with feature(s) that were, or were not implemented in some one of Reunion's new(er) versions, I can only sympathize with Leister's answer that the issue is related to the evolution of the Mac OS, over which they have no control. During my time Reunion was rewritten to cover each major changeover in the Mac OS, including, more recently, the great change from OS9 to the unix-like OS10 and later that we all know today. It still has to change to accommodate the changes in the ever-evolving OS10 versions. Each version of Reunion, to the best of Leister's ability, was also backward-compatible; compare this with the PC side where OS changes leave both hardware and many programs behind, perhaps never to recover. Issues between the OS versions and applications/programs are very real, whether Mac or PC, and Apple has always been a "stickler" in requiring application developers to keep within all its OS parameters. (That's why Mac applications are Mac-like; they must all behave on Apple's terms, while Windows programmers are allowed to think outside the box with sometimes disastrous results and/or multiple patches that lead to instability.) Also any developer has to make decisions about which requested/desired features are implemented in any new version. After all, at some point the version features must be set and the version released. Leister has been great in not releasing feature(s) that are half-done or fragile. Witness the Reunion for iPhone/Touch that is so elegant. Other programs came out with something for this purpose well before Reunion did, but Reunion's is outstanding compared to the others. We all wait with bated breath for Reunion's new versions (whose features and timing are not announced in advance) because we know it will be stable and powerful, or it will not be released. If our hoped-for "feature" is not there, that's too bad but maybe next time; meanwhile look at all the goodies we did get....

That being said, I must agree with Al's comment that iFamily is a great program, and I second his recommendation that Lisa try it. It has a different "look-and-feel" from Reunion that she may well find it more "Mac-like" to her. It is also centered on a "person" rather than the more common family/couple, and its navigation and view arrangements are based on this person orientation. It may be a bit slow in its customer service or upgrading right at present as its designer/programmer died unexpectedly; his successor is working to get time to continue its planned development. It will be maintained and updated. It is an elegant program, and I use it a great deal; looking at my data from a different viewpoint helps me to see different options for my actual genealogy research, and to notice errors, questions, typos, etc. in my primary Reunion db that I look at every day.

There is a 3rd option, which Lisa may also feel is more Mac-like: Mac Family Tree. I have also used that; it has a primary graphics mind-set with a navigation system based on a very handsome, animated-graphic family tree, and a set of possible modules you arrange to suit your work needs. The program also has frequent updates; I have had no experience with customer service with them as I do not use it that much. For my particular data-set, the handsome signature navigation graphic is almost unusable; it is too crowded with individuals and links for me to use it easily. However, it may meet Lisa's needs.

Good luck to you Lisa; and it is fun, Al, to meet another old-time Mac user.
Comment by Al Hibbard on August 20, 2009 at 3:03pm
I am new to this group so maybe this program has been promoted before. I am responding to Lisa who wrote that she is "stuck" with Reunion. You don't need to be. I have been a user of the Macintosh for about 24 years and have a good sense of what a good Mac program is (having also programmed for one). I have been using iFamily ( for the last two and half years and think it is great. Don't let its inexpensive price fool you; it is a quality program. I can go into more details about the responsiveness that I have had from the developers if anyone wants but leave it to suffice that over these last 2.5 years, many of suggestions have been incorporated by the developer and it makes it an even better program. Try it out by using the demo for a bit. I would be happy to answer questions or better yet, use the Discussion Forum on the above website.

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