The best genealogy software helps beginners understand the craft like a pro. Out of the genealogy software for Mac that we tested, Family Tree Maker for Mac is the best across the board at helping you learn the process. The program guides you through each step of tasks like adding and tailoring sources, creating charts and adding media and family to your database. You'll quickly form an understanding of the best methods for organization, citation and charting. Family Tree Maker for Mac 3 wins our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award for its flexible guidance that assists rather than simply instructs.
Family Tree Maker is a solid candidate if you're looking for a genealogy software for Mac with a variety of reports, charts and customizable options. Within the Publish tab, you can create a keepsake from any of the ten chart options. FTM 3 also has nine report templates available. Though this program doesn't include chart themes, it's still highly customizable. You can change the size, position and color of the nodes in the tree, as well as the chart's background.
Family Tree Maker for Mac 3 connects to Ancestry.com's extensive database and community. This tool takes any of the trees you create in Family Tree Maker and synchronizes them with your Ancestry.com account. So when you make changes in the software, the changes carry over to your online profile. This is especially useful if you're a member of Ancestry.com's active community. Other users can see the parts of your tree you make public, and they can even offer suggestions and leads for your research.
You can also export and import entire GEDCOM files, single branches and reports. We like the sharing capabilities, especially with reports and charts, because you see other people's work and get ideas for your own projects. When you share your work, you'll have more opportunities to get tips and tricks from experienced users.
Family Tree Maker's People tab is the standard view, showing you a pedigree chart that runs up to six generations back in time. You can adjust the view and orientation of the working pedigree chart and the number of generations you see. We like this standard view because lists of people can become long and tangled. By keeping the entire family in a tree format as you work, you can quickly see close relationships and extended family like siblings and cousins.
Good genealogy software should have flexible data entry options. If you already know several generations of your family history, you can enter it into Family Tree Maker's database. It only takes a click to bring up a family member's profile and enter their data. The data entry options allow you to include remarriages, divorces and annulments. You can even include multiple marriages and intermarriages with this program. Child entry options include step, adoptive and foster children. Correct data entry ensures that charts and reports provide the correct information. If options for relationships like adoption or stepfamily were not available, all individuals would incorrectly appear as directly related on each chart and report.
If you still have significant research to do, you'll appreciate that FTM for Mac provides a web browser within the program. The Web Search tab connects directly to genealogical sites like Ancestry.com, FamilySearch and RootsWeb, so you can search these databases and import sources directly through the genealogy program.
However, this software is powered by Ancestry.com, so the two are designed to go hand in hand to streamline your online research. When FTM finds a match on Ancestry.com, a small leaf icon appears near the person's name. You can access any records if you have a membership with Ancestry. Although you get a free trial to Ancestry's database when you purchase Family Tree Maker, some files have members-only access. You'll get the most out of this software by subscribing to a full membership with Ancestry.com.
Family Tree Maker for Mac 3 has practical tools like the To-Do list found in the Plan tab. This listing feature is best for the ambitious genealogist in need of a virtual assistant. Within this feature, you can create a task, such as "find Grandma Smith's birth certificate." From there, you can assign a priority level to each task and keep track of the tasks you've completed and the kinds of tasks you need to complete. This task list is also a helpful tool if you plan to collaborate with other genealogists. They can access this list in the GEDCOM file and help with tasks or add suggestions for further work.
Other valuable features of Family Tree Maker 3 include its media support for video, images and audio. You can tag family members in photos, and the program creates a depositing area for your media so you won't lose it to disorganization. There's a handy problem spotter that alerts you when you enter potentially problematic information, like duplicate individuals or an abnormally young marriage age. The program will allow you to keep this information in your tree if you choose, and following this feature's guidance is optional, but it's nice that FTM is keeping an eye out for consistency.
Family Tree Maker has a Places tab where you can map out your family's entire history. You can create a map report based on an individual or a family group's significant locations. As you move down your family line, you can see how your family got you where you are today. This feature offers options to view your mapped locations in 2D, 3D, aerial or road view. This feature is certainly not necessary for most genealogists, but it's still a cool addition to the software.
Tracking and organizing your sources legitimizes your research and makes it easy for anyone you share it with to see where you got your information. The idea of recording and citing sources can be intimidating, but the Source tab in Family Tree Maker simplifies the citation process. You can add a source citation directly from this tab. Within the Source Citation dialogue box, you can add reference notes, media and other notes about the source. The Add Source dialogue box gives you standard fields to enter about your source and forms it into a citation so you don't have to worry about formatting it correctly. Family Tree Maker provides source templates for common sources like cemetery, census, state or church records. Data entry fields change to prompt you for the relevant information based on a source type. For example, a report card from your grandmother's elementary school fits the School Records template. From there, the data entry fields prompt you for student information like class year, institution, record holder names and comments.
Because this program is so intuitive, it's not difficult to breeze through it without consulting the help section. Though the help section does have some useful information, all the good stuff is online. Training tutorials for Family Tree Maker for Mac are available online or through the help menu. If you order a hard copy of the software on a disc, you'll also get a printed companion guide to help with extra tips and tricks. Family Tree Maker for Mac is compatible with other types of genealogy software, so even if your family on the other side of the country uses a different program, you can send them your work and collaborate.
Family Tree Maker for Mac 3 has extensive sourcing, reporting and research features accessible in the clearly marked tabs in the interface. Data entry is easy and flexible, and if you still have a lot of research to do, this genealogy software connects with Ancestry.com. FTM works best through Ancestry, but you'll need a full membership to the site to get the most out of this software because many documents are for members only.
Family Tree Maker provides plenty of guidance for any kind of project. Adding and organizing a large database of people is less daunting when it only takes a few clicks.
To get the most out of this program, you'll want a full membership to Ancestry.com, which raises the price of this genealogy software.
This software makes it easy to create extensive family databases and generate professional-level charts and reports. Also, the close connection to Ancestry.com gives this software the edge on research.