Best genealogy software apps for the Mac?

What are a few of the best Genealogy software apps for the Mac?

I’m looking for an unknown Grandfather, as my mother was adopted. We found my Grandmother’s family via DNA on Ancestry. I’ve been in touch with a few new cousins on both my unknown Grandfather’s side and my Grandmother’s side there. I’ve also been in touch with a few new cousins on my unknown Grandfather’s side via DNA on 23andMe.

So, I will try to use this genealogy software to pull info off of and to dig down deeper in the data. I’ll need to build a tree with 1000’s of family members to try to connect with those cousins on my unknown Grandfather’s side, as they know less than I do about our connection. I bought RootsMagic yesterday and will probably work with another software program as well.

I would like an app that can hold a lot of data. It should be powerful, not necessarily pretty.

I’ve also heard of: Family Tree Maker 2019, Mac Family Tree, and Reunion.

Thank you, and have a wonderful day today!!!

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I use Reunion to store my genealogy info. I find it easy to use with all the function I need. My tree has nearly 6,000 entries.


I have used all of them at some time and settled on MacFamilyTree for Mac and iOS. They really are all pretty good programs.

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Reunion meets my fairly simple needs, although it does not handle 2nd marriages well. There is also the free “Gramps” which I haven’t tried, but my friend likes it.
Be cautious about using info from Ancestry, Family Search and other similar sources without verifying it yourself. Their data is only as accurate as the people who have posted it, and I have run into errors there.

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I tried several and ended up with MacFamilyTree, too. Pretty happy with it.

Indeed. While searching Family Search on known and documented family members I discovered several minor errors. But, in general, I find the data quite good.

I was able to use Family Search to track down the signature of an ancestor when she arrived at Ellis Island! I was then able to attach that document to her entry in MacFamilyTree.

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My wife swears by Reunion - she’s been using it for many years and I dread to think how much data would be in it.


I’ve never used an app for this, but I do occasionally visit for looking up stuff related to my family.

If you just create a free account and do nothing else, you will end up with a very stripped-down family tree. Consisting of just yourself and whatever other relatives you choose to add. You can choose to send invitations to family members you add, and you will be linked so you can work on the tree together.

If you opt for a paid-up membership, then the system can find other people’s family trees the overlap yours. You can review the overlap and then join the trees together. This is especially nice if you or your relatives already have an established tree on the site.

In my case, my family tree is pretty extensive. I was invited by another member, so my tree is the big one that has been researched/linked by others, even though I’m using a free membership. One of these days, I will subscribe for a few months in order to see if they have any data for my in-laws’ families, so the trees can be linked. But I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet.

The site operators say that the goal is to link everybody into one world tree. I don’t know how far along they are on this goal, but the number of people linked to my family tree is pretty impressive.

See also About Geni : About Geni

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Another Reunion user here.
Currently have 131 people in my list (my wife’s family is huge - she’s from Jamaica, consequently we have a lot of illegitimate ‘cousins’ from some of the men who were a little on the randy side.)
it deals with them quite well. Not had any issues with second marriages here.
I settled on Reunion after meeting several clients who were into genealogy in a big (almost commercial) way and they were all using it.
I did try Mac Family Tree but found Reunion to be the better option.


Reunion! Not just superb genealogical software, but superb software, period. It is beautifully designed database software and uses all the latest features that make the Mac head and shoulders above other computers. Its capabilities are probably far greater than any one person’s needs—I have 2,502 people in my database, and it runs lickety-split. Changes propagate everywhere instantly.

I have been watching it since it first ran on Mac OS 9, noticing it at an Apple expo (remember those?) in NYC. I thought it was pricy, but I finally bought it in 2002, and am I ever glad I did!

I used it to publish a book, and the results were astonishing, exceeding my expectations. It will also publish websites and charts of every imaginable type, including box charts of ALL my 2,502 relatives that would take up a whole wall in a warehouse. It’s easy to get your data into and out of Reunion, too, via GEDCOM or text file. Help facility is very complete and astonishingly easy to use, and support is very responsive the two times I needed it.

I think it is clearly the crème de la crème of genealogical software.


Thank you to everyone who has replied with their input on this topic!

It’s been very helpful!

I use Reunion and have since the early '00s. It is superbly well thought out and implemented.

It has evolved to become very flexible. I’d like to know more about @aborthwick 's concern about how it handles 2nd marriages. It handles any number of marriages, duplicate parents (for adoptions), close-relative marriages, non-marriages, and many other cases. It is a supremely Mac-based app, so the interface does not have any kludgy compromises from other OS paradigms.

Reunion is still a little weak in v. 13 handling graphics and media. The developer does not embed media into the database, but rather depends on the MacOS file system for link references. Moving media, or changing a folder name, is enough to break the link. There is a robust utility for identifying and relinking broken links (think InDesign), but it can be a pain.

Reunion started, I believe, as a FileMaker based project, and for all I know it still is, deep down. It is a true database and offers many, many ways to search and report your genealogical data.

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I’ll add another vote for Mac Family Tree and Mobile Family Tree. I’ve used it for years and now have nearly 22,000 people in it. The sync between platforms has vastly improved in recent versions, and I have no issues working between my iMac, iPad and iPhone. I use it in conjunction with web services such as Ancestry and Family Search, and Geni to a lesser extent.

Hi Matt,
Apologies if it does, but I’m hoping this reply does not clutter up the thread with specific software issues. It may be a setting I am missing, but in Tree View I have been unable to have Reunion display a first and second marriage simultaneously.

To display multiple spouses of an individual in Tree View, you have to select a parent or other ancestor of the individual.

I have had the same experience with Reunion and agree with your evaluation.

I hope RootsMagic works out for you, and would like to hear your impressions of it as you start to enter information into it. I was looking for an intermediate way to get information out of Ancestry and dabbled with RootsMagic but found it difficult to approach. Ancestry went through a major overhaul that made exporting full GEDCOM files much easier, for which I’m thankful.

And in general, very best wishes for your search. My great-grandparents adopted two children at the turn of the 20th Century, and one of their descendants recently contacted me thrilled to have found her family back east. She didn’t know why her surname was spelled differently, and in fact that her grandfather had been adopted. My personal feeling is that adopted relatives are…relatives. But, I don’t know how it feels from the viewpoint of not knowing who your genetic ancestors are.

Been using Reunion for years. Currently have 9,871 people in personal tree, and have a number of other trees built to handle local history research. It has only improved with age. Regarding Family Search, use it carefully and double-check anything that is not supported by verifiable primary documents. Family Search is an excellent site to locate such documents, but may require a great deal of searching. I also build family trees on Ancestry, mainly to connect families I am researching for local history, and find it useful in ferreting out documents that Ancestry already has available.

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They’re all reasonable choices. I have found MacFamily Tree to be the most pleasant.

Be careful with Geni. I knew a family that had a stalker who basically slurped all the metadata out of it and republished it so they couldn’t remove it. The semi-public nature of everything on Geni is really problematic.

I’ve been a Reunion user for more than a decade. I have over 12,000 people in my main family file. It is excellent and flexible with regard to handling genealogical data, including media. It is solid software with a user friendly interface, the support (on the very few occasions I have needed any) was quick and on point, and it has a significant user base and user community. It has a mobile app (Reunion Touch) that I find invaluable when I am traveling or at family events and someone asks me a family history question. It makes a variety of charts. It will build a website with your file, according to your parameters. It tells relationships. It has good search. Apparently it integrates with Google Maps, but I have not used that. It will export gedcokmes that have always worked for me. It does a good job of source documentation.

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