If your family is anything like my family, it’s scattered. If not scattered around the country, it’s scattered through history. Look at your family and relatives and then ask a few questions. Do you have a family tree? Do your know where your family originated and when? Here’s how to build a little family history by turning your Mac into a digital family tree.
Big Families From Little Acorns Grow
One of my major family projects is to build a family tree. From what we know already, one branch of the family dates back to Scotland in the 16th century. Another to England, another to France, then Holland and other parts of Europe, and generations unknown. I have family records dating back a couple of hundred years, but family photos less than 100 years.
MacFamilyTree is the Mac app I’ve chosen to document the branches because it’s linear in approach, and graphical in nature.
The first step is to step backwards. Start with current family information, then parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and generations beyond. It’s an ongoing dynamic exercise. Keep filling in the blanks. MacFamilyTree builds the tree.
Enter names and relationships. Add digital photos and notes. Maps can be used to pinpoint where some family members were born, lived, or died.
When you’ve added information for a few generations, MacFamilyTree displays the tree with a click.
Building a family tree is not an overnight project. It takes time, effort, diligence. All MacFamilyTree does is hold the information you provide. Over time, the tree begins to grow and develop.
The list of family members, relatives extends. Keep in mind that any family tree is made up first of people, then families. All family members lived in different places and all that information is collected slowly.
Visualize The Past, Futuristically
All that information can be viewed in Ancestor Charts, Statistics, Person and Family Reports, and many other ways, including online, or saved onto a CD or DVD, for distribution to family members.
There’s even an iPhone version of MacFamilyTree, though I’m not sure of the value of carrying in-depth genealogy around with you.
As enjoyable and tedious as building a family tree can be (yes, it’s both) MacFamilyTree makes it both. Watching the tree and details grow is pleasant. Adding details is not, as you often need to dig into multiple levels just to enter data. While the family-tree-as-website feature is great, so would an option to print out a colorful book of a family tree, ala the book functionality built in to iPhoto.
Otherwise, it’s nicely done, simple to use and get started, but capable of storing plenty of family history.