I want to create a list of my most distant ancestors (= ancestors without known parents) of each family branch from a Gedcom file. We call them Spitzenahnen in German and some applications can create lists of these ancestors (Spitzenahnenliste) for further research. All these applications are Windows applications. Which tool can create such a list online (or on Mac)?

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    @JanMurphy It is not about a brick wall, just about the current state of research. – lejonet Mar 25 '15 at 20:29
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    I think seeking an English equivalent to Spitzenahnen in German would make a useful question in its own right here. – PolyGeo Mar 26 '15 at 8:20
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    @PolyGeo Good idea, done. – lejonet Mar 26 '15 at 9:25
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    @lejonet I have a pretty good idea of how to do it with several tools available on Mac and PC and even Linux once it is in CSV format. Will try to put together a practical walk-through on at least one in next few days if no one else chimes in first. – CRSouser Mar 26 '15 at 11:19
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    This sounds like end-of-line ancestors that you're looking for. Maybe a Google search with that term will help. – Enno Borgsteede Mar 31 '15 at 21:03

As mentioned in my answer to the meaning of "Spitzenahnen" in this question I did some searching on the translation Google and was able to find this based on it on GenWiki.

This program (Familienbande) is natively in German and is available Mac, Linux, and PC and specifically lists as one of its features. (Note:Link uses Google Translate)

Once you download it is has a English localization which I downloaded tried and it is only partially translated but usable and the help file is only in German. The FAQ can be run through Google translate.

Spitzenahnen: Vorlage erzeugt eine Tabelle aller Vorfahren einer Ausgangsperson ohne bekannte Eltern.

Patriarch: template generates a table of all ancestors of a starting person with no known parents.

Playing with a few minutes on a Mac it looks like you have to configure a Template and then use the export function to create one if you want a custom one, or you can download the pre-made HTML or TXT version templates for it from from their library of ready made templates on their site that are not included in the installation, specifically this HTML or this CSV Text one.

An example output of the program can be found here: http://www.familienbande-genealogie.de/FL-Beispiele/FL-Spitzenahnen.htm enter image description here enter image description here


  • Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I used the template from familienbande-genealogie.de/htmlvorlagen.html (FL-Spitzenahnen.EVL). You choose File -> Export and then select the "FL-Spitzenahnen" template. – lejonet Mar 30 '15 at 19:47
  • Glad it worked, I am also trying to create a similar report in "R" but not quite there yet. – CRSouser Mar 30 '15 at 19:48

You can use Gramps on a Mac. It runs in almost 40 languages, and it can create an end-of-line report in half a dozen different formats.


webtrees (disclaimer - this is my own project) can do this.

e.g. visit this tree and click roots.


You can run a lot of PC programmes on a Mac using Wine (free) or Crossover (paid). So if you have found a good PC programme for this it may be worth trying wine out.

Alternatively as a Gedcom file is purely a text file it should be possible to find what you want by opening the file in a good text editor and using a Regex expression to search through the file and find what you want.

There may also be some online Gedcom parsers that do what you want. Try Tim Forsythe's site as a starter.

  • There is an earlier Q&A here on parsing GEDCOM that may or may not be useful: genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/3613/parsing-a-gedcom – PolyGeo Mar 26 '15 at 8:23
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    Thanks for your answer. Almost every time I ask for online or Mac alternatives to Windows software, Wine/Crossover/VMware Fusion/Parallels is recommended. I tried them all. The first two tools regularly result in problems, even if the installation was successful. There are just to many dependencies and workarounds resulting in bugs. The other applications need a lot of space, a license, a windows license and a license for the genealogy software. In the end it is still not a Mac experience. I really don't want to add a disclaimer when I am asking for Mac software or online tools. – lejonet Mar 26 '15 at 8:47
  • I have had a lot of success with Crossover and run a whole series of Windows programmes on my Mac. Yes it does need a bit of tweaking sometimes to get them running but I have all my essential genealogical programmes running on my Mac. The problem is the Mac does not have as many users as PC's and so the developers don't make Mac versions. If you want something not available on a Mac you have to be inventive. – Colin Mar 27 '15 at 6:24
  • @Colin Thanks for your answer. Which genealogy applications do you run successfully with CrossOver? – lejonet Mar 30 '15 at 8:07
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    Currently I use Family Historian, Ancestral Sources, GedXlate, Transcript, Genscriber and The Complete Genealogy Reporter. I also use Notepad++ with the gedcom add-on for editing gedcoms. RootsMagic runs a custom version of Crossover as its Mac wrapper. Another PC FH programme is also doing the same thing (I can't name it as it is subject to an NDA). Hope this helps. – Colin Mar 31 '15 at 8:26

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