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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I previously reviewed FTM 2011 for Amazon vine and the only major issue with it was the lack of automatic synching with your family tree on This has been sorted in the new 2012 release so hence the 5 stars!

Here's an updated review for the FTM 2012: The programme installed flawlessly on my laptop (windows 7). Please note if upgrading from a previous version it doesn't automatically uninstall the old version. You have to do that manually. It installs as a new programme.

FTM is designed to work seamlessly with and comes with 6 months premium UK membership worth 77 pounds. is brilliant and enables you to share your growing family tree with other family members who can fill in the gaps and add missing details. Premium membership enables you to search all the UK archives and the programme alerts you to possible matches both in the archives and in other peoples family trees. *Please note that the 1911 census has not yet been fully digitized.

Simple interface
Integrates with and changes made online or in FTM are automatically synched
Free iPhone/iPad app so you can edit your tree on your iPhone/iPad
Automatically maps addresses
Improved charts and reports (useful when sharing your research with family members who arent computer literate as well as for gifts)

The display of the family tree itself on FTM can be a bit hard to navigate compared to the display on the iPhone/iPad and online which is much more intuitive. You can't scroll or use your mouse to "drag" through it like you can online - you have to select a person and click up or down through their family members to view the tree.
With the automatic synching there is a risk that you may lose info if one of your collaborators accidentally deletes something - so choose their access rights carefully! (You can specify this)

My rating is for the programme as part of the whole package. I think it is a fantastic product and I have really enjoyed researching my family tree. To be honest I find it easier to enter data using the iPhone app but FTM is great for printing out charts (which you cant do online without paying for it).

All in all a fantastic product! Who do you think you are? Take the plunge and find out!
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on 15 October 2011
Firstly a quick review of Amazon
I preordered this a month before release, it was dispatched 12 hours before the official release date so I had it before it was actually released.
Amazon have a price guarantee so when it was reduced by £10 I got an email saying that I had been refunded the difference, a nice surprise.
Now the software itself
I currently use Family Maker 2010 and was about to pay for a 'premium membership' to to further my research and was not considering updating, but I noticed that when you buy this you get 6 months premium membership free with it, which is what I was going to buy anyway so the purchase was pretty much a no brainer, effectively I got the software for free.
As for the software, it installed flawlessly, if you are in the market for some Family Tree software for the first time or looking to upgrade I can highly recommend.
Some of the standout features are the 'Blended Family View' this gives you a clear view of how families are these days, i.e step families, adoptions etc, something that was always difficult before.
The 'smart stories' is a nice feature, although available in my 2010 version, they have tightened it up making it nicer and much easier to use and more asthetically pleasing.
If you have never used Family Tree software before, this is a great way to start, there are so many features that you can't fail to be impressed, it can be a bit of a learning curve but if you stick with it you will end up with a fantastic record of your family tree, its trivial to produce professional looking trees with photos dates etc included.
If you have used previous versions, the upgrade is nice but not a massive difference however if you want access to for free for six months, then it's effectivly a free upgrade.
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on 24 November 2011
I've been using FTM for a few years now and I would recommend it to anyone who is working on their family tree, especially if they're using the Ancestry website. The 'must buy' bit of the 2012 version is the ability to synchronise between your computer copy and the online copy. Couldn't be simpler. Make changes to either version and they are all brought together and kept in line.

The six months subscription to Ancestry is good value. If you already subscribe it's added on the end. I had 10 months and then went to 16 months.
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on 9 November 2012
My Wife is heavily interested in this topic & has used the FTM programs for years, she spends at least 5 hours per night working on her trees & has people from all over the World contacting her for help & advice.
Whenever a new version came out we updated. From 2010 2011 V16, problems started to occur, usualy when backing up, & work previously entered disapeared! Ancestory was contacted, & their advice taken about backing up, but still work disapeared.
We changed the program to the 2012 version & bought another computer to run alongside the computer running 2010 / 2011, problems importing / exporting data.

Googled "Problems with FTM 2012" & after seeing the Multitude of problems, we decided to take the advice given of installing FTM 2006 on one of our computers & managed to restore to it an old pre 2012 backup.
My Wife is now trying to build this version up to the 90,000 individuals she previously had.
Our advice is "Google FTM problems" before you buy.
Our experience, FTM 2012 destroyed years of work.
Further advice, stick to older versions.
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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had resisted any urges to build my family tree until recently. It hadn't been difficult: I hadn't really had any urges whatsoever! However, one afternoon I visited my Dad's and he dug out his family tree notes and asked me to look something up online and then I was hooked. Every time I saw him or spoke to him I was reporting on a new find or a new lead.

Since I had used Ancestry for a lot of my record hunting I was keen to try this software and I wasn't disappointed. The program makes it easy to organise your records, print charts, make notes. In essence, you could argue that you can do many of the things you can do on Ancestry itself but - and here's the complete no brainer - you get SIX MONTHS of Ancestry access for free.

That makes this an incredibly high value program. Receive a way to easily organise your family tree information online, sync with your Ancestry account and get six months of access to Ancestry for free - all for under £40. Even if you use it for a month and find you prefer doing it all on Ancestry, you're still up on the deal.

I think this is a great product, particularly if you want to share your information, print records or create 'family tree books' to share with friends and family. Highly recommended.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 December 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The first thing to note with this product is that you are not actually buying the software. Family Tree Maker is actually a software package from Avanquest Software which is available in a number of guises. This version is bundled with an subsription, and it is that that you are actually paying for, not the software.

If you want just the software (albeit the previous 2011, or possibly 2010, version - which Avanquest call Version 4), it is far far cheaper to buy it branded as Who Do You Think You Are? Family Tree Maker. At the time of writing that is less that six pounds on Amazon.

That said, this new version of the software has some must have features that were not present in the previous versions, and this new version doesn't appear to be available without the Ancestry branding and bundle (not suprising really as the software has become more integrated with the Ancestry websites).

The most impressive and useful new feature in this version is 'Tree Sync'. Previously you could download and upload copies of your tree from and to the Ancestry websites, but this was a prett clunky operation. Now the software allows you to link an offline and online tree and it automatically keeps the two in sync. The features seems to work really well.

Tree Sync is even more useful if you have an iPad as it means that you can use the free iPad app to make tweaks to your tree, and your offline copy in FTM will be updated next time you open it and have a live internet connection.

The iPad app is really rather good now, but can be prone to crashes - though that''s not what's being reviewed here.

FTM is very powerful, but does seem pretty resource hungry for what it is.

It's not perfect. It is very easy to get yourself in quite a bit of a mess with duplicate people, children attached to wrong parents or anly attached to one of the correct parents. Sometimes these can be a bit of a chore to resolve, but it's not impossible and it's worth trying to keep on top of these kind of errors with a bit of housekeeping as you go. That way you don't end up with a big tree with lots of erros to sort out (like I did).

The 'wobbly leaves' feature which indicates that Ancestry thinks it has found

As it seems you are actually paying for the subscription rather than the software (the only difference between the different editions of the soaftware is the price and the level and length of Ancestry subscription bundled!) it's worth mentioning how effective that is as well.

Depending on the scope of your subscription (this version gives you access to a stack of UK records but there are subscriptions with access to 'worldwide' - read American! - records as well) you can get some pretty odd results being thrown up. The software makes an attempt to work out the accuracy of the name and other details that it matches with people in your tree and it often seems pretty close. It's up to you to decide whether the found records are actually the people that you are looking for, but your confidence in the system can really be dented when it throws up people who's name, date of birth and location have nothing to do with the person you are reasearching!

Thankfully these wildly inaccurate results are infrequent and given a good set of starting information (you really need to have family info going back to the early 1900s to get useful matches to start your research) you'll soon gain confidence in picking the correct results and building up your family history. So far I've managed to get two entirly seperate trees back to the late 1700s... to put that in context, I've found my family memebers who were alive when Napoleon was battling his way victoriously accross Europe (until he got to his Waterloo).

I've been using this software since the 2010 version, and have used a number of other online packages (including self install systems) and this is probably the most powerful. As it's now so integrated with the Ancestry website (which is actually a bit easier to use than this!) it has become even more powerful, but you do feel more tied in. You can use other sources of information such as FreeBMD, but rather cheekily you need an Ancestry subscription to be able to use the import feature of FTM to import this free information! (At least, that was the case with the 2011 version, let me know in the comments if that's been fixed in this version).

My previous annoyance with this software is still there. You need to supply your credt card information in order to activate you 'free' subscription. That's the subscription you've actually paid for in buying the software bundle. Your credit card details are taken so that Ancestry can debit your card to continue your subscription at the end of the included subscription - so you need to remember to cancel the renewal before they take that payment. It's easy enough to do via the Ancestry website, but this is a very cheeky approach in my opinion. When you have actually paid for a subscription bundled with the package, they should not be taking your credit card details to activaye what you've already paid for.

They are also a bit cheeky when they tell you what the bundled subscription is worth. It IS cheaper to buy this software with the subscription bundled, but the value they quote is the cost of teh equivalent subscription when bought as a 'pay monthly' subscription rather than an up front payment for the six months. By buying the software package you have paid for 6 months up front, so the price comparison is not like for like. Only the software industry seems able to get away with claims like this.

If you just want good family tree software, this is not the package to go for. But if you want a subscription to probably the best source of historical family information around at the moment with a bit of software that makes great integrated use of that then this reallt is very good.
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on 7 November 2011
Family Tree Maker 2012 is very similar to its previous incarnations 2010 & 2011. To be honest, I can see little point in upgrading to 2012, unless - and it is a worthwhile "unless" - you wish to take advantage of the six-month free subscription to libraries! In fact, the cost of this revision of the already excellent Ancestry software is LESS than a routine online subscription!

So, if your Ancestry subscription is due for renewal, this is definitely worth considering!
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VINE VOICEon 2 December 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I hve never used a fmaily tree maker software before however it is always something I wanted to look into. The FTM 2012 is easy to install and i had no probelms. The product has some great features that make viewing easier, The blended family tree maker is gives a nice easy view of how families are. Also the smart story feature is a nice addition. You still have to be patient but once you understand how the software works you won't fail. Great product and would suggest anyone who wants to look into family tree's then use this software.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My history. I started an tree last year.
I got Family Maker 2011 to review- and found it really difficult to integrate with the tree online.
Installed Family Tree Maker 2012- absolute doddle this time to download my very large tree to the PC. I have the Deluxe edition which I am trialling first. But I assume that it would be really easy also to activate the 6 months free subscription included by signing in to my deactivated ancestry account (make sure you remember your password first!).

I just like the look and feel of the online system better. Even if your subscription has expired on the website, you can still look at your tree via an iphone/ipad app. You just can't add documentary evidence to it based on the site. If you really want to print off all your data you can with this program, and certainly trees can get very entangled if you have linked to other people's and want to see multiple descent lines.

The free premium membership is really for those who've managed to unravel their tree back to beyond 1837 and want to get their teeth into the parish records. This is always assuming that they have been digitised for your county- Warwickshire has only just been added since my last membershipe expired.

There is plenty there: birth marriages and deaths from 1837, UK census records from 1841 (boy, the wonderful computerised indexation was a massive improvement over searching through microfiches in the 1980s). Necessary for military records, immigration and Irish collections (I've only a few military links, emigration may explain some disappearances and to date no Irish relatives).
Practically if you have progressed a little and want a leg up in your researches this is not a bad purchase, but you can cope with just the online system.
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on 12 November 2011
I have not used the new Family Tree much yet but it loaded well and all the info from FTM2011 is now on FTM2012. This is the 5th version I have used I have had 2006,2009,2010,2011,2012. Amazons price was great and the 6months access to Ancestry even better. Now the winter is on the way I will try and add even more to the 4 trees that i have been working on. I will look into the new features as i get stuck in with more research. All in all a great product at a great price again from Amazon.
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