Reunion 7 Software Review

By Dixie Haas Premium

If you’re a Mac loyalist and family history enthusiast, you’ve probably discovered you have slim pickings in the Windows-dominated world of genealogy software. Enter Reunion 7.0, the lone full-featured, Mac-only genealogy program. This $99.95 package (or $49.95 upgrade) from Leister Productions isn’t unique just because of its platform, though. It’s refreshingly different in size, speed and flexibility. Reunion is delivered on a single CD-ROM that contains the program and nothing but the program — no extraneous product demos, no offers from Internet service providers, not even a browser.complete installation of the program consumes just 12 MB of hard disk space.

But don’t be misled by Reunion’s humble size. This sleek powerhouse comes equipped with enough fancy features to delight seasoned genealogists, while the simple interface and family card data entry system make it a great choice for beginners.

The true measure of Reunion’s power is its ease of use and ability to accommodate a wide range of skill levels. Beginners can quickly master genealogy tasks such as data entry, source citation, navigating family files and producing charts and reports. Advanced functions are present but non-intrusive, ready to use as your knowledge grows. Here’s how Reunion handles the basics:

Navigation: Moving from branch to branch in your family tree is a snap with Reunion’s navigation tools. The five-generation overview, customizable quickbar and bookmarks list give you speedy access to any family card. The index, composed of five changeable display fields, can be configured to show combinations of nearly any fact, name or event recorded on family cards (more than 60 selection options). You can also work with multiple family files at once.

Searching: If you can define search parameters, you can find almost anything in Reunion’s family files. The Find feature executes multiple field searches that you can use to locate people who aren’t linked to anyone, children without parents, records with changed dates — nearly any criteria you can imagine. Other functions include finding sources and similar records to match and merge duplicate entries.

Documentation: Reunion furnishes pre-defined source types (such as book, census, interview and Web site). Experienced researchers can define new source types and add or delete information fields to customize citations. Reunion also lets you stylize text, enter multiple sources in a single field and automatically assign a general source to people imported into your family file.

Charts and reports: As you might expect from a Mac program, Reunion excels with its charting capabilities. You can easily create and print high-quality graphical pedigree, descendant, relative, timeline, hourglass and fan charts. Personalize your charts with pictures, rotated text, frames or custom fonts and colors. In addition, Reunion produces a wide variety of list reports. You can create place name lists, calendar lists of birthdays and lists of mailing addresses, then send the documents to your word processor for editing or directly to your printer. The “Virtual Plotter” shows on-screen how large charts will be formatted before you send them out to be printed.

Technical help: Reunion’s help tools are well-designed and comprehensive. A 12-step tutorial guides users through the program’s basics, while a superbly written electronic manual offers detailed explanations and examples. If you encounter a problem or can’t find answers to your questions in the manual, Leister Productions provides personalized technical support by phone, fax, e-mail or US mail. You’ll find help online at <> and through ReunionTalk, a daily e-mail digest that serves as a forum for Reunion users.

Web Publishing: If you’re interested in posting your research online, Reunion deftly manages HTML and Web publishing. You can create Web family cards with linked picture, movie and sound files or Web reports in a number of styles. The program’s privacy filter can be used to edit living people from Web-page files.

You can order the full version of Reunion 7.0 by phone or online from any Mac catalog superstore. If you’re upgrading, contact Leister Productions directly: Box 289, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055, (717) 697-1378, <>.
From the December 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine