Archive for September 11th, 2007

I recently upgraded from Family Tree Maker 2005 to FTM 2008. Surprise! The new version is a major resource hog but what a stinky, muddy, goody-rooting hog it is.

Buzz abounds of its upgraded search capabilities enabling you to search various websites within the same window. Yawn, I can’t get excited about a “new” way to web search. Still the same info out there folks. One window, three windows, it’s still the same stuff. However, I finally got what I have been wanting for years, the ability to search the database by place name. 

My approach to research reflects my approach to life. You gotta get out there and present yourself in order to reap the benefits. I *like* going to courthouses, walking around in cemeteries and rooting around at the library.  Sometimes you meet interesting people. Sometimes you experience that lovely serendipity that doesn’t usually happen when you are sitting in front of a monitor. Place is important and you can’t get the feel sitting in the back room with the cat in your face.

The problem is that after ten years of accumulating data, it becomes difficult to remember all the surnames for which you should be looking when you plan a trip. Nothing is more disheartening than coming home and realizing that you have to go back because you missed something. FTM 2008 has a place view that shows a list of place names on the left, a map in the center and a list of individual names associated with that place name on the right. The list of individuals is expandable so you can view specific events. Woo hoo, a great trip planning tool!

One drawback is the old version did not have separate fields for place name and description, the new version does. After converting my existing file, I had to edit the place names list to move descriptive info to the new field. Tiresome if you have a big file. Fortunately the software identifies the unrecognized place names for you making it a little easier.

Another view to love is the family view. Everything you need is on one page: index of individuals on the left, family tree upper middle, family group sheet lower middle and individual info on the right. Good thing because it bogs down my computer and switching views requires a wait.

The publisher seems to know about the problems. Service pack one came out on September 7, just a few days after receiving the software. Service pack two is planned for October. I still get mysterious shut downs and error reporting messages that I end up cancelling because I just want to get on with it. I guess I will have to dig deep, upgrade my RAM and add FTM to my list of software that needs regular updating but hey, hogs can’t be fun to have around all the time.



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