Friday, May 23, 2014

Family Tree Maker

This week we are sharing information on the 2nd of 4 genealogical software programs.

Family Tree Maker (FTM) is available for both a PC and a Mac which eliminates any emulators needed to run windows based software on a Mac.

FTM is advertisted as the #1 selling family history software and allows an individual researcher to keep track of family information, add sources and citations from documents as well as pictures. Once the information is added, one can also print up reports and charts to present the entered information in a variety of different formats.

As with the previous software, you begin with yourself, your parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. Most of this information is what you already know. Do take time to question those in your family who are older, hopefully they will be able to help you as you start to collect valuable family history information.

When you finish installing the program, you will be asked to register it with and they offer a 14 day free trial with that registration if you currently not an member. The first screen to enter data is a little different from Ancestral Quest and looks like this:

Notice that it has the usual fields to fill in but this has an additional one as you are just beginning and allows you to name the tree in this first screen. If you had a tree on Ancestry, you can download it straight from within the program. Entering in the fields is not complicated and when you begin to enter the places a drop down allows you to enter the place with the full proper name. Once entered you hit continue and you are taken to an "Auto Search Question" like this:

If I click on the "OK" Ancestry will go out to its site and search for the individual I just entered, however, since you are new to this I would recommend not to allow that and enter what you know to be accurate and true before linking into someone else's data that could be right or wrong. By clicking the "NO", it immediately brought me to a beginning Pedigree. I started with my father who passed away in 1984.

Adding individuals is as simple as clicking on "add Father", "add Mother" or "add Child" like this:

There are 2 types of Pedigree views, traditional to the side and vertical:


As you build your family tree, there will be more to view in each of these pedigree views. We'll show some of the charts in the next blog. 

There are videos and tutorials available for FTM in a variety of places:
Next week's blog will delve just a bit deeper into Family Tree Maker.

Comments Are Always Welcome!

Building Bridges for All Generations!

 (c) 2005-2014, Timeless Genealogies, All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 9, 2014

Ancestral Quest: Simple but Powerful...

Ancestral Quest (AQ) family tree software is the easiest to use and most versatile genealogy program for Windows on the market according to many who use this software product. 

Of of the main draws is the fact that the format is perfect for the beginner and yet powerful enough for the most advanced genealogist. Easy data entry, keyboard shortcuts, scrapbooking, and excellent sourcing capabilities are just some of this genealogy software program's wonderful award-winning features.

Create professional looking Pedigree Charts, Family Group Sheets, Ancestry charts, Descendant charts, genealogy book reports, fan charts and more. Additionally, there are links from within the program that allow you to search on other online databases such as, and others that you can add yourself saving you research time.

A program description is found here from their website:, additionally, there is a "Quick Start Video Tutorial" available from the website that covers all the basics and some of the not so basic features, however, one is free to just follow one at a time.

When you are just beginning you would most likely have an empty family file so a pedigree view would look like this.

As the above is blank, the Family view it would also be blank, but you can begin to enter your own information as the first person in the file. The following screen is what comes up when you begin to add an individual. Once the information is added, you just click 'Save'.

Simple data entry:

Of course even with this simple data entry, one would want to provide a location of where this information came from which could simply be a birth certificate.

The next logical step would be to add the parents and siblings and so begins the journey of building one's family tree.

While these are simple steps, it is these simple steps that one takes to begin ones' own family history.

The data entry is simple yet provides one with the opportunity to add sources and citations for each person so that one can know for sure the individuals in their family file are members of their own family.

To learn more about purchasing Ancestral Quest, contact them at 1-800-825-8864. For technical support contact them at 801-280-4434. If you wish to just send an email query, you can so at

Enjoy the simplicity and power of this full-featured genealogical software!

Next: A review of Family Tree Maker 

Comments Are Always Welcome!

Building Bridges for All Generations!

 (c) 2005-2014, Timeless Genealogies, All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 2, 2014

Choosing Software: Ancestral Quest, Family TreeMaker Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic

When it comes to software it can be hard to choose the right one. There is always more than one that will do the same thing. Take for instance word documents, today one can choose from paid programs like Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect or use some of the open source programs like Open Office or even Google Docs, it can be so confusing that one gets lost and frustrated.

For the next few weeks we are going to review 4 main programs that will store all your family files, pictures, recording, etc. and reproduce a variety of reports and charts to put on your wall or give to family members as gifts. 

We will be reviewing Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree and Roots Magic. Family Tree Maker is used by a colleague of mine and he has created some online tutorials that we will reference to cover it. As you can see from the chart above they are all listed there in the top 5 software programs listed by Top Ten Reviews.

When choosing software one has to take in consideration what you would like the program to do for you. Each of these programs a wonderful job with taking care of your family files. When TopTenReviews did their survey they judged the software by the following categories:

1) Reporting and Publishing
2) Feature Set
3) Citation & Organization
4) Help & Support

Each of these four software programs has most features in each of these categories so what is their difference?

Usually it is layout and functionality, various screen and whether they are easily understood. Many people feel they can load a program and figure out how to use it without too much difficulty, however, if the program itself is too complicated that is not the case.

The data entry screen for Ancestral Quest is as follows:

This screen should be most familiar to those who previously used PAF (Personal Ancestral File). That program was available for 14 years, however, the code for that program was provided to FamilySearch by Incline Software in 1999. At that time, PAF 4 and Ancestral Quest 3 were nearly identical except for the different name and a few other minor variations, it was finally released to the public in 2002 and retired in July, 2013.

Ancestral Quest has the same look and feel for most of the screens and processes as well as charts and reports, however, there are many more reports and options available with AQ than there was with PAF. Here is a screen shot of the Charts and Reports:

There are tutorials on how to use this program built right into the drop down menus. For those who will be linking and synching between FamilySearch and Ancestral Quest, click on FamilySearch and a drop down will bring up tutorials to help learn how to use those features. There are also general tutorials under Help:

Next week will go step by step with entering an individual and show how to do a couple of charts before we move onto Legacy Family Tree. Ancestral Quest can be found online at

Comments are always encouraged and welcome!

Building Bridges for All Generations!

 (c) 2005-2014, Timeless Genealogies, All Rights Reserved