On second thought…

Last month, I said I was done with Reunion, “…and the search for a suitable replacement is on.”

I tried the CrossOver / RootsMagic combination (as suggested by the loyal readership), but couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for it. It worked, and opened my old RootsMagic data file without incident, but…it was ugly. With no antialiasing, everything looked grainy & harsh. I didn’t like the intrusion of Windows into OS X: redundant directories, with silly names (‘My Pictures’, ‘My Documents’, etc.). I couldn’t synchronize with my iPhone (nor, I suppose, with the as-yet hypothetical iPad), so my data would have been trapped on the MacBook.

And emulation layers just aren’t sustainable. Sooner or later, you have to write a native app, or lose your customers. That’s what happened to Quicken, and – alas – that’s what is happening to RootsMagic. If/when they get around to releasing a native OS X app, I’ll be very interested. But for now, I’m back to Reunion 9.

(The folks at Leister released Reunion 10 this week. Unfortunately, I bought Reunion 9 about three weeks too early to get the free upgrade. Oops. I think I’ll pass on 10 for a while, and get used to 9 first.)

I’ve decided that diving into data (re-) entry is the wrong approach. First, I want to catalog all my documents: birth certificates, marriage licenses, that sort of thing. I have quite a pile of them, and I want to create source records for them all in Reunion.

But Reunion’s default source templates are unsatisfying. I need to create a custom template, with the right fields in it – but that means I have to figure out what the right fields actually are. The Reunion documentation is spectacularly useless on this point. It tells me how to create a source template and add fields to it; it even tells me how to create custom fields, to add to my custom source template; but it has nothing to say on which fields I should have.

For that, apparently, I need a book such asĀ Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills, only $16.95 from Amazon. That might be a better investment than dropping $40 on CrossOver.

(I hear the loyal readership, suggesting: “Maybe the library has a copy.” They do – the Archives at the Urbana Free Library has two copies, neither of which can be checked out. Since most of my genealogizing – if that’s a word – happens at home, when the library is closed, a reference-only copy isn’t much use to me.)

2 thoughts on “On second thought…

  1. Pat Post author

    A further complication is the question of mapping Reunion source fields to GEDCOM tags. This is optional – you don’t have to specify a GEDCOM tag for custom fields – but without it, there’s no way to export data from Reunion (e.g., to the OS X version of RootsMagic, should they ever release one).

    And a maddening meta-complication: the GEDCOM ‘standard’ is so pathologically non-standard that even if I very carefully specify sensible tags for all my custom fields, there’s no guarantee that they’ll import successfully.

    This offends my sense of tidiness & data hygiene, but I don’t suppose there’s anything to be done about it.

  2. Pat Post author

    I dithered for nearly twelve hours – admittedly, for about half that time I was sleeping – then ordered the Mills book from Amazon.

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