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3.9 out of 5 stars34
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 30 January 2011
I have only just received this, so cannot as yet give a definitive review, but it seems that it will do all that I wish it to do. It arrived promptly and well packaged with 3 boxed CD programs, (the program itself, a "Back up and Protect" program, and a "Create Your Own Web Site" program - will I use these extra programs? doubtful, also a "quick start guide" and a 340 page "Companion Guide"). The program includes a 6 months subscription to Ancestry worldwide membership, which will more than pay for the product itself.

BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, the installation was awful as has already been mentioned, (and from what I have read on various forums, is a major issue). It installs onto the computer, but when I tried to open it, I received the message that I hadn't closed it down correctly and that I should go into the "tools" menu and compact the files!!!! How can one not close a program correctly if one has never opened it in the first place? and how can one go into the tools menu if one cannot open it????? I also had the usual Windows message that this program has a major problem and will close etc. Anyway, I re-started the difference; un-installed it 3 times and re-installed, re-started the computer each time; ran the program as difference....nothing it would seem would get this to open. I have just written to Ancestry via the support section of their web site, but will have to wait about 3 days according to the automated email. In desperation I did the following, which worked and hopefully will help anyone else with the same issues, (incidentally, I have Windows 7):

1) Load the Program CD but do not let it self run, so when it starts to install automatically, press cancel.
2) Go into "My Computer" and right click the drive showing the CD and click "Copy"
3) Go back to your desktop and right click anywhere on an empty space, right click and press "copy"
4) After the CD has been copied onto the desktop, remove the CD from the drive.
5) Click and open the program and click the install button, (blue in colour and not far from the bottom of all the items)
6) After it has installed, you can delete the copied program from the desktop.
7) Hopefully when you click the short-cut on the desktop it should open - famous last words!

I look forward to reading how you get on, and thanks for listening,


I have tried to use the program 3 times, and while it opens fine, nothing has been saved, so all my entries and dates have disappeared! I have read the manual and everything is supposed to save automatically! I have searched the computer in case it is saved in a file somewhere, but it has not.....So back to Avanquest and I will add the answer when I hear.
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on 27 December 2010
As an experienced computer user I had major problems with registering this product. This is obviously a known issue that has existed over previous versions (years) of the software as instructions are available on the website to fix the issue. Unfortunately this can involve alterations to the registry files of the computer and deleting other files/directories.

I have followed all the instruction I could find and am currently uninstalling the software in an attempt to get it working using a clean install.

I'm not known for giving poor reports on software but think in this day and age, these sorts of problems should not appear in the latest versions of retail software.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This pack has now been superseded by Family Tree 2012 World edition (also the top in the range). World Edition allows access to Ancestry's on-line global collection of records, including the UK. Ancestry apparently has over 4 billion records available to search, ranging from historical censuses and parish records, to military records and passenger lists, although it's not the only on-line place to pay-as-you-go research your family tree. This pack contains a full 6 months 'World Wide' membership for the Family Tree on-line Ancestry website, whose webpages actually integrate into this software much like iTunes and its shop. It's similarly expensive to go beyond the 6 months membership though and some suggest Ancestry does have factual errors, as it also relies on genealogy information uploaded from other registered members [although it can certainly help get you get started]. However now that the 2012 version has been released, you would be best served investigating the latest version, as the membership offer may have lapsed on this obsolete Family Tree Maker 2011 version. If you are already a member of Ancestry this software is perhaps less useful as much of Family Tree Makers features are mirrored with similar tools offered on-line at Ancestry anyway.

Family Tree Maker 2011 World Edition also features chart creation and reports, family tree creation with support for photos, documents, audio, video and other files, as well as timelines, and interactive maps, and it's all pretty straightforward to use and looks loads better and is far easier than trying it on say Powerpoint or Publisher. Family tree Maker is a bit more complicated than earlier versions of GSP [now Avenquest] genealogy software, as it no longer has a simple single tree layout, but is split into lineages with more multimedia content options and now integrates into the on-line membership fees driven version. But it's still a nice Family Tree package to get you up and running - although the key resources for any family are the memories of its oldest members so pump them for information ASAP. I would add you have to be serious about getting started with the family tree as well, as if you don't get much free time to pursue this you might find the money spent on Family Tree Maker 2011 is wasted if you don't make full use of your 6 month Ancestry trial period [you can try a free 14-day Ancestry trial before buying if interested].
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Unlike some reviewers I had no problems installing or runing this program.

The programme itself is probably much the same as other family tree software but with the bonus of access to Ancestry's web records, which is what sets this program apart. Without this access it is probably an average pice of family tree software.

You do have to be careful when accessing the web records - it is a little too easy to add a record to your tree and then realise it isn't a family member at all - especially for older records where individual details can be a little sparse.

After the initial free period your subscription to the web site will renew automatically - so if you dont want that you have to remember to cancel it beforehand. I had no problems doing this.
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on 3 March 2013
This installed ok, but when I registered it I got 6 months Premium Ancestry subscription (instead of World) and had to ring them. It turned out to be because I had had the 2 weeks free trial on Amazon so it just carried on with that (I needed to use the same email address in order to access the tree I had started).

The lady I spoke to was very helpful and changed it to World level. I did have to give my credit card no over the phone though which didn't bother me but is something to be aware of.
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VINE VOICEon 27 April 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I was very young, I learned that the bigger the box, the bigger and shinier the present. When I was very, very young, apparently I found the big box to be as interesting, if not more so, as the present itself.

With the Family Tree Maker 2011 World edition, you know that you will be getting a substantial package. For a start, the box is over 3 inches thick and seems to weigh commensurately more than you would expect. It brought back fond memories of the days when software came in hard boxes. Its contents (i.e. what you get for your money) are:-

1. The program itself (Family Tree Maker 2011 World) on a separate CD in the usual CD/DVD casing. It comes with 6 months Free Worldwide Membership of Ancestry worth £72 currently (not £113 as stated on the box). However, to get this you have to produce your credit card online and unless you then take steps to cancel at least 2 days before the 6 months are up, you will automatically get a 6 month renewal at a cost to you of £72. There's no such thing as a free lunch!
2. A separate CD (boxed as before) with "Essenti@ls Backup and Protect" software on it which appears to be quite a thorough backup program for the benefit of the whole PC (and not just the Family Tree software. The box suggests that the "Product contains Perfect Image 12". Unless you already have a good backup package, this software has a value in itself.
3. A third CD (also boxed) containing "Essenti@ls" Create your own Website Version 2" software. This utility has some link with a hosting site which requires payment after a short 14 day trial. I cannot see (and I have not checked) whether the software is actually tied to that hosting package, but I think probably not.
4. A manual/companion guide, YES a PRINTED MANUAL, some 340 pages long. If you find the print rather small to read, as I did, then the manual is on the main program disc as a pdf and can be copied on to the PC
5. Printed Quick Start Guide and 'Welcome Pack' (the latter being really a promotional leaflet for related goods or services).

System requirements will no doubt be set out on the Amazon Page. My set up is a Dell PC dual core running Windows XPpro with 2GB ram and lots of space on the hard drive. The box tells me that the product is "Compatible with Windows 7", "Works with Windows Vista" but "Designed for Windows XP". Personally, with my set up I found absolutely no problems with installing and using the software. I did however have problems with the automatic online searching which caused "debug" messages constantly to appear. I switched those messages off and have found no significant problems with the online searching although there are 1 or 2 minor irritations.

Having said that, my PC has hung on a number of occasions during the online search routines, although, thankfully it has recovered after 3 or 4 minutes. I cannot definitely put these instances down to the software and I mention them only in passing.

So far as the program itself is concerned, it is fairly intuitive and has to be for me because I reserve manuals for dealing with `footnote' type issues. I did manage to work out how things were supposed to be entered etc. but bear in mind that this is US software and was a lot less user friendly until I found out how to change the inputting and appearance of dates, etc.

Given its pedigree, the software generally must be seen by genealogists (at least amateur ones) as being worthy of the investment of time and money. I am in no position to disagree.

By way of summary, the package is complete and thorough with some bonuses and the odd disadvantage here and there. It seems just right for those who wish to do a thorough job in establishing a Family Tree. The package will make the job a lot easier and professional. My only concern for non XP users (and particularly Vista users), however, would be its degree of compatibility with their systems.
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on 12 November 2013
Excellent product, it does exactly as written on the box. I would strongly recommend this to anyone, arrived on time, no problems with shipping experienced, I definitely recommend purchasing to anyone interested.
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VINE VOICEon 24 July 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My goodness, there is a lot in the rather large box that this comes in. Of the three CDs that are included, the Backup CD and the Create your own website CD are not really connected to the Family Tree maker software and of peripheral use.

The main software is the Family Tree Maker itself and this is extremely comprehensive whilst being fairly easy to use, once you get the hang of it. I would suggest starting simple before embarking on a large genealogy project. What you do get, unlike most software these days is a comprehensive printed guide and this is a very useful addition. It installed perfectly first time and I was up and running in no time.

When all is said and done though, this is effectively a bespoke database program and to get anywhere with it, you need the material to flesh it out. Thankfully, you get a six month subscription to, a useful resource for discovering basic information from Birth Marriage and death records as well as censuses up to and including 1911. I should point out that this information is limited as the information shows months and years but not exact dates and, although it is searchable, it can involve poring over scanned documents to find the information you require. What is does give you is an easy way to obtain the basic information which you can flesh out later if required.

Be warned that researching your family tree can become quite expensive. To get exact details, birth, marriage and death certificates would need to be purchased and these are fairly expensive (around £27 each). Also once the six months is up, you need to renew your subscription to (although you can just as easily use a diffeent service - I have been using Genes Reunited).

So all in all this is a good tool which provides the software you need to build a decent family tree but be aware that to gather the information to fill it out can work out a significant expense in the long run.
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on 24 December 2012
This product was bought mailnly because it contains a 6 month subscription to ancestry in the price which makes it considerably cheaper than buying the subscrption on it's own. The family Tree Maker programme is easy to load but this is the 2011 version and not the more up to date 2012.
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VINE VOICEon 3 March 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found this software very good and would recommend it to all experienced and new genealogists who require a user friendly and professional family tree programme on their PC. Beginners would get off to a really good start as the tree connects to Ancestry online and integrates your own records with their millions of worldwide records online which are downloaded easily into your own tree.
I am a genealogist of twenty years and already a member of Ancestry but found it was very easy to import all my data into this new programme. Charts of several different formats can be easily created to share with family members, and are the best charts I have used. The Worldwide subscription to Ancestry is invaluable, I still find Ancestry by far the best online site for research. Included in the pack is a back-up DVD for PC's, however I found this quite difficult to use. There is also a `create your own website' DVD which is easy to use as no web programming is required.
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