Perhaps you own a Mac? Probably you know someone who owns one? Perhaps you have been asked what Family History (FH) software is available for the Mac?
There is good family history software for the Mac. Unfortunately for the LDS family historian there are fewer choices than for the Windows computer user.
As we have written before (see article 5 June 2011 at http://peterfh.wordpress.com/) we encourage everyone to keep their own family history records on their own computer. These are then my records. What is on the Internet at sites such as new.familysearch.org are “our” records – where we collaborate with others and share with the world.
It is unnecessary for any Windows computer user to double enter data on their own computer and on new.familysearch.org (nFS). There are several excellent software choices available that allow data to be moved to and from new familysearch without re-entering the information as well as allowing other interaction with nFS. Even PAF – old as it is – can do this with the help of either Family Insight or Ancestral Quest. Several good alternatives to PAF can synchronize data with new familysearch such as Rootsmagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Maker with Family Insight, and Ancestral Quest to name but four. Family Insight works as an intermediary between just about all the most popular programs and nFS!
What is available for the Mac and what works with the FamilySearch website?
To answer this question go to Familysearch.org, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on Products (you can get to the same information from the sign in page for nFS – look for the heading More Great Products). Here you can see the lists of products certified by FamilySearch – we often call them affiliates. Many of them are utilities to help with printing or contacting people and some are personal family history record keeping products. For each of these products there is a list of access features. There is a long list of web products (18 as of 24 Sep 2011), a long list of Windows products (14) and a very short list for the Mac (5), and an even shorter list for mobile devices (1). There are only 5 items on the Mac list! Family Insight is there with a good list of features certified for working with nFS, and Mac FamilyTree with a short list of features for working with nFS.
What is the Mac user to do?
The situation is not quite as bad as it looks.
- The FamilySearch list does not include Family Tree Maker (FTM) for the Mac which does work with the current Mac version of Family Insight. But what if you don’t like FTM, or its price? – although remember that the price of FTM often includes several months access to an Ancestry web site.
- Family Insight are beta testing a version of their product that will work with Mac FamilyTree and deliver a good list of features that work with nFS. This is important news for many Mac users.
- Rootsmagic have said that they intend to have a Mac version of their product available – perhaps by the summer of 2012.
Is that all?
One of the most popular Family History products on the Mac is Reunion. You could export your data as a gedcom and then use Family Insight – but this is cumbersome and I think unnecessarily complicated.
Are you willing to run a Windows FH program on your Mac?
There are 3 ways to do this and you can very successfully use any Windows FH program on your Mac.
- Turn your Mac into a Macindow (????) or a Winmac (just joking!) by buying either Parallels and Fusion and then installing a full copy of a Windows operating system – if you don’t own a full copy of Windows you will have to buy one. I have done this and with a click can move between the Mac and Windows operating systems. I have PAF, Ancestral Quest, Family Insight for Windows, Rootsmagic, and Legacy Family Tree all working in Windows on my Mac. Files are shared between the 2 operating systems. Besides cost what is the downside of doing this? You need to learn 2 operating systems, and you need to update 2 operating systems.
- Every Mac comes with a free copy of a product called Boot Camp. This will allow you to install a version of Windows – which you would have to own. Then you can install any Windows FH program. The downside is that you have to re-boot your computer to move between Windows and Mac operating system, as well as having to know and update 2 operating systems.
- Install a Windows emulator program on your Mac and then install the Windows FH program of your choice. You do not have to install a copy of Windows and therefore don’t have to own a copy of Windows. There are several Windows emulator programs available, such as Wine and Crossover Mac. Some are free and some cost as much as $40.
One of the nicest articles on the ways to run Windows programs on a Mac can be found at Rootsmagic.com under the link to Support then Knowledge Base. Search for “Mac” and then select Will Rootsmagic Run on a Mac? – go to the bottom of the article where there is a link to more information which gives you access to a table of choices and other information.
Well, that’s how I see things. I hope this helps.