Running Family Historian on PlayOnLinux/Mac


The advice below applies to these or later stable versions of PlayOnMac/Linux.

Only the latest versions of ƒh and AS are supported as described below.

Also see Reported Problems.

Family Historian V7

Family Historian V7 has some significant issues running on PlayOnMac. Only install ƒh V7 if you are aware of these limitations.

  • During the install process of V7 into a POM bottle it will report errors and may hang whist installing the Nova PDF driver
  • Reports do not work. They display a black screen in preview mode, unlike V6 which prints the report content correctly, V7 will print a black report to the printer
  • Reports cannot be saved to the Mac pdf printer
  • Reports can be saved as RTF files and these will display and print correctly using an external program
  • If a notes field is selected and just a formatting change is made then no save button is displayed. To alter formatting additional text must be added to the note, formatting applied and then the additional text deleted, now a save button will be displayed.
  • Pasting text from a Mac window or browser must be pasted in as unformatted text otherwise it will not paste into the Note, Text from Source etc fields in ƒh
  • Carriage returns may be stripped from Note, Text from Source fields etc and similar on import into a new project.

Program Installation

The PlayOnLinux and PlayOnMac install in the same way.

  • Create a new Virtual Drive
  • Install the programs into a Windows 7 or Windows 8 configuration. Do NOT use Windows XP. For Mac OSX v10.15 (Catalina) and later a 64bit version of the Windows OS MUST be installed.

Install ƒh as a new non-listed application:

  • Use Configure > install components and select winhttp option (this is necessary for some ƒh plugins to download additional components)
  • Install Family Historian V6 or V4/V5 to V6 Upgrade CD or download as per the Family Historian Installation Advice
  • Finally select Fh.exe as the programme to run
  • When installing ƒh, disable Create a desktop icon and disable Launch Family Historian part way through the install progress. Ignore messages saying ƒh is incompatible with Windows 7/8 or that the installation was incomplete.
  • Once complete in the PlayOnLinux/Mac window select the virtual drive and then choose Create a Shortcut if you want an icon for ƒh on your desktop.

Install AS as a new non-listed application:

  • Select Install a program in a new virtual drive it cannot share the ƒh one.
  • Select Install some libraries
  • Scroll down the list and select POL_Install_dotnet35sp1 to install Microsoft .NET Framework V3.5 SP1
  • Allow Microsoft fonts to be installed
  • Select I Agree
  • DotNet 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5 then download automatically and install. This can take some time. If this install fails due to timeouts then cancel it and start again using the overwrite option when choosing the same virtual drive. It will usually complete installation on the second attempt but may need a third
  • Once this has completed successfully then select and install the Utility ~ Ancestral Sources v5.2.0 32-bit/64-bit latest download
  • Finally select Ancestralsources.exe as the programme to run
  • Once complete in the PlayOnLinux/Mac window select the virtual drive and then choose Create a Shortcut if you want an icon for AS on your desktop.

When running AS and adding an image you may get an error message. The continue option can be chosen and the image will be added correctly.

File locations

The default Location for projects is My Documents\Family Historian Projects that is physically on the Mac at Documents/Family Historian Projects. This is usually mapped as the Z drive so the path will be Z:\Users\username\Documents\Family Historian Projects\

The C:\Program Files\Family Historian installation folder is physically at <username>/Library/PlayOnMac/wineprefix/FamilyHistorian/drive_c/Program Files/Family Historian where FamilyHistorian  is the name of your virtual drive.
The Program Data folder will be C:\Users\Public\Application Data\Calico Pie

Program Updates

The simplest way to update both ƒh and AS is to use their own Help > Check for Updates commands and follow the automated download and install process, although this may not succeed in Wine.

After the update has been downloaded, open PlayOnMac/Linux select the appropriate virtual drive and then select install a program chose an unlisted programme and then chose Edit or update an existing application and follow the prompts.


Plugins downloaded from the Plugin Store sometimes will not import using the browser Open With option, although Save followed by an explicit Import command works OK. A workaround in Firefox is to use its Firefox > Preferences settings to associate .fh_lua Plugin files with Family Historian then Open With works OK too.

Problems With Plugins

The Plugins listed below may have limitations.

Check Installed Plugins Against the Store

This plugin works in PlayOnLinux/Mac, however, on occasions when performing the update ƒh will crash. So manual install is a safer option for plugin updates.

It is necessary to occasionally check the Plugin Store manually to ensure you have the latest versions of plugins.

Research Planner

Providing that the winhttp service is installed this plugin works correctly.

Printing and PDF

All ƒh Print Setup and Print options work with any Mac (or Linux?) printer, even when a Report is displayed incorrectly on screen (see Reported Problems below).

The free PDFWriter for Mac offers a way of creating PDF output via the ƒh Print commands rather than the ƒh Save Diagram/Report As > PDF File (.pdf) commands.

The free CUPS-PDF for Linux offers similar PDF features.

Reported Problems

Mac specific issues

With the release of osX Catalina all applications on a Mac must be 64bit to install / run. PlayOnMac v4.3.x is not a 64bit implementation of Wine and so as a result you will not be able to install ƒh on a Mac running Catalina as its os using PlayOnMac.

Mac and Linux issues

Avoid using Internet Explorer as it can lead to download issues. Instead use Firefox or Chrome in the native Mac or Linux environment.

Although the Family Historian PDF (novaPDF printer) installs, Wine based emulators do not support Windows printer drivers, so the novaPDF printer does not work.

In PlayOnLinux/Mac  use the Configure > Wine > Control Panel > Add Remove a program to uninstall

Having done so, the ƒh Save Diagram/Report As > PDF File (.pdf) commands say PDF file output is not enabled.

Some ƒh Reports may display text incorrectly, but this is usually cured by using Tools > Preferences > General > Advanced > Emulator Compatibility Mode.

Use Tools > Preferences > Internet Data Matches > Location to Display Matches: External Web Browser to avoid problems with the internal window.

The Map Window will not zoom using the mouse scroll wheel and on occasions may not display correctly.

The ƒh command Tools > Preferences > Backup > Select > Make New Folder, and similar commands in Plugins, produce a hieroglyphic error message. The workaround is to create the folder beforehand using PlayOnLinux/Mac, and select the pre-existing folder in ƒh or Plugins.

When changing a Date field and the Invalid Date message opens saying Unknown date. Please enter a valid date. Do not change focus to another application as ƒh will freeze and must be closed. This problem may affect other error messages.

If ƒh &/or AS &/or another program are running at the same time, and one program changes the shared GEDCOM file, then the other program(s) correctly report the file has changed, but then may freeze and Force Quit must be used.

Last update: 24 Sep 2020