Frequently asked questions


How do I add, edit and delete information in a Branches tree?

You can add, edit and delete information in your tree by clicking on an item in your tree (name, event, note etc.) to select it. The selected item will be shown in green to indicate it is selected. Next, click the ‘Actions’ menu on the main menu bar, and select the command you would like to perform.

Alternately, you can add, edit and delete information in your tree by right clicking (or control+clicking) on an item (name, event, note etc.) and selecting a command from the context menu that appears.

Note: the vertical line between a father’s and a mother’s names can be selected. It represents the family for these parents.

How many people can I have in Branches?

In theory, you can have unlimited number of people.  However, beyond 30,000 names, load times become slow.  If you have more than that, it is better to have more than one database.

How many different trees can I have in Branches?

You can have thousands of trees.

Does Branches support multimedia?

Yes.  You can attach photos, documents, videos and many other types of media links to individuals, events, and source citations. Family multimedia items are shown below both the father and mother.

Can I print a wall chart with Branches?

No. Branches has a comprehensive report generator but it will not print books, wall charts etc.  That is best done by specialized software packages.  However, Branches allows you to see so much of your information on the main screen that many of the old charts and reports are not needed.

What is the most recent version of Branches?

The news section of our website will give you the current version number. 

How can I upgrade my present Branches program to the latest version?

Upgrades are available from the Mac App Store at no charge.

How do I transfer my data into Branches from another program?

Simply create a GEDCOM file (See: Getting your information into Branches) and then import the GEDCOM into a new database (or add the data to an existing Branches database).

How many events, sources, repositories and source citations can I have for each person?

As many as you like.

How many generations can Branches have?

Unlimited.  Usually even large trees will not have more than 300 generations.

I am vision impaired.  How do I use Branches?

Branches is designed to use many of the OS X accessibility features which help the vision impaired.  To see larger type, simply press Command+Option+8. The type on the screen will become larger and you can use all of Branches functions in this mode. To adjust the amount of text zoom use Command+Option+= and Command+Option+-


Can I have alternate names for people?

Yes.  You can create an AKA (Also Known As) event for an individual that can show aliases and other names.

Can I import and export from Branches?

Yes.  Branches supports importing and exporting using the standard GEDCOM file format.  See: Import a GEDCOM file  or Export to a GEDCOM file.

How do I see, add and edit marriage events?

Family events are shown beneath both the husband’s and the wife’s name. Thus, when a person’s events are listed below their name, all of the marriage related events are also visible.

Family events (Marriage, Divorce etc) can be added by clicking on the husband’s or wife’s name to select them and then clicking the ‘Actions’ menu on the main menu bar. Then select the ‘Add’ submenu and choose ‘Family event’.

You can also click on the vertical line between the husband’s and wife’s names to select it, and then click the ‘Actions’ menu.

Alternately, you can right click (or control+click) on the husband’s or wife’s name, or the vertical line between the names, and select the ‘Add Family event’ option on the context menu that appears.

To edit or delete a family event, simply select the event by clicking on it and use the ‘Actions’ menu. Alternately, you can right click or control+click on a family event and choose ‘Edit family event’ or ‘Delete family event’ from the context menu that appears.

I break a link in my tree but it does not separate into two trees.

Many trees have intermarriages between lines. When you break a link in one place, there may be another link somewhere else.  You can use the “Dups” (Show multiple occurrences of the same person) button on the toolbar to help you find the other links.

How do I put a document into Branches?

If the document is not already in a digital format (such as pdf, doc, txt, rtf etc.) you will need to first scan the document. We suggest you create and use a multimedia folder to hold multimedia items related to each of your Branches databases.  Then pick the place in Branches where you wish the document to go. This could be an individual, and event, a source citation or a source. 

Click on the item to select it, then click the ‘Actions’ menu on the man menu bar. Select the ‘Add’ submenu and choose ‘Multimedia’.

Alternately, you can right click or control+click on the item and select “Add Multimedia item” on the context menu that appears.

Use the “Browse” button to navigate to the document in your multimedia folder and select it. You can also add a title and description for the document if you wish.  For example, you can scan a birth certificate and add it to a birth event.  You then have complete documentation of the event without having to type in all the information. 

Can I move my Branches database to a different folder?

Yes. Branches uses Apple’s Core Data databases to store your information. These files can be copied, moved and deleted like any other files. This also allows you to use USB thumb drives, external disks, etc. to hold your Branches data.

The data on the screen overlaps other data.  How do I see it clearly?

The easiest way is to pick the person you are interested in and make them a temporary root person. This will open a new window with the selected person as the root person.

What if the root person is not the root person I always want?

Make the desired person the permanent root person and then renumber the database.  The new root person will be assigned RIN (record identification number) number one.

Some of the pedigree lines are very small horizontally.  How do I make them longer?

When viewing some secondary lines which contain a lot of people, the horizontal lines become too small to view easily.  Simply come backwards on the line to some descendant and make that person a temporary root person.  A new window will open, and the horizontal lines will be normal.

I can hardly see the green focus rectangle in the Mini-Map. 

The Mini-Map does have some limitations, particularly with large trees.  When you have drilled down deeply into a line, the green focus box becomes very small. You can wheel mouse out several clicks until you see the outline and then wheel mouse back in to the view you had. This will give you an idea of where you are looking in your pedigree.

What do the arrows on a horizontal line mean?

They indicate that the line continues, and that this is a duplicate line.  To find the primary line, either use the “Dups” (Show multiple occurrences of the same person) button on the toolbar and follow the green line, or better yet, just make that person a temporary root person and the whole pedigree from that point will be filled in and shown in a new window.

My tree draws slowly because I have a lot of people in my database.  How can I speed up the drawing?

The best way is to turn Detail Off until you get to approximately where you wish to look and then turn the Detail back on.  The tree will draw much faster. Then create a saved view where you are working so you can return to it very quickly by opening it from the tree list.

When I use rectangle zoom, the area I select does not exactly equate to the full screen.

Branches does a best fit for the selection you make while preserving the correct aspect ratio on the screen.  It will not be exactly what you select, but it will be close enough for you to see the area of interest.

Can I have men married to men and women married to women?

Yes. Many times in genealogy research, the sex of the individual is not given or unknown.  Branches handles all these situations.

How many spouses or parents can a person have?

You can have as many as you want.

How do I replace an UNKNOWN person with a real person?

An UNKNOWN person is shown if a family is created with only one parent, or if a spouse in a family is deleted or unlinked. When you right click on an UNKNOWN person, a context menu will appear which allows you to replace the UNKNOWN father or mother. You can either enter information for a new person, or use the “Find” button to replace the UNKNOWN person with a person already in your database.