Monday, July 23, 2007

3rd FTM Class Notes

We had our third and final session of the FamilyTreeMaker class today for our CVGS members at the library on Monday, with 20 in attendance. The first meeting was summarized here, and the second meeting here.

Today we covered merging persons, fixing relationships, importing and exporting GEDCOM files, adding scrapbook items, and doing a Web Search. We didn't have time to cover creating books.

The process for importing and exporting GEDCOM files is difficult to remember because most people don't do it very often, and it wasn't in the FTM2005 tutorial that I passed to the attendees. The best thing to do is to use the Help menu button to define the processes, and print them out so you do it right.

Many of our members have added photos to the scrapbook but struggle to get them to show up in the charts and reports. Other members have not done this at all, but would like to. Gary demonstrated how to add a record, in JPG form, to the scrapbook for a person. Then we struggled making it show up in a chart or report. We finally figured out that it would not show up in a genealogy report, but probably could be added to a genealogy book. It seemed like you had to add it to every chart one-by-one - there is no switching from a pedigree chart with a picture to a family group sheet without adding the object/photo to the FGS manually. You can save each chart if you wish.

Doing a Web Search is a task that some members have done, but many have not performed it. Since we didn't have Internet access in the conference room, I had made a Powerpoint presentation from screen shots documenting the Search process using my Ancestry subscription. I saved it to a PDF file, put it on my flash drive, and then accessed the PDF file on Gary's computer. The starting point was my grandfather with a birth year and birth place, and I documented how to capture his birth/death date/location, his marriage date/location, his parents, his spouse and children, all from a One World Tree database on This was the only 5-star item on the list of 25 or so matches. This worked pretty well, and some of the attendees really liked the result. This also provided the opportunity to discuss Sources and how to make a Preferred Source again, and how to change it on the Edit button screens.

My opinion is that this 6 hours of class on FamilyTreeMaker 2006 helped our members understand many of the techniques used by FTM for data input, fact and source addition, and how the program can be used to produce pedigree charts, family group sheets, ahnentafel and descendant reports, etc. This is a very complex software program (and they all are!), and it takes a lot of time to work with it effectively.

My concluding comment to the group was that the Help menu is your friend, and they should use it frequently to figure out the correct process to do any specific task.

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