The End of the Software Debate

I am happy to report that the great software debate is over, and I am now fully committed to Reunion as my primary genealogy software.

In the end it came down to two programs: RootsMagic and Reunion. There were lots of features in RootsMagic that I really liked. I liked that it had the RootsMagic to Go option that enables you to run it completely from a flash drive. I also liked the source templates in RootsMagic. Since taking the FTU course Source Documentation 101, I’ve become a sourcing fanatic. (Not that I’m very good at it yet — it’s a work in progress.) The RootsMagic templates are formatted to Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence! standards and very easy to use for a sourcing novice like me.

Reunion’s source templates aren’t formatted to ESM’s standards, and was my only sticking point, but in all other respects Reunion is awesome. I like that it’s native to the Mac platform, so there’s great integration with all kinds of Mac programs, in particular with iPhoto. And call me shallow but Reunion is just better looking on a Mac than RootsMagic. But getting the sources right the first time is important to me. Basically, I’m lazy, and I really, really don’t ever want to do them more than once.

So for several weeks I was torn between two programs. What to do? I loved them both.

Then I discovered the Genealogy Tools website, which is run by Ben Sayer of He recently began a series of video tutorials on creating souce types (or master sources) in Reunion that conform to ESM’s standards. Bingo! That was all I needed to hear. I am now devoted to Reunion and gobbling up the videos as fast as Ben can make them.

By the way, Genealogy Tools also has tutorials and articles for many PC genealogy programs, too. The whole site is very helpful — pop over and take a look sometime.


More software resources:

Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Nancy Shively of Skiatook, OK. Read all her posts at Family Tree University.


One thought on “The End of the Software Debate

  1. i have used reunion 8 when I got my Mac several years ago. Once I got used to it it is wonderful and the decsendant charts it prints in color is a great guide and loved by all the family at the reunion. I print out each major family and simply tape the pages to make a scroll. I have started adding photo both into the program and simply taping some in the margins of a family member. They are great hung around the room at reunion and eventhe kids love to find their names. Reunion’s color coding of each generation makes it easy to follow.
    Now Family tree maker makes a Mac version that is good too but I am still figuring out how to connect the information I want from into the tree.

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