Monthly Archives: May 2013

MacFamilyTree 7 Released – upgrade pricing for everyone

A Fan Chart in MacFamilyTree 7

I’ve been using the same genealogy program for about twenty years (Reunion), but that doesn’t mean I don’t look at what else is available. I’m always looking at what other genealogy programs are available for the Mac, and although I haven’t switched, I am open to it if I found a program that really fit my needs better. I’ve written in the past about genealogy programs available through the Mac App Store (and others that are not), so I’ve mentioned MacFamilyTree before.

Yesterday MacFamilyTree received a major update, to version 7, so I thought it was worth mentioning again. It’s also worth mentioning because they are offering upgrade pricing ($29.95 instead of $59.99) to everyone who buys it in the Mac App Store through July 31. It’s a strange quirk of the Mac App Store that in essence companies cannot really offer upgrade pricing to their existing users. When you buy an application from the App Store, you own it forever. To get around this problem, some software companies release a new version of their program on the App Store as a separate program, and then reduce the price for everyone for a limited time. In this case, Synium Software, the makers of MacFamilyTree, are allowing anyone to get the upgrade pricing for the first two months, which I think is quite generous (sometimes companies only offer the upgrade pricing for a week).
Research Assistant feature in MacFamilyTree 7

There are a lots of nice features of MacFamilyTree. In the past, my biggest problem in switching programs was the handling of images. Reunion has a very nice feature that allows you have one image, and cut out the faces of multiple people for use in your family tree. For example, if you have a family portrait with ten family members in it, and it is the only photo you have for all the people, you can select out the faces from the one photo for each family member. This might not seem like a major feature, but when you use it extensively to attach photos of people to their records, it’s hard to switch to a program that doesn’t offer that (and doesn’t import the cropped images I’ve already set up). I don’t know if MacFamilyTree 7 has a similar feature or not, but that’s one of the things I will be taking a look at when I look at the software.

Here’s a look at the new version of MacFamilyTree in a video that Synium released:

When I find the time to take a look in depth at MacFamilyTree 7, I will try to post a review here. If I do end up switching, I’ll try to explain how I moved everything over.

I should just add that I’m very happy that there are now several good options for genealogy software for the Mac. Besides Reunion and MacFamilyTree (Mac App Store), there’s Heredis (which is 35% off through June 9 – $38.99 instead of $59.99 – on their site and in the Mac App Store) and GEDitCOM II (software which has some very unique features that I like, but needs a major overhaul to make it competitive with these others). One of the nice features of most of these programs (not GEDitCOM II) is the availability of a companion app that runs on the iPhone and/or iPad. Reunion has separate apps for iPhone/iPod Touch ($14.99) and iPad ($14.99), MacFamilyTree offers MobileFamilyTree which can run independently of MacFamilyTree (normally $15.99 – now also 50% off through July 31 at $7.99), but can also share data with it, and Heredis offers Heredis for iOS (which is free).

Also of note is that MyHeritage, which offers their free Family Tree Builder software for Windows (a $75 Premium version is also available), has said that the next version (Version 8) will be available on the Mac. It will be interesting to see how that software compares with these other programs. I hope they will offer the app through the Mac App Store, and offer the premium features and subscriptions through in-app purchasing.

Update: Synium Software responded via Twitter that they do support cropping multiple images out of a single photo, as well as importing and exporting that information. Always happy to see companies that respond quickly and directly to customers.

Introducing Lexigenealogy – a new blog

I’ve started a second blog, called Lexigenealogy. This new blog is about my convergence of interests into Lexicography, Genealogy and Technology. I will be using the new blog to look into what it takes to build a dictionary of names, from the technology needed to organize research, to how to properly format it for printing. This will be a long process, and I hope people will find it interesting. For more information about the impetus for starting this new blog, see my first post there Combining interests in Lexicography, Genealogy and Technology.

I will continue to write for both blogs, but will keep the more technical and Lexicography-oriented posts on Lexigenealogy. I will keep the more Jewish-oriented and traditional genealogy posts here on Blood and Frogs: Jewish Genealogy and More. As the dictionary I am working towards involves Jewish given names, there will invariably be some overlap, but if something is particularly interesting for both sites, I will link between them.

So I invite you to go check out Lexigenealogy and see what you think. The current post looks at digitizing print books to make them accessible on your computer and tablet. It’s just the beginning, but I have much more planned.

What does New Zealand have against Justice?

Recently, I read about New Zealand’s policy of preventing parents from naming their children certain names, particularly offensive names. Now, the rules in New Zealand are not overly strict compared to some other countries, such as Denamrk where parents have to choose from a list of 7000 pre-selected names, or Germany, where the gender of the child must be determinable by the name, but it still seemed a bit restrictive. Perhaps the most restricted is Iceland, which makes people choose from 1712 male names and 1853 female names listed in the Personal Names Register, or appeal to a special committee that usually says no (see the recent story of one teenage girl trying to appeal).

I was interested to see that the most rejected name was actually Justice. To me Justice seems very similar to traditional names like Prudence or Charity. Certainly those names are not banned. I’ve never met anyone named Justice, although I do remember the character Justice played by Shannon Elizabeth in the 2001 comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back:

“Justice” played by Shannon Elizabeth

I then wondered how many people named their babies Justice in the United States. Luckily that’s easy enough to figure out (at least approximately), the Social Security Administration publishes the top 1000 names for both boys and girls in their system, dating back to 1880 (while Social Security started in 1937, the list is indexed by birth year, so the names go back much further).

Here are the results for the past 10 years for boys and girls:

So in the past ten years, Justice ranked somewhere between 332nd and 556th most popular name for boys and girls. What seems a bit strange is that if you go back to the beginning, the name as used for females only goes back to 1994, and the name for males shows up the first year (1880) at rank 993 (almost out of the ranking), then doesn’t show up in the top 1000 until 1992, when it shows up in rank 821. What caused the surge in popularity as a male name in 1992, and introduced the name for girls in 1994? If you have a theory, post it in the comments.

In case you’re wondering why the name is banned in New Zealand, it’s because one of the rules states that a name cannot be used that “is, includes, or resembles, an official title or rank.” This prevents names like King, Prince, Princess, Constable, etc. as well as Justice. The other names on the list were either judged as offensive, too long, or a punctuation mark. Letters and initials that don’t stand for a real name seem also to have been banned.

Here’s the list (as reported by CNN), with the number of rejections, from 2001 through the present:

using brackets around middle names:4
using back slash between names:8
Queen Victoria:1
C J :1
Roman numerals III:1
. (full stop):1
Mafia No Fear:1
* (star symbol):1
S P:1
L B:1
Queen V:1