As a Macintosh dealer in Salt Lake City and Utah a common question that we get is “How can I do genealogy on my Mac.” There are few ways this can be done. You can get a Mac specific genealogy program or a Windows virtualization program. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Mac Specific Programs
There are a number of programs that will run on your mac without the need for anything else.
(Leister Productions) – One of the older genealogy programs for Mac. It hasn’t had a major update in years. It does have LDS ordinance support but does not have New FamilySearch integration. They have have a mobile app version for iPhone/iPads. The current version is compatible with OS X Lion. There is a demo available for download. Cost is $99 and is not in the App Store. It can be downloaded from their website or purchased in store. The mobile app is $14.99 and is purchased through the iTunes app store.
Family Tree Maker (ancestry.com) – New for Mac. It does have LDS ordinance support but not New FamilySearch integration. It does integrate with ancestry.com. There is not a mobile version or demo version for download. Cost is $69.99 and is available through their website.
Mac FamilyTree 6 (Synium Software) – Relatively new and made major improvements
with version 6. It has LDS ordinance support and New FamilySearch integration (requires LDS.org login). There is a mobile version for iPad/iPhone. It is compatible with OS X Lion. There is a demo available for download from their website. Cost is $59.99 on the App Store. Mobile version is $14.99 through the iTunes app store.
FamilyInsight (Ohana Software) – This is also a new program for the mac. It has LDS ordinance support and New FamilySearch integration (requires LDS.org login). The most unique feature of FamilyInsight is the Ordinance Helpers for keeping track of ordinances and making reservations to have them done. There is not a mobile version and the cost is $25 to download from their website. They also have a free utility called Get My Ancestors.
Running Windows Programs (PAF, Roots Magic Ect)
It is also possible to run Windows genealogy programs on your Mac (most common are PAF and Rootsmagic). There are multiple ways to do this and most methods require a license of Windows to work.
Bootcamp – This is a program that is part of Mac OS X that will set up your hard drive in a Mac part and a Windows part. Once Windows is installed you can tell the computer to boot into either Mac OS or Windows. This offers the best compatibility with Windows programs but has to be rebooted anytime you want to use it. The cost is the price of a Windows license. (Between $129 to $499)
Virtualization Software – This includes Parallels Desktop and VM Ware Fusion. They are applications that emulate a Windows computer. You can install Windows and programs and they run at the same time as your Mac programs. Some programs can run slower when using one of these applications because you are running two operating systems at the same time and they are using more resource on your computer. The biggest advantage is that you don’t need to restart to use your Windows programs. For doing genealogy it works great. Parallels is $79 and Fusion is $49 and you would need to buy a license of Windows as well. We carry everything you need in our stores.
Crossover – Crossover is an application that can run Windows programs without needing Windows installed. It is inexpensive but doesn’t work with everything. I have tried it with PAF and it worked well. I haven’t tried it with other programs yet. There is a trial version available for download. Cost starts at $39.