Friday, September 13, 2013

First Look at Family Tree Maker 2014 - Post 3: Put Children and Spouses in Date Order

Family Tree Maker announced their impending release of Family Tree Maker 2014 genealogy software two weeks ago - I covered it in Family Tree Maker 2014 Software Announced - 30% Discount (or more) (posted 26 August 2013).  

I ordered it last week and downloaded it, and imported a recent GEDCOM file created in RootsMagic 6.  I will go through the advertised changes one by one in this series, and will highlight other features, and problems, that I find.

One of the "new features" listed in the announcement was:

"...stay organized with new tools that let you sort children automatically by birth order..."

1)  Let's work with the children's birth order first.  I think that earlier versions of FTM permitted you to change relative order of children in the family using up and down arrows in the list of children on the "Tee" tab in the "People" Workspace.  Here is one of my families, with the children not in birth date order:

On the line in the lower center panel headed by the word "Marriage" are several icons on the right side of the line.  These icons are for:

*  Marriage facts, notes and media (click this icon to add, edit or delete them)
*  Up arrow (move selected child up on the children list)
*  Down arrow (move selected child down on the children list)
*  ( ) icon to put the children in birth date order
*  Show blended family, all children of both parents

When I clicked on the ( ) icon to put the children in birth order, the "Sort all Children by Birth" dialog screen opened:

I had three boxes to click at my discretion:

*  Sort the children in this family by birth
*  Sort the children of all families by birth
*  Sort the current family without prompting in the future.

I chose the first and third options.  The "Sort the children of all families" option is tempting!  Is there any good reason not to do it?  Seems to me this should be the default option in genealogy software.

I clicked the "OK" button in the dialog screen and the children were placed in birth order:

2)  What about spouses in marriage date order?  My 2nd great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver, had three wives and five children by two of them.  The number "3" is shown to the right of his name in the father's position in the lower center panel, and if you click the "head" icon next to the number, a dialog box opens:

The three spouse are listed, along with two lines to "Add Spouse" or "Set Spouse Order."

In the screen above, the second wife is listed first because she is the "Preferred" spouse (in my case, them other of my ancestor).

I clicked on "Set Spouse Order" and a dialog box opened:

On the line with the word "Spouse" there are three symbols on the right side.  The three symbols are:

*  Up arrow (to move the highlighted spouse down in the order).
*  Down arrow (to move the highlighted spouse up in the order).
*  ( ) icon (Reset - Preferred spouse first, then remainder by marriage date)

That's strange - clicking that ( ) icon always puts the preferred souse first.  The only way to put the preferred spouse in the right order was to use the down arrow.  That works, but when I saw the ( ) icon I expected it to put them in marriage date order.  I moved Lucretia down in the marriage date order:

3)  I'm not sure if this is a new feature or not - FTM 2014 has the capability to show all of the children of both parties shown on the screen.  Here is the screen for Isaac Seaver and Lucretia smith, showing their four children:

If I click the icon on the "Marriage" line on the far right, all of the children of both parties are listed:

The first one listed is the child of Isaac's first wife, Juliet Glazier.  If you look closely, you can see that there is a column headed by "#" in the children list.  for Juliet, an icon for only the male parent is shown, while the other children have an icon showing both a male and female parent, denoting that the shown parents (Isaac and Lucretia in this case) are their parents.  That's a nice feature, but it can probably be confusing to persons who don't know what it means.  I can hear people saying "oh look, they had a child out of wedlock" or "look, they had a child after she died."

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Cousin Russ said...


You asked: "The "Sort the children of all families" option is tempting! Is there any good reason not to do it?"

Thanks for the question, I haven't tested that feature yet. Been off line too much recently.

Why not ... The Default Child sort, without Birth Dates would be an Alpha Order. What I would look for, are those children who I already had "in order", but were not alpha order. What would this choice do?

I will try to test that specific configuration.

Yes, Blended Family was introduced several versions ago. I think that is what you were referring to. I'd have to check my blog to remember when it was introduced.


Unknown said...

Thank you, Mr. Seaver! This blog post is exactly what I needed. I am still trying to navigate my way around FTM 2014. This is a huge help!