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!

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  1. Claire,

    Just one comment about your recommendation on the NO for automatic response to search.

    I get where are you going and what your emphasis is, and I totally agree with you. Enter what you know AND Document that. i am sure you will get there.

    I would recommend that the default YES be accepted. REASON: they create the Shaky Leaves. My suggestion is that you let FTM2014 search Ancestry ALL of the Time. Get those hint.

    BUT, and this is a big BUT --- Do NOT follow those hints for now. Let them be. Don't do anything with the Hints YET.

    I have made a number of blog posts for the ADVANTAGES of following those Hints, but LATER.

    Thanks for the link to my Training Resources on my Blog. I maintain that as a resource for the tutorials / videos that I have found.


  2. Claire,
    Nice review. I have FTM and an Ancestry tree. The problem is that the latest FTM version does not work with Maverick with is the latest Mac operating system. Once I did the Maverick update, I lost the ability to synchronize my tree. I talked to ancestry and they didn't when this problem would be fixed. They may have fixed it by now, but it has been very frustrating.

  3. Claire,

    I am re-reading this preview again. I have a question:

    You said:

    "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."

    I am a little confused about what you are saying here.

    Family Tree Maker 2014 (FTM2014) for the PC is one program
    Family Tree Maker for the Mac Version 3 (FTMM-3) is another program.

    The Features between the two programs are very close, but the two programs are build on their respective Operation System.

    Also, don't forget about the Companion Guide that is part of the Help Menu is a Very helpful and well written guide to the program.