Genealogy Software Recommendations

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Gixene, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. Gixene macrumors regular

    Gixene

    Joined:
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    Indiana
    #1
    MacRumors Community,

    Genealogy became an interest 6 years ago during a senior project in high school. For what was originally required for a grade, quickly turned into a hobby after graduating. Over the past few years I have neglected the hobby. This is due to many reasons, but organization is one of them. Organization is an extremely important part of genealogy due to the numerous amounts of data collected. I used Ancestry.com when I first became interested in genealogy. Wonderful tool for anyone who is interested in learning more about their ancestry.

    However, relying on Ancestry.com alone can present disadvantages. Ancestry.com allows you to attach records such as Censuses, Birth Certificates, Marriage Licenses and many other documents to your family tree. Though if you discontinue your paid subscription, these documents disappear until you renew your subscription. Though Ancestry.com does allow users to download these documents.

    I also don't believe Ancestry.com to be a long term solution for genealogy research. I'm nearly 25, I have paid $1,200 in subscription costs over the past 6 years. I hope to continue the hobby for many years to come. Though I don't hope to continue subscribing for 50 years and in turn, spending thousands of dollars. The membership is well worth the costs, but I don't believe Ancestry.com is not a long term tool for a genealogy enthusiast.

    Consumers never know how long companies will continue operating. Ancestry.com is relied upon by many and the information stored there is nearly irreplaceable. I have dedicated countless hours to research. I hope Ancestry.com stores the data with a reputable data center, though extra precautions should be in place. Ancestry.com provides GEDCOM downloading, though from what I understand it does not download the documents that are only accessible for paid subscribers. You can download the GEDCOM file, however you can not view the GEDCOM file without a GEDCOM application.

    So, I'm here seeking recommendations for genealogy software. There is an endless list of software providers, though I always receive great solutions here on MacRumors, and thought it would be the best place to start.

    Thank you, Gixene
     
  2. EdAnson macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    #2
    Gixene,

    I have also been doing genealogy research for some time now, as a hobby. Like you, I make heavy use of Ancestry.com. However, I never rely on them to store my data.

    Instead, I purchased the Family Tree Maker software from them. It stores all of my data on my Mac, including documents it downloads from Ancestry.com. Although I continue to subscribe to Ancestry, to support my ongoing research, I could pull the plug at any time and still have all my data. It has the ability to sync with an online tree, but I have never used that feature. Since you already maintain a tree online, you may find this feature useful.

    In addition to storing all the data locally, it includes a wealth of features for manipulating and analyzing the data.

    I originally purchased the software from Ancestry, but maintenance and sales were recently transferred to another company. Check it out at http://www.mackiev.com.

    /Ed
     
  3. Gixene thread starter macrumors regular

    Gixene

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    Indiana
    #3
    Thank you for registering to reply!

    I have many questions for you.

    1.) Does the sync feature sync both ways? Example, changing a DOB on an ancestor changes the DOB on that ancestor on Ancestry.com and vise versa. Is there an option for a 'one way' sync or do you believe that simply downloading is best practice for organization.

    2.) When you mention that it stores documents it downloads from Ancestry.com. Are these the documents that are available for paid subscription only, i.e. Marriage Licenses, Censuses, Birth Certificates, etc.?

    3.) Being that you are here on MacRumors, I'm sure you are responsible about the preserving the data of your ancestry. I use Carbon Copy Cloner and Arq. Do you have a separate file to download the GEDCOM file from Family Tree Marker separate from the application itself?

    Thank you, Gixene
     
  4. Sital macrumors 68000

    Sital

    Joined:
    May 31, 2012
    Location:
    New England
    #4
    I used to use Family Tree Maker when I had a Windows machine and I liked it, but when I switched to Mac I didn't like the Mac version (or they didn't have one - I can't remember which). That's when I switched to MacFamilyTree. You can check it out in the Mac App Store.
     
  5. dwfaust, Dec 3, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016

    dwfaust macrumors 601

    dwfaust

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    #5
    I have a (currently lapsed) subscription to Ancestry.com... and have been using Family Tree Maker (2.0 from Ancestry and 3.0 from Mackiev)... the 3.0 is pretty much an upgrade from the Ancestry (2.0) version... and it syncs both ways - even without an active subscription. With the Mac software version, in addition to syncing the factual information, it also downloads the media (pictures, pdf files, etc), so you have access on your Mac to all of that information.

    AFAIK, the only thing lacking by not having an active subscription is the ability to search the Ancestry databases for new/additional information.
     
  6. Gixene thread starter macrumors regular

    Gixene

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Indiana
    #6
    After further reading from MacKiev's website, here is a quote from their website.

    "Q: What about TreeSync? Will we still be able to keep our trees in synch with the tree we have on Ancestry.com?

    A: As Ancestry has announced, you will continue to be able to access your data through TreeSync through December 31, 2016 using current versions of Family Tree Maker. As of January 1, 2017, TreeSync will not be supported by Ancestry, but we are working with them on new technologies to replace it."

    I have downloaded RootsMagic's Essential 7 trial and I feel as if I stepped back into the 1980's. The UI is severely outdated. Not to mention it's in Windows format. I imported a GEDCOM file from Ancestry.com and RootsMagic does not recognize any of the pictures associated with the file. When I select the picture, it says "RootsMagic can't find this media item: [possible link to the ancestry image, UI won't allow a copying of the link].

    I was relieved to see a Message Board on RootsMagic's website with a dedicated Mac sub forum. Though any possible hope I had (which wasn't much), quickly faded. Seems there's a whole host of problems reported by many Mac users. The developers seem clueless how to address issues with macOS Sierra.

    I will look into MacFamilyTree. Thank you for replying.

    So if I understand correctly, it does sync the documents that are available with subscription on Ancestry.com?
     
  7. EdAnson macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    #7
    Gixene,

    1. I think the sync works both ways. But since I have never used it I can't be sure. However, you should be able to find an answer to that at the MacKiev web site. Their customer support is also very responsive.

    2. My own files include a large number of census records that I downloaded from Ancestry. The app includes a search capability, and selected results (including document images) can be automatically merged into your tree -- subject to your approval of each detail. Since I haven't used the sync mechanism, I don't know whether it also copies the documents, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does.

    3. My own backup scheme uses a combination of Time Machine and CCC, with a little SuperDuper! thrown in. Most of the time, I just back up the FTM database. However, I occasionally make a GEDCOM file (that's an export option) as insurance against any future compatibility issues. The documents are stored in their separate files, so backing them up is not anything out of the ordinary.

    /Ed
     
  8. Gixene thread starter macrumors regular

    Gixene

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2016
    Location:
    Indiana
    #8
    MacFamilyTree is developed by Synium. I found on their website that there is a free trial version available for download. It is taking over a hour to download 220.5 MB. Certainly not the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar & Touch ID I have. Nor is it the network. Quite strange.

    Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 8.19.19 PM.png
    --- Post Merged, Dec 3, 2016 ---
    Understood. I imagine it syncs both ways, which could be a potential positive and negative. However, it doesn't seem as if it would matter as TreeSync will not be supported in 2017 according to Ancestry.com. Seems Family Tree Maker is the best option this far after reviewing recommendations. Every other software seems ancient almost with the exception of Heredis.

    I'm quite surprised that in 2016 there's not more intuitive software. It's mind jogging to say the least. Can't seem to wonder why Ancestry.com would abandon My Family Tree.
     
  9. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    #9
  10. Gixene thread starter macrumors regular

    Gixene

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    #10
    I downloaded the demo. The demo does not allow importing, so quite useless as a demo. Currently downloading the demo for Heredis but like MacFamilyTree, it's taking a hour to download. Speaking of MacFamilyTree, it did not recognize the media files from the GEDCOM downloaded from Ancestry.com.

    I have a feeling I'll have to purchase My Family Tree to experience it. At this point, I'm starting to believe using Ancestry.com as a primary program may not be a bad idea. Download the GEDCOM via Hazel along with pictures and documents to have more than one copy of data.
     
  11. dwfaust macrumors 601

    dwfaust

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    #11
    That was my expectation.

    I just launched the FTM3 software on my Mac and as soon as the tree fully loaded, the software began a sync operation with the Ancestry.com website, even without an active subscription.
     
  12. Gixene thread starter macrumors regular

    Gixene

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    #12
    Good to know. It's troubleing this feature won't be available after 2016. I hope MacKiev is finding a solution. After more research, I couldn't imagine not having this feature.
     
  13. dwfaust macrumors 601

    dwfaust

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    #13
    I have no knowledge of an pending solution, but I'm confident that they will work something out with Ancestry.
     
  14. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

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    #14
  15. jasnw macrumors 6502a

    jasnw

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    #15
    RE FTM and TreeSync, McKiev posted on their FTM Facebook page recently that they are still working with Ancestry on the replacement for TreeSync and that (according to them) TreeSync won't stop working until the new technology is in place. That said, I plan to make sure my local FTM trees are all sync'd by 31 December.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 7, 2016 ---
    Also, back when Ancestry.com announced they were going to abandon FTM (Dec 2015) this site ran an extensive look at alternatives. It's a little dated now, but you might want to check it out:

    http://genealogytools.com/replacing-family-tree-maker-part-1-how-to-scrub-your-data/
     
  16. sweejin macrumors member

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    Aug 21, 2011
    #16
  17. Dizzler macrumors regular

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    Apr 28, 2009
    #17
    I concur with the recommendations for Reunion. I've been using it for over 20 years and it's excellent. Very Mac-friendly.
     
  18. Cormac macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    #18
    The poster was referring to the demo which does NOT allow importing/exporting of anything. This from the makers of Reunion's website;

    Limitations of Demo mode.jpg

    The full/paid version certainly does recognizes Gedcom files. It is one of the best genealogy applications.
     
  19. piperbarb macrumors newbie

    piperbarb

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    Location:
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    #19
    I discovered Gramps when looking for an open source genealogy program for Ubuntu Linux. It is available for MacOS, Linux, and Windows. I haven't checked if there is an iOS version. It is available at https://gramps-project.org/

    I have played with it a little, and although it takes a little getting used to, it may be what you are looking for. You can import/export GEDCOM files without out problems. I had a friend of mine export one of her Ancestry family trees to a GEDCOM file and imported it flawlessly.

    You can attach any type of files to individual records. All the data resides on your computer or you can store your data on your local network file server so you can access it on numerous devices from one central location.

    As I mentioned in the beginning, I have not worked with the program a lot but seems like it may be what you are looking for.
     
  20. ceharrin macrumors newbie

    ceharrin

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    #20
    I have used Ancestry on and off for several years now and as others have stated, it is quite useful. The iOS apps are pretty good as well.

    I also use MacFamilyTree which was recently updated to version 8. I cannot compare it to other genealogy programs as I have not used any others. I found importing the ancestry data very easy and had no issues. As indicated earlier, media files do not come with the data. My solution is crude but it works for me - I download any sources I add while working in ancestry. Not as clean and there is no sync between the two but it suites my purpose.

    MacFamilyTree runs very well on my 2012 15" MB pro; 16gb with 1 TB ssd. It has a wide range of views on your data, lets you create a website for your tree - free registration and integrates with FamilySearch.org, a genealogy website run by the Mormons. Not as in depth as ancestry but I have found a fair amount of data of folks already in my tree.
     
  21. Galvao macrumors member

    Galvao

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    #21
    Mac Family Tree does nor run on High Sierra beta. Lucky that it is not my main genealogy software or else I had to roll back to Sierra, since I use it for graphics purpose only. I still use the discontinued TMG (on a Windows XP virtual machine), and so far I could not find a proper replacement, because transfering the data is a big problem.
     
  22. dwfaust macrumors 601

    dwfaust

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    #22
    There's a new version of Family TreeMaker (FTM2017) that is still solid and restores the syncing with Anxestry.com feature. They've also added the ability to install it (and sync with) on two Macs.
     
  23. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular

    mtngoatjoe

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    Jun 10, 2008
    #23
    For what it's worth, an Ancestry.com subscription may be sufficient. The problem is that when you let your subscription laps, it removes access to the docs you've linked to your tree. You get the docs back if you renew your subscription. You can still see the doc title in without a subscription.

    So, if you take a break from research and let your subscription expire, then you can't do research. But when you're ready to continue, you just renew your subscription and pick up where you left off. And really, if you're doing research, then you should probably have a subscription.

    Question: If you export a JEDCOM file from Ancestry.com while you have a subscription, does it include all the documents you've linked to in your tree, or is it just a reference to the files?
     

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