Genealogy.com, a division of MyFamily.com, recently announced a new version of what is reported to be the best-selling genealogy program, Family Tree Maker. The new version is called Family Tree Maker 2005 and is not just an update, but a complete redesign.
I have not yet seen the new version, but the company's announcement says that the 2005 version has the following new features:
Family View: Family Tree Maker's Family View lets you start with what you already know. Add your immediate family members and up to eight children.
Pedigree View: A side panel makes it easy to view anyone's pedigree through the click of a button, while also providing helpful details on a selected individual. In addition to giving you a great visual overview of your family and making it easy to get around, the Pedigree View will allow you to quickly analyze your tree and identify areas in need of research.
Web Search: With Family Tree Maker's new automatic Web Search running in the background, you can instantly view and analyze search results through the Web Search report. You can easily compare the information found online with the information you already have - side by side! Filter the results to show only the ones you're interested in - by their ranking, by the type of data (e.g., census record, birth record, etc.) or by a status set by you. You can mark a result as something to follow-up on, something to ignore or something you've seen and haven't decided upon yet. Family Tree Maker provides you with the tools to quickly and easily analyze a lot of information to make building your tree a snap!
New Merge Process: Merging and appending data from the web has never been easier. Now Family Tree Maker takes the guesswork out of merging. An easy to use wizard guides you through the incorporation of each new record you find. You can either accept Family Tree Maker's recommendations and add the new data in one step, or you can use the wizard to choose which information to add and whether to make the data 'preferred' or 'alternate' information. None of your existing information will be overwritten.
Bookmarks and History: Now you can quickly jump to the people in your tree that you view most frequently by creating bookmarks or viewing your editing history. Bookmarks are set by you to identify the individuals you access frequently. The History feature automatically tracks the last 30 individuals you edited, enabling you to jump to recently changed people.
Helpful Adjustments: A number of smaller adjustments have been made to Family Tree Maker 2005 to improve your experience with the program, including an automatic notification when program updates are available, a default date display that follows the standard genealogical format (dd mmm yyyy), a more intuitive toolbar, improvements to the GEDCOM importing process, a menu item for compacting the database, and improvements to the process of uploading information to a user home page.
Some of these features do not sound new, but I will withhold comments until I get a chance to see the program for myself. I also was nonplussed that, according to the announcement, Family Tree Maker 2005 allows for "up to eight children." My mother was one of sixteen children, and I have a lot of other families of more than eight children in my family tree. I am curious how those families will be handled.
Previous versions of Family Tree Maker have been available in stores, on the Web, and via mail order for years. Resellers of the program were surprised in recent days when Genealogy.com informed them that resellers worldwide are being eliminated from the distribution of Family Tree Maker 2005 upgrades, effective immediately. In other words, Genealogy.com/MyFamily.com/Ancestry.com is no longer selling the program through resellers. Two resellers with whom I spoke stated that that they were not given any advance notice that this decision was being made, nor even that it was under consideration.
Family Tree Maker 2005 sells for $29.99. Present Family Tree Maker users can upgrade for $19.99. For more information about Family Tree Maker 2005, look at http://www.familytreemaker.com. However, at the time these words are being written, only a brief announcement is available there.
This should be interesting to watch. I hope to get a copy of Family Tree Maker 2005 in the near future and will write about it after using it for a bit.