I am using Mac Family Tree currently as my primary 'tree' database and my biggest issue with it is the ease of 'sourcing' events.

As of this post I am running version 7.3.2.(and as of 7.5 still exists)

My understanding of the way to 'source' something is:

  1. Create the event under the person.
  2. Go to the far right gear and click "Edit Event" (which takes you to another screen) enter image description here

  3. Scroll down to the Sources section of the event.

  4. Click "Add New Source" or "Add Existing Source"
  5. If you click "Add Existing Source" brings up a dialog where you can selective your repetitive sources like Census Years.
  6. Then once added, you can enter the further details like page, etc.. enter image description here
  7. If you are adding a new source it is another 2 screens deep you have to proceed, then return to step 5 and 6. enter image description here
  8. Once step 5 and 6 are complete you have to hit back to return to the person.
  9. Repeat for each new event. So if adding occupation in year and place of residence for example for a person from a single census you have to repeat this twice.

I have read the manual, broke down and watched the YouTube video for an older verison, and even filed feature requests with the software. Per this generic review, adding sources is "easy", so I just want to make sure I am not missing something or if there is an easier way. My personal expectation is that I would be able to right click and add a source from the event in the person screen, just like add an existing location.

Adding a source from to the 'person' is a somewhat similar process, but it does not tie to the event just generically to the person. I am a previous user of Family Tree Maker it was SO much easier on it so I hope I am just missing something.

Is there a way to source an event within a person Mac Family Tree from the person screen?

  • 1
    I see that Synium Software GmbH does not have a video tutorial about sources, and their YouTube channel has not been updated since 2011.
    – Jan Murphy
    Feb 28, 2015 at 1:00
  • I kindly ask everybody who is also annoyed by this source management to write a feature report to Synium Software. I am currently adding one source to dozens of statements and it is tiring.
    – lejonet
    Mar 22, 2015 at 19:13
  • @lejonet I have more than three times and increasing provide more details and comparisons to other software and why it is troublesome they have yet to respond or include it. More powerful is to write it in reviews in addition to feature requests.
    – CRSouser
    Mar 23, 2015 at 1:34
  • 3
    If you decide to continue this labour, realize you may get frustrated in the future and may one day want to change programs. So check now that Mac Family Tree exports all your sources to GEDCOM in a manner that other programs can read again. If it does not, all you hard sourcing work will be lost if you choose to change programs.
    – lkessler
    Jun 13, 2015 at 17:55
  • I am a version 9.2 user and have been very frustrated with sources and some other views to the point that I am looking at changing programs. I gave up on sources - I don’t enter them any more because of the implementation - I have gone to adding notes instead.
    – Denise
    Nov 22, 2020 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


My posting summarizes improvements from version 7.6 to 8.0 on this issue:

Version 7.6. brings the following improvements:

  • The window listing sources is broader.
  • Sources for an event are indicated in a new column with a book symbol in the person view. Clicking this symbol shows a list of attached sources. However, you can’t add new or existing sources this way.
  • You can copy source citations and also paste them. Copying is possible from the source section of an event, after clicking the gear wheel symbol on the right. Pasting is possible from the same menu in the source section and the event listing in the person view.

Limitations include missing keyboard shortcuts and adding sources directly from the person screen.

Their release notes for MacFamilyTree 7.6: Managing your sources becomes even more versatile and functional in MacFamilyTree 7.6. Add notes to source citations, rate the quality and evidence of a source, or browse your sources by using the much-improved source overview. See all sources attached to family or person events at a glance. You can also copy and paste source citations if you want to use them for multiple entries.

With version 8.0 you can add sources from the interactive tree. You can also click on the source column introduced earlier to see a list of attached sources and add existing sources from there. The window listing sources gained several features: sorting functionality, better display of source information like dates, thumbnails for attached images, displays tags, works with smart searches now (e.g. "all sources containing census").

There is still no way to use keyboard shortcuts to speed things up.

  • One of the reasons I have yet to commit to a Mac software program. I cringe when I think of all the data I am putting into my online ancestry account, but that is the sum of it. Jun 15, 2015 at 21:04
  • Glad they fixed this in v8.0, I also noticed they display imported sources from Ancestry.com a bit better.
    – CRSouser
    May 14, 2016 at 14:23

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