I don't usually write about the technology or software that I use but decided it is time I write what I think about Family Tree Maker Software.
Since the early versions were available I've been a user of FTM software. I appreciated its user-friendliness and all that it could do in generating family trees, genealogy reports, export of gedcoms etc. Having said that, as far as I am concerned version 16 was the best! Yes..I said *16*. I began with version 3 and over the years we were offered an upgrade every year. I also remember an upgrade after six months! Imagine that while some software was offering free downloads to upgrades those of us who were faithful FTM users kept shelling out the $$ to remain current with the software.
After version 16, the software was stripped to bare bones and the re-building began. I've purchased each new version and now Ancestry is about to launch Family Tree Maker 2012 that has been in public beta but will undoubtedly be available for purchase before long. I wonder when we can stop purchasing a yearly update and have been wondering what will is new in this updated version.
Here is what I found:
The main new feature is the ability to synchronize your tree between Family Tree Maker and Ancestry.com and we're especially focused on making sure that works well.
Here is a list of new features:
1. TreeSync - Ability to synchronize your tree between FTM and Ancestry.
2. Blended family view - Easily show all of the children for two spouses whether they are children of one or both of them.
3. Index of Individuals Report
4. Chart improvements
Show generation labels
Add text anywhere on a chart
Option to limit descendant chart to the direct line between two people
5. Report improvements
Custom fact sentences (used in genealogy reports & Smart Stories
Automatic Smart Story generation includes primary individual, spouse, and children
Research notes report changed to "Notes Report" with options to include other types of notes
While I am interested in some of the new features, I'm not crazy about "TreeSync" and I'll tell you why. Over the years I have found many errors in the ancestry.com trees. I even found my own immediate family that someone absconded with from my web site and connected me to the incorrect grandmother. How bad is that?
Another person had one of my aunts as having had a number of children, one of which her husband supposedly descended. The truth is that this aunt had three children who all died as babies. I have all of the death records.
On top of that, as an Acadian researcher, I know without a doubt that a great number of trees on Ancestry contain errors. People have simply copied from others what they found on Ancestry or elsewhere and added it to their own data long before we had access to more accurate information now available to us. Because of the Acadian deportation from Nova Scotia in 1755, Acadian genealogy has been difficult at best. So I know what I'm talking about with what I've seen in those trees. I predict that some will have a multitude of errors they will have to spend a great deal of time deleting from their database - or - start over.
So for now that's my take especially on the "TreeSync" feature - I will not use it.
As for the rest, we shall see. Long ago, I asked that Family Tree Maker contain colors we can use to code male/female lines. I think that would be a really nice feature. We could use a color for our direct ancestors too. For now what I do is I capitalize the names of all of my grandparents - that makes it easy to see/find my lines without have to spend a whole lot of time trying to find who was who but that's me.
Lastly, I want to say that I am truly weary of having to update FTM every year. Oh I know people will say it is my choice but here is the hook: if you update each version as it is made available, you get a good discount - if you wait until yet another version, you pay full price.
I would love to hear from other FTM users who would like to share an evaluation of what they think.
Meanwhile, I did look at other software when I was at NERGC in April. The only thing that keeps me from making the leap is the ability to access ancestry.com records from the FTM software - I must admit that is a plus.
All Rights Reserved
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
8 September 2011