Plugs ’n Pixels looks at MacFamilyTree/MobileFamilyTree 8
Who’s your daddy? Everybody on earth has ancestors, and the study of who we are and the people we came from (genealogy) is currently one of the most popular pastimes, online and off. The internet has made it extremely easy to perform this research for free, with paid (subscription) options also available.
As you do this research, you will soon run into the problem of what to do with all the facts and materials you are finding (names, dates, images, articles, etc.).
That’s where Synium’s MacFamiyTree comes in.
Provided in both desktop and mobile format, MacFamilyTree/MobileFamilyTree not only offer you a platform into which to input your findings as raw data, but also do some incredibly useful things with those otherwise boring facts. For instance, the screenshot above shows what you end up with when enough people are entered into a family.
That colorful presentation shown above is called a “fan chart”, and you can choose any person in your family tree and immediately get an attractive visual representation of that person’s ancestors on each side (mother/father). The further back into your family line you can go, the bigger this chart gets.
Let’s take a look at some actual examples from my own family tree, whose members I have been inputting into MacFamilyTree for some years now. The screenshot below shows a particular person, and the available fields for entering information: Name, gender, life events (such as birth, marriage and death and the locations of each of these events), parents, spouse and children. Further down on this same screen (not shown) are fields for adding various facts about the person (physical attribute, Social Security number, etc.), media (images, documents , etc.), text notes, citations of your sources, people associated with the target person and To Do items.
The strip along the bottom of the window offers additional functionality, such as being able to view the selected person in context with the rest of his or her family, a timeline chart showing the relation of the person’s lifespan to those of other family members, plausibility warnings, a map where coordinated assigned to family events will appear, a list of world history events that overlap th lifetime of the selected person, an Action option to add/delete people, find duplicates, etc., alternate views (8 different style trees/charts and two reports), a place to enter To Do items and a change log. At far right you can also access a Person List of everyone in your extended family and view it organized by first or last name, birth or death date and other factors.
A main advantage of MacFamilyTree is that because of running exclusively on Apple operating systems, its charts are not dry and ugly like many other genealogy applications. Above is an example of the Interactive tree view for my grandmother’s grandmother. And if that’s not enough, the application offers a Virtual Tree where you can view your ancestors in a 3D environment (below)! The Virtual Globe option (not shown) is another way to view your family’s history, in this case their movements across continents over time.
So what else can you do in MacFamilyTree? For the convenience of the researcher, you can interact with the free and very popular FamilySearch website from right within MacFamilyTree, downloading data and also uploading your research to share with others if you desire. Or perhaps you wish to generate an interactive website or PDF chart for other family members to access, or design and export a PDF family history book (see templates below) as a gift for a special occasion. If you wish to share your research with others in a form that can be imported into other genealogy apps, you can export an industry-standard GEDCOM.
Using iCloud and now CloudTree as database repositories, MacFamilyTree gives you maximum flexibility when editing and managing your family tree. MobileFamilyTree now enters the picture, enabling you to continue inputting data while on your mobile devices. The interface (below) is pretty much exactly the same in both desktop and mobile apps, further contributing to the seamless experience.
As I said above, I’ve been using MacFamilyTree for several years (and it’s been around even longer, 18 years!) and really enjoy firing it up often to add some new bit of information I just discovered. It’s a great place to keep all this valuable information together in one easily accessible database.