One of the more pleasant aspects of getting married, settling down, having a family is keeping track of all the relatives.
That is, tracking down and keeping track of each family member on both sides, both gene pools, and those relatives that formerly lived under rocks. They’re on my husband’s side.
The Mac is a very good place to start tracking your family, assuming that you have good reason to, and are not being coerced by some government agency to divulge the whereabouts of said member.
There’s probably a dozen ways to capture family tree information on a Mac. With the soon-to-be-launched Kayhill Baby #2, we decided to begin tracking the gene pool. Unlike most law enforcement agencies in town, we prefer not to use weapons or a net.
Instead, we’ll use MacFamilyTree. We’re a digital family, through and through, so lets bring our genealogy tracking into the 21st century using the Mac.
How do you want to track your family members? Let me count the ways. Name, birthdate, marriage date, marriage mate, and in the case of some of my husband’s relatives, length of time incarcerated.
MacFamilyTree is a straightforward, easy to learn Mac application which takes the family tree branch gathering process and breaks it into four parts—Editing, Browsing, Reports, and Publishing.
Unfortunately, there’s no point and click to gather information about each family member, but that would reduce all the fun phone calls, letters, and private investigators, trying to find out where everyone is.
Editing is easy. Add new people, new family branches, new children to a family, then define the relationship to the parents.
Add pretty much whatever family information you can think of, including date of death—or, perhaps how many times you wished you’d already done away with said black sheep relative.
The MacFamilyTree Drawer lists all the persons in your tree, and quickly lets you add or remove persons. That brings up an interesting question. I can see the need to “add” a family member, but why would you “remove” someone who’s already on the list?
Then I looked at photos of some of my husbands relatives and I had my answer. The caveman look plays well on GEICO television commercials, but not for in laws or cousins.
Also nice, and reflective of the digital age, is the feature to add digital photos, movies, and sound to MacFamilyTree, using your video camera or an Apple iSight.
The Browse mode gives you many ways to view the information you’ve entered, and the relationships of each to you and others in the tree and various branches. Unfortunately, there’s no built-in feature which identifies cousins who married.
Another cool aspect of a digital family tree is the ability to share the whole unfinished mess with somebody who cares. Even more fun is sharing the family tree with family members who aren’t happy about who they’re related to. That’s fun.
MacFamilyTree lets you burn the full on family tree to a CD, including all the personal detail and photos. This is good for backup, but good for others to see what they’re missing.
Even better is the opportunity to export the entire family tree as a basic HTML file, however ugly, tree or family, so it can be published on the internet. Look how much trouble you’d save the FBI.
If you’re reading this, then you came from a family, have parents, and are part of a tree. Do you keep track of family members (besides visits to the Most Wanted List at the US Post Office)? How? Are you using a genealogy program on your Mac? Share in the Comment section below.