I’ve used Family Tree Maker to organize my genealogy research ever since I started seriously researching my family history. I’ve upgraded every time a new version was available and have been happy with each upgrade except for the time the developers decided to remove the ability to search Genealogy.com from inside the application.
Installing Family Tree Maker 2008
On Saturday I installed Family Tree Maker 2008, knowing full well that others were reporting problems with installing FTM2008, importing FTM files from previous versions, and working with the new interface.
My computer is a 5-year-old Toshiba Satellite laptop with a Pentium 4 CPU running at 1.60 GHz and 512 MB RAM. The operating system is Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition. I upgraded from FTM16 to FTM2008.
Installation of FTM2008 went smoothly, although it took 1 hour to complete. Importing my family file took 1/2 hour but, again, everything went smoothly. I imported all 9293 individuals, 3290 families, 2604 sources, 15187 records, and 254 multimedia files with 0 errors.
Using Family Tree Maker 2008
While the installation and import took some time, now that everything is installed and imported, the application launches within 2 minutes (about the same amount of time it takes for Microsoft Word 2002 to launch on my system and much less than the 3 1/2 minutes it takes for Adobe Photoshop CS2 to launch).
As other people reported, I noticed that the FTM2008 runs a bit sluggishly, which is probably the fault of my somewhat outdated computer. FTM2008 doesn’t currently include a facility to produce a book from the desktop, a Register Report (descendant narrative), or an Ahnentafel Report (ancestor narrative), three of the features I’ve used most often in Family Tree Maker 16.
Performance Update to Family Tree Maker 2008
On Thursday night, I received notification that FTM had issued a program update (Service Pack 1) to address performance-related issues. I installed that free update immediately. Service Pack 1 includes the following updates:
- Name parsing fixes
- Place auto-completion enhancements
- File merge updates (including better indication of status)
- Updates to publishing (including saved settings)
- Resolution of issues pertaining to import of The Master Genealogist files
- Performance and stability enhancements
Reports Update to Family Tree Maker 2008
On Friday, I received notification by e-mail that FTM is planning to issue two more free updates.
The next update will be released in mid-October when the publishing capabilities will be expanded. This update will return several popular reports to FTM2008.
Desktop Book Publishing Update to Family Tree Maker 2008
The third currently scheduled update will be made next summer and will offer a desktop book publishing tool, the absence of which in FTM2008 has generated considerable online discussion. In addition, enhancements will be introduced to better integrate FTM and Ancestry Press.
Together, these enhancements will allow users the choice of generating and printing a book on the user’s desktop, generating a PDF on the user’s desktop and allowing the user to publish the book using a third party publishing facility, and generating and publishing a book using Ancestry Press.
Ancestry has also clarified some concerns about Ancestry Press. Any information uploaded to create a book on Ancestry Press remains private unless the user chooses to share it with specific individuals or the community.
In October, registered users of FTM2008 will receive a coupon for 50% off their first professionally published book through Ancestry Press.
In general, I like FTM2008. I particularly like the integration of FTM 2008 with Ancestry.com, since Ancestry is my main source of online genealogy data and images. In the short time I’ve used FTM2008, I’ve already found quite a bit of relevant information about people in my tree that I missed in the past.
I’m pleased to see that the folks at Family Tree Maker are listening to user comments and are quickly addressing those issues.
Copyright © 2007 by Stephen J. Danko