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 Post subject: Re: Family Tree Maker?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:28 pm 
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Thanks Gayla. Does it have a "Books" drop-down menu in the main window? It sounds like the help is just help on how to output tables and reports from FTM to be used in external word processing/publishing programs capable of creating a book? Versions of FTM like 16 allowed you to build a book within FTM including tables of contents, pictures, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Family Tree Maker?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:01 pm 
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Posts: 147
Murray, it looks like you can do those things but I have not had time to play with it at all. Maybe this winter I will have some time to play with it.
Gayla

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 Post subject: Re: Family Tree Maker?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:17 am 
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Posts: 34
Not directly speaking to the book question, but a couple notes about FTM:
If you're using a version of FTM prior to FTM 2009 (that is, FTM 16 or lower), be aware that they completely re-wrote the software from FTM 16 to FTM 2009. (And FTM 2011 would obviously build on FTM 2009.) So the look and feel of the screens for FTM 2009 (and later) are very different from FTM 16 (and lower). Also, FTM 2009 (and later) takes up a lot more memory on your computer than the earlier versions did.


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 Post subject: Re: Family Tree Maker?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:48 pm 
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I've used TMG 6 & 7 (haven't yet upgraded to 8). I've also got FTM 11 (not 12, which requires .NET 4).

I've used TMG for several year, partly because I feel some sort of perverse obligation to -- its reputation as being the tool of choice for all the "serious genealogists" nags me that using anything less makes me just another amateur :-).

On the one hand, I like the fact that TMG is so in-your-face about the serious work of genealogy. It helps me to stay on top of my sourcing, keeping my (offline) data organized, and so forth. In short, my work is much the better for it. And the membership discussion list is one of the most helpful, friendly and expert I've come across. There's always a fast and friendly answer available, and I've never caught so much as a whiff of condescension toward us blue-collar genealogists.

However, I've always tended to get lost in TMG's complexities -- not necessarily of the software itself, but of the nitty-gritty of the high-powered research it is best suited to. Things like formatting of source references, choosing (and sticking with! second-guessing myself is one of my worst character traits) a particular place-name hierarchy, and developing all those rules for report generation seem to sap so much of my time that actually getting anything productive done slows to a crawl. I've planned, replanned, started, and re-started building my databases with TMG so often that I'm about ready to throw in the towel on it. And the TMG discussion forums are chalk full of "What's the best way to do this?" queries. Which reflects both the comprehensivity and the complexity of TMG; one rarely has to ask, "Can TMG do this?" (of course it can!). But there are so many ways to accomplish any given task that it drives the second-guesser in me up a wall ("Well, you just need to decide for yourself." AACK!!)

And the author of TMG has drawn a firm line in the sand: TMG is a *genealogy* tool, not a family history package. Sure, it can be made to handle things like adoptions and same-sex relationships, but it's often klunky, and the author is clear he's not interested in making it any easier. So if you're a family historian, there may be a few gotchas hiding away in TMG.

I've also been experimenting more with FTM recently. Aside from the eye-candy (compared to the starkness of TMG, it's beautiful to look at; and yes, I'm not ashamed to admit that's important to me), one of FTM's biggest selling points for me is its integration with Ancestry.com. I've heard others complain all those waving leaves all over their trees is annoying, but for me they're still an invitation to further exploration (and too often I wander so far off the trail I never find my way back). But at the price Ancestry.com charges for subscriptions, I think they should be giving FTM away to members. AT $120 a year ($200+ for world subscription) one would think they could easily afford to absorb the $15 or $20 they make on FTM.

One of my biggest concerns is data portability. TMG's ability to import from just about any genealogy software is a big plus -- *if* 'm migrating *to* TMG. But there seems to be no good way to get my data out of TMG, except to rely on GEDCOM, which is (as someone else mentioned in this thread) "lossy". I don't want to invest heavily in TMG if much of my work is stuck there.

I'm not sure whether the same is true of FTM (anyone want to comment?), as I haven't seriously tried yet. Currently, all my online trees are at Ancestry.com, anyway, so the issue hasn't surfaced for me.

My current work is involving mass data entry from single sources -- e.g., I have a family genealogy on my Bartsch/Richter ancestry put together by a Sr. Cecelia Bartsch back in the '80s. Having to manually re-enter the same source information for every fact, event, and person is -- to put it mildly -- tedious. I see TMG8 has a spreadsheet-like entry screen for that kind of stuff. I haven't located anything similar in FTM yet, but it may be there.

I'd also like to toss out [edit: I mean "toss out for consideration", not "toss out with the garbage" :-)] The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding. I've used TNG in the past to put up personal websites (and I see it's what's used here at BSGR), and there's a fair number of folks who use it as their only genealogy software. I'm considering putting up a self-hosted site, and want to go with TNG again. However, I want to integrate it with a wiki and, possibly, a forum, and there's a fair number of hurdles to overcome on that. I've also looked at Webtrees, but it has the same integration hurdles to overcome, and the attitude of the developers seems to be more adamantly "we're not interested in integration". Though Darryl Lythgoe at TNG is too busy to do the work himself, he at least seems interested in working with those who are trying to integrate, which makes me want to stay with TNG.

Anyone have any comments on online sitebuilding?

Finally, my OS of choice is Linux. So while I'm using FTM and TMG, I have to run them in virtual Windows sessions. I'd like to replace them with something Linux native, or at least something that runs under Wine, but the best the Linux world has to offer is GRAMPS which is, to be charitable, a little behind FTM and TMG.

--Nathanael


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 Post subject: Re: Family Tree Maker?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:49 pm 
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Well, Family Tree Maker has a built in function for online trees like TNG (and probably TMG has the same feature). But then, of course, you need to use Ancestry.com to create your online presence and, as I understand it, if someone finds someone in your tree that they think connects to their family tree they have to use the "Ancestry Connection Service" to contact you and they have to pay for an Ancestry membership to use that feature so I am not much of a fan of FTM any more.

I agree with your comments about TMG. It is like the Swiss army knife of genealogy programs but really spare looking and its power has made it complicated to use. I am still looking for an alternative to FTM and TMG.

FWIW, As to the suitability of TNG for use as your "Genealogy program" I don't think so. The web interface for making changes is built for collaborative family tree making not for personal genealogy recording and organization.

I am not familiar at all with TMG but FTM has an integrated single source database built in. You can create a source like "Bartsch/Richter ancestry, Sr. Cecelia Bartsch" and then use the same source repeatedly for any fact you want to cite. Just use Ctrl-S to open the source window for any fact and select that source from a drop-down menu. I have a lot of family from Galicia and I use a single source (the "GFG Familybooks project") for more than half the facts in my FTM database from 1784 to 1864 changing the village name and page number for each source citation. Or is that changing book and page number what you meant as the tedious part of adding new facts?

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BlackSeaGR Forum co-Administrator
Gauer Family Website


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 Post subject: Re: Family Tree Maker?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:09 pm
Posts: 8
morbeus wrote:
Well, Family Tree Maker has a built in function for online trees like TNG (and probably TMG has the same feature).


I've not actually tried it myself, but I think TMG doesn't have site-building functionality built-in; you have to purchase an add-on module.

Quote:
...someone finds someone in your tree that they think connects to their family tree they have to use the "Ancestry Connection Service" to contact you and they have to pay for an Ancestry membership to use that feature so I am not much of a fan of FTM any more.


Funny you should mention that. Just this morning I tried to send someone a link to one of my online trees and discovered only members can view my tree. I admit to being more than a little annoyed to learn that all the work I was putting up on Ancestry.com for free was being made part of their for-pay service. I feel like a Chinese laborer, slaving away for free so somebody else can reap the windfall of my sweat.

Still, having the tree up there is far too useful for research purposes.

Quote:
As to the suitability of TNG for use as your "Genealogy program" I don't think so.


I agree. I wouldn't try it myself, but I have bumped into some in the TNG forums who claim TNG is all they use. To each his own :-)

Quote:
You can create a source like "Bartsch/Richter ancestry, Sr. Cecelia Bartsch" and then use the same source repeatedly for any fact you want to cite.


TMG does very much the same thing, and I've been using it heavily the past few days. One can attach almost anything in TMG to as many sources as one likes -- a family reunion, wedding photo, or obituary can be attached to as many individuals and events as you like[/quote]

But there's always a downsisde. Since GEDCOM doesn't support multi-to-one relationships, when exporting, the information has to be duplcated for each linked item. That's part of the "lossiness" I was talking about.

Quote:
Or is that changing book and page number what you meant as the tedious part of adding new facts?


Yeah, that's part of it. TMG has what it calls "citation details". Add a fact, bring up the source window, type in a number for the reference, then a page number in the CD field. You can also tag any number of events and mass-update their sources all at once.


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 Post subject: Re: Family Tree Maker?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 10:52 am
Posts: 135
nathanael wrote:
morbeus wrote:
...someone finds someone in your tree that they think connects to their family tree they have to use the "Ancestry Connection Service" to contact you and they have to pay for an Ancestry membership to use that feature so I am not much of a fan of FTM any more.

Funny you should mention that. Just this morning I tried to send someone a link to one of my online trees and discovered only members can view my tree. I admit to being more than a little annoyed to learn that all the work I was putting up on Ancestry.com for free was being made part of their for-pay service. I feel like a Chinese laborer, slaving away for free so somebody else can reap the windfall of my sweat.

Still, having the tree up there is far too useful for research purposes.

Well, we have a solution for you. :D Submit your GEDCOM to the BlackSeaGR database and it will be visible to the whole world (through Google) AND people can contact you and see the information for free. To be fair even though Ancestry trees default to members only, they apparently have a setting that allows you to make your tree viewable to the public. The public still can't contact you but they can see your tree.

I had another bad experience with Ancestry where a cousin took one of my early family GEDCOMs and submitted it to Ancestry's World Family Tree project. That tree, warts and all, is found in Ancestry searches and available by purchasing a $50 Ancestry CDROM. :x

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BlackSeaGR Forum co-Administrator
Gauer Family Website


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 Post subject: Re: Family Tree Maker?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:09 pm
Posts: 8
Well, I won't be submitting the GEDCOM in question to BSG because it doesn't (to my knowledge) have any Black Sea Germans in it at all; it's a different branch of my family.

And I don't keep my trees at Ancestry.com exclusively, but throwing them up there makes the basic reasearch so ridiculously easy I feel guilty calling myself a genealogist. Click on a few hint leaves, next thing you know I've got a family tree loaded up with census images, miltary records, a photograph of Uncle Rick's tombstone, and a walletful of pictures pilfred from a long-lost cousin's family tree, all properly sourced. Then I download the fully loaded GEDCOM and post it on my own website, and email copies around to all the family.

--Nathanael


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