March 24, 2011
Should I be committed? Probably. You’d have to ask my family, who has to put up with endless genealogy conversations. Or ask my co-workers. (But it’s a good thing I work in a related field where research is appreciated.) I’d hate to think what would happen to my career if I were, say, a brain surgeon. Talking about death records and cemeteries while holding a scalpel would probably be frowned upon.
On second thought, don’t talk to anyone who knows me. Anyway, that’s not the type of commitment I’m talking about. It’s the other kind of commitment, the kind where you choose “the one” and commit till death do you part. It’s been almost a year now, and it really is time. I’m talking, of course, about choosing a genealogy program. What did you think I was talking about?
The first obstacle I encountered in my search for true genealogy software love is that my primary computer is a Mac. Having a Mac is not the problem; finding genealogy software for Macs just seems to limit one’s options. Or maybe it’s me — I just don’t like the Mac software that’s available.
Here’s what I’ve tried so far. If you have an opinion (because there is such a shortage of opinion on the internets) on any of the software, please leave me a comment. I really do want to know what more experienced researchers think!
- MacFamilyTree: This was the first program I bought. It’s OK, but it’s not very pretty. And I must have pretty. Call me shallow. There’s also a learning curve. I don’t want to learn software, I want to research.
- Reunion: Too expensive, and I’m too cheap. Although given what I’ve spent trying out all the other software I could have easily bought Reunion. I’m going to be really peeved if Reunion turns out to be “the one.” (Read Family Tree Magazine‘s review of Reunion 9 here.)
- Family Tree Maker for Mac: I waited (im)patiently for the Mac version of Family Tree Maker to be released last fall. I was sure this would be the answer to all my genealogical prayers, and I was so excited when it finally arrived. Unfortunately, although it’s better looking than MacFamilyTree, it has an even steeper learning curve, and it seems clunky. Even the integration with Ancestry.com (where the bulk of my research currently resides) doesn’t outweigh the clunkiness factor. I’d rather spend my time researching than trying to make my genealogy program behave. (Read Family Tree Magazine’s review of Family Tree Maker for Mac here.)
- RootsMagic: Then I heard you could run RootsMagic, which is a Windows program, on a Mac with some “helper” software. I wasn’t real crazy about paying for two pieces of software, but I decided to try it anyway. Surprisingly, I like RootsMagic much better. It’s easy to start entering the basics immediately and go back later to pick up all the bells and whistles. On the downside though, I’m having occasional problems with slowness and other hang-ups. I’m not sure if the helper program is to blame or RootsMagic itself, but it’s quite annoying. And annoying doesn’t really work for me long-term. (Read Family Tree Magazine‘s review of RootsMagic 4 here.)
So there you have it. Commit or be committed. Possibly both at this point. What are your thoughts? Have you found “the one” yet?
Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Nancy Shively of Skiatook, OK. Read all her posts at Family Tree University.