Find My Ancestor Blog

Mobile Monday – MobileFamilyTree Pro

Last week I did my usual weekly search in the App Store for any new genealogy apps for my iPhone or iPad. I came across a new app called MobileFamilyTree Pro by Synium Software, the same developers of Mac desktop application MacFamilyTree and the iPhone and iPad application MobileFamilyTree.

MobileFamilyTree Pro is a completely rewritten iOS application, much different than the mobile application MobileFamilyTree that has been in the App Store for the past couple of years.

Some of the new features include:

  • Completely rewritten from scratch
  • Can be used as a standalone app without MacFamilyTree or a Mac
  • Full GEDCOM import & export
  • To Do's
  • Media Browser
  • All charts and reports from MacFamilyTree are available in MobileFamilyTree Pro
  • Print charts and reports directory from iOS device
  • Email charts and reports
  • Maps
  • Sync iPhone and iPad
  • Flawlessly sync to MacFamilyTree on your Mac
  • and many more...

With this app you no longer need to have a desktop application to create, manage and share your genealogy database with others.

MobileFamilyTree Pro is the first iOS application where you can create multiple databases directly on your iOS device and sync them with other iOS devices and your desktop MacFamilyTree application.

All the charts and reports you can create in MacFamilyTree are available in MobileFamilyTree Pro. Along with creating the charts and reports you can print them directly from your iOS device to email them in HTML or PDF format to others.

This last weekend I spent some time create a family database from scratch. Rather than importing a GEDCOM file into MobileFamilyTree Pro I wanted to add individuals, facts and media files into a new database to see how easy the app is to work with and to see how long it would take me to create a comprehensive database directly on my iPad.

The app is very simple and easy to use. If you have ever used the desktop version of MacFamilyTree, using this new app will be very easy for you to learn and use.

One of my favorite features of this app is the ability to wirelessly sync databases between the iPad, iPhone and desktop application. To me, this is very handy because I don't have to get out my USB cables, connect my devices, open up iTunes and mess with complicated instructions just to get my database from my computer onto my iPad. The process is very simple - just open up the sync screen on the app and view available devices and databases. Select which database and device you want to sync with and simply click sync. The syncing only takes a matter of seconds depending on the size of your database. If you include media files, syncing will take longer.

MobileFamilyTree Pro Syncing Screen

Just like the desktop application, one of my other favorite features of this app is the ability to create so many different types of charts and reports. I have found MacFamilyTree to have best and informational charts and reports than any other genealogy database software I have used. I really like the look and feel to the reports you are able to create. All the charts and reports available in the desktop application are also available in the mobile app.

Though I have not had a lot of time to find a lot of specifics with the app that I do not like, there are a few things I have found that I think could be improved.

  • Adding media files to the database have to be added to each individual separately. There is no way of importing a batch of images at once and then assigning them to individuals in your tree.
  • I have noticed that the display order of children on the Families screen is ordered in the sequence you added them to the database. I do not see any place to order the individuals by age or date of birth. (If there is a way to do this, I have not been able to find it)
  • When adding a new location to an event, you can "search" for the location out of a list previously used. This is helpful when you have a lot of different locations in your database. However, when you hit "search" the cursor is still in the location field rather than going directly to the search box. There were many times I tried to search for a location, but I was actually typing in the wrong field. This is not a big deal, but would make it a lot easier rather than having to hit search, then click in the search box.
  • When clicking the Places tab, it would be nice to have a button where you could view that place on a map. The Places tab lists all the events for that location and you can click on the events and go directly to the individual who's event that is for, but I think it would be fun to be able to view that particular location on a map. You can use the Map chart to view all the locations on a map, but I would like to see where a single location is. This function also only works if you use the location template in the app. When I enter in locations into my databases I do not use individual fields for each locality (city, county, state, etc.) I enter all the locations into one field.

Those are just a few things I found in the short time I had to play around with the app. As time goes on and I use it more, I will post more features that I think are great and those that could be improved or implemented into the app.

Overall, I believe Synium Software is sure ahead of the game when it comes to genealogy apps on the iPhone and iPad devices. You can also see more screenshots and more information on the app by visiting the MobileFamilyTree Pro page on Find My Ancestor as well as visiting the developer's website.

Download the app!

MobileFamilyTree Pro - Synium Software GmbH
*Disclosure* I was given a copy of MobileFamilyTree Pro to review and show on my website and blog. The review and opinions expressed here are my own.


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.


Mobile Monday – Another Device to Use Apps

Christmas morning I had one of the biggest surprises. As I was opening gifts by brother said I had to open his last. I didn't think anything of it really. As I started to open the gift I was revealing an Apple iPad box. My first thought was "Yay! I get something in an iPad box!" I did not think it was an actual iPad, but to my great surprise is was. I was shocked. I didn't even know what to say. My brother had received this iPad from his work but he had also just bought himself a Samsung Galaxy Tab a month before so he figured he did not need both devices and therefore gave the iPad to me. (Thanks again Jared!) I have had so much fun with this iPad. I already had an iPhone 4 and have loved it ever since day one, but I must admit, an iPad is a totally different creature! Some of you may be thinking to yourselves that an iPhone and iPad are the same thing except the iPad has a much larger screen. Well, in a way you are right but it is so much more than just a larger screen. There is so much more functionality on an iPad BECAUSE of the bigger screen. Many apps that are developed are "universal" for both the iPhone and iPad while others are developed only for one or the other. Shortly after I opened up my iPad and started playing with it I realized this. The apps that are universal will have many of the same features but also there will be features that one has that the other doesn't. Most of the time the iPad will have more features and functionality than the iPhone. Now, I'm not just giving this lesson on the differences with the iPhone and iPad for no reason, but rather I am telling you this to let you know that there are many of the apps I have previously covered in this series that have more features using the iPad. This allows me to now add the iPad to the devices I have been covering, giving more articles! As I have played with various apps (not dealing with genealogy) I have realized that they can be used for genealogy purposes and help make the research and organization much easier. I am excited to start writing articles on the Mobile Monday series using my iPad. I know there are many apps that will be featured that will help you as well.