Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Genealogy Programs continue to turn to Apple

Years ago, Personal Ancestral File was available on Apple computers. I had been using it for some time but had to discontinue use when the program was abandoned. At that point, I had to move to Windows PCs. I worked my way through a variety of programs and finally resigned myself to having a dual computer setup at home and using PCs at work. Our dedication to the Apple operating system environment stemmed from our constant involvement in a graphic design business. From a professional standpoint, at the time, there was no real comparison between using a Macintosh for graphics and other operating systems.

For years, I had to tell people that although I would like to use my Mac computer for genealogy, there were simply no adequate programs. As time passed, the Internet became a permanent feature of the computer world. Apple computer came to dominate the hand-held market and became more and more prominent in the advance of technology. A few Mac OS X genealogy programs began to appear and I tried them out, one by one, to see if there was hope in moving to an all Mac environment.

Computer technology continued to evolve and computers became more and more powerful. I finally found that running Windows programs on my Mac was not only possible, but worked sufficiently well to move all my programs over from a PC to Microsoft Windows operating on the Mac. The solution was not very convenient but it did work. Meanwhile, we still had our PC to run some programs that did not function at all under the Mac OS X operating system. I still kept copies of the Windows-based genealogy programs running on my PC to keep in touch with the developments and to be able to provide support.

Time marched rapidly on and it was soon apparent that more programs were being adapted for the Mac OS X operating system. In talking to developers, I was assured, from time to time, that Mac versions of their programs were being developed. Having spent some considerable time a part-owner of a Macintosh software development company, I was very familiar with the problems and the challenges of moving a program to the Mac environment.

One Mac genealogy program has been in existence for years. The program was called Reunion. I began using the program and was generally very happy with it but I still could see advantages in many of Windows-based programs. Reunion is still around and is currently in Version 10.

A few other programs began to appear such as MacFamilyTree. However, the genealogy community was still firmly anchored in the Windows operating system. As computers began to get more and more powerful, the hand-held market exploded and online computing became a dominant feature of computing.

The last few years has seen Apple become a dominant force in computer technology. The movement to Apple began in earnest. Finally, in the last couple of years, the major genealogy companies began to have Apple OS X offerings. Presently, three of the largest online genealogy companies all have Mac OS X solutions. The hallmark of this new wave of technology was the ability to synchronize a desktop program with an online family tree. Now we have all around solutions for doing genealogy on a Mac computer. What is even more important, they share files with their Windows counterparts.

The three solutions are as follows: has one Mac-based program: RootsMagic that can synchronize with both's Family Tree, but also can search for Record Hints with both Family Tree and has its Family Tree Maker program that synchronizes with its online family trees and runs on both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. Early versions of the Mac program did not share the same file format as the PC version, but this problem has been resolved.

Very recently, has released a Mac OS X compatible version of their free Family Tree Builder program. A native-MAC OS X version is in the works and will be released shortly. I have written another post about this recently.

The effect of all this development is that I am nearly 100% back to using Apple Macintosh computers for all my work. The new Mac programs run efficiently and I am integrating them into my work flow. Finally.


  1. I've found the iOS platform just as impressive as Mac's OS X. The Mobile Family Tree app not only synchs with Mac Family Tree (via your choice of iCloud or Dropbox) but can also work as a standalone app. I believe it's currently the only fully-functional mobile app on any platform. And the price is also very user friendly.

  2. Does anyone know if there is a way to IMPORT a file into Mobile Family Tree via GEDCOM or whatever.