Family Historian on Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, etc


Family Historian (fh) runs on Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8.1, or 10 on a PC (except V6 does not run on XP). This includes the Windows Surface Tablet costing as little as £65 that runs full Windows 8.1/10 (not Windows RT). Therefore, fh does not run natively on any other operating systems (OS).

The simplest way to understand the reasons is to think about cars. You cannot run a petrol car on diesel, or a diesel car on petrol, and as you may well know the results of doing so can be disastrous. Each OS only runs compatible programs, so getting a program designed for one OS to work on another OS can be tricky if not impossible.

One way of running fh from another device is to use PC Remote Control, where a small application on the Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android, or Windows RT device can link via the Internet to a Windows PC program.

Apple Mac

Modern Apple Macintosh computers (iMac, MacBook, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, etc) run on similar hardware to modern PCs. This means you can install software on a Mac that will run programs designed for Windows. This software comes in two flavours:

Virtual Machines

These allow you to install a licensed Windows OS into a 'machine within a machine', so you end up with a Windows machine, and you can run Mac programs at the same time as Windows ones.

Windows Emulators

Subtly different to virtual machines, emulators provide a wrapper, which makes Windows programs think they are running on a PC, but don't need a Windows OS license to run. They are not as fool proof as Virtual Machines, and there have been varying reports of success with Family Historian using them.


Linux systems are in many ways similar to Macs, and the options mentioned above can be run on common versions of Linux such as Debian and Ubuntu. Of the lists above only Parallels is not available for Linux.

Apple iOS

The operating system iOS runs on iPad, iPod & iPhone devices, and is different to that used on Macs. This means completely different software is required.

Applications for these devices can only be purchased via the Apple Store and the best way to find currently available apps is to search for 'gedcom' in the store, or follow the Links below.

  • GedExplorer loads fh project GEDCOM and Media directly
  • GedFamilies enables a GEDCOM file to be easily transferred to your iDevice
  • GedView can import a GEDCOM file and linked multimedia to an iDevice
  • Heredis is free, can import a GEDCOM file from the Export Gedcom File Plugin, and allows subsequent editing on an iDevice

There is a way of displaying Family Historian created Family Tree HTML pages on an iPad (and Android) as described in Forum thread FH CD-DVD viewing on ipad March 2014.


Android is a popular Tablet and Smartphone OS, and there are a variety of Applications available for it. The quick way to find them is to go to Android Apps on Google Play and search for 'GedCom'.

The Applications below use a Windows program to convert your Gedcom/Project to a database file to be sent to your device.

Other Applications for Android that can read Family Historian Gedcom files, but may have some limitations on file size include:

Some of these Applications are endorsed on the [FHU] Mailing List.

Windows RT

This is a cut down version of Windows 8, but does not run native Windows programs. If you have a tablet or phone running this OS we are not aware of any Family History Apps that can handle GEDCOM files at this time. (If the Apps in the next section support the ARM Processor does that mean they run on Windows RT?)

Windows Surface Tablet

This is the full version of Windows 8.1/10 running on a tablet with a small touch-screen and no keyboard, such as a Surface. It should run Family Historian, but the buttons and text may be small and inconvenient to use, unless a monitor and keyboard are attached via HDMI or Bluetooth.

The following Windows 8.1/10 GEDCOM Apps are available from the Windows Store but there is little feedback from FHUG members.

See threads FH on a tablet - new solution May 2015 and App for Window-based Tablet Aug-Sep 2014.