I almost didn’t believe my ears this morning when I read on Twitter that Ancestry.com announced they were going to be releasing Family Tree Maker for Mac later this year.
The part of me that grew up on Family Tree Maker back in the early 1990s did a little happy dance, while the part of me that has grown to love Leister Pro’s Reunion and my incredibly crazy work around to run RootsMagic on my MacBook Pro died a little inside. Certainly, Family Tree Maker is a household name in genealogy these days and with it’s integration with Ancestry.com’s online research site it’s sure to make things easier. However, I wonder what it’s going to do to these smaller programs that have been supporting Mac Users for much longer.
When I returned to Genealogy after a terribly long absence I had switched from a PC to a Mac and was challenged by finding a program that was both user-friendly and elegant for my tastes. Leister Pro’s Reunion has done that for me for years. And it wasn’t until very recently (*cough* this year *cough*) that I felt like I was really out growing their program. Where I feel Reunion falls short is on the ability to format sources. Their forms and fields have always seemed a bit cumbersome to me and I don’t at all like how their sources are displayed in the reports that the program generates. While I’m not often producing reports from within my genealogy program of choice, I do find on occasion that it’s simple to print of something for my mother or a close family relative that doesn’t want all the time and effort that a real report might take. I still use Reunion when I’m kicking around ideas and I love the integration that they have offered for the iPhone – I still think that no app out there beats it.
But I’m not sure how the software dynamic is going to change when Family Tree Maker for Mac hits the market. It will be interesting to see if it’s essentially a carbon copy of their Windows version or if there are some limitations due to the different programming platform. I’d also love to see how they plan on supporting the desktop client with an iPhone app!