Please note that Family Tree Maker (by Ancestry.com) has been discontinued and is no longer available. You can read our old review of Family Tree Maker (by Ancestry.com) below, or check out the rest of the Genealogy Software we've reviewed.
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For another year running we are proud to announce that Family Tree Maker (by Ancestry.com) remains our No. 1 choice in Genealogy software. Their combination of powerful software, user friendly tools, and top-notch online synchronization has ensured Family Tree Maker’s persistent dominance of the genealogy market. All this, furthermore, at the unbeatable price of $39.99! Read on as we take you through the key features that make Family Tree Maker our pick of the pack.
As with most genealogy software, users begin by entering some basic information on themselves and their family. While this can include detailed family archives, it can also be as basic as your names and dates of birth. Although the fact is that the more information you have the more information you are likely to come across, those with sparse knowledge of their family history need not despair.
Family Tree Maker synchs seamlessly with its parent site Ancestry.com which also happens to be our No.1 rated genealogy website; what a combination! As such, users can easily search and import information from Ancestry.com’s vast databases; you’ll soon be uncovering family stories and photos you never thought possible.
The Family Tree Maker facilitates this online synchronisation with a handy web dashboard. Data is automatically sourced from Ancestry.com (from the entire site for subscribers and from the free resources for non-subscribers) which means that users don’t have to be continually switching between their web browser and their Family Tree software, copying and pasting information from one source to another. Live Twitter feeds will also pop up on your dashboard with loads of great tips and hints from the genealogy experts.
This user friendly design also extends to Family Tree Maker’s excellent organizational tools. These allow you to group relatives by a range of characteristics, track their movements and employment, and automatically sort them according to their age and location. It is then easy to attach notes, documents, and media to different branches of your family tree which is especially important once you begin to accumulate a lot of information.
We especially liked the location tools which allow you to create interactive maps of the migratory movements of your relatives according to precise GPS coordinates. Furthermore, while the “Place Authority” may sound like just a spell checker, it is actually far more. It can spell check people, business and place names in 15 world languages which is very important as in the past and in other countries places and names can be spelt very differently from what we’re used to.
Once you’ve done your digging, you will want to present your finds to family and friends. Family Tree Maker allows you to produce professional looking reports at the click of a button. Their emphasis on narrative means that information is presented in a far more accessible manner which can be useful for those who haven’t been submerged in the investigatory work as you have. Your reports can include charts, maps, and timelines and can even be published in a family book for an additional fee; that’s us sorted for Christmas presents this year then!
What made Family Tree Maker stand out for us were its collaborative features. The online community at Ancestry.com is a veritable gold mine of information for all budding genealogists. Thousands of other users are more than happy to share information and tips to help you along on your voyage of discovery. You may well find old family photographs, or even long lost relatives!
Ancestry.com can also be a place simply to pick up general advice on family history research. With such a wealth of information available, just knowing where to start can sometimes be daunting. As such, we recommend new users spend a little time on the forums and blogs as this could end up saving you a lot of time in your future research.
Users can also export their family tree, or a branch of it, and share it with other users who can synch it to their project. Exported files are Family Tree Maker and GEDCOM compatible and are readable on both Mac and PC. For those who don’t have genealogy software or a subscription to Ancestry.com, projects can simply be shared online for all to see.
In fact, you can even make your family tree public online so that long lost relatives can get in touch on their own accord. Depending on where you're from, you may end up with dozens of your ancestors making contact which can give you a wonderful feeling of being connected to so many others.
We could go on, but by now you’re probably dying to go away and check Family Tree Maker out for yourself. So head over to Ancestry.com and check out their online services while you’re there, with our No1 product you won’t be disappointed, that’s a promise.
Please note that Family Tree Maker (by Ancestry.com) has now been discontinued.
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