Sunday, March 28, 2010

Product Review: Family Tree Software ft Family Tree Maker 2010

Let me start off by stating that I have tried several different tree making programs- Family Historian 3.0, My Heritage Family Tree Builder, Legacy (7.0 I believe...), and now the latest from Family Tree Maker 2010.
While Family Historian was a good starter program- reliable, inexpensive (its not really the $70+ that reviews say it is its about $30), it has a number of holes in the data.  For me, I needed something that allowed for medical histories, and various other public and political offices to be added. The program allows you to manually add these, however for a beginner it's just easier to type them in the notes.  All nice and unorganized like. Program updates are pay-per-update. It is also not the easiest program to get used to.  Unlike Legacy, it allows you to work from the chart.
Legacy is a more expensive program.  You can download the free version instead of shelling out the $70-$80 for the full version.  It is also not an easy program to use and customer service is non-existent.  Leaving in mind that once they have your money that is all they care about. Most updates are free providing you paid for the full version.
My Heritage Family Tree Builder works very similar to Legacy in that there is a free version and a paid version.  It allows you to work from the chart, set up a free family tree site (article forthcoming), and search records online.  I do strongly caution users on this program. It had messed up my tree- changing names, deleting dates and even people- BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP!!! has released Family Tree Maker 2010. Now on sale for $30 on, it can also be found at Target (that's is where I picked up my copy).  The program comes with a one month US Deluxe membership.  If you already have a tree online at Ancestry, you can download it straight into the program (Windows 7 users may have a slight issue with this- download to your computer then open it in the program).  It allows you to search top family history sites Rootsweb, Ancestry and, as well as Google, Yahoo, and others. You can import sources directly into your tree (sources done correctly!!). It allows you to work from the chart.  It has various ways to customize the info you see and add and corrects locations and dates.  It flags names for titles (there is a separate area to input titles for your wonderful ancestors!) and has a universal spell check! This is by far the smoothest software I have used.  For you users, yes- the wiggling leaf does show in your tree in the software as well. You have the option to work online (collaborating your online tree with your desktop file and use your membership) or offline.
It also has various ways to do reports.  This is the most types of reports that I have seen in any software.  One VERY useful report is the Data Errors Report, seeign which data is missing (Marriage place but no date or vice versa).  It also allows you to create a plan for methodical working on your tree- building tasks and rating them by priority.  These can be set for certain people, groups of people, data type, etc.the possibilities are truly endless.
For more information on's Family Tree Maker 2010 go to