However, one major disadvantage of the Mac is that it doesn't have as many genealogy programs to choose from as does the Windows operating system. Or does it? I would contend that Macintosh has MORE genealogy programs available than does Windows.
The following is a list of all the more popular genealogy programs that I know of that are actively being marketed for Macintosh users in North America. For this list, I will focus only on the products that are current and still have developers writing updates, bug fixes, and new releases. All programs listed here support GEDCOM import and export.
The following list is presented in alphabetical order:
Family Tree Maker for Macintosh 2
Family Tree Maker for Macintosh 2 is a popular genealogy program and probably is the only one available “off the shelf” at major computer stores in the U.S. It is easy to use and has almost all the features expected in any modern genealogy program. One feature unique to Family Tree Maker for Macintosh is called TreeSync. It gives you the ability to sync one Family Tree Maker tree on your Mac and one online Ancestry tree on Ancestry.com.
You can make changes to your tree anytime, anywhere. Maybe you’re at the library and you find your grandma’s birth record. Record this information in your online linked tree on Ancestry.com, using your laptop or handheld app. When you get home, open Family Tree Maker, click the Sync Now button, and your desktop tree will be updated with the new information. Or, add a bunch of family photos to your desktop tree, sync it, and friends and family all over the world can see them in your online tree.
Family Tree Maker for Macintosh 2 sells for $69.99. Note that this is the standard list price, retailers often sell Family Tree Maker at a discount.
You can learn more about Family Tree Maker for Macintosh at http://www.ancestry.com/cs/apps/P-4949. You probably will want to take the “online tour” at http://www.familytreemaker.com/Tour/Tour1.
GEDitCOM II for Macintosh OS X provides ease-of-use editing of genealogy files, customization of the user experience, and power features allowing access to your genealogical data. GEDitCOM II provides a multi-window "browser" interface, a powerful index window, drag & drop features, a switchable user interface per user preference, powerful searching tools, full multimedia support, lots of charts and reports, and more. The program will add pictures, sounds, movies and any other file type to your genealogy data. It will share multimedia with iPhoto, iTunes, and iMovie GEDitCOM II. GEDitCOM II is available in two versions: one for MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or newer and a Mac with Intel processors while an older version is available for Leopard that has all the features of the regular version except it lacks the media browser that will not run on newer versions of OS X.
GEDitCOM II sells for $64.99 and is available from http://www.geditcom.com. A free demo version may be downloaded at http://www.geditcom.com/GCDown.html. Try the demo with your own genealogy data imported from any other application. After 15 days, the demo will switch to a free "reader mode," which has most of the normal features, but cannot save changes made to files. You can purchase a license at any time to unlock either the demo or "reader mode," which will convert them to the full version.
Genealogy Pro 2.2 by Genealogy Pro Software Services is a bare-bones genealogy program for Macintosh users on a budget. It displays information with rows for individuals and columns for information about them. In other words, it looks like a spreadsheet. Users can attach photos to individuals in the database, but there is no capability to add video, audio, or text files.
Genealogy Pro has very limited reports. In short, the list of things missing in Genealogy Pro is longer than the list of features.
Genealogy Pro is capable of outputting to GEDCOM, web, and print formats.
One unique feature is the availability of the Genealogy Pro Network Service, a low cost web service for publishing your family tree on the Internet. To publish on the Internet you will need a functioning version of Genealogy Pro for MacOS X version 2.0 or greater, and a Genealogy Pro Network Service account. More information may be found at http://www.genealogypro.net/Network/index.php.
Genealogy Pro sells for $20 US. More information may be found at http://www.genealogypro.net/Home/.
GenScribe is a family history research tracking and record keeping program, designed to help you plan and manage your genealogy research. However, it is specifically not a lineage-linked database and does not fully compete with the other programs listed here. GenScribe is designed to support the process of evaluating research by giving you easy access to the evidence you have gathered, as well as to help you plan where and what to look for next. Here are some of the things you can do with GenScribe:
GenScribe costs $12 US. A free trial copy is available as well. More information may be found at http://users.rcn.com/psherman/genscribe.html.
- Create research "to do" lists for any given venue.
- Record the actual research data that you find (GenScribe includes standard text entry fields as well as templates for the 1790-1880 and 1900-1920 U.S. censuses).
- Manage genealogy projects, including linked subprojects.
- Review research that you've done in any given source, or on any given project.
- Review research that you may wish to incorporate into a lineage-linked database.
- Keep track of your genealogy correspondence, including dates of correspondence and money that you've paid for research or to cover costs.
- Keep track of page-by-page searches for specific references in unindexed materials.
- Assign file numbers to specific research items and print cover sheets that can help you quickly locate hard copies.
Gramps is a FREE genealogy program best known as a Linux program, but it also has been ported to Windows and Macintosh operating systems. This program is one of the few open source genealogy programs available today. GRAMPS gives you the ability to record the many details of an individual’s life as well as the complex relationships between various people, places, and events. All of your research is kept organized, searchable, and as precise as you need it to be. It also has a rather nice multimedia capability that will store all photos, videos, and other media referenced in your records, featuring thumbnail preview, media type, and more.
GRAMPS is a complex product that is developed entirely by volunteer effort. It assumes that the user is technically savvy and is also familiar with the Macintosh operating system. He or she also probably also needs at least some knowledge of Linux operation.
A ready-to-run version of Gramps for Macintosh may be found at http://sourceforge.net/projects/gramps/files/Stable/3.4.2/Gramps-3.4.2-2-Intel.dmg.
For more information about the free GRAMPS genealogy program for Linux, Windows, and Macintosh, look at http://gramps-project.org/. Instructions for the Macintosh version of GRAMPS may be found at http://gramps-project.org/wiki/index.php?title=Mac_OS_X_MacPorts.
GWintree provides GEDCOM-based facilities to record, view, edit and merge genealogy data, and to produce reports, family trees showing all relatives, and other charts, The program is a port to Macintosh (as well as to Linux and Solaris) of Wintree v5.1, a Windows program.
GWintree is offered as a shareware program. It is free to download and try for a while. If you decide to keep the program and use it, you should pay $15 to the author.
More information about GWintree may be found at http://www.wintree.plus.com/gwintree.html and at http://www.wintree.plus.com.
Heredis is a Macintosh genealogy program produced in France that is very popular in Europe and has numerous fans elsewhere as well. Heredis is designed for ease of operation and yet retains the power of most all of today's state-of-the art genealogy programs. The program has been developed over 12 years and is fully integrated into the OS X system with all its proven and powerful genealogy tools.
Heredis features immediate display and access to all functions on one screen only, comprehensive data management, powerful search tools and database merging, 3D displays of your family data, support of all types of media files, excellent source citation capabilities, automated creation of a personal genealogy website, and more.
The program sells for $59.99 in the Apple App Store and also on the program's web site. A free demo version also is available (only on the MyHeredis web site) so that you may take the program for a "trial run" before purchasing. The demo version limits you to entering data for only 50 individuals. However, you may import GEDCOM files without any limit to the number of individuals and run all the reports in the demo version without limitation, even if you have imported thousands of individuals in the GEDCOM file.
A Windows version of Heredis is also available as is an iPhone/iPad version. Data entered on any version of Heredis may be exchanged with any other version of the program.
More information about Heredis may be found at http://www.myheredis.com.
iFamily for Leopard
iFamily for Leopard is an excellent genealogy program that focuses on individuals, not couples. It also displays the entire extended family of that individual, including all spouses as well as all children, step-children, and adopted children, all displayed on the same screen.
iFamily for Leopard is a graphics-oriented program, unlike the data-entry mode of operation of many other programs. It sells for a very modest $29.95 US.
A demo version of iFamily for Leopard lasts for 16 days and the only function that is unavailable is Export to Gedcom. If you like you can import a Gedcom file containing more than 100,000 people into the Demo version. You can even import a Gedcom file and publish a full set of HTML web pages using the Demo. Or you can simply use the Demo to validate your data integrity using the Data Inconsistency Report.
The iFamily for Leopard website is found at http://www.ifamilyforleopard.com.
MacFamilyTree is a very popular Macintosh genealogy program in Europe and has a growing customer base in North America as well. Developed in Germany, this program is available in German, English, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Dutch Swedish, Dansk, and Italian. MacFamilyTree includes a 3D Virtual Tree that has to be seen to be appreciated. (Screenshots are available on the company's website.) Navigating the Virtual Tree is simple: just point, click, and drag with your mouse, or use a dedicated "Navigator" to literally fly through your own ancestry. MacFamilyTree also has an excellent database for storing information; you can enter information easily and then retrieve it in any number of ways. The program also includes very good reports. By purchasing a $5 optional program, MacFamilyTree will also export data to an iPhone or iPod Touch, allowing you to carry your database with you at all times.
MacFamilyTree sells for $59.99 US and is available both from the Apple App Store as well as from Synium Software's web site. You can read my review of MacFamilyTree at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/06/synium-macfamil.html. While that article is rather old now, the basics remain the same. However, Synium Software GmbH has added a number of new features since that article was posted. Further details about MacFamilyTree can be found at http://www.syniumsoftware.com/macfamilytree/.
MyBlood is a genealogy program for both Windows and Macintosh. Developed by Vertical Horizon, a company in Belgium, MyBlood is a visual program: almost everything is oriented around pictures, graphs, and historical timelines. The program's advertising states, "MyBlood visually represents information to help you discover incorrect information. Therefore there are several ways to look at data. e.g. Ancestors, TimeMaps, Chronology... From each view you can easily navigate to the information and modify it. For example, the Ancestors View also shows the Timeline of 5 generations, and highlights the Person the cursor is moving over."
MyBlood also includes a very powerful web publishing capability. It includes a set of templates, making an up-to-date family tree website only a couple of clicks away. For the more advanced users there is also the possibility of creating or importing your own template (using straight-forward .css files).
MyBlood also features integration with Google Maps to display the exact location of places stored within the program's database. It also integrates with social network sites. Pictures and documents stored in the MyBlood media section can now be shared by using the Picasa online service.
MyBlood uses 99% the same code in both the Mac and PC versions. Mac OS X 10.4 or higher is required (Intel). Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 are all supported.
A free trial version of MyBlood can be downloaded directly from the program's website. The full program can be purchased for $59.99 US. You can also purchase both the Windows version and the Macintosh version for $89.99 US. More information may be found at http://www.myblood-line.com/.
ohmiGene is a complete program for the management of your genealogical data. Produced in France, ohmiGene makes it possible to publish a fan chart, an ancestry notebook, a family tree, one or more individual (or family) sheets, and some diagrams of descent that you can write to single sheets of paper or even directly in a booklet format. Most of these reports support an unlimited number of associated files (illustrations, etc.), notes (RTF format), texts, sources, and “sakouveux” (witness, epoch ..., or other text not defined by the GEDCOM format). The program handles traditional families as well as adopted children, foster parents, and same sex unions.
ohmiGene sells for $40 US. A free trial version, called ohmiGene Lite, is limited to 509 persons in the database. For more information about ohmiGene, look at http://ohmi.celeonet.fr/ohmiGene/indexEN.html.
Osk is produced by Stuðlar Software, named after Stuðlar, a place near Reydarfjordur, Iceland. The letter “ð” in Icelandic is closer to the English letter “d,” so the producer’s name is pronounced as Studlar by English speakers.
Osk includes full unicode support (for multiple language characters) and uses multiple CPUs, if available. It creates family trees, exports them as pictures, and exports your information as a website. The program also makes it easy to handle difficult information, such as same sex couples, adoptions, and other difficult data, such as when the same persons get married more than once. It also supports multimedia files, including sound, pictures, and movies of a given person. It will track illness, deaths, education, and occupations throughout a family tree. Osk is available in English, Icelandic, Russian, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, and Italian.
Osk sells for $25 US. A free demo version is also available.
You can learn more about Osk at http://www.studlar.net/en/software/.
Personal Ancestry Writer II (also called PAW2U)
Personal Ancestry Writer II, or PAW2U, is a very popular, FREE genealogy program that does the basics. It lacks many of the more sophisticated features found in today's commercial programs. However, you certainly cannot argue with the price. Free is good! Personal Ancestry Writer II is an excellent selection if you only want the basic record keeping functions and can skip all the multimedia scrapbooks, mapping programs, and other whiz-bang features of commercial programs. You can learn more about Personal Ancestry Writer II (PAWriter II) or download the free program at http://www.lanopalera.net/Genealogy/AboutPAWriter.html.
Reunion by Leister Productions appears to be the most popular Macintosh genealogy program in North America. It requires Mac OS X 10.5 or newer. Reunion helps you to document, store, and display information about your ancestors, descendants, cousins, etc. It records names, dates, places, facts, plenty of notes, sources of information, pictures, sounds, and videos. It shows family relationships in a very nice graphic form — people and families are linked in an easy-to-understand fashion.
Reunion makes it easy to publish your family tree information — even if you want to share it on the Web or carry it on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. You can automatically create common genealogy reports, charts, and forms, as well as birthday calendars, mailing lists, questionnaires, indexes, and other lists. Reunion even creates slideshows, calculates relationships, ages, and statistics.
Reunion creates large, graphic tree charts allowing complete on-screen editing of boxes, lines, fonts, and colors. Wall charts for family reunions are just one of its specialties.
Reunion focuses on couples, or "family units,” always showing a couple in the center of the screen, with various other screens showing information about children, parents, and siblings. The couple might be a man and a woman, or it could be two same-sex partners, or it could be two gender-unknown persons, but it always shows a couple.
Reunion is rather expensive at $99 although some retailers may offer a discount.
Reunion for iPhone and iPod Touch and Reunion for iPad are available in the App Store.
You can read more about Reunion at http://www.leisterpro.com/.
Windows Programs Will Also Run on a Macintosh
One thing that many Macintosh owners do not realize is that modern Intel Macs can run most any Windows or Linux genealogy program. To do so, you need a Macintosh with an Intel processor (which means any Macintosh system produced in the past few years), a copy of Windows or Linux, at least one gigabyte of memory (and even more memory will result in faster operation), and any one of the following:
Parallels, a $79.99 program: http://www.parallels.com/
VMware Fusion, a $79.99 program: http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/
VirtualBox, a free program: http://www.virtualbox.org/
However, if you prefer a pure Macintosh solution, you will want to use one of the products listed earlier. All that is required for those programs is a Macintosh running OS X with the exact version varying from one program to another.
What is your favorite Macintosh genealogy program?
Do you have any opinions about the above programs? Or would you like to mention another Macintosh genealogy program not listed above? If so, please post your words in the comments section at the end of this article.