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A program for those who value the six months' free subscription to Ancestry
on 14 November 2013
I purchased FTM 2014 direct from Ancestry as an existing subscriber.
There are three distinct groups of people who would consider buying this product:
1. Owners of a previous version who are subscribers to Ancestry and wish to extend their subscriptions for six months at the lowest possible cost.
2. Owners of a previous version who are hoping for improvements in this latest version.
3. People new to genealogy looking for a program to help them.
I belong to the first group. Premium membership of Ancestry normally costs £12.95 per month so this package with six months' subscription is therefore a very cheap way of extending Ancestry membership.
People in the second group will be much less satisfied, for there are tweaks to the program rather than a major overhaul, though there were no problems in setting up the software or integrating it with my existing tree. The main difference in the 2014 version is that one has the option of Family View in addition to Pedigree View - just as one has on the Ancestry website. The interface has been improved marginally and in addition one can now export an individual branch of one's tree. However, these are relatively minor changes and would not justify upgrading to FTM 2014 unless one values the six months' Ancestry membership. There are supposed to be improvements to the charts but I can detect no real difference. It was anyway unlikely that there would have been major improvements in this area because Ancestry wishes to continue to sell its charting software programs as extra add-ons. Buying this new version only for impovements in functionality would be a waste of money.
I believe that Family Tree Maker may be a good buy for those in the third group - people embarking on genealogy as a new hobby. It is, of course, possible to purchase perfectly adequate software for a fraction of the price of this product and if one is seeking only to create a tree from existing knowledge then it would certainly be better to buy a cheaper program. The merit of the Platinum version of Family Tree Maker is that it includes six months' Premium membership of Ancestry, and a subscription to one of the genealogy websites is, I believe, important for serious genealogical research. The Premium membership that comes with this Platinum version offers very much more than the Essentials membership attached to the Deluxe version and is much better value. I have 2,000 individuals on my family tree. I could not possibly have achieved that without Premium membership of Ancestry - or an equivalent membership on one of the other genealogy websites. Finally, a big plus for FTM 2014 with a subscription to the Ancestry website is that one can invite family and friends to view one's online tree as either guests, contributors or editors. No subscription is needed. It makes it possible for creating a family tree to become a collaborative effort.