Genea-Santa (otherwise known as my darling husband) brought me the brand new Family Tree Maker 2011 Platinum edition software for Christmas. I was thrilled and excited to use it. The first order of business was to check my computer’s memory and space against the software requirements. I had enough space but not enough RAM. After the holidays my husband went to Fry’s and bought more memory. After installing that (so lucky I have a techie husband and don’t have to pay to have this done), I installed my new FTM software. And I get 6 months of Ancestry.com! I’ve only used the “free” aspects of this site as the full subscription fee is not in the budget.
Okay – software installed, registered, and now for the task of importing an existing tree. I have a very large file – since I combined two trees (one for my paternal side and one for my maternal side) into one single family tree. At one point the downloading progress box showed 57% but wasn’t moving anymore and the Individuals or Family numbers weren’t changing. I waited about 5 minutes and figured it got stuck so I closed it all out and tried again. I’m not sure if it got hung up because I was watching videos in another window or not. I thought I’d not do any computer work until my tree imported completely – just in case.
Finally it was done and opened up with the Home Person – in this case, me! My first impression with the screen was that it was very different from my previous version of FTM (v. 16). There were 4 distinct sections: Index of persons on the left, the individual’s pertinent information and marriage information on the right, a 4-generation tree of ancestors of an individual in the top center and their spouse and children information at the bottom center. Below is a screenshot with my 4th gr-grandmother, Rebecca Risley, as the selected individual. (I blanked out my full name for privacy reasons.)
From there I could double-click on Rebecca (information in center with black box) to get the Individual (Person) view. This screen had three distinct parts. At the top was the “Individual and Shared Facts” – listing Personal Information, Individual Facts, and Shared Facts with the spouse.
I can go to the + (Plus) sign on the upper right of the highlighted area to add a new fact. The only facts that pop up at first are birth, death and marriage. In order to add a new fact – such as christening, also known as, etc. – I need to click on EDIT > MANAGE FACTS. A window opens listing all the facts currently available. If a fact I want is not listed in that window, I click on NEW on the right hand side and fill out the boxes in the new window.
On the right hand side is information about the individual tied to whatever is highlighted under the Individual and Shared Facts with Source and Notes tabs under that.
In the lower half of the screen is the tab area. Here is where Notes, Media or Tasks are displayed for the individual.
Back at the Family view (Fig. 1), I could see little leaves on several of the boxes. This was an indication of a hint found on Ancestry.com. For Rebecca Risley, it pulled up 9 different hints – 8 of them were for other trees uploaded to Ancestry and one was a vital records index. The problem I have with this part is that when I click on one of the databases, I have no way of checking facts with my tree because I can’t navigate (or haven’t discovered how to do so) to a spouse or child in my tree and keep the ancestry database open. Most of the time, I have Ancestry running in another window so I can click back and forth to compare facts, documentation and sources.
One other area of a learning curve for me occurred when I wanted to generate a report – it didn’t matter what type (registry, chart, custom) – was how to do that. I went to the very top of the screen and clicked on PUBLISH to bring up the types of publications I can generate. For me, it just seems to take awhile to generate some of these reports or charts.
I also had to learn how to find specific information. In my new “On This Day” column, I wanted to highlight individuals in my tree that were born, married, or died on a certain day. It took awhile, but I realized I could use the “Find Individual” under the Edit menu and then filter it by birth, death or marriage date (and more) and enter the terms I wanted. Today it will be 08 Jan. For some reason I kept trying to find someone using the Find and Replace menu – which only finds the search terms in the notes.
I am still learning this new software but enjoying it immensely although I’m not sure what will happen when my 6 months free trial is over and my Ancestry subscription expires.