Synium Software MacFamilyTree 5.1

Synium Software MacFamilyTree 5.1

The Virtual Globe is almost as fun to twirl as a real one.


Family rifts aside, it’s a nice idea to keep track of where you’re from and who your ancestors are. MacFamilyTree 5.1 makes it easy to organize the myriad limbs of your family’s tree—even those you wish you could lop off at times.


When you launch the software, you can choose to create a new family tree, or import a MacFamilyTree 4 or GEDCOM file (the family-tree exchange format). If working from scratch, you can easily get your new tree going by adding people and families. Creating the latter involves adding the heads of the family, their dates and places of birth, and any children they have, along with important events such as marriage or divorce.


You can enter people manually or import contacts from Address Book, and for each person, you can add dates and locales for the various life-changing events, such as birth, death, graduation, or retirement. The software also lets you bring in media, such as URLs, video, and pictures of that person, either from your iPhoto library or taken on the spot with, say, a built-in iSight. The new Media Browser displays all of the graphics files in your database, and clicking one takes you to the associated person’s Details page.


One of MacFamilyTree’s strengths is the sheer number of ways you can view and analyze data. There are charts galore, including a flowchart depicting your entire family line or a fan-chart representation of your ancestors. A timeline depicts the evolution of your family over the centuries, and various reports can give you a look at major family events or a full family census at a glance. Tweakers can customize charts and reports, modifying things like colors and box sizes, which you can later reuse.


A favorite feature: Whenever you enter events, you can add a locale and have the software look up the coordinates and place them on a cool virtual globe that spins. The coordinate-lookup feature, however, needs major help. There are fields for entering country and city, but nowhere to specify a state. Because MacFamilyTree chooses the city with the highest population, when we entered our hometown of Belleville, the software turned up the city in Illinois, not our little New Jersey burg. To get around this, you have to run a search that will pop up a list of the various “Bellevilles,” but with only latitude, longitude, and population to go on, it can be hard to figure out which one is correct.


When finished updating, you can export your tree to .Mac,, CD/DVD, or your hard drive. There are four graphical themes to choose from, though no way to preview them.


The bottom line. MacFamilyTree is a great tool for aspiring genealogists. Despite a few quirks, it’s still an easy and entertaining way to keep track of your heritage.


COMPANY: Synium Software


PRICE: $49

REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.4.9 or later, 512MB RAM, ATI Radeon 7500 or nVidia GeForce 4 MX video card or better, 16MB VRAM

Friendly interface. Tons of chart and report types. Support for various multimedia. Universal binary.

Lousy coordinate-lookup feature. No template previewing




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