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Customer Review

125 of 129 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FTM 2010 platinum edition first impressions, 30 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Family Tree Maker 2010 Platinum Edition (PC CD) (CD-ROM)
I originally purchased FTM Deluxe which claimed to have 3 months subscrption to ancestry, but only had 2 weeks. This edition had 6 months and when on special offer was worth considering as subscription to ancestry is £100-150 annually.

The software is powerful. There is starting guide (with a demo to work though- this is based in Diana Spencer and I found it upsetting to have her as an example) there is also a hints and tips booklet, v helpful when the basics are mastered. There is also an online video overviews and help functions.

The basic operation is quite simple, but soon becomes quite complex to use the full facilities. There are several 'views' of the data. It's not clear to me whether it is better to have one large tree with every one on it or split into smaller files with significant branches of the family.

People- where the classic family tree is shown -child their parents, the parents parents etc.. Here two to four generations can be seen in overview. The platinum version shows DOB-DOD and will display a thumb nail image if one is available. If connected to the web ancestry displays a leaf sign to indicate info may be available on this individual. A niggle here is that only one sibling is displayed. So if your grandfather had 4 children only the direct descendants of one is shown at any one time. To access the others you need to highlight grandfather and the children will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. I have one ancestor who married twice and had 14 children. The software asks for a prefered partner and they and their children are shown. You need to recall there is a seconds wife and then switch to them to see that part of the family. To get an overview of the ~200 relatives I've had to print a family tree and stick accoss 2m of wall!

There is a detailed person view where birth date, place, christening, occupation, residence, marriage can be displayed. Facts can be preferred or alternative where there is conflicting information. The facts are customisable so you can include those which are relevant or of interest. When connecting to the web data can be copied into the record- saves typing errors and a source included. This is a v useful tool as historical data is not always accurate and two pieces of data can be source referenced so you don't have to remeber where you found the info.

There is a places view which is linked to a global mapping device and will show maps or ariel pictures. The software is US based however and has tendancy to assume first that addresses is in US. It doesn't recongnise a lot of UK locations and these then have to be manually adjusted. I had hoped this would be improved between 09 and 10 versions of software but changes are not noticeable to me. In this view details can be seen of all relatives who lived in a certain area. If census data is enterred to add locations on different dates then the movement of families can be tracked. It is helpful when viewing census data as if a family expanded between the 10 year periods the names of a siblings occupation and place of residence is a good clue to locating the right record. Using the mapping you can see the names of small villages say 5 miles from previous location. That said you could use google earth to do the same.

Media can be added photo's and source data. For example freeBMD on line allows access to scanned images of summary birth, marriage and death data which can be downloaded from internet.

There is a publication section with some additional formats for 10 platiunum vs 09 deluxe. These have some degree of customisation but I've not found a report or chart which can be built from scratch with just what I want. For example there is a place report. The default gives every one, you can't select a place but have to selecte individuals which means going back to the place view and writing a list of names associated with that place. Reports/charts can be made in .pdf format so can be emailed or uploaded to the web to share with others.

Finally there is a websearch view with a summary of your selected individual and possible matches. This section only gives access to limited data if you don't subscribe. A lot of info is available free however if you search for it. As subsriptions and copies of original BMD certs can be expensive I recommend finding all the free stuff before taking out a subscription. There is a useful task list where you can record details you're searching for, v useful as the tree gets big.

The software does allow for real life and handles mutliple partners, single sex relationships, adoptions, illegitimacy and so on. It is however like printers which are cheap to buy but expensive to get printer cardriges for. Here the softare is good value but cost of accessing data expensive.

I've had a few technical niggles. The software loaded ok, but 3 after days in failed to start. There were several sources of help none of which worked. However the software will start under another user profile on the same pc. Our pc is several years old so this may be more of a reflection of the pc than the software.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Dec 2009, 20:44:35 GMT
Mr Gumby says:
What a terrific review - thank you Sue.

Posted on 20 Dec 2009, 11:27:35 GMT
Trisha says:
I use Sierra Generations grande suite 8 and find it very useful for getting around. What I would really like is softwarre that lets me print out a tree that doesn't take masses of A4 sheets to get it all on. Sierra will print lots of info. but takes too much paper to be able to handle it when spreading it all out. Does this software print out a manageable tree?


Posted on 22 Dec 2009, 15:33:56 GMT
Martin S says:
Very helpful to read this before deciding to purchase.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Feb 2010, 20:10:24 GMT
Sue H says:
Dear Trisha,
The software does have a lot of charts and reports and there is a lot which is customizable. e.g. font size, date of birth, place etc. The pedigree chart can be selected to give up to 10 generations per page. With six generations it will fit 55 people direct ascendants (no siblings), looks like the Wimbledon draw!, howwever the 6th generation only has space for names. To get the extra detail you need to go onot more pages and it goes from 1 to 8 pages for some trees with a lot of people. There is an extended family chart which will add siblings and quite complex family structures, but this soon goes over several pages. Its not as customizable as I'd like. There is no fit to page like you get in Ms programmes and I've a query raised with the software company to see if you can select certain members of a tree and just print them
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