Take Two

By Allison Dolan Premium

New features and technical tweaks aren’t the only changes that debuted in Family Tree Maker and Family Origins’ recent upgrades. In the newest versions of its star software, <> introduced a different method of bundling bonus data with the programs.

FTM’s hallmark has been the colossal CD-ROM collections that accompany it. But FTM now comes with no data discs; instead, has matched it with three-month access to its online subscription databases.

Version 9.0 comes in three packages: FTM Plus pairs the core program with Genealogy Library, a collection of digitized local and family histories plus the 1850 census (see the October 2001 Family Tree Magazine for a review), for $49.99. The $69.99 FTM Deluxe adds a World Family Tree subscription, and the $99.99 FTM Premier gives you access to all of’s databases: Genealogy Library, World Family Tree, International & Passenger Records and the 1900 Census. Current users can also buy an upgrade ($19.99 from version 8.0) or purchase the program alone for $29.99.

So what new features do you get in this new package? Data entry has been revamped through an Individual Facts Card, which lets you add or edit facts about a person from one dialog box. Each card has tabs to speed navigation, and a drop-down menu lets you move to a parent, child, spouse or sibling. It’s an improvement over previous versions’ clunky method of entering facts one screen at a time.

This version gains one feature introduced in Family Origins’ last upgrade. You can link images of sources to your file — for instance, attach Grandma and Grandpa’s marriage license to their marriage date.

Family Origins 10.0 comes with database access, too — the program and three months of Genealogy Library are $49.99. Like FTM, the program alone costs $29.99 or $19.99 to upgrade. Family Origins’ changes, though subtler than those in its sister software, enhance this well-rounded program’s versatility.

Most notable is version 10.0’s ability to save family trees in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader (download at <>) lets others view documents exactly as you create them, whether or not they have compatible software. Now you can share ancestor and descendant charts as PDF files — handy for showing off your trees at family gatherings or having them professionally printed. PDFs are an easy — and attractive — way to share info on a genealogy Web site, too. (Learn more about Family Origins’ excellent Web-publishing features in the June 2000 Family Tree Magazine.)

PDF publishing is also an option with the new Family Journals, which help you combine your charts and reports into a “book” with an index and bibliography.

And version 10.0 brings some lower-profile ease-of-use changes: You can customize your toolbar and link sources to multiple people simultaneously.

FTM and Family Origins share one new feature that promises to make switching from file to file faster. The bottom of the File menu displays the databases you’ve viewed most recently; just select one to open it (as in Microsoft Word or Excel). If you use two or three family files frequently, this will save you the hassle of launching a dialog box each time.

Both run on Windows 95 or higher, including the new Windows XP. You can use Family Origins on a 486 processor with 8MB RAM and 8MB hard disk space, while FTM requires a heftier 16MB RAM (32MB recommended) and 100MB hard disk space on a 90MHz Pentium or faster machine.

To learn about the features introduced in FTM and Family Origins’ last upgrades, see the February 2001 Family Tree Magazine. And find out how these programs compare to other Windows — and Mac — family tree software with our annual software guide, in the Family Tree Yearbook 2002 (available from our Web site <>).

From the February 2002 issue of Family Tree Magazine