Creating A Comparison of Macintosh Genealogy Software

Last weekend I began diligently working on a set of Mac genealogy software reviews. I discovered that I have some groundwork to do. Determining what applications are out there that are still being actively improved proved difficult. There isn’t a recent list of them. Something had to be done! If I can’t find a list how are Mac genealogists going to know what options exist?

I just finished creating an online survey of Mac genealogy software capabilities. I sent it out to the makers of Heredis, iFamily for Leopard, MacFamilyTree, Ohmigene, Osk, and Reunion. My intent is to compile these into a table and make it available on this site. My reasons for doing so are:

  1. helping Mac genealogists make informed decisions
  2. improving genealogy software on the Mac
  3. supporting people new to genealogy on the Mac

If you know of any other applications you’d like me to include, please leave me a comment below.


  1. says

    Hello : ) You are probably just doing OSX software and beyond. My problem is that I really like Gene, an old OS9 genealogy shareware program.
    It is not being updated, so I will eventually have to give it up. The reason I am writing to you, is that I really like the simplicity of Gene and the one-person view. I have tried Reunion and some others and do not like the very-cluttered, all-the-bells-and-whistles, must-get-everything-all-on-one-page approach.

    just my two cents : )
    good luck with your project.
    oh, btw, I heard about your site on The Genealogy Guys, I’m a regular listener there and was happy to hear about another Mac genealogy person : )

    • Charlie Monck says

      How right you are, Amelia! I still keep an ancient Mac G4 so I can run Gene! It would be wonderful if Mr. Eppstein would update it for OSX … in my view he would make lots of money if he did.

  2. says

    Hi Amelia. You’re right; I’m focusing my efforts on the current platform, OS X. I took a look at the Gene website. There were some pictures in the user manual there, so I got a flavor of the look and feel. Very interesting!

    Do you run Gene using classic mode or are you still on OS9? Have you contacted the author about making the source code available? Maybe we could commission a port to OS X.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    Drew and George are great! I enjoy their podcast too and was tickled that they mentioned in podcast 149.

    I think there are many of us MacGenealogists, we just aren’t a strong community yet. I hope that this website is the start of such.


  3. says

    Hi Ben,

    I will be looking forward to your post. I’m a recent convert to Macs, so I’ve exported my data from The Master Genealogist into a gedcom and am currently using Geditcom. I’m finding it difficult to keep notes and events sorted with it.

    I’d like to find a program that will let me see what people / events are linked to sources (which MacFamily Tree seems to do), and will also let me record witnesses to events. I understand Heredis will do the latter, but I can’t get a gedcom imported into the demo version to see for sure.

    You’ve got a nice site here; l’m glad I found it! :)

  4. says

    Hi Carol, the first of the reviews, Reunion 9, will be published later today. I have a feeling it will be of interest to you given that you came from The Master Genealogist. Both are arguably the most feature-rich applications on their respective platforms.

    Reunion will list people cited with specific sources. There is not a field for witnesses in events in Reunion. Keep following the blog to see upcoming reviews. I recommend subscribing to the blog by either email or RSS if you haven’t already. That way you’ll be notified automatically whenever articles are published.

    I’m glad you found the site too! Thank you for your input about the site. I appreciate feedback, both affirming and correcting. I will do more of what people like and look at changing or adding things as requested.


  5. says

    Hey Ben, thanks for the response. I use Gene in Classic mode and it works fine. It’s just since Leopard (10.5), which I have at work, that I can’t use it any longer. The writing is clearly on the wall : ) I access my genealogy at work using an on-line phpgedview page, but I still use Gene at home as my main program.

    you wrote:
    “Have you contacted the author about making the source code available? Maybe we could commission a port to OS X.”

    I have e-mailed them with no response. There is a note on their site from 2003 about updating… but no word lately.
    What does “commission a port to OS X.” mean?

    I would be interested if, in your study of Mac Genealogy programs, if you come across anything with the single person view that Gene uses.

    thanks again,

  6. says

    Amelia, sorry, I lapsed into software development lingo there. Porting is rewriting a program for a different system or in a different computer language. In this case, going from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X—two very different systems. I was thinking that it might make a good project for some student of computer science to take on.

    Have you looked at iFamily? The application was developed to address genealogy with a focus on the individual person. The person pane in the lower half of the screen may satisfy your needs.

    iFamily is next in the review series.


Leave a Reply