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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor!, 29 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Family Tree Maker 2012 Platinum Edition (PC) (CD-ROM)
Be aware that this is very much "sprat to catch a mackerel" software! Given the sophistication of the software, the price of £24-ish is very attractive; that is also comes with 6 months "Premium Membership" of ancestry.com, taken in isolation is a real bargain.

However, after your six months 'free' membership, you will have to fork out £107.40 for an annual renewal subscription (more if you renew for a shorter period), and this can rise to £155.40 annually for "worldwide*" membership (required if you want to access, for example, details of sea passages to/from the Colonies). You are required to give card details and your renewal will be billed automatically unless you cancel before it is due.

If you opt to receive emails from Avanquest (authors of the software), you will receive frequent 'offers' of add-on software (fancier charts, etc.) and books on genealogy. So again, be aware that the cost of ownership of this software can be quite substantial. Check availability of these on Amazon, prices will probably be lower than Avanquest.

Having said all that, as a relative newcomer to the Family Tree game, I can say that you will almost certainly become hooked. Very hooked! The wealth and depth of information available is huge. The leaf icon attached to a person's name shows hints to searches which often yield good results; I rapidly built access to my greatx4 grandfather......

The user interface takes some getting used to so it is nice to find a manual included in the box. You will require good eyesight to read it! The manual is a good introduction to the software and is worth taking the time to read. One basic explanation missing from the manual is that the software's user interface sits on top of a database. I searched the manual including its index for a 'file/save' command before realising, like most databases, it is updated automatically every time a change is made.

As it stands all media (photographs, certificates, etc) are loaded into the same directory. I can see this rapidly becoming unworkable and confusing. The manual warns you that, if you move, you're likely to have problems.

The software is not faultless; I've had a nasty crash whilst merging a websearch, and it hung on me 75% through syncing with my online tree. Searches can be very slow and all too frequently result in the error: "The Website is too busy to show the webpage". This is not acceptable; Ancestry is charging significant amounts of money for subscriptions and should ensure that their investment in providing adequate technology is keeping up with demand!!

One annoying feature is that if your web search leads to an entry on the "worldwide*" database (typically, records in the US or Canada), you can't choose to 'ignore' these records, even if they are clearly not your relatives. To access these records, you have to bend your credit card again - once again, it's Goon Show time (Neddie Seagoon: "Open your wallet and say after me: help yourself!").

As I said, caveat emptor!
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