Had the same question not too long back and ended up going with Zoho. It's basically an ad free version of gmail with a far far better interface with threaded view, labels AND folders. Didn't quite like the idea of gmail "looking" at all my emails to serve ads.
With Zoho, you can also use your own domains although their implementation isn't a finished version and some features needs to be manually setup by their tech support upon request (imap, deleting aliases, etc), which is usually done within a day in my experience. There is also no need to sign up for another account when using your own domains as with the case of gmail + google apps.
My only doubt is ... how are they able to provide a "better gmail" for free? How long before they consider charging customers for their email services. Even gaint companies like Google needs advertising to support gmail.
Being ahost I don't know much about Google other than you give a lot of tracking info with anything Google... There are hosts with e-mail only products for just a dollar or 2 a month and while I normally wouldn't recommend such cheap hosting if it is only for e-mail they should be fine and you would probably get more versatility (as to types of e-mail clients & such) and privacy than Google...however if it's just family you have obviously looked at the Google product and it may be fine, just thought I'd let you know while I don't; I have seen companies with e-mail "only" hosting that is very cheap and offers all the e-mail you could ever use since e-mail is low-demand on hardware.
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you give a lot of tracking info with anything Google...
This is an important point that most people don't consider when using Google.
I use their Gmail service, but I do it knowing full well every single email is being tracked by them. At the moment I will put up with it, but at some point I will move away to something more "private".