New Heredis for Mac – 2012, A Few Details

If you were a Heredis Mac X.2 user, you were probably wondering what Heredis is up to. They’ve went back to the drawing board to design a completely new Heredis for Mac, that takes advantage of, and works with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. It is being designed for the Mac from the ground up and they are sticking with their “Genealogy made easy” slogan for the new Heredis, and this is their guiding philosophy:

This version is based on the principles that Heredis should be easy to pick up and use. And it is designed to be like “Mac” with its ease of use.

Very little information is available right now, due to it being still in the alpha phase, and with features changing, but here’s a little information:
– Currently in alpha testing with a wide range of testers from several different countries. Testers cover a wide range of experience from beginners to experts, and previous users of Heredis as well as non-Heredis users.
– Will be entering beta testing later this spring
– Will integrate Unicode/UFT-8 support
– Will have support for LDS/TempleReady information

My impressions from the screenshots:
– They have achieved their desire for a “Mac-like” genealogy program
– The user interface looks good
– The information in the different views is clear
– I like the “Immediate Family” view where you get both photos and brief information (names, birth/death years or dates depending on level)
– The illustrated index of locations also looks interesting, complete with a clear display of who lived, died, or was married there, statistics about certain locations, support for web addresses.
– The Charts/Trees (Single-Page Charts, Designed Charts, Fan Charts, etc.) has a very nice interface, similar to Mac OS X’s Finder “Cover Flow”.

– New Heredis for Mac page at Mac Genealogy Software
New Heredis for Mac – 2012 Screenshot Gallery

MacFamilyTree 6.2.7

Genealogy Software for Mac OS X MacFamilyTree has been updated to MacFamilyTree 6.2.7 today. It’s most improvements (GEDCOM Exporting, UI), but new websites have been added to the Web Research function.

Previous Web Search/Research Websites in MacFamilyTree 6.2.6:

Web Search/Research Websites added to MacFamilyTree 6.2.7:

Changes/Updates in MacFamilyTree 6.2.7
* New Websites added to the Web Research function
* GEDCOM Export improved
* Performance improved
* Several crash bugs fixed
* Alignment in the My Tree pane improved
* Minor UI improvements

If you’re currently a MacFamilyTree 6.x user, it should show up if you have automatic updates selected, otherwise you can manually download it through the normal software update.

It can also be purchased through Apple’s Mac App Store.

Update: MacFamilyTree 8 – Synium Software GmbH is currently only available as a new purchase.

GEDitCOM II 1.7 Build 2

This week, GEDitCOM II was upgraded to GEDitCOM II version 1.7, Build 2 (14 March 2012). This is another major update to GEDitCOM II that follows Version 1.7 (released at the start of last month), and the developer notes:

Whenever a new version comes out (such as Version 1.7) some features do not make it or some great ideas arise due to user feedback on using that version. Sometimes urgent bug fixes or needed. Fortunately, no serious bugs are know in version 1.7, but some good ideas came in and this upgrade responds to some of them.

I’m going to list highlights of the changes, but if you want to read the full release notes, please see the GEDitCOM II Release Notes (

Changes and Updates in GEDitCOM II Version 1.7 Build 2
Two new scripts for mapping are included
1) “Places in This File” – will generate a map with pins for all of the places listed in place records that have a known bounding box. Can be the entire world or select continents.
2) “Events Places for Windows Records” – will draw a map with pins for all events that occurred at an address or place with known latitude and longitude. CAn be for: an individual, a family and its individuals, or all individual and family records listed in the current front window.

As noted, for the mapping feature to work fully, you need to have latitude and longitude coordinates for places and events. In Version 1.7 Build 2, you can now attach latitude and longitude to any address in your genealogy file.

A “Visit” event has been added to individuals and families that can map travels.

The Place Advisor coverage now covers the entire world down to, and including, the city, town, and village level.
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Mac Genealogy Software and Unicode GEDCOMs

This is a brief post (that leads to a couple of articles) covering an issue that came up in an email I received from a Chris M. He was migrating from an older version of MacFamilyTree (MacFamilyTree 4) and this caught my attention. The problem was Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 and Unicode GEDCOM files. I ended up turning it into part test and part review of importing Unicode/UTF-8 GEDCOM files into newer versions of Mac OS X genealogy software. For an explanation of Unicode and UTF-8 and why it matters, see the article at the bottom of the page.

Why would it be an issue?
Unicode supports certain Asian and Eastern European characters that may occur in family names and locations. It could be an issue for those migrating from Personal Ancestral File 5.2, which supports UTF-8 as its internal character encoding, and which can export UTF-8 GEDCOM files.

I initially thought more genealogy applications might not handle Unicode, but seeing as how Mac OS X natively handles it, as well as some supporting at least parts of GEDCOM 5.5.1, it really wasn’t an issue for most.

I can tell you that Family Tree Maker 2010 for Mac and Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 have serious problems with Unicode files.

This is not simply a problem with the Mac Family Tree Maker implementations. Tamura Jones covers this problem in an article, Family Tree Maker 2012 Fan Value that gets into some of the Unicode/UTF-8 problems that Family Tree Maker has. He is discussing it from the point of view of exporting GEDCOM files, and mentions that while Family Tree Maker 2011 has Unicode technology, it does not support UTF-8 GEDCOM exports. Family Tree Maker 2012 somewhat addresses the issue (you really should read his article for more about it), but it still doesn’t do it in a logical way. FTM 2012 doesn’t support the GEDCOM 5.5.1 draft standard, which includes UTF-8 encoding.

For a longer look at this issue, see these three articles:
Mac Genealogy Software – Unicode, UTF-8, and GEDCOMs
Unicode, UTF-8, GEDCOM 5.5.1, GEDCOMs and Macs
Conversion of Unicode GEDCOM Files on a Mac

Mac Genealogy Software Recommendations

[wpfmb type=’warning’ theme=2]The information below is nearly three years out of date (as of February 2015), and a new article/guide will be posted shortly.[/wpfmb]

There is an article over at Genealogy Tools, What Genealogy Software Do We Recommend? that you should check out if you get a chance.

What Mac Genealogy Software Do I Recommend?
For years, when people have asked me, I inevitably send them links to the major Mac genealogy software developers and tell them to download the demos and try each of them out. With the exception of Family Tree Maker for Mac 2, all of the actively developed Mac genealogy apps have demos that you can download and try out. Some are even free.

I’m not avoiding the issue. It’s just that because genealogy software is something that you will be spending so much time with, I think it’s something where you should be willing to download several of the applications and try them out for a day or two, or even three. For an application that you will probably be using for many months, if not years ahead, it’s worth putting the time into finding the one that meets your needs and that you feel comfortable with. Different people have different needs and tastes, as well as requirements.

I could fill this post up with all kinds of stats and charts, and maybe I’ll do one of those in the future, but for now I’ll try and make recommendations based on very specific circumstances, and I will include links to the websites where you can download demos or even the full Mac genealogy applications. I’m only going to discuss actively develop Mac genealogy apps that are available right now and that have been updated one way or another (such as Reunion for iPad/iPhone). That leaves Heredis Mac X.2 out as it’s successor is still in development and there are no demos available. I’m also leaving out MyBlood and Osk as there have been no signs of active development for those two since 2009-2010.

I’m going to list them all, and then group some of them by categories.

Full List – Alphabetical Order (Last updated)
Familienbande / Family Ties – Free, (Jan 2012)
Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 – Commercial, No demo, (Jan 2012)
GEDitCOM II – Commercial, Free “Reader Mode” (Feb 2012)
GenealogyJ – Free, Java, Open Source, (beta 2012)
Gramps – Free (Oct 2011)
iFamily for Leopard – Commercial, 16-day Demo (can’t export GEDCOM) (Jan 2012)
MacFamilyTree 6 – Commercial, Demo (can’t save/export) (Feb 2012)
ohmiGene – Commercial, Demo (Watermarked, limit 509 people) (Jan 2012)
PAW2U (PAWriter II) – Free (Sep 2011)
Reunion 9 Commercial, Demo (50 people, import/export disabled, etc.) (Aug 2010)
The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding v9 Commercial, Online Demo (Feb 2012)

Special Interests
Mac Genealogy Software – Unicode, UTF-8, and GEDCOMs
Mac Genealogy Software that supports LDS/TempleReady options

Free and/or Open Source
On the open source side of things, Genealogy J and Gramps are the two apps you want. PAW2U is probably the best of the free genealogy software, but Familienbande (Family Ties) looks to be pretty solid as well.

What if you liked Personal Ancestral File?
PAW2U is going to be your best bet. The developer of PAW2U considers it to be a spiritual successor to PAF, and I tend to agree. He very much looks to what people liked or were used to with PAF.
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Apple’s New iPad, iPhoto Updates

By now you know that Apple’s new iPad has been officially announced. We won’t see it in stores until the 16th of March, but it’s a very nice update and in some ways better than expected. It’s being called their new iPad – not iPad 3 or iPad HD as some predicted.

Updates include
* 2048×1536 “Retina” display
* 44% increase in color saturation over previous iPads
* A5X CPU with quad-core graphics
* 5 MP rear iSight camera that offers similar optics to the 8 MP camera present in the iPhone 4S. This camera supports 1080p video recording.
* Support for LTE mobile networks (very big increase in speed).

The Wi-Fi only models start at $499 for the 16 GB model, but they are keeping the iPad 2 around, starting at $399 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi only version.

iPhoto for Mac OS X received a minor update to version 9.2.2 – Photos can now be deleted from Photo Stream.

iOS 5.1 was released (Mobile Genealogy) earlier today as well. Lot of things for the Camera app as well as some increased functioanlity with the podcast software, and other changes and bugfixes.

The Apple TV was upgraded to support 1080p output, and iTunes and iCloud were also upgraded to support 1080p content.

Because of the focus on the iPad and Apple’s mobile offerings, I’ll be covering more of today’s events at Mobile Genealogy