Switch from Windows to Mac leads to genealogy do-over

Who knew that switching from a Windows laptop to an iMac desktop would precipitate a genealogy do-over? Heck, when I made the switch, I hadn’t even learned that “genealogy do-over” was a thing.

I did some research to be sure I could use my huge iMac screen as a display for my laptop that I run Legacy 7.5 on, but not quite enough research, as it turns out. My iMac can only function as an external display to computers that have Thunderbolt technology, which my laptop doesn’t.

When I learned this, I began my search for a robust family tree software program that I could run on my iMac — this led to more frustration. Neither Legacy, nor RootsMagic have options for Macs that work for me.

Legacy doesn’t have a native Mac product. Legacy’s site documentation says it is working to make Legacy 8.0 functional under CrossOver for Macs. However, the demo version was so glitchy it wouldn’t stay running for more than a few minutes at a time. When it crashed, it took the data entered five minutes ago with it. Legacy support staff suggested I contact CrossOver to try to resolve the issues.

RootsMagic developer, Bruce Buzbee says they are working on a native Mac version of RM. To bridge the gap, they have released MacBridge, which is essentially a customized version of Wine that allows RM to run in the Mac environment. However, this solution proves unworkable for my needs.

My eyesight is less than perfect, but correctable to nearly 20/20. I’m just not able to read the text in most of the dialog boxes in RM — in the Windows version, or under MacBridge on the iMac. RM doesn’t have scalable fonts and only allows users to adjust font sizes for certain areas. It appears that most of the critical dialog boxes use the system font. The only way I’ve been able to adjust the system font is by reducing the resolution of my display, to increase the size. Under MacBridge, the fonts are also sketchy and look as if they were printed on a dot matrix printer. (See screen shot image.) This is particularly noticeable in the source dialog box. I believe this may be a result of viewing the program through the “wineskin.” It’s not impossible to read the text, but for me, it created so much eyestrain that it’s just not feasible.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 8.24.09 AM
Source dialog boxes in RootsMagic under MacBridge are difficult to read.

Other demo programs that I tried for Mac also fell short of my expectations.

Before purchasing my iMac, I had been working in Legacy to recreate data I had lost after a computer died on me several years ago. I had not done a recent backup, and lost all of my digital work, but not my hard copy backups.

The data I lost was my second attempt at starting from “scratch” with my family history data. In the late 90s, I was so excited to find new connections that I had entered them into my The Master Genealogist database without source information. I was naive enough to think I could just add those pesky source citations later, which of course, didn’t happen.

My frustration over not finding a suitable family tree program to run on my iMac got me looking online for solutions. Hence, I stumbled onto the Genealogy Do-Over blog, as well as several genealogy groups on Facebook.

After reading several posts on the Genealogy Do-Over blog, I realized my genealogy research was in desperate need of a full-blown makeover. (More on this later.)

So, as much as my crazy schedule will allow, I plan to participate in Cycle Three of Thomas MacEntee’s “Genealogy Do-Over.”

 

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