• Price: $29.99 for the program with a two-week subscription to Ancestry.com US Deluxe collection; editions with longer Ancestry.com access range from $39.99 to $99.99.
• Manufacturer: Ancestry.com, (800) 262-3787, <familytreemaker.com>
• System requirements: Windows XP or newer
• Demo/trial version: none
• Biggest draws: Wall charts, searching Ancestry.com
• Drawbacks: Printed reports, slow program launch
Ease of use
Version 2010 closely resembles last year’s version, remains easy to use and includes online access to a 98-page Getting Started Guide, a Knowledge Base and tutorials. The program is easy to navigate, combining pedigree, family and individual views plus a name index all on one screen, along with separate tabs for other tasks.
Version 2010 still starts slowly, taking a minute or longer in my tests. By running two instances of the program, you can have two family files open at once, but it’s hard to view them side by side.
Family Tree Maker doesn’t preserve the correct spouse order when importing GEDCOM files. The program is also supposed to be able to import files from Legacy, Personal Ancestral File and The Master Genealogist, but in my tests it failed with Legacy and PAF files.
Charts and multimedia
Family Tree Maker creates outstanding wall charts, including hourglass, bow-tie and fan charts, all highly customizable. Now you can scan a picture directly into Family Tree Maker and use images in your tree to create a slideshow you can share with others.
Using Ancestry.com’s MyCanvas online service, you can create family history books, photo books, posters and calendars. First, you have to upload your family tree to Ancestry.com. Creating a book is still an excruciatingly slow process. You can print your own book for free or have it professionally printed and bound ($34.95 for 20 pages).
Documentation and publication
Templates for different kinds of sources are arranged into groups. That means you have to dig through a hierarchy to find the right source type—it would be easier if you could sift through one list.
The family group sheet, though improved, still doesn’t present facts in chronological order. Custom facts in Register reports don’t show the date and place. Family Tree Maker veterans will be glad that version 2010 brings back offline book creation. Your book can contain charts and reports, along with a table of contents and a name index.
To publish your family tree on Ancestry.com, you upload your Family Tree Maker file to an Ancestry Member Tree. Now you also can download your member tree into Family Tree Maker, along with attached files and photos. Although the program offers HTML reports, you can’t create a hyperlinked report suitable for your own website.
You can search your family file for a term anywhere in the facts, notes, sources, media and tasks. Family Tree Maker automatically searches family trees and records on Ancestry.com
for people in your family file; a leaf beside a name in pedigree view indicates a potential match. The program does a good job finding matches, even when facts don’t fit perfectly. For example, it recognized that Stephen S. Olmsted was recorded as S.S. Olmsted in the 1860 census.
Hover over a leaf to see the number of matches in source records and trees. Then click the link to view the matches on Ancestry.com. You can easily merge information from a record into your family tree. Family Tree Maker adds a fact, links it to the record image (if there is one) and creates a source citation. You also can merge information from family trees on Ancestry.com, though the source citation doesn’t include the name of the tree’s owner.
Family Tree Maker 2010 is a fine choice if graphical wall charts are a high priority and you use Ancestry.com
heavily. Considering an upgrade? Wait until Ancestry.com
issues the patch it’s working on to fix glitches with this release.
From the March 2010 Family Tree Magazine