Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Family Tree Maker tutorials

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society is planning a six hour class in three sessions in July on using FamilyTreeMaker (FTM) effectively.

We will be using a laptop computer with an LCD projector in a conference room. The class will likely be more demonstration than tutorial since not all attendees will have their own computer at the class (although we are encouraging them to bring a laptop if they have one).

The class will cover the basics of using FTM - building a family file person-by-person, adding facts, sources, and notes; creating charts; creating reports and books; importing and exporting GEDCOM files; adding scrapbook items; and probably several other topics. We hope to create a handout showing screen shots and "how-to" lists for the basic tasks.

I went looking in Google for online tutorials for FTM and found only one online - at This site has tabs for Intro, Build, Search, Design, Share, What's New and Conclusion. Each tab has a number of pages, and some of them have animated demonstrations of the steps to be taken to perform certain tasks.

In the process, I also found the FamilyTreeMaker Knowledge Base at At this site, you can explore a number of articles by general subject - for FTM for Windows Version 6.0 or 5.0. There are a number of helpful articles to choose from in each of these subject areas:

* General Questions
* Installing
* Import/Export
* Entering Data, Correcting Errors
* Online Issues
* Family Archive CDs, Search Tools
* Creating/Formatting Your Output
* Printing
* Error Messages
* Tips and Tricks
* Windows Basics

Unfortunately, they don't have similar articles for the latest versions of FTM.

The Help Files found in the FamilyTreeMaker software have tremendous information if only people would look there! In the FTM Version 2005 that I have, the Help menu item leads to:

* Contents - with an outline, an index and a search capability, and many many many articles with step-by-step instructions.
* Search for Help on...
* Technical Support - links to FTM's Tech Support web page
* Online Help Center - links to FTM's Online Help Center
* Getting Started Tutorial - links to FTM's "Getting Started" tutorial - the one noted above.
* Books Tutorial - links to FTM's tutorial at
* Learn More About Genealogy - links to Ancestry's Library at
* Take an Online Class - links to training courses offered for a fee at

I'm not enamored with the links back to FTM (not all of them work from FTM 2005!), but I do like the Index and Search capabilities to find Help on any topic.

Are there other online tutorials on the Internet for FamilyTreeMaker? If so, please let me know.

What topics should we cover in our class? How would you design it for a group of researchers with a range of "some" knowledge of FTM to "lots of" knowledge of FTM?

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