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MacUser (UK) September 2003

Reunion 8

Rating: 5 out of 5 mice

Excerpt from a review by Ian Betteridge

Verdict: If you have ever considered finding out more about your family history, this is the one package you should buy.

Thanks to the Internet, gathering information about your family history is easier than ever. And the number of Web sites devoted to it, where family members can share information and hints on tracing their roots, demonstrates the popularity of the hobby.

It is also an ideal job for a computer, given that it is all about the storage and processing of information, so it comes as no surprise that there are many geneology applications on the market. Yet, on the Mac, there is only one boxed product, in the shape of Reunion. Thankfully, it is an excellent one.

If you are new to family history, then Reunion 8, like previous versions, has an excellent tutorial and help section to get you started. However, the interface is intuitive enough to get going quickly, and all the basic features can be accessed easily. Each person's record includes fields for information such as birth, death and marriage, as well as occupation, religion and a plethora of other options. Usefully, you can define a set of flags so that you can, for example, mark every record found in a particular census, as well as adding any other free-form notes that you need. You can even attach images and multimedia clips to a record, to include pictures of family members.

The knowledge

Once you have your family information in Reunion, there are lots of options for getting it out in the form of reports, charts and statistics. Under the List menu, there is a huge range of choices for listing events, from monthly calendars of births (including dead relatives, if you wish), through to listing the important milestone dates in a person's life. This means, for example, that it is easy to find out how old someone was when they were married, when their children were born, and even when their grandchildren were born. You can also create reports for each individual, including making forms for family members to fill in with their own records, so the data can be gathered effectively. These forms - and all other export options - can be created in Word or RTF format.

All these features have long been part of Reunion, but the latest version includes much-improved charting, allowing you to create good-looking family trees. ...the charting features in Reunion allow you to create exceptionally attractive trees, including photographs inside chart boxes, fill patterns and various box shapes. Boxes and elements can be moved around the chart, with lines connecting individuals moving as required... Charts can also be oriented in any direction, so you can make family trees that run top to bottom, left to right or in the opposite directions, and can be exported as PICT, JPG, TIFF or PNG files.

Envy of Windows

When an application is the only one of its kind for the Mac, you might expect it to lag behind Windows, where there are many others in competition. However, Reunion 8 is a fine product, built to take advantage of the Mac's features, and manages to be one of the best packages of its kind for any platform. Whether you are new to genealogy or you are an expert, Reunion 8 is well worth the money. It's quick and easy to get started, and the program has enough features to keep you playing for years.

If you have ever considered finding out more about your family history, this is the one package you should buy. Reunion 8 is a superb product, which should be the envy of those trapped using Windows.