Family Tree Maker Announces Upgrades to FTM2008

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 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As other people reported, I noticed that the FTM2008 runs a bit sluggishly, which is probably the fault of my somewhat outdated computer.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.

Closing Comments

In general, I like FTM2008. I particularly like the integration of FTM 2008 with, 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

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15 Responses to Family Tree Maker Announces Upgrades to FTM2008

  1. Janice Brown says:


    I’m trying to decide what to purchase for a new genealogy software program. I’ve heard that some folks who bought FTM2008 have returned it for a refund. Others are waiting for the upgrades and patches feeling those will resolve some of the issues they have (apparently FTM2008’s original software left out the “book creation” ability available in earlier copies).

    Will you keep us updated on your use of the program, and what you see as the strengths and weaknesses?


  2. Hi Janice,

    I haven’t used FTM2008 enough to write a decent review yet, but I keep finding new features I like.

    Unfortunately, I also notice more and more old features that are missing from FTM2008. I’m not sure if I just don’t know where to look for those features or if they were truly left out. I may have to contact product support.

    I’ll post more about FTM2008 as I gain more experience with it.

  3. Sergeant Yankey says:

    I’m desperate. YOu may not even be the right source. Several years ago I changed computers and copied my Family History on to a disc. I did not add Family Tree maker program to the new computer. Now I want to open the file but it won’t open. Do I have to have a Family Tree Maker program installed to open the disc and, if so, what version. My info is perhaps 6-8 years old. And yes, I am not computer smart.

  4. You will need either Family Tree Maker or Roots Magic to open your file. You can use any version of Family Tree Maker that is at least as recent as the version on which you created the file. If you’re looking to save some money, Family Tree Maker 16 (last years’ version) is available from for $9.97. Any version of Roots Magic should also be able to open the file.

  5. HappyDae says:

    For the desperate sergeant :D,

    The Master Genealogist will also open your old Family Tree Data. I love this program, but being a novice you may find it overwhelming at first. Still, you can do all the basic things right out of the box, then pick up the finer points as your experience grows.

    Happy Dae.

  6. Glenn Lane says:

    FTM 2008 HAS STOPPED TAKING NEW SOURCE-CITATIONS FOR MY TREE! I suggested over 2 years ago that they look to see if the citation for a particular source already matched one already filed (common, say, for entries from a census), instead of storing a duplicate source-citation. That caused multiple duplicate footnotes on reports. The number of source-citations in my file has reached the point that my entry of a new one overflowes the source-citation table and causes the program to CRASH. This, along with the elimination of Find and Replace edit and other important features, makes me advise anyone to be wary of switching to 2008 from Ver 16!

  7. John Green says:

    Very disappointing – almost a Beta version with so many features missing that it’s very unfriendly. I like the new interface

    What’s still wrong with v17.0.0.438:
    No View Index of Individuals with birth, marriage an death dates visible
    Inability to view index using married name for wives
    No Global search and replace (text)
    No Genealogy report (hopefully being included in the mid-October patch
    Inability to enter 1-3/Year and get Jan-Mar Year – now you just get 1 Mar Year
    Inability to import anything but Temple ready gedcoms from FTM2005
    Inability to turn off automatic source citation detail recognition (so if you have two individuals born same quarter same year same place – GRO refs the same – and link a birth cert. image to one, the other also gets the image, relevant or not)
    Inability to delete source citations (part of the above)
    Sometimes quits unexpectedly – OK it doesn’t seem to lose data when this happens, but it looks like 438 is unstable in it’s memory usage ‘cos it offers to send a memory dump to MS
    Doesn’t recognise maternal siblings as aunts/uncles even in relationship calculator – does however calculate correctly in reverse

    My conclusions – I should have waited until all the bugs were out. I’m considering asking for a refund.

  8. Mr A says:

    The latest release of Family Tree Maker is a piece of sh-t, sorry for the language but I call them as I see them. New releases should contain functions that were available in previous releases. It is slow to initialize and leaves out so much of needed information in the index. I am reverting to my previous release until I find another option. I am seriously looking at GRAMPS that runs under the Linux OS and is FREE.
    If you print Family Group sheets, for relatives, good luck, it is a pain in the a_ _ to do. I do not recommend purchasing the last release of Family Tree Maker.

    • Bridget Meadows says:

      I had FTM Ver 16 on my big laptop and my netbook with no problems. Then the hard drive on my big laptop crashed and I had a new hard drive installed. I then loaded my FTM Ver 16 program back onto my big laptop. I downloaded all my info from my netbook to a flash stick and put that stick into my big laptop. I thought it would be easy to download the file from the flash stick, but no can do. Previously I had no trouble moving the info from my big laptop to the netbook but now I can’t seem to do it in reverse, has something changed? I am running XP on both computers. How do I get my info from my netbook to my big laptop? Appreciate you time and help.

  9. Benny Crow says:

    I have a ton of info on Roots Magic but want to migrate back to FTM. Is there any way I can merge the info I have into FTM. I do not want to retype 600 pages of data. Reason for this is that FTM was always better and more sofisticated. It is good also because it is less forgiving and makes you put in only good data.

  10. Benny,

    To move a Roots Magic file to Family Tree Maker, you must first export the Roots Magic file to GEDCOM and then import the GEDCOM file into Family Tree Maker. I am not aware of any way to directly import the Roots Magic file into Family Tree Maker. Family Tree Maker 2008 allows for the direct import of PAF and Legacy Family Tree files, but not Roots Magic.


  11. j sherrill says:

    I have a new computer and need to re install my FTM. I have backed up my family files. Can I transfer them to the re-installed one and how do I do that.

  12. rf_1 says:

    I agree with Mr. A above. I’m a long-time user of FTM software. FTM2008 is the first product release of theirs that I found to be unuseable. After I uninstalled it and returned to FTM2006, the PC operated noticeably better.

  13. Gladys King says:

    Dear Administrator, re Family Tree Maker bugs:
    I had downloaded and installed program version just this April 2008 and tried to login after the program startup. It could not find my internet connection although my browser is running in the background. When I tried to print reports or any thing else, an error message told me it could not find my printer.
    I have no problem to input all my family data and the program lets me export the data into a ged file. I get around the problems by using a different genealogy program to import the .ged file and print from the other program.

    When I reported the problems to tech support I am still waiting for an answer.

    regards, Gladys

  14. Helen Aylor says:

    I had FTM 2006 one my old computer. I got a new computer with windows 7 one it, 2006 will not work on it, so I purchased the 2010 verson of FTM but it will not let me restore my information from 2006 to 2010 FTM. It directed me to your website to get updates but I could not find the up dates on it.

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