Review: Mobile Family Tree Pro, by Synium Software GmbH (universal binary)
Mobile Family Tree Pro, by Synium Software GmbH
$14.99 (on sale for $6.99), ***1/2
Full featured family tree program
Lots of reports, views, and options
Tedious to enter information
Can be overwhelming with the detail it is looking for
Mobile Family Tree Pro is a universal binary to enable you to delve deeper into your family relationships. It describes itself as a full fledged genealogy application, available to the beginner or the expert. I agree with part of that.
When starting a family free, you start by creating a database for the family. Once you enter one person (name and salutation) then you can start to create additional family members, linking them to the main person. I started with myself, then start added my parents, wife, daughter, sister, etc. The initial data entry is pretty straight forward you simply tap on a field and enter the name and choose the relationship. As you start to flesh out your family tree, you can view the tree in a wide variety of formats tree charts, ancestor charges, hourglass charts, etc. In addition, you also have a wide variety of reports you can create kinship reports, event reports, birthday lists, marriage lists, etc. Honestly, I dont know what half the reports are! Filling out the initial family tree is somewhat fun you get to really start to see the links between everyone.
Unfortunately, this is where the app starts to get confusing. If you want to have any of the additional information available for the charts or reports, you need to put it all in manually. Within each person fields, in addition to name and relationships, you can add a variety of information, including additional names, events (birth, death, christening, burial, etc. You can also add a huge number of personal information like social security number, race, physical description, national origin, and more. You can link them to existing people, you can add media files, you can label them as noteworthy, important, or incomplete. In short, you can provide an extremely high level of detail for each individual in your family tree.
But what this means, however, is that you need to enter it all manually. When I bought this app, I was hoping for some sorted of simple mode where I could simply enter individuals. You can still do that, but it can get overwhelming the amount of detail that is available for each entry.
While there is no tutorial mode, there is a pretty extensive help section available for each screen, simply by tapping the question mark in the upper right corner. Another nice feature is that you can import existing genealogy information from other programs and sources. I do wish this app had included some suggested reference sources truthfully, if I were doing this for a real family project I would have no idea where to start! One really nice feature was that the various reports you could make could all be emailed so you can email updates and reports to other family members as you develop the family tree.
I also wish there was a sample tree that you could use to explore the various features. Just some sort of John and Jane Smith kind of set up, so you can really see how to use everything the app provides. One last drawback entering the data on the iPhone can be tedious. While the screenshots provided are from the iPhone, it is a universal binary and will work on the iPad as well.
All in all, this is a powerful, full featured family tree app. If you really want to develop a detailed family tree, this app can probably help you organize the process. Beginners, however, might get overwhelmed by the number of features and start to get lost in the process of creating a family tree. The interface is very nice, and the app is currently on sale for $6.99 (until mid August). Normally priced at $14.99, the app seems to be a good value for people who are interested in a long term tracking of family relationships, but not for people who are developing a family tree on a whim. Three and a half out of four stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
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