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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    « Virtual Attendance at #RootsTech 2011 | Main | We Want to Give $500 to a Student Genealogist »

    There's More Than Just the GEDCOM, Talking About Genealogy Software. . .

    Last week I posted a question on Facebook that generated a lot of interest, and I thought it might be helpful to recap some of the discussion here, and invite even more input.

    My question was prompted by a move from PC to Mac platforms; now that I have new software options,

    I want to know what Mac users use for a genealogy database. Do you stick with Mac: Reunion, MacFamilyTree, Fam Tree Maker Mac or run something through Parallels/VM Fusion?

    A tally of results shows that of the 12 Mac users who responded

    Reunion - 8
    Family Tree Maker Mac - 2
    Roots Magic via VM Fusion - 1
    Family Historian via Parallels -1


    Source templates, note-taking, and research logs all seem to be the major features of concern. It takes a lot of time and effort to learn a new program and then accurately transfer data via GEDCOM, so there needs to be a pretty compelling reason to switch.

    Randy Seaver has done a great job at Genea-Musings evaluating GEDCOM transport in and out of various PC programs. Has anyone done a similar work-up that includes Mac programs like Reunion, iFamily, FamilyTreeMaker Mac, or MacFamilyTree?

    I have used or sampled Legacy 7, RootsMagic, Reunion, and MacFamily Tree and had varying degrees of success with GEDCOM imports and exports, but for me there's more to a great genealogy database than GEDCOM.

    I am looking for a few specific features in my ideal program. In addition to the expectation that it will reliably handle "standard" genealogy event and fact data, my ideal program has to:

    • be fairly intuitive to learn and use

    • have a crisp, attractive interface that is uncluttered and easy to use

    • offer extensive source options (preferably ESM-style)

    • offer easy navigation and keyboard shortcuts

    • offer several customizable report formats and charts

    • be well-supported by company teams and user forums

    • offer tutorials, good documentation, and/or screencasts


    • grow with me as I become more experienced

    I won't be a RootsTech this week, but I look forward to hearing about new developments in technology that will make our tasks even easier. What software do you use on your Mac or PC, and what features are on your software Wish List?


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    Reader Comments (4)

    You might be able to keep the best of both worlds. RootsMagic blog had an interesting article about a new Mac program called CrossOver for Mac. It would allow you to run RootsMagic natively within the Mac without Windows. Now that's nice!

    Can't wait until I can afford a Mac and use a computer that makes sense! Here's the link:

    February 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBernard Doddema, Jr.

    Sorry, tried to use your html code for the link but didn't work.

    February 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBernard Doddema, Jr.

    Yes, Bernard. CrossOver sounds like a great way to run Windows programs on the Mac, but I understand it doesn't play nicely with every program... Legacy being one of them. RootsMagic appears to do fine with it.

    February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Levenick

    You might be interested in trying Gramps on Mac and Windows. It runs natively on either. See

    February 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdsblank

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