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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

MacFamilyTree is first with New FamilySearch interface

MacFamilyTree from Synium Software is the first Mac compatible genealogy database to synchronize data from New FamilySearch. I have had the program on my computer for some time and downloaded the Version 6 upgrade. The full version for new users is $49 and the upgrade from previous versions is $25. I got some time to look at the program and immediately tried out the new link to New FamilySearch. Synium is a German company and has had the program available in previous versions for a number of years. With the integration with the New FamilySearch, the company claims,
Research your family members online by accessing one of the largest databases in the world - with several million entries, New FamilySearch is one of the leading resources for genealogists. By using this service, you may be able to gather information about relatives you didn't know anything about but their birth name, birth date and their parents’ names. If you want to collaborate with other genealogists or family members, simply choose data to upload to New FamilySearch so anybody who researches the same person can make the connections which turned up during your research. Please be aware that New FamilySearch is currently in closed beta phase. During this phase, go to to sign up to the waiting list for immediate access. New FamilySearch is expected to be widely available to the general public by the end of 2010.
Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that the connection to New FamilySearch was not fully integrated into the program. In fact, just as in previous versions, individuals are not really connected in different parts of the program. For example, if you choose a person from the Persons list, which you have to do from a search field or by scrolling through the list, and then choose the Families list, the program does not take you to the same person you just searched for in the Persons list, but starts all over again with a list of all of the families. Likewise, if you are editing a person in the Persons list, and jump to the FamilySearch tab, you are once again back to space zero, after logging in, you are not taken to the person you are editing, but have to do a search in your database again, for the same person and then look for that person on New FamilySearch. Every time. Which means that once you have located a person in your database on New FamilySearch, you have to go through exactly the same process again, to find the same person again. One by one. If you then go back to the person in the Persons list, there is nothing to indicate that you already found the person in New FamilySearch.  It appears that the software developers had little or no idea how to use the connection to New FamilySearch once they established it.

I could go on and on, like for instance the program fails to recognize the common LDS designation "BIC" which means born in the covenant. This is very significant to LDS users (the only ones interested in the designation) and is quite an oversight in the program.

Apparently, hooking the program up to New FamilySearch doesn't really give much of an advantage. I am certain that my view of the program comes from using some of the existing programs (like RootsMagic and Ancestral Quest) that have fully developed New FamilySearch interfaces, but this first attempt by MacFamilyTree turns out to be quite disappointing.

The graphic interface of MacFamilyTree is admirable and good for illustration purposes on its own, but after looking at the sourcing capability of the program (or lack thereof) I actually think Personal Ancestral File does a better job of sources.


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