I’ve been doing genealogy for a long time now – close to fifteen years, if memory serves – and have used a number of different genealogy applications to record the results of my research:
I started with Family Tree Maker (doesn’t everybody?). Honestly, it’s been too long to remember much about FTM, aside from a certain annoyance that it nagged me to ‘share’ my data with them, so they could sell it to their other customers.
After a while, I switched to Personal Ancestral File. I used PAF for a long time. It was…adequate, no better than that. (PAF was my first experience with Mormon-centric genealogy software. Ever since, in every application I’ve used, I’ve had to find & turn off all mention of temple ordinances, sealing-to-whoever, etc., etc. I don’t do any of that, I’m not interested, I don’t want to see it.)
In 2006, I bought the iMac, which presented a problem: PAF was Windows only. After a bit of research, I switched to Reunion: supposedly, the best OS X genealogy application available. But Reunion fell somewhat short of adequate, and I never did get very far with it.
In 2009, I bought the netbook, which – since it came with Windows XP – presented new options. After a bit of experimentation, I settled on RootsMagic. I like RootsMagic, it’s a good match to the way I (want to) do genealogy. I set about recreating my genealogy database, recording even more information than before and with proper source citations on everything. Life was good.
Then, last December, I bought a MacBook Pro and spoiled everything. The iMac went to Jake, the netbook went to Sam, and I was back to using Reunion. I even upgraded to the latest version (Reunion 9), which wasn’t particularly cheap.
This afternoon, doing a little data entry with Reunion, I realized: I don’t like this program.
The screen layout is ugly, data entry is cumbersome. Some date fields accept free-form dates, others don’t. There’s no way to record an event – e.g., residence, military service, etc. – that spans a range of dates. Source management & citation are pretty feeble, compared to RootsMagic.
So I’m done with Reunion, and the search for a suitable replacement is on.