Forward Migration Kit: Genealogy software, part II

(For those new to the column, Forward Migration is our term for companies moving from Wintel machines to Macs -- or at least adding or increasing the number of Macs they use. A Forward Migration Kit is an overview of Mac OS products for a particular occupation, such as photography, optometry, etc.)

This week we're serving up the second and final part of our two-part series on genealogy software for the Mac. (Also see Part one ).


Charles Haynes said he has used or tested just about all genealogy programs for the Mac and thinks the evolving GEDitCOM is the best.

"The main reason is that it is based on the GEDCOM file format itself," he told MacCentral. "I have been able to structure my old photos and the program has a variety of charts and formats. Stable and thought out. No frills where they are not needed."

John Nairn, the author of GEDitCOM, says that GEDitCOM has two unique features. For one, the entire interface is customizable by the user.

"You can literally design your own genealogy interface within GEDitCOM," Nairn said. "Any particular interface can be saved as a 'GEDitCOM Format' and users can switch formats even in the middle of editing of file."

Also, GEDitCOM provides real and 100 percent support for GEDCOM files (hence the name).

"I claim the GEDCOM support in GEDitCOM is better than any other Mac or PC program," he added.

If you want to test GEDCOM support in GEDitCOM or in any other application, you can download GEDCOM torture test files from the GEDitCOM Web site (see the link under "What's New").

"If you haven't tried importing 'robust' GEDCOM files into typical genealogy applications, you might be shocked and how poorly some programs actually support GEDCOM," Nairn said. "Also note: the GEDCOM test files are certified as 100 percent valid GEDCOM; any errors reporting by applications trying to read those files can only be interpreted as errors in that program's GEDCOM importing option."


Jerry Salem and other MacCentral readers recommended Gene by Diana and David Eppstein.

This US$15 shareware program can be used to store family data and notes, draw and print family trees and pedigree charts, create Web pages from your database, and exchange GEDCOM data with users of other genealogy programs. Gene is capable of handling complicated databases with thousands of names, multiple marriages and divorces, adoptions, illegitimate children, and intermarriage between relatives.

"This program runs on any Mac and is easy to use," Salem said. "I have been using it for about five years now with no troubles. One thing I like about this software is the responsiveness of the authors. I had a number of problems/suggestions that I sent to the Eppsteins, I got a very fast e-mail response, and then not to long after that a new version was released containing almost all of my suggestions."


Généalogos by Editions Profil lets you trace the origins of your ancestors and is 100 percent compatible with GEDCOM. Features include: an unlimited number of individual profiles; unlimited, fully customizable trees; search and selection tools; and composing and editing capabilities for producing a family book. A "deluxe" version is also available.

Mac Family Tree

Mac Family Tree is Mac only software from a group called OnlyMac Software. Their Web site lists both a traditional (Mac OS 8.0-9.1) and Mac OS X Public Beta version of the product.

MacFamilyTree helps you to document, store, and display information about your family. You can draw and print family trees, lists, cards, heritage charts and descendant charts. You can import and export GEDCOM 5.5 files.

There's also, as far as we can tell, a separate application called Family Tree Maker, which was recently discontinued.


Sparrowhawk by Brad Mohr is a GEDCOM-to-HTML conversion program that's based on version 2.5a of Gene Stark's GED2HTML program for Windows and UNIX.

Given a file in GEDCOM format, Sparrowhawk will create a set of linked HTML documents containing the genealogical information contained in the file. The output from Sparrowhawk is essentially identical to the output of GED2HTML 2.5. Be warned, however, that currently the $20 application isn't very "Mac-like" and can be downright unfriendly to use at times. For instance, it doesn't yield time to other running applications. (Thanks to Andrew Starr for alerting us to this application.)

Miscellaneous, LLC ( isn't a product, but is an Internet Family Archives collection. The Internet Family Archives are composed of a variety of family history information from historical census data to indexed page images of the leading genealogy research publications of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Pricing for individual Internet Family Archives title range from $29.99 to $59.99. Internet Family Archives can be viewed using any Internet-ready computer that has Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and higher or Netscape Navigator 4.0 and higher.

By the way, you can check out reviews of Gene, GEDitCOM and Reunion at the Family Chronicle magazine Web site.

Next time around, we'll look at Mac software for jewelry appraisers.

This story, "Forward Migration Kit: Genealogy software, part II" was originally published by PCWorld.

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