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Family Tree Magazine (UK), May 1999

Reunion 6 for Macintosh

Review by Frances Sampey Deak

Introduction

After reading about Reunion 5 in the April 1998 issue, I was excited to see what else the author, Frank Leister, could come up with since it seemed to have so many features that other programs did not have.

You need a Macintosh or Power Macintosh computer running system 7.5 or later with a CD-ROM drive. Also needed are at least 8 Mbytes of RAM as well as Quick Time 2.5 or later for pictures, video and some web features. It is a very colorful program so, although not required, a color printer will enable you to exploit the program's features more fully. There is no trouble installing it but if you need help there is a short Getting Started feature that can be printed out. Both a tutorial and sample family (The Kennedys) are included.

Data Entry

The data entry form is very easy to use... The suggestion that you start with yourself and work both ways (children and parents) is quite simple. There is a small green + sign to add males (father, spouse) or change existing males plus another green + for females. A third + in blue adds children. Button colors can be changed if you wish. You can add most dates, including partial dates. Pre-1752 dual dates can be entered if you save them as a "custom date". You can have unmarried parents, divorce, adoption and, using the notes section, surname changes. Once you have filled out a data entry form, then just clicking on an item, eg, death date, will take you to the relevant screen for making a change.

Reunion 6 is a multimedia program and has facilities for including scanned images, sound and movie (loop and cascade multiple movie) clips although I did not use these. The program will import Reunion 5 and Generations Grand [sic] Suite 5.2 family files and of course GEDCOM files.

There should be a warning sign that the author has a wicked sense of humour, for you can add an "alien abductee" and even a family pet if you wish and mark it as such. As you work through the program you will find more of these humorous asides, such as "you need a family to use the program"!

Output

The program output consists of several charts: pedigree, descendant, relative and the less familiar timeline... All charts except the timeline can be printed in several different modes: cascade, top-to-bottom (drop-line) and left-to-right. Since unrelated people can be added, the timeline is of particular importance. Pictures and various colors can be added to the charts and also to the Data Entry page. There is also a SuperChart that can make "wall charts".

All the expected standard reports such as person sheets and family group sheets can be created as well as address, birthday and important date reports. You can even find out how old you were (in years and days) when your children were born, how old you are now and what your life expectancy (US) is for both non-smokers and smokers. I feel better as it gives me quite a few more years unless I get hit by the proverbial bus.

You can create an Ahnentafel (Ancestor table) report in both tabular and narrative forms and also a Tiny Tafel (surname interest) report. Lists of almost any category, eg, where each person was born, married or died, may be produced using the Find facility. There is a privacy filtering for reports and web family cards which allows you to selectively omit information for certain people from the reports. This is extremely important, as some people are complaining that their personal details are on the web so it might be a good idea to eliminate living people from any reports you put on the web or share. In creating a web page you have the choice of file extensions - HTM or HTML.

Conclusion

This is a great program that is easy enough for a beginner to use and yet has almost everything an experienced genealogist wants. It is extremely well written and has many custom features that can really make the program your own. There are many less expensive programs that would do for most people, but if you ever want to create web pages or prepare colorful professional reports on the Macintosh, then this is the program for you. One American genealogical magazine runs a report on Reunion 5 in almost every issue. Just wait until they use Reunion 6!...

About the Author

Frances Sampey Deak is a professional genealogist in London who is starting her own descendant chart by recently becoming a great-grandmother.