I’ve been sent the new Family Tree Maker 2012 by Ancestry to review – lucky me . I’ve been using FTM for quite some years now so am familiar with the look and feel of the programme, I find it intuitive and I have been happy to recommend it to friends and my genealogy students.
So what does the 2012 edition have that is different, what do I like, is there anything I don’t like? Here goes ….
Installation was easy, no hitches, just put the CD into your computer and follow instructions. Then you open up your FTM file which is easy enough as long as you have stored it where you know where it is ! Luckily I did, I have helped a friend recently who has his genealogy files hidden away here and there on his hard drive– NOT a good idea! A warning comes up saying that your data file will be adapted so that you can run it on FTM 2012 and recommends you do a back up first. You can opt to not do a back-up, but believe me if they suggest it do it!
Once you are up and running the first page you get to see and this page will come up every time until you do it, is one that asks if you want to link your Family Tree Maker tree with one on Ancestry. I haven’t done that yet as I have my tree split up into 5 trees on Ancestry – one for each grandparent and one for a one name project. It seemed a good idea at the time to do this, but now that FTM has the ability to update the online tree I wish I had put them all in together as one. Hey ho, hindsight is a wonderful thing!!
Once you have got past this page the look is identical to the previous editions except this time I have tones of green not blue. It really doesn’t matter to me what the colour is so I haven’t investigated if I can change the colour tone.
Everything seemed about the same until I discovered Smart Story. You get to this via the Person Pane and click on Media then New, then Smart Story from the drop down box. You can opt for a blank page or decide that FTM can work something out for you which you can then edit. I did this and got a page similar to one that the programme generates when you do a FTM book. The great feature with Smart Story is that you can generate one of these pages and it is attached to the individual and also that it automatically updates when you add something to the individuals file. Great for printing out and sending to someone who wants particulars of that person. Mind you if the tree is on Ancestry then you could just direct them to the tree.
So far these are the only two new features that I have come across, if I find more and I suspect there is a lot, lot more I’ll report on them.
Bottom line is would I still recommend Family Tree Maker 2012 to everyone? = definitely. Do I think it is good value for money? = yes I do. I think the feature of being able to sync your Family Tree Maker with your online tree on Ancestry is great and this alone would make the purchase or upgrade to FTM 2012 worth it.