Find My Ancestor Blog

Jamboree – Day 1 – Part 1

Friday morning at Jamboree I hosted a roundtable discussion on using Mac computers to do your genealogy. Since it was a roundtable discussion I didn't really plan anything specific as to what I was going to talk about. I wanted the people involved to ask me questions so they would get the most out of the discussion. After all, I could probably talk all day about different applications, tools, tips and tricks, and so many other things about how you can use your Mac computer to do your genealogy. I figured most questions people had were going to be something like "What programs are there on a Mac and which one should I use?" That question is the one I get asked most by people who have Macs and who are also thinking about switching to a Mac but aren't sure what applications there are out there. For those of you who were not able to attend, I will briefly go over the applications I talked about and why I recommend them. I have had my Mac for over two years and ever since day one I used Reunion. At the time Reunion the most well-known and popular application for the Mac. However, for a number of reasons I have now switched to using Family Tree Maker for Mac.

Family Tree Maker for Mac

This is a fairly new application, released last fall by It is built based on the popular Windows version that has been around for many years. There are many features I like about FTM for Mac but one of the most enticing things about it for me is the layout of the application. It is very simple and straight-forward, but also with many great features. When I work on my genealogy I like to see a lot of information all at once without having to click on a bunch of buttons to navigate through different information. This helps me see the big picture to be able to see where people and events fit in together. Below is a screenshot of what I am talking about.


Like I said earlier, Reunion is a great software and has been the leading Mac genealogy database software for years. I have used it for over two years and have really enjoyed it. One of the features I have really enjoyed is how much you can customize the application to what works best for you. You can customize anything from event fields, source citation templates and even the colors that appear in the application. I have also enjoyed the ability to create reports and charts and open them in other applications such as Pages and Microsoft Word. One of my biggest complaints about Reunion is the fact that their software is quite outdated compared to other genealogy database programs, both on Windows and Mac. Many of the other programs have web-search integration, access to the, maps and a few more features I find to very helpful while doing my research.

Mac Family Tree

I talked briefly about Mac Family Tree. The main features I like about Mac Family Tree is how the charts and reports look. When I create charts and reports I like them to be fun and interesting looking. I really enjoy graphic design and I think these charts add a fun flare to the research.


Mac App Store Review – Genealogy Perspective

Many of you have already heard that today the Mac App Store was released. Some of you might be saying to yourself isn't there already an App Store? There is, but the App Store that you may be thinking about is only for iPhones, iPod Touch, and iPads whereas this new App Store is for desktop and laptop computers. The new App Store allows developers to submit their applications to be placed in the App Store just like the one on your mobile device. The App Store will allow Mac users to find new apps without having to search all over the internet all day. By finding and downloading apps using the App Store you will also be assured that the application you are downloading is safe - no need to worry about what you are finding. While doing my initial look around in the App Store I found a number of applications that I already have on my computer including iWork, iLife, Evernote, Pixelmator and more. Some of the applications already said they were installed on my computer while others didn't. I am not sure why some of them were able to see that I had the application already installed while others didn't. I hope those that didn't won't have to be re-installed because I am assuming they would need to be repurchased. I also wonder if this is going to mean that Mac applications are no longer going to be available in other places other than the App Store. Also while doing my search of the new App Store I found that there are a few genealogy specific apps. MacFamilyTree, Family Tree Maker for Mac and Date Calculator were the three apps that came up in my search of "genealogy". I had previously installed both MacFamilyTree and Family Tree Maker for Mac and they both showed that they were installed.

Though there are only three genealogy apps available in the store right now, I am sure there will be more apps coming within time. The App Store on mobile devices was the same way, but now search for genealogy apps on your iPhone and there are quite a few of them. Even though there are currently only three apps that come up in the genealogy search and are made for genealogy, there are dozens of other apps available that will help you keep your files and documents on your computer organized, apps to help you publish your research, apps to help with your photos and many other apps that aren't for genealogy purposes put will help you in your efforts. What do you think abou the new App Store? Let us know by leaving your comments on this post.


Family Tree Maker for Mac is Available in the Mac App Store

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- today announced the launch of Family Tree Maker® for Mac on the Mac App Store. Family Tree Maker for Mac provides an easy way to save and organize your family tree conveniently on your Mac and has a variety of tools that can help you share your discoveries with family and friends. "We are excited that Family Tree Maker for Mac is now available for download on the Mac App Store," said Eric Shoup, Senior Vice President of Product for "We’re committed to making our Family Tree Maker products easily accessible to everyone and this is yet another resource available from to enable everyone to discover, preserve and share their family history." Family Tree Maker for Mac combines intuitive tools with robust features and flexible options, making it ideal for family history novices and experts alike.  A dynamic user interface and integration with makes it simple to create family trees, record memories, and organize photos, videos and audio clips, plus share ancestors' stories. It's even possible to explore family migration paths by viewing timelines and interactive maps that highlight events and places in ancestors' lives. Family Tree Maker for Mac is built on the functionality of Family Tree Maker 2010, and is constructed from the ground up to take full advantage of the Mac platform in terms of technology and user experience. System requirements for Family Tree Maker for Mac include:
  • Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
  • Intel-based Mac
  • Hard Disk Space: 500MB for installation
  • Internet access is required for all Web integration
Family Tree Maker for Mac is now available for purchase and electronic download online on the Mac App Store for $99.99. The program is also available at and in select retail stores, including Apple's retail stores, Amazon, Office Depot, and Office Max. About Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with nearly 1.4 million paying subscribers. More than 6 billion records have been added to the site in the past 14 years. Ancestry users have created more than 20 million family trees containing over 2 billion profiles. has local Web sites directed at nine countries that help people discover, preserve and share their family history, including its flagship Web site at SOURCE


Mac Genealogists are Sprouting

There has been quite the talk this week as far as Mac Genealogy goes. I have read numerous emails, lists and blogs talking about doing your genealogy on a Macintosh computer.

Earlier this week there was a conversation started on the APG Members list about genealogy software for the Mac and which ones people were using and recommendations. Of course the main application mentioned was Reunion for Mac. From what I can tell, it seems like this is the genealogy software program of choice for those who use Macs. Over the past two years that I have had my Mac I have noticed that whenever the topic comes up about which software program people use, it tends to be Reunion for Mac.

There are not as many genealogy database applications for Mac as there are for PC, but the number seems to be growing. The latest program that I know about is Family Tree Maker for Mac. I have used this new application and find it to be very good. Of course one of the best things about it is that it connects directly to allowing you to easily find records, add them to your tree and any other resources available at The software also works quite well transferring data back and forth between the Mac version and the Windows version.

One other great program available for Mac users is Mac Family Tree. The thing I like most about Mac Family Tree is the various charts and reports you are able to create. In my opinions, they are more aesthetically pleasing compared to Reunion and Family Tree Maker. I am more of a graphical person though, so that may be why I like all the different colors Mac Family Tree uses. Below is a comparison of pedigree charts in the three applications mentioned.
Click on the image to enlarge

If I could take features from these three applications and add a few of my own I think I could have an amazing genealogy software! Throughout this past week when people have asked which application they use or prefer I have answered with the following responses. 

*Note: The following are my opinions. If you feel different about any of these, please leave your comments below, but please do not leave rude or inappropriate comments.
  •  I think Reunion for Mac is the best out of the three as far as database entry goes. Reunion has many customization features the others do not. For instance, the sourcing capabilities in Reunion allow you to create your own source citation templates. This is great because the default templates do not follow Elizabeth Shown Mills book, Evidence Explained.
  • Reunion also allows you to customize your reports to include and exclude very specific information. You can also create report templates depending on what information you want on various reports.
  • Mac Family Tree however has better looking charts and reports. Like shown above, I think their reports and charts look better and are more graphical and modern than both Reunion and Family Tree Maker.
  • On that note, I do want to mention the feature I really like about Reunion and that is that you can export your Family Group Records, Narrative Reports, Person Reports, etc. to 3rd party applications such as Apple Pages, Microsoft Word and others. This allows you to add graphics, text, etc. to your reports if you want to make them look better.
  • Like I also mentioned above, I think one of the best features about Family Tree Maker is the direct connection with and how easy it is to add a document or record to the person in your family tree.
  • I also really like the maps feature that Family Tree Maker includes.
Disclaimer: This post includes some websites and software references. Find My Ancestor is not an affiliate with any of these products. I just find them to be great products and use them on a regular basis. The opinions in this post are mine and are in no way influenced by any of these products.