MacFamilyTree 8 App Reviews

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So Thorough, Complete and Well Thought Through

I cannot say enough good things about this application. I’ve been using it for a while now with other family members using the CloudTree (iCloud sync) feature and have over 400 people in the tree now. The flexibility with which you can enter data is fanatastic. It’s very easy to move people around or add additional (sometimes complex) relationships (step, adopted, joins to multiple parts of the tree). The depth to which you can enter events for individual people or the family is excellent. I love how you can define sources and then cite those sources when entering bits of information. It’s also very easy to enter various media and then link them to the people or events where they relate without having to add the media more than once. The reports, charts and output are also fanatastic. There are so many different ways to look at the data and you can choose to output them in any of the supported 16 languages. This has been very useful to me as I am working with family members in 4 different languages (all supported). Finally the “CloudTree” sync is exactly what I wanted. It’s almost a shame that they gave it its own name because at first I thought I’d have to sync through their cloud which I did not want. CloudTree just uses iCloud sync (note: NOT iCloud Drive) which so far for me has worked wonderfully. I can work on my desktop most of the time but continue on my laptop when I travel. I can have multiple family members work on the tree at the same time. The price is reasonable given the outstanding capabilities and quality of this program. I have two other family members using the the app via Apple’s Family Sharing feature, so I only pay for one copy and they get to use it too (if they’re part of your Family Sharing group). This is a really, really aweosme program and I’m very glad that I found it.

A waste of money

I find it hard to believe the five star rating for this program. There is ghosting of individuals from family search, that can’t be removed and don’t email their support because they don’t email back. The program locks up and shuts down on its own. But the main thing that pisses me off about this program is the advertising in a program that I paid for and paid way too much for. Apple needs to get a tighter hold on these third party programs and their programmers. Pay heed and pass this one by.

Best Mac Genealogy App Around...

I rarely write reviews for apps but just wanted to express my support for Synium and MacFamilyTree. I love it. Is it perfect? No, nothing is. However, this is - hands down - the most Mac-like genealogy software I have used. The design of the UI and the workflow that comes out of that are absolutely in line with what you’d expect from a piece of Mac software. So many of the other genealogy programs available were clearly designed for Windows first and the MacOS version seems little more than afterthought to capitalize on Apple’s expanding popularity. I am all about developers who design and code for the Mac FIRST. Pros: - Beautiful, intuitive UI; graphics are aesthetically pleasing and smooth - Stable and reliable, hasn’t crashed on me yet (believe it or not, this does still matter in 2018) - MacOS to iOS sync and connectivity is awesome and based on iCloud/CloudKit. Devs - PLEASE keep it that way. - The companion iOS app seems to have almost complete feature-parity with the desktop app - which is AMAZING. I don’t need to be tethered to my desk to work on my database. Granted, the mechanics are a little different on a touchscreen device but the UI and the functionality is all similar and familiar after using the desktop app. - FamilySearch integration is pretty cool and well-done compared to what I’ve seen elsewhere. Not a big draw for me but still awesome. - Wonderful reporting and charting capabilities right out of the gate - Such fine-grained control over the various data elements in your trees. You can add notes, source citations, text, tags, media, to-do’s to practically every person, event or fact type available; really lets you manage the data however you want. Meh’s - The virtual tree - this is a 3d animated model of your family tree. It looks cool…the first time…and that’s about it. Don’t really understand the ultimate point of this feature or see any functional purpose to it. - The research assistant is helpful for filling in only the most basic missing information but not very configurable or ultimately very useful in my opinion. If it were something similar to GenSmarts on Windows, then I’d be in love with it. But I know GenSmarts is an older utility whose usefulness is a subject for debate. Additionally, Synium is a German developer with an international focus, not just the US. - Web Search is not all that useful for real research but don’t really know you would improve it much more without the cooperation of the record sources (Ancestry, FamilySearch, etc.) Cons: - If you buy into the modern source craze in Genealogy today (a la Evidence Explained), you’re going to find source management in MacFamilyTree cumbersome if not downright impossible. MacFamilyTree does not offer source templates or anything that even remotely attempts to conform to EE-style source management/citation. I’ve found workarounds which I’m happy with but I’m sure a number of enthusiast amateur genealogists would be put off by this. Again, EE-style is more of an American phenomenon and MacFamilyTree isn’t just for Americans…so I can’t fault the developers for this. - Documentation & resources - while there is a user guide, I would LOVE for the developer to have a forum or a more active YouTube/online presence to help evangelize MacFamilyTree and give their users more help with using it/workflows/ideas, etc. It’s an awesome app but there isn’t really a ‘community’ for it online and that’s just strange in this day and age.

VERY disappointed!

I have used several genealogy programs through the years - Family Tree Maker, Roots Magic, Legacy, etc. - for a PC. This is my second genealogy program for Mac and the best I can say about it is: I am VERY disappointed with it. I have over 59,000 names in my database. Legacy loads immediately. Family Tree Maker loaded somewhat slower. Now this app, Synium’s Mac Family Tree 8 is one of the slowest I have ever used. I have finally given up on trying to load my database and have had to force quit the program to make it to quit running. I’m trashing this waste of money and will be looking for something other to run on my Mac.Don’t waste your time or money here.

Excellent program!

After having used other programs such as Heredis and Roots Magic, I was looking for a program with better features. I decided to give this program a try and I have absolutely no regrets. The ease of use is amazing and very self-explanatory. I opened the program and just started using it. There was nothing complicated at all about anything. Adding people is extremely easy and navigating around the family tree took no explanation whatsoever. Also, the visual experience is absolutely amazing. The chart and report features are very well done and extremely easy to create. I had read that there are ads on this program and I was imagining pop-up ads on every page. That isn’t anywhere close to what I am seeing. So far, I have seen an occasional message like once or twice at the beginning that asks something about Synium but it is nothing that I would worry about in terms of ruining the experience. In my opinion, this is definitely a 5-star program.

I really like it

I’ve only had this for a couple of weeks and I’ve already been able to put in all of the information I have about both sides of my family. It’s very easy to use. I don’t understand one reviewer’s comment about ads because I haven’t seen any ads. I haven’t explored all of the features yet but I look forward to doing so. I will update this review after I have had a chance to explore the features more fully.

Overpriced and Full of ads

Developer has gone down a dark road by deciding to place ads in the software.

Not compatible with MacFamily Tree 7 mobile

If you upgrade for the Mac, you have to upgrade mobile also or it wn’t work. You are required to pay for two expensive upgrades, each with very limited upgrades. I regret upgrading to version 8 and will go back to version 7. GThe improvements are not worth paying for an upgrade on both.

Relationship chart still does not work properly.

I’m still waiting the the relationship chart fix, but I will not wait forever. Love every thing else but this one issue is crippling my research. The problem is easy to reproduce and as a result I see no reason why it hasn’t been fixed. The relationship calculation is the heart to all geneolgy softwares. I love the nicely formated charts but I need a working relatioship calculator more than the nice printable charts. On January first I’ll be using FTM’s relationship calculator on Windows running on my Mac if this obvoius BUG isn’t fixed. I will not wait forever and now I have a drop-dead date of January 1, 2018.

Beautiful rendering of no data

Just bought the app, and so far I am disappointed with the data sources. It only integrates to FamilySearch, which didn’t find any of my relatives that I entered, so the app is useless as a research tool. In contrast, for example, in MyHeritage I entered a single person (myself) and found 55 relatives with profiles, photo’s, supporting documentation, etc. So while it’s appealing to have a family tree app without a subscription fee, now it looks like it’s only useful if you pay a subsription to the data from somewhere else, in addition to buying the app, at which point you don’t really need to buy the app.


Horrible product. Pretty expensive for a product that doesn’t really do any online research. Just a glorified databse for information you have to research elsewhere. I wish I had never wated my money.

Personally, love the updates!

When I initially purchased MFT 7, I was coming off of working on a PC and trying to find something comparable to work with on a Mac; there weren’t many choices. It took a while to get use to but it did its job. Since the upgrade to MFT 8 and the updates, I am really content and no longer remember what I miss from the PC family tree programs.

Family tree charts now take up MUCH less space

I have a Web site that covers (mostly) the subject of athletic shoes, and I also have my family tree as part of the information. MacFamilyTree 7 required over a gigabyte of disk space for the family tree charts, while MacFamilyTree 8 requires only 104 megabytes. I have approximately 8400 individuals and 3600 families. Synium Software changed from using predrawn graphics to drawing the graphics in the Web browser using JavaScript coding. And they increased functionality to boot. Now, the boxes in the family tree chart are clickable and lead you to the page for the individual person. This version is going to pay for itself because I’m now using less disk space at my Web presence provider. Because I’m storing less data, I went from a $30 a month hosting plan to a $20 a month hosting plan.


First-time downloader today, and I have to say I’m impressed out the gate. The amount of detail allowed for data entry is impressive, but the app is still easy to navigate. Good stuff!

Great Update.

I am really happy with the new chart options and all the added styles. Great app, that just gets better with every update.

Pretty good geneology software

Overall, it’s pretty good. It’s very easy to navigate, which can be tricky with geneology software. It’s very easy to enter information, and to edit information. I LOVE that it offers so many ways to visualize your family tree: the circle chart is particularly beautiful and interesting to explore. However, it needs some work before becoming a perfect program. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars, and gave it 4 because it’s very good at constructing a family tree, which is obviously what it advertises itself as being designed to do. However, I was really hoping for a program that would also help organize and record the vast number of papers, documents, and photos I’ve been collecting from my family, and to be able to share my research with other members of my family. In these matters, it is very weak. The things that really need improvement: - The website it publishes looks like it’s from 1997. The software’s UI is modern and simple and elegant in that Mac-software-way, and the many, many tree views it offers are all so elegant and beautifully designed… so it’s kind of a shocker to see the final, clunky website. In particular, the media needs to be improved, and there’s no location information. There also needs to be options to hide certain information or comments before publishing. - There needs to be separate categories for photographs/images of the people and places, and for media that is in document/written form. Lumping them all together under “media,” and having whichever one randomly ends up first be the person’s avatar on the family tree, is extremely clunky and inconvenient. When I add a group photo, and tag a bunch of people, that photo moves to the front of the “media” queue in each entry, and then I need to go back into each person and change the order of their media to get back to a photo of their face as the Family Tree avatar. There needs to be an assigned photo for the avatar that doesn’t change, and it needs to be able to be a cropped version of another photo (to get nice and square around their face) WITHOUT cropping the entire photo in the “media” section. - The media options in general need to be vastly improved, and IMO there should be a way to tag different media types: personal letters, business letters, government documents, education records, etc. At the very least, separate categories between government/official records, and personal records. I have thousands of random little documents and letters between family members that I’d like a much more elegant way to organize. I’d love to be able to scan them in, attached them to people, and know that a digital copy is safe. I guess this could be done by making them each a “source,” but that would make the source list completely unweildy. If that’s how it’s supposed to work, there needs to be a way to put sources in folders or categories/subcategories, because having to navigate a list of literally thousands of love letters and “wish you were here” postcards between distant relatives to find the 1900 census documentation would be ridiculous. - Locations needs to be significantly improved. This is a big one, and pretty frustrating. When doing family research, locations can be as important as individual people. First of all, you can only assign events down to the town level… but I have all these census records and family histories that include street addresses, and mutliple events happening in the same town that I’d like to assign to individual locations. Street addresses can be very important to family history: who got married in which church in town, what happened to the family when they were still living on X street, before they moved to the larger house on Y street, etc. There also needs to be ways to attach photographs, documents, and notes to locations… I have so many family stories of what happened at X location that don’t really belong under an individual person, but definitely belong to the location. It’s also really weird to me that you can’t assign photos to locations. I have a bunch of photos of houses that family members lived in, churches they got married in, vacation spots they went to, that I’d love a place to store and attach to the location. Basically, this program does about half of what I need it to do. Some stuff (like the location updates, and being able to assign a face to a name) I think it should already do. Being able to use it to store photos/memories/documents isn’t technically within the program’s mandate, but it would make the program so much more useful, and me such a happier customer.

Great app with minor inconveniences

This is as thorough as a family tree application can get. Adding new family members can be a bit cumbersome, the app doesn’t intuitivley support “non-conforming” family members, so a bit of data entry jiu jitsu is required, but overall an astounding application.

machine sounds like it’s going to blow-up

I was looking for something that was user friendly to create several trees and stores photos, documents, etc. I didn’t like the clunky, Windows feel of the other Mac compatible programs. This one is the most Mac-like visually. Information is easy to input and it has many good features, like mapping and the ability to search from the web. However, the big draw-back that makes me kinda wish I didn’t buy it, is that my computer get’s hot and the fan loud, like it’s about to blow-up. I really hope this program doesn’t damage my machine.

Great Software! Great Customer Service!

This is wonderful geneology software for Mac users…and the corresponding iOS apps really make it the full package…but even more important is the customer service provided by Synium. I have had a few user questions and each time the response from the company has been super fast and helpful.

Excellent Application

I’ve been a user through several iterations of the program and have never had any issues with it. The program works better than many others and has a more responsive development team than I have seen with other applications.

Crashes constantly

Upgraded from a previous version. Previous version was better in almost every way. Can’t use it for more than 10 minutes until it crashes the entire OS. This is the first Mac app that I’ve ever had this experience with. It’s unusual for a Mac app to be able to take down the entire system.

I Like It.

As a beginner, the learning curve was minimal. No sluggishness, no freezing. It just works. That is why I buy Apple. Thank you.

I prefer version 7

Version 8 is a step backward when it comes to the visual experience of the interactive tree interface. The interface requires double-clicking an individual to reorient the tree around him/her, rather than the single click of version 7. The visuals are less appealing: the shadows on individuals make them look like they’re in a bad powerpoint; the “cartoon” symbol style option is the worst kind of 3D clipart; the rotating gear animation around the highlighted individual makes him/her look like they’re inside a prize ribbon; and the default scaling of selected and unselected individuals is all off. Finally, the interactive tree appears to have some kind of Star Wars effect where everything is displayed at a slight tilt going back in time… Why? The edit menu for each individual does not display a column for “description,” which is key for “events" like “occupation,” and there is no obvious way to edit which columns display in the edit bar (you can still see the description, however, by double-clicking the event for additional data). This version needed more user experience testing. I prefer version 7, despite some of the additional (useful) features of version 8, like “plausibility”—a feature which notifies you of inconsistent data among family members on your tree.

Love it

After playing around with version 8 for a few weeks now I have to say that it’s a brilliant update. I love the colors and the interactive family tree and the new filters. It’s much easier now to enter persons or person data in the interactive family tree because you don’t have to switch between tree and person edit. It’s all in one view now and I can even see FamilySearch suggestions while I am working on my family tree. The charts don’t seem to have changed since version 7 but they were already so beautiful that I cannot think of any things I missed there. The layout itself is a huge enhancement. The huge sidebar on the right is gone and has been replaced by a much more elegant top bar. I have so much more space to view my charts now. Only thing that I miss is some kind of online collaboration to invite family members. Currently noone can contribute to my tree, just send me gedcomm files.

Mostly a step backwards

I recently upgraded from MacFamilyTree 7, and frankly am quite regretful. Granted, I don’t use all the charting and graphing features, mainly just the tree editing and sourcing screens. The one good thing in 8 is the permanent editing window that docks on the right side of the screen (the version 7 quick edit would disappear as soon as you clicked off of it). However, the rest of the tree page has become hard to read and muddled. It is coded for retina macs and perhaps not having one is a drawback for me, as I have to make the text so large to be readable that it wraps funny. The tree edit page take just too much clicking to get to stuff that should be visible all the time or with just one click, as in version 7. The best way to describe it is like viewing your tree through a paper tube. The source viewer has also gotten harder to use, with sources being grouped and sorted in funny ways, but no straight up alphabetical list as before. I wish there was an option to view the tree edit page in the version 7 format.

Best in mac genealogy

MacFamilyTree has always been the best Mac genealogy app but it even got better in version 8. The new layout is so much more streamlined and clear. I love the new change log and the interactive tree. You can now edit your complete tree in the interactive tree and you see all person information right in a new sidebar. That comes in so handy. There is a performance issue on non retina Macs in the interactive tree. I contacted the support and they told me they are working on it. My favorite three features of MacFamilyTree 8 are the interactive tree, the globe and the plausibility report, which shows you where you have made obvious errors in your tree. Update: Thank you Synium, the performance issues I mentioned were fixed and everything is working perfectly now. That’s another thing a like: Good customer service. I reported several smaller issues thrughout the years or had some quesions, and most times Synium was able to take care if it quickly. Options for reaching out to the support teams are contact form, Twitter, Facebook and their extensive Q&A area.

Terrible User Interface

I purchased Version 8, used it for a little while, then reverted back to version 7. The new user interface is, to be blunt, horrible. Gigantic garish icons, wierd 3D pink and blue torsos floating around a pseudo-3D screen that “puff up” when you mouse over them, etc. It’s awful. I’ll stick with V7 until I find some other software to replace it, and it won’t be MacFamilyTree.

Sooooooo Slow

I am used to working with Legacy on a PC. It is really a great program. I bought a MAC, which I love, and had to find another genealogy program. This one seemed to be the best. But, I have had nothing but problems with it. It is extremely slow and unwieldily. It takes forever to move around. I also don’t like the relationship calculator as it only does it for a few generations - which I can easily do in my head. I upgraded to version 8 and can’t even get it to open. It just hangs up. I have 33,000 names and maybe that’s the problem, but I never had any problem whatsoever with the number of names on the Legacy program. I would not recommend this program.

Great Application and Great Support

I love this app! It makes dealing with geneological information so much easier and more visual. It works great and, while there are sometimes little annoyances, for the most part I don’t have any real complaints. The developers also offer great support. A while back I emailed in about a problem where the scrolling seemed sluggish, and within a day they had responded that a fix was in the works. A few days after that, they pushed out an update that addressed the very problem I had contacted them about, and it now works great! I would highly recommend this app to anyone interested in family history.

Freezes Up

When I first started using this program, I was very excited at the way it performed, the graphics and the layout of the program. However, once I started building my family tree, the more ancestors that I added, the slower the performance of the software. My MacBook eventually quit being able to run the program so I had to start over from scratch with a newly created tree. This was very time consuming but the program seemed to work better as long as I did not access the Family Search website to verify information. Then I downloaded the most recent update to the software and it crashed. I now have to delete the app and re-install the software. When the program works, it is AWESOME! But, it is very frustrating when it starts to slow down and begin freezing up on a very fast MacBook Pro. Fix the bugs and I will start using again, thanks!

Worked Great for the first 12

After placing persons in the tree on my side and my wifes the app started freezing. If I select anyone else other than myself the program became unresponsive and had to be forced quit. The more I attempt to use it the less I like it.

Holy crow, it’s so slow!

So I just bought this, imported a (tiny!) GEDCOM file (<25 people), and it’s so slooooow. Mouseover animations happen about 2 seconds after I roll over them. Clicks take about 2 seconds to register with the app as well. I’ll contact support and update my review if they can fix, but…wow.


Unlike many of the commenters this is my first verstion of MacFamily Tree — indeed my first use of any family tree software. So far I have been very impressed with the intuitive nature of data entry, the ability to use “to do” for additional research to resolve contradictions, and the variety of reports that are available. I also appreciate that the data entry fields are largely customizable so that I can display and enter information based on what I have available. I’ve entered about 400 names from various hard-copy sources, so I haven’t yet tried the free online research feature. I’m hoping that’s as good as the rest of the program.


i just paid $30 to add family members and watch it crash!!! WTH

huge fan of “fan chart” !

This is a fantastic Mac app that clearly gets love & attention from its developer. I always hestitate to buy narrow-purpose software, figuring it won’t be as powerful or polished as general purpose tools from the likes of Apple, Adobe, Microsoft & Google. But after years of painstakingly producing family tree charts in page layout programs (with photos & docs stored in file-system folders), all I can say is… Wow Wow Wow. Treat yourself to this software. The “fan chart” views of ancestors & descendants will delight everyone from pre-school kids to great-great-grandparents, plus there are all the basic genealogy tools you can think of. We’ve also been loving the “hourglass” charts that refocus a tree from one person’s view of ancestors & descendants—it’s this kind of charting that motivitates adding & correcting to really document the family history. The iCloud sync is fantastic, too, & lets you indulge the family-tree project on-the-go, too.

Nice Update

I’m enjoying the new layout. Seems to be easier to tunderstand and use.

Mighty Fine

Having used a number of genealogy programs over the years, I’ve found MacFamilyTree the best in terms of user interface, flexibility of reporting and editing, and aesthetics. From what I can tell, Synium is constantly improving MacFamilyTree in response to customer feedback. I’ve found the latest iteration, v.8, to be excellent. Once I got v.8 fine tuned to my liking, it is very user friendly, easy to use and straightforward. And best of all, when I had a problem setting up the person edit screen to my liking, customer service got back to me within 24 hours with a clear and concise resolution. Doesn’t get much better than that in my book. When it comes to genealogy programs, MacFamilyTree is the best I’ve found.

Version 8 is an Absolutely Spectacular Total Redesign

Everything is updated to make it seamless to edit, cite sources, makes notes, add media in family or individual panes. It is remarkably customizable to the last detail, has great new mapping and place search capabilities, all kinds of ways to group, sort, filter the details of your data. With perfected generation choices in views you can also choose when to include siblings or children in your interactive tree view. Fully integrated discrepancy/error/to-do help for cleaning up your tree, and integrated linking to web and matching. The fantastic narrative and subject reports and publishing options are exquisite. You can download a fully operable demo to check it out for yourself. Some reviewers have not actually used this product. It is absolutely breathtaking in scope, beauty and ease of use.

Do Not Upgrade from 7 to 8!

This is in my eyes a downgrade from 7. The interface looks much more clunky. Why the hell would anyone put two thick horizontal toolbars on top of each other? Seriously, is there anyway to revert to the other version?

This Redesign is very pretty

For the charts and reports alone MacFamily Tree is worth it. They make organizing your data effortless. As a professional genealogist I can sit down and show a client in a 3D Visual view how they are related to their ancestors. The view makes it easy for them to understand. I find very few weak points in this software. The only thing that would make this program stronger would be a better way to document your sources. As far as data entry goes it’s very simple, just plug your names in and it will check your facts against common data entry errors. Once you have enough data entered that’s where the magic begins. It will bring your ancestors virtually alive.

Love This Update

One of the best features is the ability to create “Smart Filters” and save them. When your database begins to have 1000’s of name in it, it is nice to be able to query down your database to show only those people you want to see in your list. It’s also nice to query down your “To Do List” to show only a specific group of individuals that you are researching, however, the ability to PRINT a list using the subset of individuals can’t yet be done. Maybe in future updates, these data queries could be available for Reports and Lists as well. The ability to create a Report with a subset of individuals or to make a List with a subset of individuals would be really nice. Currently the Smart Filters are only seen when using the Person List. The new appearance and ability to change the appearance to your likes is also very nice. This is done with a new “Camera” view and the “Options” selections. The workflow has changed, and in my mind anyway, this new version is more intuitive than version 7 was. Source synchronization with FamilySearch is still ill handled through their “Source Box”. I had never used that feature on FamilySearch, since the SourceLinker applet is so much easier to use. However, I find it so easy to just attach the sources to MFT using the URL information for sites like Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, etc. If the site is probably going to be “less permanent”, then I would attach the site information as an actual document. The ability to import these is simple, but I do wish that there was an ability to just paste screenshots and URL location into the app, like you can do with EverNote WebClipper. All in all, I could not wait for this update to come out! It really is the best app to use if you are a MacUser. I was using RootsMagic, their “Mac” version which is the Windows version running with or something like CrossOver). The program has been out for over a year and still glitches all the time, and doesn’t display source information well, do to “browser” issues. It’s nice to have a native Mac OS program like MacFamilyTree. I have had no sync problems, and store my database in iCloud, something that it is a REALLY nice feature if you are using this program on a desktop and also the laptop that you take to the Family History library, etc. There are nice features coming with RootsMagic, like synching with Ancestry and FindMyPast, from what I understand, though I am concerned about messing up the primary local database if there are too many options. Still, if it works, such as to bring Source information over directly to your individuals, this would be a nice feature. This program could use a better Tutorial, especially with how to do the “Sourcing”. There are SO MANY different ways though to create and store your sources, depending on type, etc. I also love the multiple fields to store “Notes” in events, facts, etc. However, you can’t just print out a list of notes for an individual or family. The Notes are only seen when doing a person report for example.

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