Your Source and Citation Information Is In Danger

Today I finished methodically testing which source and citation information reliably survives GEDCOM import and export. It’s not a pretty picture! A mere five of fourteen key GEDCOM tags are safe across the nine leading genealogy software packages I tested.[1] Fortunately, the ones I previously identified as essential to source citations are among them.

Why You Should Care

The ability to move your family history data from one application to another is important. Even if you have no intention of changing software or sharing your research you ought to be concerned. It’s entirely possible that the person or people that inherit your research will choose a different package. They may load your data and probably won’t even know they lost anything in the transfer. Well, that fate needn’t be yours if you know where you can safely store information.

What You Can Do

This research is part of the work I’ve been doing to create the very first GenealogyTools ebook and video course: Practical Citation. After completing the course, you will be able to safely and confidently record sources, citations, and quality in your genealogy software without having to consult a book or quick sheet. Say “goodbye” to uncertainty about citation templates and formats.


[1] I tested Family Historian 5, Family Tree Maker 2012, Family Tree Maker for Mac 2, GEDitCOM II, Legacy 7.5, MacFamilyTree 6, Reunion 10, RootsMagic 5, and The Master Genealogist 7.

Comparison of Mac Genealogy Software Features

Comparing features helps when you’re choosing a new genealogy application. Seeing which ones support the features essential to your genealogy workflow and practice is also helpful.

I just compiled a set of tables I hope you’ll find helpful in comparing features of Mac genealogy software. I published it on the Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 buyer’s guide page.

I was able to complete this much more quickly than the one for PC genealogy software feature comparison because I had already been maintaining similar tables. I updated the tables where appropriate and made the criteria match those for PC genealogy applications. This way you can compare features not only between Mac genealogy software, but also PC counterparts–it’s a sad tale across the board.

Rotating Images in MacFamilyTree

When you have an image in MacFamilyTree that’s not rotated properly, you can fix it without leaving the software. In this video you’ll see where to find the controls and how to use them. You’ll need MacFamilyTree version 6.0.3 or later. I do say version 6.0.4 during the video, but I was wrong.
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Adding Coordinates to Multiple Events in MacFamilyTree

Genealogists using the software MacFamilyTree have the ability to add geographic coordinates, expressed as latitude and longitude, for places in their family database. This is a process known as geocoding. The information can be added on an place-by-place basis by entering it in the edit place windows. If you have many places that are not geocoded it can be a pain to locate and add them individually. Fortunately, Synium included a feature that locates place records that are not geocoded and presents them in a list, where you can geocode them one after another.
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Search Feature in MacFamilyTree 5.5

The last of the new features I want to show you in the recent MacFamilyTree release isn’t exactly a new feature. Synium re-wrote the search function for this version. In this video, Search in Macintosh Genealogy Software MacFamilyTree, I show you each of the four search screens (all, persons, families, and sources). I also point out a couple of gotchas to be aware of; don’t be fooled by the “all” search!

GenealogyTools Members, download this video to your computer for your private use.

World History in MacFamilyTree

The new beta version of MacFamilyTree included for the first time, a feature that displays events in world history. This can help you understand the lives and events of your ancestors in the context of the world around them. In this video, World History in Mac Genealogy Software MacFamilyTree, I demonstrate how to how to add your own custom events and how to use the feature when editing an event, displaying a timeline, creating a person chart, and exporting genealogy data to a website.

GenealogyTools Members, download this video to your computer for your private use.

MacFamilyTree 5.5 Available as a Public Beta

MacFamilyTree LogoSynium Software announced the availability of version 5.5 of their Macintosh genealogy software, MacFamilyTree. Their press release notes that this is a public beta test release. Some of the new features may be worth checking out, or you can wait for my video walk-through. If do you download it, be careful with your precious data and leave a comment to let us know what you think!

Here’s the list of changes:

  • A new, customizable history database that gives historical context to dates (like perspective events in Reunion 9)
  • A rewritten database engine which they claim is “much faster” for large family trees
  • A new search feature
  • Customizable Auto-Save
  • Additional Charts available for Statistics View
  • Auto-Save
  • Improved GEDCOM-Importer
  • Enhanced user interface
  • Improved editing
  • Other unspecified fixes and improvements

There’s plenty to see there, so I’ll publish a video walk-through—probably this weekend.

Walkthrough: MacFamilyTree V5.4.1 Update

I just put together a screencast video to show you most, if not all, of the visible changes in the recent 5.4 and 5.4.1 releases of Synium’s Mac genealogy software, MacFamilyTree.

GenealogyTools Members, download this video to your computer for your private use.

MacFamilyTree Updated to 5.3.8

Synium Software have released an update to their Mac genealogy software MacFamilyTree. This takes the version from 5.3.7 to 5.3.8.

According to the Software Update window the changes are:

  • Date picker for date text fields
  • Date format parsing improved
  • Fixes for the Virtual Tree
  • Search Pane can be opened with Command-F
  • Database Maintenance fixes
  • Other minor fixes

Here’s a video, Date Picker in Macintosh Genealogy Software MacFamilyTree, demonstrating the new date picker feature.

GenealogyTools Members, download this video to your computer for your private use.