All Mac users are part of a family—a family of users. The Mac family is growing, with members all around the world.
All of us come from a genetic family, too. Have you ever created a family tree to track your family’s roots? It’s easier said than done, but Mac users can rejoice. The choices for family tree tracking are numerous.
My family has been growing by leaps and bounds, as in three babies in less than four years. Now that I’ve finally figured out what causes families, I’ve decided to track mine—backwards.
Backwards? Well, genealogy software, or, more commonly referred to as “family tree” software, lets you do just that. Starting from you, your parents, and working backwards, you get a view of your family.
There are about a dozen Mac applications which track your genes in a family tree format. I’m in the process of trying each one and I found the range of capability, features, functions, and ease of use to be substantial, though all are quite acceptable.
For example, I’m working with iFamily now, after having tried Mac Family Tree, and a few others.
$30 gets you a straightforward, Mac-like app that makes it easy to add family members, move family members in the hierarchy, and import and export Gedcom files (family tree hierarchy file standard which allows apps to share information).
The developer also plans an iPhone iPod touch version which may prove handy for some who need mobility, though I wonder about the value of portable family tree information in a time where identity theft is on the rise.
If you prefer limited functionality and low price, PAWriter is a place to start. Personal Ancestry Writer brings in many features from the LDS Personal Ancestral File program for Mac users, with additional features that includes generating pages in HTML, RTF, and AppleWorks.
$50 gets you one of the slickest designed family tree applications, Mac Family Tree.
Loaded with features, MFT gives you animated charts, an easy interface, plenty of report, and built in support for Google Earth. I love the 3D view, and the easy way to share genealogy information using the MFT online service.
Family tree advocates on a budget will like Genealogy Pro which stores and retrieves simple family relationships, including the ever present tree chart, horizontal and vertical.
$20 gets you the ability to search the tree, export files and reports, and Gedcom compatibility.
GEDitCOM costs the same as Mac Family Tree, but doesn’t have the same sophisticated interface, het handles Gedcom genealogy files, and lets you design your own basic user interface.
The folks at ohmiGene have two versions, a free lite version, and a $40 PLUS version. The interface is very Mac-like (don‘t ask me for a definition; if you know, you know, if you don’t then you used to use Windows).
Long considered one of the best, most comprehensive genealogy applications is the popular, yet complex Reunion.
Create up to 99 generations with typical Mac on-screen editing of the tree branch graphics. Grab and move boxes here and there, and automatically change chart orientation. Zoom in and zoom out for a larger tree view.
One of the things you’ll love about Reunion is the ability to drop in photos, movies, even audio clips, in addition to scanned or digital versions of wills, birth certificates, maps and almost anything else.
Once your family tree takes shape you can even generate custom slideshows, and output family tree information to web pages. Individual family members get extensive information fields, all of which are searchable.
Reunion has more features than any two of the other genealogy applications, so twice the price may be acceptable.
Of those I’ve tried to date, iFamily is easy to set up and use, though somewhat sophomoric. Mac Family Tree presents a good balance between features and interface. Reunion is the most complex, yet most detailed.
How’s your family tree look? Share your experience in the Comments section below.