Wednesday, August 15, 2007

FamilyTreeMaker 2008 Released

The 2008 edition of FamilyTreeMaker has been released by The Generations Network, as detailed in their press release at

The press release notes the following "new and updated features" included in FTM 2008:

-- Interactive Street and Satellite Maps - Use Microsoft® Virtual Earth™* to access dynamic street and satellite maps that pinpoint important locations in ancestors' lives from within Family Tree Maker. A place-name database and hint engine helps users correctly enter localities in a consistent format.

-- Web Integration -View and search any Web site from within Family Tree Maker*. Once users locate information about their ancestors, they can easily import appropriate images, text and even a cached version of the Web page in to their family tree.

-- Individual Biographies - Create biographical sketches for each ancestor, adding life facts, historical documents, photos and other digital media. In addition, timelines highlight important personal, family and world events that occurred during ancestors' lifetimes.

-- Media Organization -Upload and manage image, audio, video and other media files. Users can attach these files directly to specific people in a family tree to better illustrate their family story.

-- Publish Family History Books - Create customized, illustrated family history books. Ancestry Press allows users to bring their family history to life with professionally designed charts, timelines, reports and pedigree charts, as well as photos, historical records and more. The books can then be professionally printed and bound (or printed on home printers).

The Ancestry Store product page for FamilyTreeMaker 2008 is here - the retail price is $39.95. Included in the price are:

* Training Video featuring Megan Smolenyak. Watch as America’s leading family historian presents tips and guidelines for building your family tree. (DVD)
* Our History in Images: U.S. Postcards. Add visual excitement and historical context to your family tree with more than 30,000 vintage postcards from all 50 states. (DVD)
* 14-day free trial subscription to Search the world’s largest online repository of family history records.

The Ancestry Insider has information about bundling FTM 2008 and an Ancestry subscription here. If the prices quoted are correct, the 1-month subscription for $29.95 would be a good deal! However, the bundling won't be offered until October. I can't find info on the or FTM web sites about this bundling offer.

The best reviews of the different features of FTM 2008, relative to the earlier versions, has been by Kathi at the Ancestor Search blog. She downloaded the Beta version back in July, uploaded her database, and worked with it for several weeks, and blogged about the results at:

1) My First Thoughts about FTM 2008

2) Additional FTM 2008 Thoughts

3) FTM 2008 Websearch and Webclipper.

4) FamilyTreeMaker 2008 Beta Reports and Books

I know that other researchers have reviewed and tested FTM2008, but Kathi has done, in my humble opinion, the best job of it, and shared her knowledge and experience with all of us.

There is an excellent comment by Linda at the end of the Reports and Books report about her experience with FTM 2008. It is disheartening to say the least. Hopefully, FTM will fix it and improve it. Books and reports are the most important feature for me - I want to be able to create books and reports in an ahnentafel and descendant format with standard numbering systems, with sources for facts, with notes, and with embedded field codes for word processing so that I can edit and modify the report or book.

My other complaint about earlier versions of FTM has been the lack of an "Ahnentafel List" - you know, the one where you get just names, places and dates of ancestors of a person. The only way to create that in earlier versions was to create an ahnentafel report and edit it - take out the children, the notes, etc. I don't do pedigree charts because I have so many known ancestors. It is hard to handle 200 pages of pedigree charts - 50 pages of an ahnentafel list is much better for me. I can usually find my ancestor of interest much quicker using the ahnentafel list.

I am pretty sure that I will not upgrade now to FTM 2008 - I think I will wait for the first major upgrade, since initial releases of most software (not just genealogy) have bugs and require fixes and improvements.


Kathi said...

Thanks for the compliment and links, Randy.

Anonymous said...

Do NOT buy Family Tree Maker 2008 which appears to be an attempt at a new program and not a program upgrade. That is unless you want to loose most of the report, chart, and other features FTM has had and improved upon over the years through Banner Blue, Broderbund and now these owners that seem to have no idea what there base of users want. To me FTM 2008 appears to be a poor version of The Master Genealogist. They apparently couldn't even figure out how to get the files from the FTM format the program has used all these years into the crazy new none compatible version they have come up with, so they acknowledge they used "Genbridge" file import technology owned by Wholly Genes who owns The Master Genealogist. How can you be smart enough to write a "new" not "upgrade" version of your own program and have to use somebody else's technology to import the previous program's files? I have a fairly new PC with a pretty hot processor and plenty of memory and it only took FTM 2008 six hours to import the file from current FTM version 16 into new FTM 2008 version 17. Every time you open FTM 2008 it takes much much longer than before to open. For me it went from what I would consider instantly (as quick as I could prepare to use program) to about 4-6 minutes to fully load as after it appears to have loaded you will notice that it rebuilds the surnames and generations file every time before you can use FTM 2008. Every time you access a person or fact or anything with my file, which I admit is larger than a newbie after 15 years of using FTM is now longer instant access, but in FTM 2008 now enter fact, watch some TV for about 90 seconds, then see if FTM 2008 is thru chugging, etc. If I had wanted a program that looked like The Master Genealogist, I would have purchased that one, and I would have purchased the Gold version so I would have at least had access to some sort of descent reports and charts but nothing that you can really write home about even there as they say. Basically, somebody should give a good flogging to whatever top brass and eggheads came up with in my opinion this piece of crap program they are selling as as Family Tree Maker 2008, but bears no resemblance to the Family Tree maker we have known over the many loyal years of usage. Stay with or upgrade to Family Tree Maker version 16, but do NOT purchase or upgrade the apparently new program being called Family Tree Maker 2008, or version 17 and expect anything but heart aches, pain, trouble and woe! Surely the "Devil made them do" what is being sold as Family Tree Maker 2008. That's my opinion.