by Synium Software (Benjamin Günther)
A comprehensive and full featured program for the Macintosh. Available in many languages

Purchase • Mac • Full Featured • Builds Website
Overall303.22 out of 53.22 out of 53.22 out of 53.22 out of 53.22 out of 5 3.22
201643.25 out of 53.25 out of 53.25 out of 53.25 out of 53.25 out of 5 3.25
201533.54 out of 53.54 out of 53.54 out of 53.54 out of 53.54 out of 5 3.54
Earlier232.76 out of 52.76 out of 52.76 out of 52.76 out of 52.76 out of 5 2.76

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30 Reviews of MacFamilyTree     RSS 2.0 RSS     Showing 1 - 20                   Add Your Review

MacFamilyTree Review by Erdeslau,  3 days ago

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

Having purchased both MacFamilyTree 8 and MobileFamilyTree 8 ‘upgrades’ on release, I don’t recognise the problems experienced by the previous reviewer. Both programs have to be purchased through the Mac’s AppStore for MacFamilyTree 8; or the iTunes Store for MobileFamilyTree 8. Both sources show the half-price offer as available until mid-July 2016; and this ‘offer’ is available to all users, not just upgraders. The developer, Synium Software tends to offer these half-price savings for a limited period because it is not possible to offer upgrade prices through the Mac Appstore/iTunes. If the User was ‘overcharged’ then his complaint should be with Apple, not Synium and he should direct that complaint appropriately if the offer price has not been honoured.

As for the software there have been some very significant changes and improvements all of which are outlined on the Synium Website, where potential purchasers can also download a trial version of the software for testing to check if the upgrade suits their needs. My own experience with the software has been very positive so far, as the changes implemented in Version 8 have addressed many of the shortcomings that I felt Version 7 didn’t address. That said, I intend compiling a ‘wish list’ of issues that I still feel still need addressing and will report those to Synium, who I have always found to be responsive when I have communicated with them.

Issues I’ve identified so far:

- It is not possible to merge two MacFamilyTree Databases, i.e. you have to export a GEDCOM File from one database and import that to the other database, which seems perverse.
- It is not possible to merge ‘duplicate’ Sources, which results in a long-winded process of moving references/links to a single source and then deleting the duplicate(s) once all references have been cleared.
- Although event addresses can be entered separately from places, I can find no way to include those addresses in reports.

All of the above behaviours appear to have carried over from Version 7.

Biggest Pro: Easy to manage software with a wide range of very useful standard reports and project management and tracking capabilities.
Biggest Con: Still some weaknesses evident in the management of sources, reports and data merging

MacFamilyTree Review by chris davies,  6 days ago

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

they will probably delete this review. I was offered a 50 percent discount $29.99 to upgrade to MacFamily Tree 8. So I upgraded, I looked at the features etc and could see no real improvement to MacFamily Tree 7. Okay I understand the company needs to make money so was willing to cop the 30 dollars. However when I checked my account I was charged in excess of the full cost $58 dollars. when I contacted Synium they said oh its a VAT and the exchange rate. When I pointed out that the exchange rate isn’t anywhere near that amount and there is no VAT on internet costs. Mendel said no you have to contact Apple to get a refund.

Sorry guys not good enough, your product, your promotion, your issue, please give me my refund. The product was not worth it, and nor is your attitude.

Don’t get the latest upgrade. There are no clear improvements and is a waist of money. Especially if they tell you the upgrade cost is only 29.99 and then they charge you 58.99

Don’t get the upgrade

Chris Davies
Manly Australia

Biggest Con: The Cost, The Product, their attitude

MacFamilyTree Review by Peter McGregor,  6 days ago

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

This short note applies to Version 8, updating the review I recently did on Version 7.

MFT’s strengths of being intuitive, open, airy and uncluttered are even more evident with the changes made in the new version. Going back and forth between MFT and FTM feels like moving between an ultramodern house and a Victorian-style cluttered house. It really is that distinct a difference. I have tried Reunion and it feels just as old as FTM but with a different feel: more like a system that exclusively uses file cards - not pages or scrolls augmented by cards. I haven’t tried other programs but, from what I’ve read on professional review sites, just about all of the others fit somewhere between the feel of FTM and Reunion.

Weaknesses? The items I mentioned in the earlier review have not yet been addressed (hopefully in a between-versions update - they did acknowledge the deficiencies).
MFT has barely adequate Media management. A saving grace here is that MFT media can be attached to Places - neither FTM nor Reunion do this.
MFT’s Source management however is poorer than both FTM’s and Reunion’s. It is missing a tier, forcing people who want to document their sources properly to become extreme “splitters”.
And MFT, for me, lacks a couple of “bare-bones” descendant and ancestor reports that are useful for exchanging a lot of information in minimal space.

Other items. There are two significant things (to me anyway) that I didn’t mention in the earlier report:
For anyone moving from FTM, be aware that MFT doesn’t automatically save the way FTM does. You either save manually or “activate autosave”. On the top toolbar, go: “MacFamilyTree” “Preferences” > “Database” > “Activate Autosave”, choosing an interval that suits you.
Finally, MFT has a mobile app that is supposed to do just about all that the main program does, with automatic synching via iCloud.

Conclusion. Other users will have different priorities. For me, MFT’s update has enhanced its strengths but hasn’t yet adequately addressed its few weaknesses. (Oh, it has added “Smart Filters” and has larger “boxes” for some editing items - which help - but the underlying inadequacies are still there.)
But I like the way the program is developing. For my needs, it’s almost there. It’s now a 4.5 out of 5.

Biggest Pro: Class-leading look, feel and functionality; navigation (interactive tree), and virtual globe.
Biggest Con: For more serious users, just passable media/source management & a couple of missing ‘barebones’ reports.

MacFamilyTree Review by Peter McGregor,  Apr 9, 2016

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

This is an abbreviated version of feedback I sent to Synium, followed by their reply. Note that this is of Version 7. Synium advise they are about to release Version 8 which may address some concerns I’ve noted below.

I’ve been using MacFamilyTree for 4 months, having migrated from Family Tree Maker for Mac 3. I’m a relative newcomer to genealogy software but with some experience in researching it, having completed a small book on a branch of my family.

I think MFT has the potential to reach the top of the heap with only a little more development.

I purchased MFT and have been going backwards and forwards between FTMM3 and MFT. I also downloaded a demo of Reunion for Mac as a further option.

Looking Around.
The 3 programs take 3 different approaches. With MFT, you scroll down the main page to see the different categories. With Reunion, each page is like a card; you take out (click) a new card for each category. FTMM3 is in the middle. You scroll down for Facts (Events) but also click to open other (half) pages.

MFT seems open, airy and uncluttered. Reunion is “precise”, possibly appealing to people who like using real paper cards. FTMM3 is, frankly, a “dog’s breakfast”, with toolbars and tabs everywhere duplicating other toolbars and tabs. It’s like the house of a hoarder: so cluttered he can’t find what he wants so he goes out and gets another one.

Moving Around.
All three are fairly good. MFT’s Look makes it feel better to get around in. Its Interactive Tree is a century ahead of the static look of the others. FTMM3 is better than Reunion because the ‘card’ system requires more clicks and it is less intuitive. MFT is easily the most intuitive of the 3.

I abandoned Reunion early on when I found that it doesn’t allow attaching of Media to Places. (Most of my places are now-defunct Scottish farms - not on modern maps. I attach a PDF of an old map (showing the farms) to each Place to supplement MFT’s map. You can’t do this with Reunion.)

1. Both MFT and FTM programs allow manual input of coordinates. Good.
2. I like that FTMM3 can select coordinates by clicking on a position. Saves lots of time. MFT doesn’t do this.
3. MFT’s Virtual Globe is wonderful for people having ancestors around the globe.
4. Despite 2., FTMM3’s pinpointing of locations is poor. It uses a pushpin icon for clicking to the feature in 2., but on the actual map it uses the inflated part of a balloon, obscuring the place-name.

Reports and Charts.
MFT has better-looking reports and charts. But FTMM3 has more of the basic ones.
In particular I was surprised that MFT did not have Narrative Descendant (or Register) Reports nor Outline Ancestor or Outline Descendant Reports. These “barebones” reports are very useful in conveying maximum information within minimal space, particularly when corresponding with other researchers. For now I’ll move a GEDCOM file to FTMM3 to create these reports. I hope that MFT will add them in future updates.

Media Management
FTMM3 allows Word Documents and Web Archives to be linked to Media. MFT doesn’t. I have converted to PDFs, which is probably best in the long run.

More importantly, MFT’s Media Management is a bit deficient. Media items are easy to find in FTMM3 because they are grouped into categories/lists. MFT only has a “Gallery” which makes it hard to find a Media item - and I only have a small tree so far.

Source and Citation Management
The ideas of the genealogy “Establishment” are unnecessarily complicated. The purpose is simple: to be able to re-find a source. An 800 page book? Ridiculous. (But I do understand that MFT has to cater to the standards - as silly as they might seem to me.)

Having said that, MFT is one field short in its citation management. It only has a title page for a source, plus notes within citations - no individual citation field. I hope this can be fixed.

Ratings. I don’t rate sources. I think the idea is muddleheaded. A family is proven by the links between individuals. You don’t rate a carpenter’s tools; you rate the finished job. Again, I understand MFT must cater to the “Establishment”. I hope that someone with a very intelligent, logical brain will come up with a less “muddleheaded” idea in the future.

Less Major
Entering Names: FTMM3 has a poor system. It has only one field. It selects the first word as a first name and the last word as a last name. It recognises “PhD” as a suffix but not “Baron” which it thinks is a last name. Entering back-slashes doesn’t cope with something like: “Sir John (aka Jack) ‘Dow’ de Bortoli (aka Brewster) MD”.
MFT has a field for each part of a name. Good.

MFT doesn’t list “BEF 07 Mar 1712” before “07 Mar 1712”. You have to put “BEF 06 Mar 1712”. Needs fixing.

The Three-dimensional Tree
Sorry, I don’t find this useful. Clever, but…

MFT could be the leader.
MFT is by quite a margin the most modern looking program. The other two programs I’ve looked at are strictly last century. Additionally: Reunion is efficient in what it does but misses some major basics. FTMM3 has the basics but needs a complete makeover. I think MFT is still young, so it is the only one that feels “all-of-a-piece”. But, being young, it is also missing some development.

At this stage I recommend MFT to other people in my position: with small, growing trees and having access to other programs for missing reports. If the deficiencies mentioned above can be addressed I will then recommend it to everyone.

Synium’s reply:
“First of all, thank you very much for your detailed feedback. Very much appreciated.
“You must have spend some time in checking and comparing which is impressive. Moste things you have stated, I will agree and we are about to change things.
“Therefore such feedback is important for us as we want to carefully decide which changes or Features can be done nicely and will fit to our imagination of MacFamilyTree.
“We are about to release a new major version - MacFamilyTree 8 and the working progress for release has just ended.
“Some of the behaviour you have mentioned such as the “BEF AFT.. thing” is known and we will definitely change that in the near future.
“We are looking forward to improve our source citation and media management and we will also have look on how we can improve our charts and reports for the future.
“Unfortunately we can not satisfy every customer since every person is unique and has his own little preferences.
“E.g. the virtual globe indeed is very popular by most of our customers. [Some misunderstanding here, I think. I love the Virtual Globe. I think the 3D Tree is less useful than other features. Peter.]
“We will keep up the work to get the most lovely experience of MacFamilyTree for our old and new customers.
“Thanks again.”

I will do an updated review after MFT v.8 is released.

Biggest Pro: Look, feel and functionality; interactive tree and virtual globe.
Biggest Con: Some deficiencies in media and source management; some missing basic reports.

MacFamilyTree Review by Stephen Meyers,  Dec 12, 2015

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

I had downloaded the demo version early 2015, and there were a lot of positives for this program, except the cost, especially since I already had RootsMagic. I have taught RootsMagic classes at our local family history library for the patrons that come in. I find the program far to complex, not in understanding it, but in the complexities that are built into it. If you are obsessive compulsive, you will find yourself wanting to, for example, attach all your media files to your individuals, tag them, etc, and then you find that you are constantly having to fix the broken links to the files, if you use RootsMagic on your laptop vs your desktop. Not worth the time and effort. You can create “notes” for every little thing, or attach sources to every little fact (not BMD or other major facts). I find this really tedious. I would rather have a central repository of notes for each person. They are integrated with MyHeritage, but “discoveries” there can’t really be attached to RootsMagic anyway, so there is a discontinuity. Don’t get me started on the “Mac” version of RootsMagic! SO MANY CRASHES, freezes, bugs, etc. They try to run the program in a “Wine” wrapper, but it just doesn’t work well, for many of us that are using it at the library. It’s easier to run it from a Windows PC through remote desktop on your Mac. We have been frustrated by the lack of a native OS app, but haven’t had a lot of choice.
When MacFamilyTree came out with a $24.99 price, I jumped on the chance to purchase the program through the App Store. I love the graphics interface, integration with FamilySearch, ease of synching, along with ability to review the other information for the source, like who contributed it, the tags assigned, and the ability to jump to the preview of it. This program as a simpler feel to it, like a single NOTES section, unlike RootsMagic. I REALLY like that this program is written specifically for MAC and that it uses iCloud to store the information and any media type files that you attach to the individuals. Whether on my laptop, my desktop, I have access to the SAME information, anytime I want. (you can’t imagine how many patrons mix up their databases when trying to switch from laptop to desktop. They are in a state of constant confusion because they are adding/editing information to different databases without realizing it, EVEN WHEN USING THE ROOTSMAGIC TO GO!). I don’t mean to degrade RootsMagic but I find that the older patrons struggle getting to know the program, even after 4 hours of in class training time). I find this app simplistic, in yet full featured.

Biggest Pro: iCloud synchronization for data & media. Easy to switch from traveling laptop to home desktop
Biggest Con: Lack of user forums for questions to pick others brains on getting the most out of the program. There is a user manual but it is pretty basic.

MacFamilyTree Review by Margaret,  Apr 24, 2015

Not Rated

Have used desktop version for years. Got the mobile app when it came out. Overall, I like it a lot and get prompt feedback from support. Great they are always working to improve. Some features I could do without and some could use some work. Took me a longtime to figure out how to deal with sources in their template. Love that I can store file in iCloud. Whatever changes I make on the go will show up ion my desktop. Exporting is a bit awkward. Las time i tried to export to world connect, it was a mess. Same whe I tried to export to rootsweb. Do like the templates available for posting family on their webpage. Very clean.

Biggest Pro: Syncing. Own website for uploading file. International.
Biggest Con: Sources template needs more flexibility. Export capability.

MacFamilyTree Review by John Chambers,  Feb 21, 2015

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

A good genealogy program completely let down by the failure of the latest version 7.3.2 to be compatible with the latest versions of IOS and OS X. With Apple’s implementation of iCloud under Yosemite MacFamilyTree no longer can sync databases between devices, both IOS and OS X. Synium Software blame Apple. The problem has existed for over 4 months making this version of the software a standalone package yet they still market the software as being able to sync via iCloud. Their support team reluctantly respond with it is Apple’s problem and we can’t do anything about it. This software was a good alternative to Family Tree Maker and provided an affordable alternative online search option to Synium Software have been quick to ensure that any negative comments on their Facebook page are not published. Check it out, the last post on their page is theirs saying there is a problem in November 2014.

Biggest Pro: Was the interface with database synchronisation
Biggest Con: No database syncronisation

MacFamilyTree Review by Tomas,  Aug 3, 2013

2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

- MacFamilyTree’s approach to sources is rather limited. You can’t enter the type of source or group your sources, thus every source has the same generic template and there is no place to enter specific information. You can’t even enter bibliographic information of a book. You need only a dozen sources and it gets confusing.
- MacFamilyTree has no advanced plausibility check (I entered a wrong birth year some days ago and the build in plausibility record had no problem with a mother being a toddler herself).
- MacFamilyTree’s reports are of limited usefulness. Colorful large dots indicating the sex of a person instead of condensed matter-of-fact reports that you dare to give to fellow genealogists or send to an archive to back up your question.
- MacFamilyTree’s interface doesn’t focus on displaying relevant information (e.g. date and place of birth and death of connected family members).
- Entering information is a pain. You can’t even use the tab key to navigate through all the fields without an interruption. Adding sources is time-consuming as well, because it is necessary to access some event window, find the right place and use your mouse a lot to identify the right source and add it. Then you have to navigate back and no, there are absolutely no keyboard shortcuts.
- Exported GEDCOM files result regularly in errors when trying to import them into other applications. I know about GEDCOM’s limits, but sometimes the exported files just seem to be corrupt.

I don’t know if the developers are genealogists themselves, it doesn’t feel this way.

Biggest Pro: actively developed, iOS app available, good integration with FamilySearch and other search engines, stable
Biggest Con: entering a log of data complicated, does not display the most relevant information when needed, weak plausibility checks, limited features in terms of sources, dysfunctional interface

MacFamilyTree Review by tws,  Feb 18, 2013

2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

Eigentlich gut, kann aber keine Paten, Trauzeugen verwalten. Sehr sehr schlechte Quellenverwaltung.

Biggest Con: Very very poor source management

MacFamilyTree Review by JanK,  Dec 21, 2012

2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

I would not recommend this program. I purchased it because it seemed like the best option for use on a Mac but I have been disappointed with it. I find the data entry for events and sources to be very awkward. There seems to be nothing intuitive about this program. One of the most compelling reasons to purchase Mac Family Tree was the connection with the LDS site Family Search. I have never been able to connect to the search site through Family Tree. Very disappointing! I see the price for this program has been reduced from $109.00 to $29.00 so that tells you something.

Biggest Pro: It works (sort of) on a Mac
Biggest Con: It doesn’t live up to its claims and is awkward to use

MacFamilyTree Review by George,  Nov 5, 2012

3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

Good news. The manual update from the website works now. Will have to test if the problem when saving persists.

MacFamilyTree Review by vanbeek,  Nov 4, 2012

3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

I have had the same saving-problems. I found the solution in an upgrade from snow-leopard to mountain-lion. But there are a number of things still not working: no marriage dates in the family-list; not possible to search for the gps values from cities.

I have also triewd to download the latetst update, but had the same experience, the update refused to install and the download was empty

Biggest Pro: easy to use and great graphics
Biggest Con: not stable

MacFamilyTree Review by George,  Nov 4, 2012

3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

I have been using MacFamily Tree for a few years now and was always very impressed. Lately however the programme crashed every time I tried to save a view. Yesterday an update arrived and I thought that it would solve my problem. The update refused to install. As suggested on the download message I tried to update from the Synium webpage but the download was empty. One is supposed to drag the programme from the box to Applications but the said box is empty. There is no programme to be seen. Is there any solution to this?

Biggest Pro: Easy to use and nice graphics
Biggest Con: above problem

MacFamilyTree Review by Dennis Schmidt,  Oct 31, 2012

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

I have used this program the past year and find the navigation straight forward and easy to use. The various charts are color coded and quite handsome. Some competing programs charts look very childish. These look professional. I began using MacFamilyTree after using RootsV and Family Tree Maker for the PC. At the time of my conversion to MacFamilyTreeI had over 1200 individual records and have not encountered any issues.

Biggest Pro: The graphical output is outstanding
Biggest Con: Do not provide a register report

MacFamilyTree Review by Glenn Thomas,  Oct 23, 2012

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

I have been a mac family tree user for the past 5 years. great software and great support.

Biggest Pro: Great visual trees!
Biggest Con: cost to upgrade between releases of software

MacFamilyTree Review by Graeme,  Jan 14, 2012

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

I have had the same experience as Jennifer Geraghty (Dec 19 2011). Up until now I was very impressed with the system and found it comfortable to use and as with most of the Mac software they continually improve it.
Even after retrieval from Time Machine the software will not allow access to former version. Does the LDS have some time limitation on use of the software, I have had the earlier version now for one year and it appears to have expired!!!!

Biggest Pro: it did work well
Biggest Con: I have lost everything

MacFamilyTree Review by Andrew,  Jan 14, 2012

2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

The iPad app keeps crashing. Totally frustrating since that’s a primary entry source for me. The main app is good. The web interface is pretty limited.

Biggest Pro: Main app has many features and has been robust
Biggest Con: Limited web features and crashing iPad app.

MacFamilyTree Review by Jennifer Geraghty,  Dec 19, 2011

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

On Wednesday 14 December 2011, I updated my MacFamilyTree software with 6.2 as recommended in software updates on my Mac (running OSX Lion). Prior to updating I was not having any trouble with MacFamilyTree; I did not ask for the update; I did not require the update. After I updated, the program crashed. I contacted the company, Synium, and sent my crash log; they did nothing.

On Friday 16 December 2011, I updated with the 6.2.1 update which they issued in order to fix the crash; it did nothing. Again I sent them the crash report.

This morning, Monday 19 December 2011, I received an email from them. They actually had the nerve to send me an update this morning called 6.2.2 which is nothing more than a new version of MacFamilyTree. They have done ABSOLUTELY nothing to help me restore the huge database I lost because of their update.

DO NOT BUY THIS SOFTWARE. The support people clearly have no clue about what they are doing. So now I have software on my computer that is completely unusable (by the way I paid full price for it through their website). I have lost my entire family tree on my Mac, although I do have backups on my iPad and iPhone; however the backups no longer interface with the software.

Biggest Con: Their lousy updates

MacFamilyTree Review by Gert Ermers,  Oct 3, 2011

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

Geweldig programma.

MacFamilyTree Review by James Goddard,  Jun 21, 2011

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

I’d be very careful about choosing this software. The interface is clunky at best, often requiring digging 5+ levels deep just to inter a simple piece of information. There are tons of bugs and customer service is practicably nonexistent. When they do respond they lie through their teeth.

I’d highly recommend looking at the other programs in this category and steering clear of anything made by Synium.

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