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MacUser (UK), March 1998

Reunion 5 for Mac

Extremely easy-to-use database program for the budding genealogist.

Review by Keith Brindley

Reunion 4 is already the best genealogy program on the Mac. In this latest incarnation the manufacturer has concentrated on the basics and eschewed all the fancy trappings of its main competitors to make sure the program, particularly its interface, remains a cut above.

Version 5 comes with plenty of new features. For starters, you can publish HTML files and additions as either reports or family cards directly from the program, enabling you to put your family tree on the Web. These are set up so anyone browsing your site can access your family history data just as you do in the program itself.

The program's family card approach to entering data remains, but now features a single family file rather than a folder full of linked data files. The toolbar has been altered slightly with some new buttons (bookmarks, multimedia and Web) added and some old ones (index, calendar and pictures) dumped or moved. Toolbar buttons are now larger and contain text.

Colour is used to indicate certain family features within the family card system. Blue text on a Child button means that the child has children of their own, a red triangle means more than one spouse and bold type indicates direct line descendancy.

Reunion's advantages when entering data have been further improved. For example, if you accidentally put a person in the wrong family unit, you can now drag them into the new trash bin icon, and then, once you're in the correct family unit, drag them back out. Entering data in a family card is significantly improved as well. Edit Person windows replace the old Facts windows, and are now tabbed dialog boxes in which you can get from tab to tab with keyboard shortcuts. Even better is the ability to click on the field you want to enter data into within a person's information area, causing the Edit Person window to open at the correct field of the correct tab.

SuperChart, the accompanying program Reunion uses to draw its chart options, has also been updated. Several improvements have been made, not least the new Add Box button in the Box Edit dialog box. There are two new chart variants: relative (which shows all of one person's relatives in a combination of descendant and pedigree charts); and timeline (showing all family member's lives in terms of date). Technically, these are not strict genealogical charts, but they do add significant interest to a family tree.

Any genealogy program worth its salt has to be able to export and import data in GEDCOM (genealogical data communication) form. GEDCOM is the genealogy equivalent of TIFF in the graphics world -- a sort of lowest common denominator data exchange between programs and computers. Reunion supports this format, so you can exchange your family tree, or parts of it, with other users of other computers or other programs.

One of Reunion's real advantages has always been its low system requirements, and this is still the case. The program comes on one floppy, runs in 1Mb of RAM, takes up less than 3.5Mb of drive space, and will run on any Mac with a 68020 processor, System 7 or higher, and QuickTime 2.5.

The world's best genealogy program just got better. If you're interested in finding out what your forefathers got up to, Reunion is the ideal companion.