Mar 142014
Family Historian

I use Family Historian V5 to record my research for both my personal genealogy and my one-name study. Family Historian is only available to run on a PC with XP or later operating systems, for me this was OK until I wanted to take my research with me as I use a MacBook Air as my laptop of choice for when I am away from my desktop.

To run Family Historian on my MacBook meant that I would have to use an emulator of some sort to allow it to run. There is a choice either to run Windows as a virtual operating system within the Mac environment using the free Virtual Box or similar. The disadvantage of this approach is that you must have a copy of Windows that you can run in the virtual machine. The other choice is to use an emulator that packages the Windows application to run under OSX. I chose this latter approach and used Crossover from Codeweavers to create a version of Family Historian that would run on my Mac.

The installation of Crossover on the MAC is straightforward and I won’t go into that here. The installation of Family Historian, however, requires a couple of tweaks to get it running properly and these are detailed here.


In Crossover create a new application ‘Bottle’ as usual.

To ensure that plug-ins work correctly a line needs to be added to the Family Historian bottle.

Open Crossover as usual in the Configure menu select Manage Bottles, select the Family Historian bottle, then in the dialog box that opens select Open C:drive. Finder will now open go up one level in finder and select the cxbottle.conf file and open it in a plain text editor. Scroll to the bottom of the file and you will find a section that starts after [EnvironmentVariables] at the bottom of this section add a new line:


Replace YOURNAME with your computer name.

Ensure that the quotes are normal ones and NOT smart quotes.

Save the file.

Installation of Add-Ons for Family Historian

Before attempting to install any add-ons at all to Family Historian check the file associations in your browser. Ensure that the file extension .fh_lua is associated with Family Historian. All other associations should be fine but if you have any problems installing any downloaded add-ons check the file associations in your browser.

If you have any problems installing plug-ins as a web download just save the plug-in in your download folder. The in Family Historian go to Tools > Plug-ins > More > Import and browse to your download folder and import them.

If you have problems installing Fact Sets, Queries or Property Box Tabs then go to File > Import and select the appropriate file type there.

Plug-in known not to work

  • Backup and Restore Family Historian Settings – This plug-in cannot access the registry and therefore cannot save the Family Historian settings.

Non-functional Issues

  • The in-built Family Historian PDF printer does not work. If you need a PDF printer that does work with Family Historian running on the MAC then use the free PDFWriter application. This installs at the MAC OS level and is available as a printer within Family Historian.
  • Reports from the Publish menu do not display correctly on screen, they only show multimedia items and not the text. However, if you print to a printer or PDFWriter then both text and images are displayed.

Examples of Family Historian screens on the MAC.

In a later post I will cover how to get Ancestral Sources, a popular companion application for Family Historian, running on a MAC too.

 Posted by at 9:40 am