Posted by Ancestry Team on September 28, 2007 in Family Tree Maker

Welcome to the new Family Tree Maker blog! As the Family Tree Maker Brand Manager, I’m excited to now have a platform to communicate updates, improvements and information about our strategic direction to the community as quickly as possible. Of course I welcome comments and discussion. I would also like to make sure everyone knows about our Family Tree Maker feedback form. We receive a regular report from this feedback form and although we can’t respond to every inquiry, we will respond periodically to the most frequently asked questions and comments via this Family Tree Maker blog.

Our Member Services agents are also available to receive customer support questions. They can be reached at 1-877-FTM-2008 (1-877-386-2008).

We’ve received some extremely helpful feedback thus far through a variety of channels. Going forward, we hope you will submit your comments through the feedback form and this blog so that we can respond in a timely fashion. A number of customers have been asking for some additional charts and reports in Family Tree Maker 2008. We are working very hard to deliver an hourglass chart, a register report and an ahnentafel report by mid-October via an online program update.

An update was released about a month ago to resolve some performance issues that customers had brought to our attention. To determine if your Family Tree Maker 2008 software is up-to-date, please visit the Family Tree Maker program updates page. In the event that your ISP is blocking the automatic update through Family Tree Maker, you can download the update from this site.

Additionally, we’ve received feedback that some users are not yet ready to make the move to Family Tree Maker 2008. For this reason, we have once again made Family Tree Maker 16 available in The Ancestry Store. Family Tree Maker 2008 is also available.

Again, we appreciate the feedback thus far and hope that this blog can foster a dialogue between the Family Tree Maker community and the Family Tree Maker team. I look forward to future genealogy suggestions, comments and advice as we move forward with Family Tree Maker.


  1. Mark Miller

    Do you and the development team receive info from the error reports that are automatically generated when FTM2008 crashes or freezes? If so what priority is given towards correcting the errors that generate these reports?

  2. Kim Silk

    I’m in Canada and am eagerly awaiting the release of the Canadian version of FTM. September is nearly over — can you provide an update on progress?

  3. Benjamin it is time for you to develop a new killer app or two – even on the clunky .net framework

    kick start the community by publishing the API and a plug-ins developer kit
    Google and FlickR do and profit by it
    see Google Maps API – Google Web APIs – Flickr Services

    Rebuild FTM 16 as a stand alone java app with full functionality on any platform including as a plug in to .net see API java – Google Search

    Purchase or copy all the templates of Custodian 3 database as plug ins custodian 3 – Google Search

    Create alternative HISTORICAL place name plug ins from the US and UK census editions which TGN already owns . . and then the rest of the TGN properties including the gazetteers in the Ancestry Database Card Catalog –

    primarily for the ancestrylibrary edition Ancestry Database Card Catalog – needs a standard OPEC interface to for the individual institutions and World Cat to add to their own catalogues

    If you don’t understand any of the above you better engage me as a consultant and trainer 😉

  4. Cathie Owens

    When I open Family Tree it does not have the program that I imported. I keep getting an error report. It never shows the tree except right after I import the file. Is there a good way to learn how to use the program. I am a PAF user.

    Thank you

  5. Annette

    When doing a web search, why does it return records that are outside of the dates shown for the individual, i.e. birth year 1830 but the military search gives me records for World War II? The soldier would be over 100 years old!

  6. Fred

    Hi Ben,
    I sent the following to TGN corporate offices almost a 9-10-07 and never received a reply.
    Since that time some 20 new issues/problems have been found. Patches by FTM will nto fix the speed issues with this software. It would require a complete rewrite of the code.

    From past experience your company does not listen to the people that purchase your product. This is evident by your lact of support and lack of respose to us.


    I am a paid subscriber to some of your services and I have sent several email to Ancestry Help and do not get any reply, so I thought I would write you. Ancestry should communicate and provide answers to its users better than it does. Most people including myself never get a reply from anyone when there are problems.

    Why is it you do not have on-line support like most other software products do?

    My reason for writing is FTM 2008 software. I like 100’s of others would like to know what is going with FTM software. Are you intentionally trying to kill it off as this was about the best all around genealogy software anywhere. However with the release of FTM 2008 it is for the most part an unusable product. I like others can’t not use it because of everything that can no longer be done in FTM 2008 because of everything removed and how slow the software is.

    It is so slow that it takes minutes and hours to what took seconds in version 2006 with a database of 104,000 people. In entering data it takes minutes to enter any data when creating a new person or adding data to an existing person. I have heard similar complaints from people with database of 20,000 people.

    Today, I opened my 104,215 database and went to merge another database of 21 that had already been converted to FTM 2008. It took 10 hours and 15 minutes to complete the file merge. I attribute this speed problem to several factors, bloated size of FTM 2008, bloated size of database, and poor programming of the software. It maxes out the CPU to almost 100% when using this product. I checked several other PCs on the network running all kinds high end software and none had any software the required the amounts of memory and CPU usage that FTM 2008 does.

    It appears that FTM 2008 was developed by programmers that had no knowledge of genealogy. I am a retired computer manager who managed over 200 IT employees of which approximately 30 of were programmers, both mainframe and PC. If someone that worked for me had released a product like FTM 2008 that person and the programmers would have been removed from their jobs.

    I cannot believe your company released a product like this and expect people to pay for it. The release of FTM 2008 should have been delayed and beta tested better than what it was. Below are issues I have found and more reasons why most people cannot use FTM 2008. As the issues below are lengthy, I also have more issues with FTM 2008 if you are open to hear them.

    Name, address and phone 3 removed

    Items REMOVED, NEW PROBLEM and what FTM says is “NEW IN 2008” with my comments as to what FTM says is “NEW IN 2008”. This is not an all inclusive list of these items as NEW issues are being found daily. The issues below were found using a database with over 100,000 people

    I attribute all of the issues with FTM to improper design and programming.

    I cannot recommend anyone purchase FTM 2008 and have recommended those that have purchased it to consider returning it.

    REMOVED: Double click on GEDCOM file to open.

    REMOVED: Option to select what items to include on a FTM and GEDCOM file merge/append.

    REMOVED: Capability to save a file back to an older version of FTM.

    REMOVED: All Nicknames or AKA were lost on import of file into 2008. AKA that existed in 2006 in the full name edit screen was removed in 2008. You can add them manually back in by using a fact field. So my grandson’s 1st cousin 11 times removed whose name is Wahunsenacawh and had an AKA of Chief Powhatan the father of Pocahontas is lost. It will be next to impossible to fix this manually in a large database as I was not able to generate any report in 2006 to list everyone with an AKA. The custom report in 2006 had a field AKA but when generating the report noting shows in the AKA field on the report.

    REMOVED: Capability to change menu bar.

    REMOVED: Index of individuals options.

    REMOVED: Index of individuals search by given name.

    REMOVED: Index of names no longer shows comma in front of name suffix.

    REMOVED: Automatic selection of female when entering a NEW person in the database. It now defaults to unknown requiring extra work as you have to change this almost 100% of the time. In 2006 it was set to female and it only required you change the field to male about 50% of the time.

    REMOVED: When you have a drawing of a tree on the screen you can’t click on a person in a tree and go to that person. It is this way on all report I tried.

    REMOVED: Automatic backup of file on exit. You must now manually go to the menu and select backup every time you want to back up the database.

    REMOVED: Reference numbers.

    REMOVED: Address labels.

    REMOVED: Meciclal labels.

    REMOVED: Spell check for facts or anything else except notes.

    REMOVED: Spell check does not move through all the notes like it did in 2006. You must go to each person then open the notes to that person and can only spell check that person. When finished a popup window and if you click continue the program crashes and closes.

    REMOVED: Edit facts by double click it. Now you have to click on the fact then the fact also shows on the right of the screen. You must then move to the right side of the screen to edit it, rather than allowing you to just click on the field and edit it there.

    REMOVED: All-in-one tree chart.
    REMOVED: Address report.
    REMOVED: Basic register and ahnentafel reports.
    REMOVED: All Ancestor tree charts. Now only has a standard pedigree tree chart.
    REMOVED: Alternate facts report.
    REMOVED: Bibliography report.
    REMOVED: Birthday report.
    REMOVED: Data error report.
    REMOVED: Documented events report.
    REMOVED: Genealogy report. This was the major report used by most people.
    REMOVED: Hourglass tree charts.
    REMOVED: Medical report.
    REMOVED: What robust features that did exist on all charts and reports. NEW charts and reports are primitive in design and features. The ancestor tree report looks like something a child would draw.

    REMOVED: Books. They now want you to upload your data and design report on-line and then either print at Ancestry Press or download and print on your printer.

    REMOVED: Scrapbook.

    REMOVED: Research Journal.

    REMOVED: View data CD. So none of the CDs you purchased will not work in FTM 2008.

    REMOVED: Option to sort reports with data fields on the different fields.

    REMOVED: More than one relation to a person in the Kinship report. Now only shows closest relation, so if a person is related more than once to a person, there is no way to see or show the duplicate relationship. No search on a kinship report and in 2006 report on the person Wahunsenacawh was 55 pages now because of the new spacing it takes 86 pages to produce the same number of kin on the 2008 report. It appears that all the reports and charts in 2008 now require more pages to produce the same report information as in 2006.

    REMOVED: Fast fill fields do not work as in 2006. Original fast fill type as you go in 2006 which remembered about the last 30 items was removed and replaced with a drop down menu that is slower. When you import a file into 2008 it puts every item you had in any location in the new fast fill database. I don’t know if the slowness of the new fast fill is due to the fact that the drop down menu holds every item you ever used beginning with the letter of each word of the fact that the CPU is maxed out at 100%. Also, I see no option to delete something form the fast field database. If you make any change to the data in the location field it drops down the fast fill box again for you to select from.

    REMOVED: Find and replace.

    REMOVED: Capability to change the capitalization of a name from CAPS to lower case by changing one letter in the name. You must type everything again, as there is also no find and replace to mast change the capitalization.

    REMOVED: Capability to copy selected items on any of the reports.

    REMOVED: Capability to copy selected individuals from one database to another.

    REMOVED: Capability to generate a tree of a family and then select to delete them from the database.

    NEW PROBLEM: Requires a PC with more memory, faster CPU and more hard drive space.

    NEW PROBLEM: Program uses large amounts of page memory. More than any program I have seen. High end programs such as Photoshop and Microsoft Office do not use anywhere near the amount of memory to run FTM 2008. Which most likely is responsible for the slowness of the program.

    NEW PROBLEM: Pretty interface that is slow and unresponsive. The slower response dramatically increases the time to enter data and generate reports.

    NEW PROBLEM: Authenticate with the server. An unnecessary feature.

    NEW PROBLEM: Registration fails for some people.

    NEW PROBLEM: Nag screen popup window to register program. I did not have to register the program to download the update or to use the program. After 4 days the nag screen stopped.

    NEW PROBLEM: Nag screen popup window auto-search on starting program asking if it is ok to search the web. I have not found a way to turn this off, but it also stopped after 4 days.

    NEW PROBLEM: Maxes out the CPU when checking in task manager to almost 100% making the PC and program extremely slow and unresponsive. I cannot do anything else on the PC until I FTM is shut down because of this.

    NEW PROBLEM: Undo of merged/append file. I merged two files and did not find where you can undo it on the menu anywhere. Although this morning when I started 2008 there was an undo on the menu under edit. It was not there before so I checked the version # of FTM and it had not changed. So I have no idea as to where undo feature was before when using the program.

    NEW PROBLEM: Imported a FTW file from ver 2006 into 2008 and all went ok. On checking the data, several names were incorrect.

    NEW PROBLEM: Bloated program increased in size from 55MB in 2006 to 379MB in 2008.

    NEW PROBLEM: Bloated database increase in size from 95MB in 2006 to 174MB in 2008.

    NEW PROBLEM: Exported data back to an older version of FTM using a GEDCOM file from 2008 and re-imported back into an older version of FTM and then exporting it from the older version and re-importing it back to 2008 caused data errors with the data.

    NEW PROBLEM: Moving from one person to another now takes between 15-60 seconds on ever person I move to.

    NEW PROBLEM: Trees contain fields such as B and D when you have no data for them. In prior versions the trees were not cluttered with missing data fields. I have not found a way to remove them.

    NEW PROBLEM: For people that are married more than one, you lose your preferred spouse setting when importing a file from prior versions of FTM. All my preferred spouses are gone and if I continued using 2008 I would have to go to every marriage and reselect a preferred spouse.

    NEW PROBLEM: Changes to the pedigree report design do not hold when saved. I had made changes several times and saved them only to come back to the same report and it is set back to the defaults.

    NEW PROBLEM: Custom report does not allow you to remove items such as dates and the word “in”, even though it has a tab under item to include doing this. It even shows you a sample of how it will look without the data or the word “in” but it does not show up that way on the report. The custom report no longer lists the name to the left and then the items you select directly across from the name so you can readily run through the report and find errors in the names of locations, such as birth, death and marriage. Now it lists these under the name so it makes it much harder to find irregularities in spelling and abbreviations.

    NEW PROBLEM: When moving from one report to another you must reselect the individuals you want in the report.

    NEW PROBLEM: On merging/appending a FTM file with 21 people to a database of 104,215 it took 10 hours 5 minutes. This is broken down to 7 hours 15 minutes to load the 21 people, 2 hours to do matching people and then another window opened for you to select items to do the merge and click continue and it beginnings merging, another 50 minutes to complete the total merge process. Both files had already been imported into 2008 prior to doing the merge. Windows task manager showed the CPU maxed out at almost 100% the entire time and used over 800,000k memory. I saw no undelete option after the merge. I can’t live with this software taking this amount of time to do something. Although this morning when I started 2008 there was an undo on the menu under edit. It was not there before so I checked the version # of FTM and it had not changed. So I have no idea as to where undo feature was before when using the program.

    NEW PROBLEM: There is an Undo feature. This morning when I started 2008 there was an undo on the menu under edit. It was not there before so I checked the version # of FTM and it had not changed. So I have no idea as to where undo feature was before when using the program. It appears to me that certain items do not show up at all times on the screen. Example is the calculator on the side of the date field and the ? on the side of the place field. Do not show up at all times.

    NEW PROBLEM: Parentage report with 100,000 people took over 30 minutes to generate, where it took less than 1 minute in ver 2006.

    NEW PROBLEM: Most reports will not allow you to set or save defaults. You have to make the changes every time you use the report. If you select certain individuals in one report and the want another report you must reselect them all again. Where as in 2006 you could move from report to report and not have to reselect them again.

    NEW PROBLEM: 2008 has database of 3 million place names connected to FastFields that are inaccurate and leave out locations where names changed. I see no way to turn off FTM place names or change these place names or to only use your place names. I have a detailed email outlining the problem with FTM place names if you have not seen it already. There is a setting in the options to not use FastFields for place names, but then your FastField items will also not work. I don’t need FTM telling me how to name a location.

    NEW PROBLEM: Program unresponsive and locks up. It appears that unlike 2006 if the program locked up and did not close 2008 properly the data or changed setting are not saved. So in 2008 on a lock up and you have to force the program to shut down or the program crashes on you and closes the data or setting change is lost. I noticed this on the date files as I set the date to show month, day year with full spelling of month. On crash and starting 2008 the date settings were set back to the default.

    NEW PROBLEM: Reduced design of reports that still exist.

    NEW PROBLEM: Duplication of data on the screen in more than one place at the same time.

    NEW PROBLEM: When you close the program, even though it is gone on the screen in task manager it still runs for about 5 minutes.

    I do not see where hardly any of these items are really NEW items. My comments are after >> on each item.
    What’s NEW in Family Tree Maker
    Family Tree Maker opens with a whole new look. Every effort has been made to make family history welcoming and fun. The program is now divided into seven distinct areas (workspaces) that focus on the key tasks of research and data management. The following list explains the new features available in each of the workspaces.


    Improved file merge. >>Not the case it took 10 hours 5 minutes to merge a 21 person database with an existing 104,215 person database.

    Global task management.

    Ability to import PAF, Legacy, The Master Genealogist and various other file formats. >>You could already do this in prior version using a GEDCOM file.


    Family view that combines the family tree and family group. >>Looks good but is slow.

    Person view that displays facts, sources, notes, and tasks in one view. >>Slow and unresponsive and duplicate information shown twice for some item on the screen.

    Timeline view that lists personal, family, and historic events. >>Timeline report already existed in prior versions.

    Relationship view that lists family relationships. >>Slow and prints a head in the box to the left of the persons information. I see no way to remove the heads. You could produce a similar type report in prior versions. I don’t see much use for this report the way it works. You can select the person relation from a drop down box but to change the person relation to you have to fumble through the tabs of the few people listed at the top of the screen. You cannot pick someone from a drop down box to pick the relation to person.

    Index groupings that allow searching by family name, given name, birth date, marriage date, and death date.

    History list that displays the changes made to records in the tree. >> History tab existed in 2006.


    A database of 3 million complete place names connected to FastFields name completion. >> Slow and these so called Place FastFields cannot be changed. They are inaccurate as to name of locations and leave out locations where the name changed. I see no way to turn off FTM place names and only use your place names.

    A map to find each location in the tree. >> Slow and a similar map existed in prior versions.

    A view to see all of the people associated with a location. >> Slow and a similar view existed in prior versions.


    View all of the images and media in your tree from one location. >> Nice.

    Link one media file to multiple people and view all of the people a media file is linked to. >> This might be of use to people.


    View all of the sources in your tree from one location. >>Available in 2006 under edit master sources.

    Rate sources using standardized rating criteria.

    Full reference notes. >>Notes existed in 2006.

    Flexible citation/source/repository model.

    Publish >> Existed in 2006.

    New charts and reports >> These so called new charts could for the most part be produced in 2006.

    Improved chart and report customization. >> Not the case, they appear to be of lower quality and features removed that existed in 2006. The tree chart looks like something a child would draw when compared to the features it could do in 2006.

    Output charts and reports to PDF, CSV, RTF, HTML, JPG, PNG and other formats >> Most of this was available in 2006.

    Web Search >> Available in 2006.

    Search,, and and merge the results into your tree. >>Available in 2006.

    Search anywhere on the Internet from within Family Tree Maker and merge the results into your tree. >> Can do the same thing in Internet Explorer. I don’t need to search the web form inside a genealogy program, although others might want this feature.

    Add your own bookmarks to web sites. >> Can be done in Internet Explorer.

    Capture text, images, and entire web pages and merge them into the tree. >> Nice but was able to copy and paste into 2006.

  7. Does anyone know of any way to research births in Gibralter. My Great Grandfather was in the British Army and obviously moved around, but I seem unable to verify any details of his Army record or births of children in Gibralter.

  8. Sue Moenius

    My last version of FTM was 2005, I think, and I hadn’t used it since then, so am still getting adjusted to 2008. I like the web search integration, although it still has a long way to go. As someone mentioned above, you really do need to make the dates entered for a search not be ignored by the search. If I’m looking for someone who lived 1640-1700, I really shouldn’t have to wade through results from the 1800s or 1900’s… If looking for Revolutionary War enrollments with the years indicated, I shouldn’t be getting Civil War, WW1 or WW2 reports!
    AND…please give the ability to subtract something we’ve already looked at and found not to be applicable! I have many members in my tree that now have little green leaves telling me they’ve found a possible match. Some of them are very much NOT a match…maybe a similar name, or data I’ve researched and found in error. But there is no way to mark “ignore this entry”. I don’t want to do away with the leaf notification, but I DO want a way to have bad information I’ve already checked out ignored…add an “ignore this entry” choice along with the “merge”. Right now the only way I could fix it would be to merge, tell it to ignore every fact, then go and delete the source. And maybe if I delete the source, it would just come back? Please fix this!

  9. Nancy Miller

    I have read the comments made by other users and I have to say they are right on when it comes to the problems with the 2008 version. I have cursed the product ever since I put it on my PC thinking it was going to be a good thing. It is slow!!! To add info it is SLOW, to change info, it is SLOW. What have you done to a perfectly good produce. Plust you removed the genealogy report and the marriage notes and don’t give us a choice about using ALL the facts we have spent so much time gathering. The only thing that I do like is the media feature. Did you take to the time to test this new version or were you in to big a hurry to market it? I am not a happy camper and have used FTW for many years and this is the worst version you have come out with and I PAID for it.

  10. Pat Blanchard

    I have been using FTM 2008 for some weeks now: cleaned up my places on all individuals, added new media and linked old, searched on the web feature and merged data successfully, and have added new individuals. I have had no problems with the facts or the notes … just created new fields when necessary (according to the manual). I really enjoy the ease of adding data and making corrections. I find this version of FTM much easier for me personally than FTM 2006. I can see where this will only get better as time goes on. Thanks for taking the plunge and daring to do some serious revamping.

  11. Bill Miller

    I’am 70 years of age and my wife and I have been doing our family histories for more than 15 years now
    and have always thought Family Tree
    Maker was the greatest to use until
    your porgramers thought the best wasn’t good enough and decided to make an utter mess of it, makes me wish we would have stuck with Brothers Keeper. My bet it Family Tree Maker will never again be the great program it once was.

  12. Dave Milsom

    1.There needs to be something done about error reporting and recovery. The only error message I have ever seen is “Something’s wrong and we’re going to terminate the program” Not very helpful.

    2.If you had a place where you could list a few of the major problems you are aware of and are working on, it would reduce a lot of the frustration users have.

  13. Benjamin Nettesheim

    Hello everyone. I wanted to take some time to jump online and respond to some of the questions and comments posted.

    Although I won’t be able to respond to everyone individually, I believe I can give some insight into some of the main issues that customers have raised.

    Family Tree Maker Canada and other international versions are still on the way. I expect you will see those in the online Ancestry Store and in retail stores later this month.

    As far as error reports go, we do receive regular notices from Member Services when a representative works with a user on a technical issue. Currently, they are resolving around 90% of these technical issue calls. Those that are not resolved are logged and passed on to a Family Tree Maker developer. We do not, however, receive an error report from the program unless you enable that feature. Error Reports are disabled by default due to user concerns about privacy. If you have a technical support question your best option is to contact our technical support team at: 1-877-386-2008.

    I also saw some mention of APIs. Some partners do currently have access to the Family Tree Maker APIs. We are considering using them in an expanded role. If you are interested in gaining access to the FTM integration API, please let me know.

    I want to express my appreciation to Fred for the feedback he provided. He obviously spent a lot of time on his analysis. I recently participated in a meeting where we discussed these very issues. Many of them have been prioritized and are being worked on. The three most common issues we’ve seen have been: Errors when registering the product, errors during installation, and errors during file imports. As stated previously, I believe we are now resolving these three issues in most cases. If you still have problems, I again urge you to contact technical support.

    In regard to the other stated issues: Many of these items are currently being worked on, some features are still available but in a different area of the program, while other items were removed based on customer feedback. I hope to address many of these items more specifically in future posts.

    And finally, I also want to express my appreciation for the words of encouragement and praise. They go a long way. Thank you.

  14. John Donaldson

    Hi Ben

    Good that you have started this

    I think we met in Provo in 2005?

    Anything that can be done to increase the user experience with FTM is worthwhile


    John D

  15. Linda Matthews

    Benjamin – You wrote: “In regard to the other stated issues: Many of these items are currently being worked on, some features are still available but in a different area of the program, while other items were removed based on customer feedback. I hope to address many of these items more specifically in future posts.”

    Your comment above is extremely disturbing. I had hoped that the mistakes made were in poor decisions on the timing of the release rather than in a change of direction with the software. Removal of the core functionality and capabilities present in previous versions is just unacceptable. Obviously the removal of functionality was intentional. Updates should incude previous functionality as well as new features. I can’t imagine experienced or even new genealogists giving feedback that a large number of reports, features, and tools from earlier versions should not be included in FTM 2008. While some reports and tools may not be used frequently by everyone, it doesn’t mean they should be removed. Many of the removed reports and features were what set FTM apart from its competitors. FTM 2008 is now behind its competitors in core functionality. It also has gained error ridden functionality. Those few people who are using FTM 2008 are not using it as their primary genealogy software. Is that what The Generation Network (TGN)wants? If your company doesn’t want that, we as loyal customers need to know WHAT and WHEN the core functionality of previous versions will be added back. So far, two reports have been specified for the October release and the promise of the book creation functionality for next year. The removal list submitted in a previous comment contains far more than 3 omissions! I don’t want to see FTM release another error ridden, poorly tested product but do want to know if the company going to develop using previous “customer feedback” or feedback from the loyal customers TGN has abandoned with the FTM 2008 release.

  16. Jack Saunders

    I must say that I have to agree with Linda. I’ve used this product for a number of years, and this version is nowhere near ready for prime time.
    I’ve worked in software development for many years as well, and prioritization, development, and debugging should take place before release. Here it appears that you have unleashed a monster on us (and made us pay for the priveledge). It is interesting that registration, the “first step” so to speak, does not even work for me.
    I’m very very hesitant to buy the “dropped based on customer feedback” line if that’s what has been put forth. In all the years I’ve used prior versions I’ve attempted to provide feedback numerous times, and in my experience I can recall only one case where I actually spoke to someone and felt like they were listening. Nothing I suggested, however, was ever implemented.
    I have de-installed 2008 for the time being and hope someday that it might be acceptable, but I honestly feel like you could be as much as a year off from having a releasable product in this regard. I would encourage you to support version 16 for as long as necessary into the future.

  17. Larry Czarnik


    I too want to applaud you finally providing an “official” FTM interactive voice. I’ve been following a number of mailing lists whose members have been frustrated because they input problems and get NO official reply. I think Dave’s comment is MOST valid –

    “2.If you had a place where you could list a few of the major problems you are aware of and are working on, it would reduce a lot of the frustration users have.”

    I think we are all adults and know that schedules slip (we’ll assume that’s what happened with initial release of FTM 2008 and you didn’t purposely release a product that was bodgie and bug filled and so many expected features missing!). So giving us a list of reported problems that you have been able to duplicate and then schedule for rectification with a priority code (so we know which ones will appear first) would be MUCH appreciated.

    Having the opportunity for users to indicate their vote of importance would also help you sequence the priorities.

    While I also commend Fred’s list, I’m going to hope that is not the 1st time you have seen such a list. Many others have posted this kind of comprehensive list of “missing functionality in FTM 2008 that was in previous versions” and “new problems with new functionality introduced in FTM 2008” in various lists. Lists we were assured were “monitored” by FTM development. In fact I think I submitted something similar to the Dave, Beta Test manager. (Who by the way I think did a great job under tremendous pressure from many directions and under an impractical timetable).

    So on behalf of more than 300 members of a FTM Users Group that I facilitate based in Sydney Australia we welcome this Ancestry Blog and especially this Family Tree Maker section with direct output from FTM company people! GREAT step in the right direction. Now let’s make it productive for both FTM and users by publishing some REAL information and not just ongoing marketing hype.

    BTW, I for one vote for the return of “in program books” (as opposed to using Ancestry Press) as a high priority project.

    Did I, or Fred, miss something? Does FTM 2008 not have the ability to upload various to the FTM supplied users web site?

    Larry Czarnik
    2007OC03 19:25 Sydney, 03:25 UT

  18. I am so dissappointed. I’m not a techy at all, but so so diaasppointed. It won’t do anything I need, i.e.
    import my previous FTM file of ONLY 35,013 people.
    its confusing and odd.

    Dissappointed in place withheldland

  19. robert caruthers


    I hope you can solve my problems.

    1. I can not import my complete file. I have about 22,000 individuals and 8,000 pictures. If I use a subset of about 1,500 individuals, it will import. So, for now I can GEDCOM import with no photos or ftv with no facts. Neither is a workable solution.

    2. When I did a ftv import the response of the system is much too slow to be usable.

    3. I have been using FTM from the very beginning of its roots and have grown to expect always more functionality, and it needed more. Like longer names, more customizable charts, and better book creation.

    4. Where is FTM 8 going to be in 1 month, 3 months or a year? behind or ahead of version 16. It really isn’t an acceptable approach to be left using version 16 for many more months.

    5. But realistically I don’t see where you will be getting all the results you need to improve FTM 8 in a timely manner.

    and finally–
    6. I need more encouragement than has been forthcoming to date.

  20. Mark Miller

    I’ve looked and can’t see any way to turn on error reporting directly to FTM. Can someone tell me where to set this up so that FTM can see what’s happening when 2008 crashes?

  21. Paul S.

    Benjamin, I have been an FTM user for many years. I was really looking forward to FTM2008. The graphical interface of earlier versions was pretty clunky and difficult to navigate. HOWEVER like many other people have voice on the FTM forum I have been unable to import files from previous verions. Many visits to tech support have been fruitless…so I have given up. No way can I manually enter all of the data and source files again. Also I am not willing to upload my 600MB file to tech support with no promise of return or comment. It is also a privacy issue.

    I just cannot understand how fundamental issues such as being able to importing previous generation files could be missed. How much testing was done on this product before release ??? Was this a business decision that forced a pre-mature release ??

    I look forward to your return comment


  22. Ben,

    As an experience FTM user for more than 10 years in an effort to provide an independent review of FTM 2008 for the many email requests I have received from prospective buyers, I have produced the online location Critical Review.

    I have provided many feedback comments and questions to your development team requesting verification of the many problems I found with the RCI beta – most of which continue with the released version.

    Although I now don’t expect to receive any response to my many emails, I hope you will at least answer the following questions with a response posted in this blog.

    1. Specifically, what features of v16 will NOT be included in the immediately forthcoming updates/service packs for v2008?

    2. Will the inordinate slow processing of files over a few ten thousand individuals be corrected and if so how soon?


    Larry Chesebro’

  23. LFMcCauley

    I have used FTM for years and have updated every time a new version was released, until this time. If you hadn’t offered the Beta testing, I would certainly have bought 2008 but by showing me in advance that TGN has no interest in the needs or wants of their loyal customers, no understanding of why or how we use a genealogy software, and so little respect for us that you would knowingly release software that was no where near technically stable, I was able to avoid wasting money on this version. I was so disappointed in FTM2008 that I decided to look around and to my surprise, I found something so far superior to FTM v16 (which, by the way, is far superior to FTM2008) that I have been kicking myself for waiting so long to look around. So, I just wanted to thank you for pushing me away. I might never have realized there is a much better product out there if you hadn’t.

  24. Athena

    Right now, TGN is focusin on the errors and missing reports but there are many secondary and tertiary issues that are quite important to those of us who use the program every day.

    I would like to see a posted list of “Known Issues” that categorizes problems as “Being fixed”, “will fix”, “will not be fixed”.

    I would also like to see some way to comment on the things that were “removed based on customer feedback”. My impression is that the wrong questions were asked about some of those features and users should be given a better form to submit feedback.

    Finally, I wish we had true “custom” reports. It should be possible to generate a report based on values in any combination of fields and multi-sort the resulting list.

  25. robert caruthers


    In version 16, if there was one user interface feature that set FTM apart from all the others, it was the ability to move in and out of charts with one key stroke, by just clicking on an individual in a tree you would go to that individual’s family page where you could make changes and additions. Then tab back, again one key stroke, to the chart to view changes. I think for a lot of users this functionality was indispensible; especially when you begin to manage large trees.

    Will this feature be reintroduced? And if so how soon?

  26. Bernard Huntingdon

    Having used FTM since v6 I was looking forward to FTM2008, having seen the preview videos the Input screens seemed to answer just about everything I wanted – however the reality is this version has lost its ease of data entry, and appears to have decided we no longer need to output the data in any format. Even those features that appear to be improved in actual use are very downgraded shadows of their former functionality. The Individual Index lacks any method of identifying same name individuals, the family view and Pedigree View have lost their data entry, although the improvements generally allow a wider input and encourgages me to make full use of the Source Screen. I was extremely disappointed to find that the output, a perhaps even more important as a function, had been virtually abandoned in this version gone is virtually all the formatting of reports and with it the usefulnes of this program. In order to try and salvage a report it now appears I need to export to gedcom load into v16 and then create the report. When the Generaslogy Classes I teach resume next week I will be recommending PAF, instead of FTM for the first time in 10 years.

  27. Benjamin Nettesheim

    I’m glad to see this blog is becoming a central place for communication about Family Tree Maker. My goal is to keep you informed and to be a voice for our customers—to make sure that your needs and concerns are accurately conveyed to the Family Tree Maker team. Again, I will try to shed some light on areas of concern. I hope you will have patience with me as I attempt to digest the requests and formulate answers.

    One common request that I am seeing is a desire to know the issues and projects that the team is currently working on and how they are prioritized. I believe this is a fair request. We’re working on compiling a list and will post it as soon as it’s available.

    There was also some discussion about my reference to items that were not included in Family Tree Maker 2008 because of customer feedback. I should have been more clear. I was not referring to any core capabilities of Family Tree Maker 2006 or 16. Here are a few examples of items that were removed or changed due to surveys, focus groups and comments submitted through the feedback form or Member Services:

    • Double click on GEDCOM file to open – We don’t own the GEDCOM file format and some customers did not like us “hijacking” it for our purposes.
    • Ability to save a file back to an older version of FTM – Not implemented because the new format is so vastly different from previous formats.
    • Default selection of female when entering a NEW person in the database – Many users complained that the assumption of female created inadvertent errors.
    • Automatic backup of file on exit – A large percentage of customers did not like the automatic backup.
    • Scrapbook – This feature was replaced with a media model.
    • Research Journal – This feature was replaced with the new task feature.

    I also understand that moving from the old interface to the new interface is a learning curve. For that reason, the training videos were included as part of the Family Tree Maker 2008 package. In the past, the beginning and advanced training videos were sold for $14.95 and $19.95, respectively. This time around, we’ve put the beginning and advanced videos on one DVD and included it as a free bonus item.

    I also want to make you aware of an upcoming Webinar that will showcase Family Tree Maker 2008. Please reserve the evening of Thursday, October 25th. This free online seminar is scheduled to run for no more than one hour starting at 8:30 pm EDT (6:30 pm MDT). More details will follow.

    Some of you have asked that we not only continue to sell Family Tree Maker version 16, but that we also support it. We are still selling and supporting Family Tree Maker version 16.

    I’ve also heard that many customers want to express their opinion about what’s most important on the Family Tree Maker roadmap. We will be sending out a survey in the next couple of weeks to users who have registered a copy of Family Tree Maker. Due to email restrictions, it likely won’t go to the entire list, but it will hit a significant group. Please make sure your email is up-to-date in your Ancestry account.

    You can turn on the error reporting feature by adjusting the configuration file. However, sending out information that requires adjusting the configuration file is probably not optimal. Instead, the developers are working on making a change so that error reports will go to the event logs. The program still will not send error reports automatically, but you’ll be able to manually send these reports as part of your Windows event tracker.

    If you call Member Services about a technical issue and they are unable to fix it, they may ask you to send them your file. Without this a developer may have a hard time recreating the issue. These files are used for trouble shooting only and are not published. I expect that the updated error reports will reduce the need for sending files.

    Thanks again for your feedback. Please keep it coming.

  28. Curt Miller


    I have been using FTM for a number of years and currently am using FTM Version 16.

    After reading the many negative comments about FTM 2008 on this message board

    I will not be upgrading unless I hear a lot of positive comments about future upgrades. I number of users have already switched to other programs and I am thinking of doing the same thing.

    You should monitor and participate on this board if you want to know what your users are saying.

    Curt Miller

  29. Bill Lewis

    I hesitated to post anything since I have decided for the next year not to use 2008 which I own but to continue using V 16. Some are using both but I do not know of anyone that is using 2008 as their primary database. This seems like a waste of time to me as I have lots of data to check and enter without doing it twice.

    I was Technical director for a startup database for people selling items on the internet. we kept the site closed with limited access. Part of my task was to listen to the beta team 300 selected people who looked at and used the site from their input we formed the structure of the database and the web layout and constructed the sellers area and the public area. It was not easy and took several hours a day to keep lists prioritized and post weekly letters to the testers.

    None of this happened with 2008 that I am aware of I also directed the testers to test areas we were concerned about. The 2008 beta was for what could bwe seen a freeform repetetive uncoridinated group. I viewed my testers as at least 1 to 2 additional employees that I did not have to budget for. By telling them where and what to test the programmers were free to write code. We launched almost two months ahead of schedule. Was their some functionallity missing yes but the abiity of sellers to upload their inventory using a variety of programs was completed and working with out errors customers could search using a variety of key words. Reports on customer queries were produced and could be viewed by the customer. I suggested this to the development group several times because testers just looked at what they used many items saw no beta testing and so their status was not known.

    A short list 6 to 12 items in the que for attention is enough and a weekly report is often enough and is in line with the basicc corporate status meetings for projects so it fits right into the process without causing undue extra work. A short note is all that is needed in work second revision is being tested specifics will confuse and cause more concerns.

    I would consider reopening the Ohana test forums they are still working and using those 30 to 50 most dedicated people to run beta tests on specific areas of the program If these people are utilized and directed then you in effect have an extra person on the team helping to test the changes so that the programmers can focus on coding.

    Bill Lewis

  30. Peter Mason

    I am very disappointed with FTM 2008 also.

    The descendant chart created does not allow each fact typree to be shown in a different colour, also no word wrap facility.

    Apart from the links to the mapping facility, I think it is WORSE than previous versions.

  31. Ticked off

    TGN putting out a product that was not ready and ignoring feedback should not surprise anyone: they forewarned us of this type of behavior when they changed the boards last December. Ladies and gentlemen, 10 MONTHS have passed and they have yet to return the boards to the core functionality off the old boards…If you’re expecting FTM 2008 to be substantially fixed, are you also interested in buying a bridge?? If they hold true to the form they set with the boards, you’ll get a few band-aids over the next couple of months and then…NOTHING!

    TGN has incompetent programmers and the “development team” members have little or no genealogy experience – as proven in their own self-written bios!

  32. Linda Matthews if it wasn’t the customer feedback that resulted in the decision to remove core functionality and reports available in previous versions, what was the reason?

    Since TGN has not acknowledged that those items removed (Fred’s list plus other items submitted to feedback and discussed in the FTM message board at were important to the customers, I’m assuming at best only some of the functionality will be “reintroduced”.

    Benjamin, it really is incomprehensible how you and the other decision makers at TGN could decide to release such an obviously poor quality and incomplete product. Unlike another poster, I put full blame on the management rather than the programmers and testers. Programmers and testers don’t need genealogy experience if the specifications are well written and the input from customer groups is correctly analyzed and applied. I was a QA manager for a software company and if our application was anywhere near the condition of FTM 2008, we would not even had considered release. We had one major rewrite too so that isn’t an excuse. Bad quality is more costly than delays in release.

    I had hoped that the loyal customers would receive an apology and assurances that the next full release in a year or two would include the capabilities of versions prior to FTM 2008. Except for saying a few popular reports and charts and the offline book creation will be “reintroduced”, we know nothing else after two months of expressing our concerns. As TGN applies its resources to trying to fix all the problems in a production version with patch after patch (bad development method), your competitors are going to be able to improve their products in the areas that FTM was once superior. I’m sure they will be patient enough to release only after thorough testing and won’t remove functionality or reports that are valuable to existing customers.

    Good luck to all the FTM customers who are holding false hope that TGN will release patches that will bring back the functionality and fix the technical problems soon and to their satisfaction. With TGN’s priorities, you guys wanting API capabilities may get it before the errors are fixed or the functionality restored. But in that case, there won’t be very many customers left to buy the plug-ins you want to sell. I’ll continue using FTM 16 for awhile but philosophically, I can’t purchase another FTM product from TGN. I’ve lost the little hope and confidence I’ve had in TGN for the last couple months.

    Communication? I don’t think so. So far, Ben, you really haven’t addressed any specific issues. All we have is another promise of releasing a road map. I posted this blog link a few days ago on FTM message board and those who responded were negative that anything will happen or started discussing alternatives to FTM. Ben, you really should read the FTM message board postings since the release of FTM 2008. It is far more than just a few minor problems or getting used to the new interface inherant in release of a new version. The FTM message board is more of a central places for communication of issues and concerns than this blog will ever be. You are quickly losing the customers who really care. I’m now joining them. Let’s be honest. TGN made a BIG MISTAKE releasing FTM 2008 in August!

  33. Gwilanne

    I tried the beta version for Family tree maker 2008 and was looking forward to the new release. What I loved about it was the web search, I though it was superior to Version 16 which I have currently running. However the main thing I don’t like is that I now can not access my test file that I did with Beta 2008 b/c it will not load and is not compatiable with V16. Silly me, I never though to save a gedcom and I thought the beta would be active longer than it was. If I want to be able to retrieve it I have to purchase the full program but after reading several reviews on several different sites I am leary to purchase. I was as stated really looking forward to it b/c of the web search and dread going back but not prepared to put out money if I can not have all the other functionality I loved with V16

  34. kassilyn

    I need help. Where do I go to find an answer for inputing FTM infor? How do I input adoptive parent and birth parent?


  35. Colin Rilley

    Looking at Mark Niller’s comments I want to add that I have used FTM 2008 for 8 days and it has frozen 11 times. There is a serious problem with this software.

  36. Colin Rilley

    For information to Users – The Soted Index of individuals is in a different order when the merge individuals comes up. Creating chaos in the merge individual process.

    When you have say 3 people with the same name and you have decided to merge individual 1 and 3 from the main index. They could be individual 2 and 3 in the individual merge window index.

  37. Colin Rilley

    I have been working with FTM since 1994 and have about 30 000 individuals in my family tree. (I am not a novice with FTM)

    Having been working with FTM 2008 for about 4 days I have come to the conclusion that something is seriously wrong in this rewrite!!! I am seriously considering going back to FTM 2005 or finding other family tree software.

    Those people who have re-written this software have lost some of the core aspects of how software supports geneologists in their quest to share and gain information.

    The reporting functionality is now a disaster, the reduction of reports and the inability to include items (eg the Outline Decendents Chart) makes some of the reports useless. Never mind not having an Ancester Report???

    I tried to use the Book feature to do the report only to find that that part of the software has been removed to This means that your info has to be uploaded and then downloaded when you want to use it. How many of the users are on ISDN telephone lines or limited DSL lines. This part of the new software is limited or useless to most of us in Africa.

    Worst of all so far is that thr Reference ID fileld has only carried forward the numeric index numbers. Most of my 30000 individuals have a letter in front of it as was allowed in all the previous versions. I have much of my media information offline and index by the Reference ID field. I am now doomed to manually capture this back into the system for about 24000 people. This is months of work that the software writers in their absentmindedness have condemed me to doing. THIS IS A POOR SHOW!!

    I think a software patch for this should be issued immediately.

  38. Diane

    Family Tree Maker 2008
    I have been working with FTM since 1995 and have about 28,000 individuals in my family tree. (not a fist time user with FTM)

    Reading the REMOVED LIST on the “Family Tree Maker Blog” I now find that all the AKA’s have been removed WHY? You can put them back manually if you want to – MANUALLY – what happened with the programming? AKA’s help differentiate whos who when you have all the eldest sons in a family with the same name! In previous versions you could search for an AKA and find the right person.

    The Reference Numbers have been removed, you can put them back MANUALLY as well – why have a computer at all?

    Just try doing a merge without a Reference Number and you have 15 people with the same name some of whom also have the same parents – you have no clue in FTM 2008 who to merge who with – its a nightmare.
    Did the programmers understand how a one name study works? I have lots of groups of around 20 – 30 people with the same name.

    I use the OUTLINE DESCENDENT REPORT to send to friends and family and also use it on my web page. The freedom to choose what FIELDS I want in this report have been taken away. Why? Its a simple report and helps people with the same information check easily and quickly what is different and perhaps missing on their side. It also uses the least paper and file size for emailing and is therefore the quickest option.

    The Title in the Outline Descendency Report can be changed – MANUALLY, but now appears at the top of every page like a Header. The option in previous versions took the name of the first person on the list and only appeared at the top of the first page.

    Being able to overwrite a name without having to click OK is a serious error – did no one even look at how the previous program worked before starting on this one?

    If I cut and paste in NOTES I get double spacing for some reason – is there any way to fix this?

    Also having to click on NOTES and then click on it again is such a waste of time – who thought that one up?

    For the Index the option is that you can have Birth Dates OR Death Dates – why can’t you have both as in previous programs?

    If you type a person’s name into the Index just to check something, the page now changes to that person before you click on the name in the Index.


  39. Fran

    I started my family tree on in June. It was exciting, particularly when I found another family tree which included my Grandmother. She had died when my father was eight. Since we knew almost nothing about her or her family it was an exciting discovery. I even corresponded with someone whose great grandfather was my grandmother’s brother.

    I wanted to share my discoveries with my sisters, so in August I order FTM 08. Based on what I read, I assumed that I would simply click on a button or two and my tree would be transferred to the FTM 08 program on my computer. I could then share it with my sisters. Imagine my surprise when I could not even register the program. After a 45 minute wait at FTM 08 tech assistance, their telling me it was my firewall. I removed the firewall with no success. This was followed by long conversations with my ISP and loading new programs and by long conversations with my computer maker and their online review that concluded all was well. Several days, many hours of effort later and I still could not register the program. Finally, thanks to someone on the Ancestry Boards who told me that I needed to turn off my accelerator for my dial up, I was registered.

    Problems solved. Are you kidding!! In order to transfer my 128 people in my data set to FTM 08, I had to make a GED file. Ok, but the most important things to me did not transfer. The pictures I had found on the web, the stories I had written about what I had found, the comments I had included, and other stuff detailed elsewhere were not transferred . How can you say that the linkage between Ancestry and FTM is better? You lose all the good stuff, or a least the stuff that is important to me.

    Ok, with a small data set I could copy and move. A number of hours later I got most stuff moved from Ancestry to FTM 08. If I found it a problem with only 144 people, I can imagine how angry users with larger data sets are.

    I then tried to merge data from to individuals in my data set. The exciting thing was that I would get a copy of the census sheet that listed my ancestors. Wow! I tried and the computer screen got a somewhat scrambled look and appeared to lock. After about a minute, I ended the program. I discovered that the information was transferred, but not the image. After a number of tries and a suggestion from another user, I discovered that I needed to wait 4 or 5 minutes for the transfer to be made. Wow. I know I have dial-up, but it has been satisfactory for using Why should I assume that I would need a broadband connection to use the program?

    Based on what I have read, I am exactly the type of customer for whom you designed FTM 08. I am not a hard core genealogist. I get excited when I find a relative in the Census data. I am really not interested in going back beyond the 1800’s, but I do want to find out all I can about our family in the last 200 years. I have discovered that family stories are only partly true, but the real truth is even more interesting. I come from a remarkable family.

    FTM 08 will NOT be part of my telling our story. It is SLOW, clunky, full of errors, and requires a computer far more powerful than I need to do word processing, internet exploration and play bridge on line. I returned FTM 08 for a refund. Hopefully, I will get my money back. Of course, I will not receive a refund for $9 in shipping costs. I have purchased FTM, ver 16. However, I am looking for another program that will be faster and allow for better transfer of documents from the internet into my family tree.

  40. James Clouse

    I’ve been using FTM since it was a sapling, was pleasantly surprised when v16 allowed larger notes fields. When can “old” users expect a stable, workable 2008 version? Thank-you for your blog and replies thus far.

    Best Regards,

  41. Randy Magin


    I feel you should recall the “faulty” software and provide your customers with a full refund.

  42. Fred

    Some new problems with FTM 2008 and additional comments.

    I don’t know who the people were that you listened to remove the items you did but I don’t see how you could have listened to anyone based on all the complaints I am hearing. For example it makes no since to remove the default selection of female when entering a NEW person and now require everyone to be forced to now enter extra key strokes. The same can be said for Automatic backup of file on exit. Almost every other software program has a feature that the customer can select to automatically back up the file on exit. These so called features TGN took out of the program should have been options the customer could turn on and off if they wanted. You need to check out other software packages and see how they go about giving the customer what they want. My personal feelings are that TGN wanted to force these changes on us and it has backfired. All of these items are not removed from a program without some reason. If TGN was listening to customers like you said, then why aren’t you contacting people that have an IT background like others that have posted here and me to try and get to the bottom of these problems and listen to what we have to say?

    As someone else stated “TGN has incompetent programmers and the “development team” members have little or no genealogy experience – as proven in their own self-written bios!” I concur with this and the fact that TGN should scrap FTM 2008 and recall it and go back to the beginning and start over with a brand new product. From my IT experience, patches will not correct the speed issues associated with FTM 2008 or the fact that it takes over 10 hours to merge a 100,000 person file with another file with only 15 people. One item that is causing this slow response is this new locations PlaceAuthority mapping that you forced on us with a separate data file that takes up 297MB. The next largest file is 3.21MB. The PlaceAuthority which is inaccurate is one item that needs to be changed.

    New problems found problems in FTM 2008.

    In FTM 16 a person’s height as 4 ft. 11 in. After importing data into FTM 2008, I find the person to be listed as 4 ft. 10 in.

    It appears that FTM 2008 will only run on VISTA under an administrator account. This needs to be changed.

    FTM 16 I had a few over 300 master sources and a few hundred that were single instance or just did not fit into any of the master sources after the 2008 import I was left with over 4500 sources with no master sources.

    Sources organized under Master Sources in FTM 16. When imported in FTM 2008 the data the sources were back like they were before I spent hundreds of hours organizing them.

    There is an issue with FTM 2008 not showing marriages and adding a cause of death. It is showing 000 Not Encoded 4 Jan 1918 Sarah; Cause of death: Single.


  43. Beryl Blickstein

    It is unfortunate that you omitted features that most people liked. The non-transfer of AKA information is a grievious problem in my view.

    But the single most pressing issue is the abominable performacne of the code. It takes minutes to add a neww PLACE, and FTM 2008 appears to freeze the entire computer while it is doing its index management. The same poor performance is evident in other data operations as well.

    As an experienced software deveoper with 50+ years of experience, I think that the product has serious, perhaps unrepairable, architecture problems. If I am correct, you will NEVER be able to improve peroformance with a set of band-aid patches short of a complete re-write. in that case, your loyal users – including myself – should quickly look for a better alternative genealogy software system.

    TGN would do us all a great service by simply being honest enough to report the facts instead of rationalizing about customer feedback surveys. Are you addressing the performance issues, what have you found, what course of action are you proposing, and what is your timetable for accomplishing them?

    A simple list of the top 5 or 6 most pressing issues, along with your approach for remedying them, would be a nice first attempt at being open and homest with your immense loyal customer base.

  44. I find the interface to unusable in ver 2008. In ver. 16 it opened hits into a separate browser window. This made recording info from that separate window to ver. 16 very easy. Under Ver. 2008 you have to keep going back and force bewtween the two internal windows. This requires much more work. The internal windo is much to small.

    I will not buy the new ver of FTM 2008.

  45. Athena

    >>I These so called features TGN took out of the program should have been options the customer could turn on and off if they wanted

  46. Athena

    Exactly. My impression is that much of the new design was based on user complaints rather than consideration of the overall user base. If some people want “X”, why force everyone to go that route? Why not make these things user configurable?. I always felt that FTM was short on user configurability and FTM2008 is even worse in that respect.
    I also agree with the comment here that the program window is unusable. If you don’t have a giant widescreen monitor, trying to get anything done in web search is torture. I don’t want to have to use sliders to see the actual Ancestry web page, I want a hit list. And I don’t want to have unnecessary web communication just to change the search criteria. People who pay for a desktop software program should get a more efficient tool, not just a scrunched up, unusable web page.

    Note: I don’t know why my reply above was chopped off.

  47. Blair

    Where did the function of asking “Is Bob Smith the same person as Bob Smith” go? I have people in my tree who married other people in my tree: ie: 3 sisters married 3 brothers and other stuff. Could you tell me if you will be able fix that in the future, or if I’m just missing this? My family has a lot of people who inter-married, and it was so much easier before when the program asked if it was the same person.

  48. A room full of monkeys must have directed the lack of development of this new program, not an upgrade. The code is so bad I do not believe there is anyway it can ever be fixed even if someone did think they might like the new program if it happened to work with a reasonable sized file, which it does not. I feel defrauded myself. I think the product should be recalled. I think that refunds should include postage and handling both ways. If TGN feels otherwise I’d like to know why. Short of a recall and fair total refunds I believe the bad public relations this diaster will create with long 19 years users of the real original Family Tree Maker program will gradually be the death of what was the best program for the typical and average user such as myself. TGN could step up to the plate and do the right thing on this, but TGN needs to do it now. Everyday that goes by is another nail in the coffin. Bye Bye.

  49. Howard

    Wow. What a disaster.

    I’ve only been doing genealogy for a matter of weeks. I got my hands on an old version of Family Tree Maker, and was about to upgrade to the latest and greatest: FTM2008. I had my order on Amazon all filled out, and was about to click on the final check-out button when a little voice in the back of my head told me to go check the reviews. Am I glad I did.

    It sounds like this release was completely botched, and was driven more by the marketing department’s desire to force people to pay to use more of’s functions (e.g. creating books), than by a real desire to serve the customer by putting some polish on a winning product.

    Some functions that were previously free now must be paid for (did they think people wouldn’t notice?). Some functions are gone based on “customer requests” (you must be kidding). Performance has gone down the toilet. And users are supposed to pay for this?

    I’m definitely not going to buy anything from these folks, unless they get it together QUICK, and I start seeing a bunch of glowing reports posted on these message boards. In the meantime, I’m going to start investigating alternative products.

  50. Judy Burns

    I think what concerns me most is the mindset behind FTM 2008. I have been subscribed to the FTM tech list for two years and never saw comments asking that any features should be removed from FTM. I never saw a request to change the data entry screen. Also, I never saw a request that scrapbooking capabilities should be added. I realize that it was time for a major re-write because the program was old. But, re-writing the program did not necessitate the dramatic changes that were made. This new program should not have been called FTM at all.

  51. William Boswell

    I hate to repeat what I’ve emailed to TGN and other forums, but I refuse to use FTM 2008 until it is fixed. This product never should have been released so soon with all of the bugs it has.

    I’ve been a Family Tree Maker user since whatever version was out in 1998. This is the only version I wish I never upgraded to.

    I sent the techies at TGN files and information related to importing The Master Genealogist files with external images not embedded in the data file. It was deleting my original files and copying them over with meaningless file names to be used in FTM. Apparently this has been fixed in the first service release, but importing TMG data still needs more work.

    The Source Repository drop-down list has wrong information in it. Converting from my FTM 2006 data file, it is listing addresses for source repositories. The original item “Book” (from FTM 2006 drop-down list) is listed under Comments. This will be a major hassle recreating source repositories for thousands of items.

    Places is picking up items from census transcribed text, alias names, and other notations and creating erroneous “place names.” Shouldn’t place names be extracted from Birth, Death, and Burial locations, and not from text in notes? I noticed you can delete places. With a list of mistakes, is it possible to delete more than one item at a time?

    The place and map feature is a nice feature, but tries to update it to current times–not historic times. I know this probably has a lot to do with current maps.

  52. Pat Blanchard

    I have one observation I would like to report, and one “wish”:

    1) I still have FTM 2006 on my system (just in case), and I noticed that when I have FTM 2008 create a GEDCOM file for export, I get a message when it is finished asking me if I want to open the GEDCOM file to look at it. I answered “yes” one time, and the file opened in FTM 2006. I called technical support to see if this was something that could cause potential problems, and the person said he had never heard of this before. I now realize that the reason the message comes up is that the GEDCOM file that is created in FTM 2008 has an FTW extension, instead of FTM. This hasn’t caused me any problems in uploading my GEDCOM file to my tree at, but it is an odd thing, and perhaps the file extension should really be FTM instead of FTW … food for thought.

    2) For my wish … the only reason I hang on to FTM 2006 is that it can produce a customized report that lets me decide what to include in the fields. I find this extremely useful right now, as I am cleaning up errors in my FTM 2008 file by producing reports with certain “fact” criteria so I can alter or delete data for consistency. This would be a very useful report feature to incorporate in FTM 2008. Everyone has to clean up their files at one time or another, and this function keeps you from having to hunt through all the entries individually.

    Thanks for all your hard work! I know this hasn’t been easy for any of us, but the manual I purchased has really helped, and I am looking forward to the Webinar this month.

  53. Gene

    Does FTM plan to fully integrate some future version with the online Family Tree capability? I’ve spent a lot of time moving data from FTM v16 to my family trees to more easily share with family and friends. I’ve also added additional data to the online trees. Until I can readily sync the online trees with FTM, I’ll probably stop using FTM – I don’t want to.

  54. I am not going to list out the errors, missing items, many have already done this.
    I will not be switching to 2008 I will stay with v.16 or I will be looking elsewhere for another program at this point.

    There was also some discussion about my reference to items that were not included in Family Tree Maker 2008 because of customer feedback. I should have been more clear. I was not referring to any core capabilities of Family Tree Maker 2006 or 16. Here are a few examples of items that were removed or changed due to surveys, focus groups and comments submitted through the feedback form or Member Services:

    .. but there were many core features that were removed, or forgotten about, were they just missed in the requirements gathering for this project? Was adequate analysis of the existing program not done?

    • Scrapbook – This feature was replaced with a media model.
    • Research Journal – This feature was replaced with the new task feature.

    I can understand a change, but the fact that all of the work users have put in has not been imported into the new program, that essentially thousand of hours of collecting and compiling documents and images and items that do not fit into a “source” are no longer available and are missing, fine change it, remove it and add something else, but do not just ignore the data that has already been collected. My scrapbook items should have been imported into the media Model, just as my Research Journal should have been imported into the tasks.

    Items that were removed or changed due to surveys, focus groups and comments submitted through the feedback form ….

    I too am in the IT industry, I am a manager for a web application development team. What i see in FTM 2008 is that like many in the industry a focus group at some company that provides this service was used. Here data and useability and changes were compiled based on the focus group. Now I ask how many in the focus group were genealogists? how many were amateurs? how many professionals? How often do they normally spend using the software?

    I for myself will admit to being addicted, like many others i know it is not uncommon for me to spend 7 days a week, with FTM open and working in it. ( which if you leave it unused for 1/2 and hour ftm 2008 goes blank and un responsive and freezes) I will many times spend hours on end, all day, all night … depending on what information I am looking for or what I may have found. Many of the changes that may have passed as acceptable in Quality Assurance, or load testing or what ever testing was done, do not pass the test when you are looking through 10,000 records and want to move seamlessly and quickly. I did a test run, I found data on that I was hand typing into the program. I did it for FTM 16 and then the same people and data into FTM 2008 It took me 2 hours in 16 and 4.5 in FTM 2008, I can say there is a factor of being slower because of lack of familiarity with the program so we can say that 1.5 hours were due to this, that still leaves 1 more hour, and most of it is caused by the sluggishness and slowness in moving from one person to the next, the having to click more often to get where you need to go, and the awkward dropdowns for fast fields and Sex, and the layout of where things are for adding when you are typing in information I needed in the new program to continually stop grab the mouse point, click choose, then go back to typing, this is very cumbersome and inefficient.

    I think one thing in the new program that was not understood is that most who use genealogy programs want efficiency.

    .. new source citation takes 2 clicks one to open the choice one to choose which one, The old way 1 click, then choose an existing or add new, since i would say the majority of the time I use an existing master source, that it should open there first.

    The new source linking is a great addition, but how it eliminated my master sources is not, it has made a mess.
    I do not think it was developed as sources are used.
    I had one master source for the 1860 United States Federal Census
    then many sources for individuals that used that master source.
    I like that I can include the page, data and information for one Source to may individuals in the same family. But I should still be able to tie that to a master source. as I tie my Master sources to a repository. This is in my opinion an added value being added to reduced functionality.

    One think I have not heard about is the new look colors, I find the new version much harder to read,the font is too small and the “brighter” look is more indusive to eye strain.
    It may look neater and more modern but all the gradients and text on color and sometimes text in color, is more difficult to read. My husband is color blind, the blue on blue is almost impossible to read, The use large fonts is still not large enough, if this is to be truely cusomizable then let me pick my font, let me pick the colors and “skin” i want to use, this would go a long way towards useability.

    on the positive side, I love the addition of research notes for each person, I have used in FTM the scrapbook for stories and notes, and the Notes for research notes. I like the addition of both.

    In the end I see countless hours over many months where i would have to re bring all of those old scrapbook items into the new version. If I add the location – description clean up ( other genealogy programs when importing from FTM let you choose will this fact be a location or a description, FTM should at least do the same for their own imports), the fixing all of my sources, hand adding all of the existing reference numbers for close to 10,000 names ( my file is small)( why were they not imported?)

    I think i can cancel my ancestry subscription since I will not have time to add any new information for at least the next year while I “upgrade”.. my choice is to not upgrade, I have FTM 2008 I paid for it, it will now sitwith all the other programs I own that I use for one thing or the next, I have most programs available, some I use just for a specific report option they have, or for the better gedcom exports, or file clean up. FTM has been my main program, and 16 will continue to be 2008 will nto it does not meet the needs I have for a genealogy program.

  55. The Title tag after import is miising all of the data just like the AKA.

    Also when doing a web merge data, if you want to edit the source or citation information you can not go back the the web page and copy or click elsewhere, essentially meaning you would neeed to type any changes in.

    To add data to the children in the family view you need to click on each child to edit it, rather than add birth and death information to all of the children at once, This makes this part of the interface much slower than ftm 16.

  56. Paul Roberge

    I’ve used FTM for years but 2008 is a huge disappointment: nothing more than a front end for having publish (at a cost) any useful output. All the meaningful reports have been removed–as the ability to make books (now it will cost you). But whenever I try to see what that feature is like, it crashes.

    In fact my version crashes at least three times a session. It vanishes from screen and some 15 seconds later a box comes up to apologize for having to close.

    Unfortunately I stuck it out for about a month, but even so, I’m switching to something else.

  57. Robert McGuinness

    Hopefully this gets through to the appropriate person(s). Finding an email address is like finding hens teeth.


    Family Tree Maker 2008 (17th Edition)

    There was a sense of eager anticipation as I installed the latest version of Family Tree Maker 17th Edition (FTM 2008). This new version promised to be bigger, better and brighter (well, don’t they all) than the 16th edition (FTM 2007) and there were a few improvements I would like to see, so hopefully they will be in the new version.

    The new version started with a completely new screen telling me that getting started is easy and I can now start a new file or as it says on screen:
    “FTM 2008 can import the following file formats
    • Family Tree Maker (all past versions)
    • GEDCOM files
    • etc”
    No problems, import my main file and we’re away. Believe it or not, the importing took all day to finalise as the process would crash out because of an unknown error. It consistently crashed at different places and in the end I exported my old file as a GEDCOM and imported it that way. Only thing wrong doing it this way is I loose all my photographs. That’s no good, so back to the drawing board. Tried once again to import the old file and it work! Only took approximately 2 hours but it worked and I had my photographs. But hang about, I have now lost other important information such as the Also Known As (AKA) field, my Books from FTM 2007 weren’t there, and all dates listed as Unknown were blank. Not looking good.

    By way of explanation I should explain why the AKA field is important to me. My main genealogy file covers approximately 10 families who are linked through various people and instead of 10 or so files, I have one big file which has 33, 216 people with 9,595 Families. My main interest is the McGuinness family and unfortunately there are many ways to spell this name and in case you were wondering, there are 106 ways. To enter a name as found in official and other records makes it very hard to find/trace ancestors in FTM 2007 when looking to see if you have a previous entry and if you are not careful, duplication can and did occur. To overcome this, I spell the name one way only (McGuinness) and all the variations I find go into the AKA field. This provides an important cross referencing tool/record and also helps to provide a record of all unusual or totally misspelt names found during research. For example, a distant relative’s name is spelt Kalmbach but it is not unusual to find it spelt/recorded as Cullenbach. While this is only one example it highlights the value of this information and it is also a major time saver. You find it once and once only.

    Whoever penned the words the “program has a fresh new look and feel” “we’ve made it easier than ever to enter, view and edit you data” and “and a wide variety of output choices.” obviously hasn’t used it or if they did, not very thoroughly or rigorously.

    My overview of the new version of FTM 2008 is that new program is too busy looking at things over the Internet and at databases in particular (with associated fees of course!) and this to me, is highlighted by the words “Using Family Tree Maker with Ancestry.Com.Au” which appear on the inside cover of the box the discs arrived in. Because of this, other things (that should be) in the program have suffered and suffered badly.

    Anyone serious about researching their family tree will tell you there is no such thing as Instant Genealogy. Each month I read my copy of Australian Family Tree Connections and somewhere in the magazine this point is emphasised. They state “You must verify every single piece of information you are given, especially if it comes from the Internet” and unfortunately the creators FTM 2008 are trying to head us in the wrong direction by encouraging such an “instant genealogy” approach.

    Well, what do I like in the new version on Family Tree Maker? I like the following:-
    a) the Home Person concept which Legacy have had for a while, however it does not recognise the wife of the home person. States no direct relationship, and while this is strictly correct, she is still his wife and should be identified as such;
    b) the age of the selected individual is shown;
    c) World Place Advisor or some similar program is built in and appears easy to use; and
    d) Maps – a built in program which looks like it could be useful. Haven’t fully tested it yet.

    That’s the good new, now for the bad points:-
    a) The new Family Screen is very busy and appears to be a cross between the Family View and Pedigree View and has an Index down the left side of the screen and is totally different to FTM 2007. So much so, it will take a long while to get used to it. I prefer the Family View of FTM 2007;
    b) Not all data came across (see above). The recorded “unknown” dates were not brought across. If you knew a person was dead but hadn’t discovered the date, unknown indicated that. With the field left blank this could mean anything. Overall it downgrades your information and research efforts and in Reports tends to indicate the person is still alive;
    c) Because of the size of my file and no doubt the age of my computer, running reports is a signal to go and make a cuppa. It is slow! I know you advised users to have the latest all singing all dancing computer equipment, but these all cost money;
    d) In FTM 2007 I spent a lot of time and effort setting up the Master Source list. Then I had one list, now I find I have two. One list of Sources and a list of Repositories. The program has made an arbitrary decision to spilt my list and I’m not happy with this – two places to check;
    e) My Bookmarks are gone and need re-setting. Time wasted.
    f) My Books are gone and will need re-doing. More time wasted.
    g) The reporting side of FTM 2008 has not improved one inch, in fact it has made a giant leap backwards. Up to FTM 2007 any reports produced were limited in that you had to print a whole report (for me all 33,000 names!) to find say 30 people who had a FACT recorded against them. FTM 2008 is a database, all-be-it a special kind, but no doubt similar or the same as Microsoft Access so why can’t we make the same type of reports/queries as one can in Access? This would allow me to print one (1) page in lieu of 1,278 pages! This type of reporting did not happen in FTM 2008 as I hoped.
    h) The Outline Descendants Report in FTM 2007 used to be useful. Each report could include a wide or small range of useful information and I would use this type of report in PDF format to exchange information with colleges. Not anymore! All you can do now is change the heading and it took me a while to work out how to do that! All you get now is Name, and year born and died making it a totally useless report;
    i) The Genealogy Reports are gone. As you no doubt remember, these reports could be arranged in Register Format, NGS Quarterly Format (both descendant ordered) or Ahnentafel (ancestor ordered). Again these were useful for exchanging information and could be exported as PDF files;
    j) Custom Reports? Gone! There was a reasonable range to choose from and one I did use was the Data Errors Report. While you did not have any control over what was included/excluded in the report, at least you could note the errors and if necessary, find and fix the error. Not anymore!;
    k) While discussing these reports another point of issue. In FTM 2007, you could double click on a name in a report and the Individual Dialog or Family View page for the individual would open and any corrections required could be made. This was a quick and accurate way of editing/fixing information. In FTM 2008? Forget it, its gone;
    l) Master Sources – big icon on main screen which I clicked on but could not find how to add a new one. Found that later in a different place. Overall you have taken a straight forward easy to follow system for Master Sources from FTM 2007 and made FTM 2008 very confusing and hard to follow;
    m) Inserting a new Source record in not straight forward and is very confusing. I entered a source record against a fact to see how it works and then I tried to delete it – and I couldn’t! Absolutely brilliant;
    n) There is a totally new set of shortcut keys. F2 still exists, but F3 to F8 are gone. F8 and Alt F8 in particular were very useful, so I suppose why keep them;
    o) Entering new Facts. In FTM 2007 I use “Fact” to record the details of any Convicts. The entry in the Description space for any such ancestor read for example “Convict (Lady Juliana, 2nd Fleet – 3 June 1790)” and when printing Family Trees for Ancestors (or descendants) I included this fact in the report. This allowed people to see clearly who were convicts. Because of the way Fact is structured in FTM 2008, this information was not imported, i.e. LOST. More time to be wasted in finding and re-entering the information;
    p) In FTM 2007 when you pressed F2, the Index of Individual pops up. It does the same in FTM 2008, BUT in the 2007 version , when you highlighted a name, showed that persons AKA and Spouse name. Not anymore. Another very good point lost;
    q) You could export Files as a PDF file, not anymore; and
    r) You could export Reports as a PDF file, not anymore. And so it goes on and on.

    Overall the excitement of a new version of FTM has been lost in the depths of the changes and despair over what has been lost, not to mention the disappointment of not getting improvements hoped for. Because things like Sources are confusing and not straight forward, and Reporting is abysmal verging on down right useless and I prefer the Family View over the Pedigree Chart View, I will not convert to FTM 2008. Out of curiosity I will continue to fiddle with FTM 2008, but FTM 2007 will continue to be my main genealogy program for the foreseeable future. Nor would I recommend FTM 2008 to any colleagues.

    Hopefully the bonus discs will justify the money spent, but only time will tell.

    Robert McGuinness

  58. Robert Jacobs

    FTM 2008 is a disaster. It reduceds the very functions I use most. I find the emphasis on “web” book-making and simplistic search particularly disturbing. I want to be able make full reports, scrapbooks and the like on _my_ computer, not Ancestry’s. I certainly don’t want to have to pay for rote publishing.

  59. myrtle allen

    I have FTM 2005, is there an update for this version? and will I be able to use it on the Ancestry Press. for my Book? I just can’t keep buying the lasted FTM’s, I’ve had two so far.

  60. Martin Gunnell

    I would return the 2008 product if I had retained the original packaging. The program freezes the computer and is non-functional because it uses nearly 100% of the memory (I have over 1GB installed). PAF overcame this issue and I intend to go back to that product until this issue is fixed. This product can not be used in its current state.

  61. Ron Eckhardt

    As soon as I read that FTM 2008 was developed to run on Microsoft .NET,I realized why it was “bloat-ware.” It is the same issue with Intuit’s Quickbooks and several other mainstream software programs. When developers insist on using Microsoft’s under-developed mentality that “bigger is better” – they admit to the world that they lack programming innovation.
    Had I known it was MS .NET, I would not have made the investment. I refuse to continue to be a MS pawn.

  62. Linda Matthews

    Come on…let’s not blame Microsoft for this poor quality release by TGN. As the old saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. Microsoft products are very good. It is the application development processes by TGN that is rotten! These are the reasons for the problems:

    1) The FTM 2008 database and program design is poor;

    2) The requirements for the core functionality of previous releases either weren’t written or decision was made not to provide that same functionality. How can you blame Microsoft for leaving out core reports and functionality?

    3)Either the quality assurance/software testing processes by TGN are very bad or the management didn’t allow them to be fully executed before release. When the users submitted error after error for a Beta released a couple weeks before the final, how could they have possibly completed full testing before release. 99% of the current errors would have been caught if a full testing program had been implemented.

    4) Patch releases should be a last resort for unforseen problems, not to fix known problems or add functionality. TGN is just wasting its resources fighting fires that could have been used developing a good product had they delayed the release.

    Let’s be real and put the blame where it belongs! If it is the development team’s inability to program under .net, then TGN should either have hired more experienced .net developers or provided training for their development team. Bottom line is that the release was TGN’s decision, not Microsoft’s!

  63. I don’t think this marketed product is fixable. If there is a programer that does? …please raise your hand…and I’ll stand on my head.

  64. David Gurtler

    I have Family Tree Maker 2005 which I have tried to reinstall on my new computer with a Vista Ultimate OS.
    I was not successful getting it to run properly even in Windows XP comatibility mode.

    Is there a solution?

    Alternativly is there a way to purchase and download the 2008 version which is fully Vista Compatible?

    I live away from the USA right now and the software is not available here.

  65. Oskar

    I signed up to view the webinar on Oct.25. It is now 8:22 Oct. 25th and I can’t find the website. I didn’t receive any notification of it. I signed up over 1 week ago.
    Can I access the information that was shared at another time?

  66. James Ralston

    Ben, I have owned every version of FTM and must say that this is the most frustrating of all. 2008 has great potential, lots of great new ideas, but your team deserves all of the heat you are getting. I totally understand the new code and all of the ramifications that go into a new program, as a result, but why charge us for a program that still has BETA in it? You can’t even give us the same functionality as in the personal family trees at the Ancestry home site. Example is that at least in it, we have the ability to ignore or accept an ancestry hint. Also, why can’t you give us the ability to link to our tree, just as we do in the Ancestry site? If I find a census and want to link to certain individuals, at the Ancestry family tree, we can do that, but not in 2008, or maybe I’m missing something. Hopefully, next time we want to spend our dollars, we will get our money’s worth.

  67. Marian Morgan

    I listened to the Webinar re FTM 2008, and was amazed at the changes. I have Version 9 – and no doubt I should upgrade, but there isn’t much left to put into my tree other than one elusive great uncle. What is the cost of the 2008 version? Is it worth my buying it, or can I still use Version 9 for the small changes I may make now and then?

  68. Marian Morgan

    Hah – just read the preceding 70 odd comments. If I could delete my previous post, I would. I have part of my answer! And I’ll leave well-enough alone. It looked wonderful from the slides I saw, but from the comments, I am very leery now.

  69. Michelle Allred

    I can only get 16 generations to print in reports. I have over 100 so this has stopped me from continuing until I can print the whole thing. I called tech support and after waiting on hold for over 45 minutes I was told to just wait for the update to come out. Really not an acceptable answer, but not much I can do about it I suppose. Any help here. I want to continue but see no reason if I can’t print out the whole thing. Thanks for any help you can give.

  70. John Blair

    Over 10 years a user, installed it, was shocked by what wasn’t there and incredible slowness of program as well as freezing on me periodically. Went back to FTM 16 and transferred my information and all my notes came back as mixed up and twisted…It will now take me 100’s of hours to fix my notes. ONe question, if I’m ever tempted to go back to FTM 2008, and no has answered this at all, will I be able to use paste and copy on my reports, which of course 2008 wouldn’t let me do??? SOmeone please answer the questions, I mean copy and paste is such an easy command???? John

  71. Steve Heninghem

    I’ve been following this & other similar blogs full of discontented users since I also became disgusted at the quality of FTM2008. I await my refund having returned it.
    It is noticeable that the company voice has been silent since 4th October; is he no longer able to find reasons to justify the destruction of once-great software, I wonder?
    I also work in the IT world and would expect some resignations on my desk if my staff produced work requiring such high system resource overheads.

  72. Jo: Either you work for TGN or you don’t have a clue if you think the blog link you gave indicates anything but SILENCE on the part of Benjamin Nettesheim / TGN. Their thought is if they stay silent it will go away. They are right, IT WILL GO AWAY, because they are SILENT. Again, all they can do is recall the product and refund the money before it is too late, but most likely the damage is too far gone to repair. I am very sad, but I smelled something like this all the way back to when RootsWeb picked up a “Sponsor”. “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN”

  73. Does any user have any knowledge of any blog, user group, magazine, genealogy review, etc “outside of TGN” that has in anyway expressed any overall opinion that TGN did/is/will continue to fail what was the loyal Family Tree Maker user base with this new software sold apparently for market/money purposes under the Family Tree Maker name? I’ve used every search engine I can find and all opinions I find about this Family Tree Maker 2008 is bad very bad and worse ever. Am I wrong or am I right?

  74. ruth s

    I have been with FTM since 2000, and the 2008 to me is a omplete flop. mine crashs or freezes on a daily basis. After about an hour of working in it. I find the program just too complicated to use and the “help section” isn’t much help. As for the charts, I still haven’t figured out how to include more than 3 generation. WASTE OF MONEY DON’T BUY

  75. Benjamin Nettesheim

    If users are following this original post, I encourage everyone to watch the main Family Tree Maker blog area for new posts.

    On the right side you can sign-up for an RSS feed to be notified when new posts are made. I have been and will continue to post new messages there.

    My latest post addresses a common question about the book building capability of Family Tree Maker. It can be found here:

  76. Dan Hunter

    Critical Data Losses Associated with Family Tree Maker 2008

    Be afraid – be very afraid — of losing valuable data when transferring/upgrading to Family Tree Maker 2008 (FTM2008) software. I highly recommend NOT upgrading to this product at this time, and instead staying with earlier versions of FTM or using other vendors’ software.

    I am an experienced genealogist with an extensive IT software development and testing background. When I recently attempted to upgrade to the recently released FTM2008 from Family Tree Maker 16 (FTM16), I experienced an large number of problems, the most dangerous and severe being LOSS OF DATA ! !

    Below are my file statistics before and after upgrading to FTM2008:

    File Size: (BEFORE UPGRADE) 18.598 Mb (AFTER) 13,855 Mb
    Total individuals in data base: (BEFORE UPGRADE) 12,300 (AFTER) 12,300
    Total marriages: (BEFORE UPGRADE) 3,769 (AFTER) 3,769
    Total Text Records: (BEFORE UPGRADE) 194,103 (AFTER) 152,213

    More than 20 percent of my text records were lost and failed to transfer. The lost records appear to be source data documenting events (i.e., birth, death, etc.) and individual notes for individuals. Also, some sources that did transfer appear to have been scrambled and no longer relate to the correct events.

    I initiated numerous communications with the technical staff who purportedly supports FTM2008, and, in turn, received comments such as “I do apologize that you are frustrated with the software” …and… “I am not sure why this information has not transferred to the new software”. Other than these comments, there appeared to be no concern for the problem, nor any expressed intent to fix it.

    Because of the seriousness of data loss, I subsequently sent a message to David Humphreys (Project Manager responsible for FTM2008) and two letters to Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of The Generations Network (TGN) – the company that owns and produces Family Tree Maker software. THERE WAS NEVER A RESPONSE FROM ANY OF TGN’s MANAGEMENT.

    It was recently announced that in mid-October 2007, Spectrum Equity Investors acquired TGN (which included FTM2008,, and for $300 million. So, I sent correspondence to the two Co-Founders and Managing Directors of Spectrum Equity Investors advising them of this critical problem with FTM2008 – and like the correspondence sent to the senior management of TGN – NOTHING HAPPENED ! !

    I highly encourage all using, or who might be considering using, FTM2008 to proceed with utmost caution. Besides the FTM2008 software being less than adequate in it’s present form (generally “buggy”, reduced reports, more cumbersome, difficult to install, etc.), as genealogists, we can not afford to lose the results of our research. I would suggest everyone retain their previous versions of their data files and software and refrain from using FTM2008 until the company announces a new release and CAN PROVE that their buggy software is fixed and reliable.

    FTM2008 definitely has a long way to go before regaining and earning back the reputation that it enjoyed with the earlier versions !

    Users may confirm the many problems being encountered with FTM2008 by doing a Google search using “Family Tree Maker 2008” and “problems”. Literally 100’s of sites are listed ! !

    Dan Hunter

  77. You should start a thread just for reporting bugs. Some of your users might have enough technical background to help expose and explain bugs that they find. For example, here is one I found today.

    I have come across a bug in While in the people tab, scrolling through the index, the program crashed. All I did was scroll up with the up arrow key, from one name to the next. The program closed completely and without any warning or error message.

    When I try to restart FTM, this message appears: “The tree is already open or invalid file type [path]”. This message can be dismissed and the program will start. After the first failure, the typical Microsoft error message pops up. If you click the button to send the error report, the process will start but it will never actually send.

    After restarting FTM, even after restarting the computer, the “open or invalid file” message appears each time. When inside the program, everything runs normally except that you cannot see anything on the people tab screen. The places, sources, etc. tabs work fine but the people tab data is not there. The funny thing is that you can press F2 and the index will come up, populated with data.

    I then tried to export the file and open the exported file/packet, saved with a different name. This process worked fine and nothing appears to be lost, all of the tabs function properly. Even stranger is that once I exported the original file and then opened it and saved the package as a new file, the original file now works properly again, people tab and all.

  78. Lee A. Cain

    Regarding FTM 2008: When double-clicking on an FTM file outside of the program is there a way to prevent the incrementing/duplication of the file (“filename-1.ftm”)? Need I ALWAYS and ONLY start/change files from within the program? Can I merge the similar files?

    Thank you!


  79. Jim Hassinger

    Every time I try to save a report to a pdf with FTM 16 the app crashes and I found no solutions online. I tried to install a patch for Windows Vista but that always crashed in mid installation and I checked Run as Administrator to no avail. I hear a lot of complaints about FTM 8 that it is much harder to use and full of glitches and can’t print reports anyway. Is there a solution for FTM 16 problem I’m experiencing with Vista?

  80. Thomas F Wickie

    Running Mac OS X 5 with Parallels and MS XP (home version) and FTM. Have NO difficulty with online activity via Internet Explorer or Firefox. Cannot get server authentication when I attempt to web search via FTM. What might I need to set up in FTM to allow the program to connect to the web? I do not think it is a Parallels or Mac issue as there are no problems with web access except for the non-connection with FTM. Please advise. thanks.

  81. Thomas F Wickie

    I just submitted #85. Realized I needed to add a search location. This allowed internet connection. However, the program freezes when I attempt a search, so I am not any further ahead! What now? I will continue to troubleshoot until I hear from someone.

  82. Fred

    Mor FTM 2008 problems:
    In addition to my adopted brother now being my half brother I have also found a number of cousins as others have also found that are now ‘step’ cousins in FTM 2008.
    I checked and the cousins only have one set of parents.
    Also, don’t see any way I can fix either of these problems. This is a programming problem.

  83. joanne marentette

    question I had a crash of my hard drive inMay and after sending it to my son he tried a local fixer where he lives and they ccould not help So they rec a place in California and they fixed. Now I want to put data from “Mydocuments” into tree 16 how do I manage that. After I get that done I will start to learn 2008 slowly. I did not care for it but will try.

  84. In FTM 2007, in the Outline Descendant Report (and possibly in others too) I cannot specify additional fields to add to the report. This was a really important feature for me and I hope that it is true that this will be rectified. Hopefully soon please!!!

  85. Dan Hunter

    This is a follow-up to my Nov. 3, 2007 posting concerning the potential for data loss while transferring information to Family Tree Maker 2008 (FTM2008).

    Although efforts to make contact with the management team of FTM2008 were unsuccessful prior to my posting, two days after the posting, David Humphreys initiated contact which resulted in ongoing communication.

    For those who are only “scanning” this posting, I will sum up the info below by stating that I now tend to believe there is NO LOSS OF DATA when info is transferred into FTM2008 from external sources.

    After establishing contact with the FTM development team, I shared a copy of my database with the team and they repeated the same processes I described that I believed contributed to data loss. They report they could not identify any data loss in the transfer to FTM2008, and explained that the apparent loss of data is due to the fact that FTM16 (the old version) stores data differently in its internal database dependent on whether the data was “entered directly” into FTM16 – or – was “imported” into FTM16 (e.g. from an imported GEDCOM or other file).

    I’ve been advised that the new FTM2008 uses a totally differently schema (data base storage structure/content/semantics) from the older software — BUT — does not result in any loss of data.

    I have begun checking their explanation with a smaller sub-set of my data, and have so far found their explanation to be true.

    The main difference I’ve found (and which led me to believe there was data loss) between FTM2008 and FTM16, is a difference in how some source information appears to the end-user in FTM2008. ALL source information in FTM2008 is a more hidden, and harder to view than it was in FTM16, but in certain situations the source information within FTM2008 for events (i.e., Name, Birth Date, Death Date, Marriage Date, etc.) is more “secreted” than FTM2008’s “norm”.

    It appears that when source comments stored in FTM2008 DO NOT reference (or are not linked to) specific records within the Master Source file, these comments appear differently than source comments that ARE directly linked to an entry in the Master Source file – – BUT – – they are stored in the database and appear to the user (and in reports) somewhat differently in FTM2008 than these same comments did in FTM16 (they appeared with the comments but showed “”)

    Coupled with the fact that FTM16 stores data in different ways (discussed above – ‘direct-entry’ versus ‘import’) the other factor that led me to the conclusion that data had been lost results from how FTM2008 produces a GEDCOM file, as opposed to how FTM16 produces a GEDCOM file. It appears both versions DO produce standardized GEDCOM-compliant files; however, each version uses different rules to produced those compliant GEDCOM files (i.e., FTM2008 appears to take long comments and/or notes, and generates multiple short “CONC” lines within a GEDCOM file (instructions that cause those lines to be later concatenated/linked) – whereas FTM16 takes those same long comments and/or notes, and generates longer lines within a GEDCOM file.

    To recap – – – I now tend to believe that the importation of data to FTM2008 will not result in a data loss within the new version’s database. Some of the info may be a bit hard to find, but everything appears to be there.

    As far as needed improvements to FTM2008, the management team responsible for FTM2008 development advised me that the ‘just-released’ Service Pack 2 strives to improve the reliability of the application and should improve some performance issues. The new SP2 also added the Ahnentafel & Register reports to the application. They assured me they were “looking hard” at ways to improve the way FTM2008 deals with ‘Sources’ along with other on-going performance-enhancing improvements.

    For me personally, I will continue to use FTM16, but will regularly re-evaluate FTM2008 for performance and functionality issues, and will probably upgrade in the future when I can be as comfortable with the new version as I am with the old.

    Dan Hunter

  86. Jo Dayley

    Help! My FTM 16 will not longer let me add facts! The OK button is greyed out! Also, I cannot save reports. It freezes up when I try. Help! Help! Help!

  87. Scott

    Lucky me! I ‘upgraded’ to FTM 2008 only to get the ubiquitous “Authentication with server failed” error message. So, I’m grateful that I did not remove my FTM 2005 version. Now I just have to find out how to return this piece of crap and get my money back.

  88. A little issue I came across the other day

    I had a lady who said that here 559 update had “not worked” because the new genealogy reports “were not there”

    She had uninstalled and reinstalled etc, but no joy

    (No, she had not looked at Help>About to confirm the installation)

    She had contacted FTM help by phone (she lives in LA) and the best answer she got was to talk to someone who could walk here through the installation.

    It turned out that she had installed the 559 patch correctly but in the Publish Workspace>Collection she had the LH pane minimized so all she could see was the reports.

    She was not aware of the ability to Open/Close the LH panel via the small arrowhead and dots.

    Nor is there anywhere else in FTM 2008 to View all the reports an charts other than the LH panel.

    Notwithstanding the 559 patch or not she would have had the same problem.


    Make sure you look at all the workspaces as in all cases except the plan workspace, you have the ability to hide unhide panels vertically and in some cases horizontally as well

  89. John W. Coffey

    I am a long-time user of a long succession of Family Tree Maker programs, each more powerful and and useful than the one before. That is, until I upgraded from FTM2006/16 to FTM2008. The transition has been anything but smooth and certainly not enjoyable. To begin with, the arrangement of functions is not intuitive–a sterling characteristic of FTM2006. The functions are crowded and hard to navigate. (Here I must confess that I am not a computer-savvy user, but my skills probably match the majority of your clients.) I was pleased with the capability to correct place name info, but not pleased that the function forced me to adopt a format of information that I find silly. Excuse me, but I do think counties/parishes should be identified as such and I see no reason to append “USA” after every American place name. I also note with some annoyance that while the map displayed a particular place, say an obscure English village, the list of place names frequently comes up a blank. In the end I had to disable this function–a pity given its potential. The latest snafu is my discovery that none of my carefully researched and documented double dates transferred to the FTM2008 platform. All were stripped out, leaving only the Gregorian date. That is inexcusable. When I inquired about this, asking if I could restore my dates to double date format, I was told that “there is not a way to automatically change all dates to double dates but you can tell Family Tree Maker to use double dates for any future dates you enter.” Well, that’s just great. Is my only recourse to make all these thousand changes by hand? You would think that the preservation of double dates would be an essential part of the new program. What, pray tell, is the justification for this? And why was I not warned of this? As might be sensed, I am fast approaching the end of exasperation with this program. I urge you people to get your act together soon or your loyal clients–this one in particular–will take our custom elsewhere.

  90. Cindy Major

    I imported my FTM 2006 datafile into FTM 2008; my scrapbook items which were not JPG files were not imported. I used FTM 2006 Scrapbook extensively — including Microsoft Word obituaries, newspapers articles, and letters which I typed into Word. Non-JPG scrapbook files should be linked similarly as the “Media” files. The linking approach rather than embedding is good, but it needs to include more than jpg. If this is not corrected, I wish to return my FTM 2008.

  91. Kathy Marie






  92. Eric Shackleton

    I have used FTM for years almost since the DOS days, I have paid to upfrade each time and have had small but useful improvements. But when I bought 2008 I was surprised. I can see some good ideas and ideas there, but it does not perform. I am running it on Vista32 and it crashes repeatedly, and the most udeful reports are not available, can we please have the genealogical report back! I have returned to using FTW2006v16 as it is more reliable, even though it does not have some of the benefits of 2008. Please sort it out ASAP!

  93. Chuck Townsend

    I have been using the Family Tree Maker program since about version 3.0. In the past I have always looked forward to a new version because it meant new features that would make my research a little easier and more enjoyable. That was before 2008, now I have to save my version 16 file as a version 2005 file in order to get it so it can be used by 2008 without errors (advised by Tech Support)!
    I have over 32,000 people in my Family Tree Maker database and I have to go backward 3 versions in order for version 2008 to use it? What am I loosing in the process? Then when I started looking through the data, I realized that about 2/3 of the sources for each person are unreadable. I can’t go through 32,000 + people and redo all those sources, it’s easier just to remain with version 16 for now. I am disappointed that I can’t take the data directly from version 16 into the NEW version 2008! I guess that was $40.00 not well spent!

    A not so happy customer.

  94. Martin Goebel

    I looked forward to the much touted new Ahnentafel and Register Reports in version 559 update. To my dismay however I immediately discovered a bug. European letters and special ASCII codes that I used in notes in FTM 16 such as “, ”, ä, Ä, ö, Ö, ü, Ü, ß æ, è, é, ê, Æ, µ, †, ¢, , ¼, ½, ¾. were not recognized in FTM2008. Instead there appear as “, ”, ä, Ä, ö, Ö, ü, Ãœ, ß æ, è, é, ê, Æ, µ, †, ¢,  , ¼, ½, ¾. Thus the reports if printted are full of typos now. How can the code developers overlook a simple test to see if their report works with the necessary international characters?
    My name “Goebel” stems from “Göbel” but in the notes it appears as “Göbel”. This is such poor quality control.

  95. Margaret Bell

    Is Tanya Pederson Lord still with you?

    You have made FTM 2008 so user- unfriendly! You have removed or buried so many necesssities; e.g., how to opt to print women’s first, maiden and married names or an easy way to create address reports. Lord is brilliant, no doubt, because few could have created such a complicated, confusing format and convinced you to pass it off as a success.

    Now, in all fairness, maybe this edition is not so difficult to a first timer who is not familiar with the older, user-friendly versions of FTM. But for an old timer like me, who purchased my first in the ’90s and have updated through many versions since, This version is down right frustrating! My last purchase with which I was rather pleased did not offer sufficient book production options. This is why I seized the 2008 version because of the promise of fantastic book production oprions, which, I understand “We are developing . . . that we will provide free of charge . . . next summer.” That was not the information in your introduction teaser, enticing us to buy. I even purchased the Official Guide to 2008, hoping to find what I was looking for and clarification on what I had found. After searching and researching I found some but not nearly enough to be satisfied. Much, much is left to be desired! When will the next new, improved version come out?

  96. Sharilyn

    I installed family tree maker 2008 and it will not register. A message comes up that I am not connected to the internet.
    What is the problem

  97. Bob

    The import from FTM 2005 to 2008 has placed some information in unusual places. In fact the 2008 Places index now contains information from the marriages section of FTM 2005. For Example William Henry Pollard (a marriage witness) appears in Places and then maps to Mussau Island, St Matthias Group, Papua New Guinea.
    Even when the place is in standard FTM 2008 format the place is not necessarily correctly mapped, eg Wylam, Northumberland, England (a resolved place name) maps to Prudhoe, you can see Wylam above Prudhoe on the map, when you zoom in you stay in Prudhoe. Some of the places from my tree are not available on the maps even though they are in my UK road atlas

  98. Jim Winsness

    The removal of the “Books” function alone made me return FTM 2008 – what they replaced it with has no functionality – NONE. I’m staying with FTM 16 and I thought I’d never say no to upgrades!

    Seeing the list of problems and items removed from FTM when they went to 2008, I will eventually start looking at alternatives as it looks like the product got trashed.

    That’s sad, as FTM 16 is fantastic.

  99. Ron Taylor

    Well I “was” thinking about updating to FTM 2008, but after reading all the negative comments and especially all the ‘removed’ features… I’m having second thoughts
    I’m have an older version of FTM, (v7 or 8 I think) and have been absolutely no problems with it. Yes, there are features and improvements I’d like to see and I was hoping that FTM 2008 would adress some of them..not I’m not sure about that.

    I’m really concerned about the fact that once I use it I can’t save it back to previous versions.

    Any comments/suggestions would be welcomed from seasoned users.

    Also who now makes FTM ? Borderbound (sp?) was making it but now the websites says it’s part of ?? So I’m confused.


  100. Ron Taylor

    Sorry, I had a senior moment there. I do know that FTM 2008 is published by Broderbund with links to…

    But I’d still like to have comments/suggestions as to wether or not I should update or stay where I’m at.


  101. C. G.

    Kudos to the users of FTM 2008 that want their money back as I am one more purchaser in line. I have never seen anything that is to be new and improved that is this bad removing reports, charts and other valuable & usable features that made FTM the number one Family Tree software in the marketplace. We have been users since version three thru 16 and refuse to use FTW 2008 as it has removed all thre usable features that made it great. We have experienced all the problems that others have experienced and then some. I refuse to put my Family Tree on the web to publish a book amongst other things you have done requiring it to be used. FTW 2008 has been take off our computer and version 16 is back on while we look for a replacement.

  102. Bill McNeese

    I have upgraded to FTM 2008, and think I have made a mistake.
    In FTM 16 you could export persons in your file to a cvs file and decide what fields you want to export. IE all the people buried in a certain location.
    Is there a way to do this?
    Is there a way to find out what I have entered into FTM 2008 since I have installed it?

  103. Maria Elena Martinez

    Can I return FTM2008 to the company and does anyone have an address or contact? Thanks Maria Elena

  104. Patricia Pugh

    I’m not very computer literate but I have a family tree on Ancestry and Family Tree Maker 2005. How do I combine my info between the two without having to manually retype it? (please use simple terms as I’m not very experienced on computer).

  105. I have Family Tree Maker 5.0 upgraded to 7.0 for Windows by Broderbund. I have not worked on my family history for some years due to my wife’s illness, she is now with God and I am trying to get back to it.I am confused. Is FTM now owned by Ancestry? Can I keep my original programme and maybe upgrade it?
    Any further info you can give me to help me up and running again.
    Regards, Freddo.

  106. Sandra

    RUN, DON’T WALK away from FTM 2008. I bought it and have found it to be useless. I have FTM 2006 and have gone back to using that version. I also am most unhappy with the ‘book’ feature. I was able to produce books for family and friends easily but now have to go through Why?
    To those who are considering upgrading to FTM 2008, my very strong recommendation would be to save your money and if you are looking to purchase your first genealogy database product, research very carefully. There are a multitude of programs out there and at this point in time, any one of them would be better than FTM 2008.

  107. i have lost my 754 families and over 4000 names is there any way i can retrive them. i need help this is 25+ years of work. my backup has been lost. thanks for you help

  108. Ann Marie Rogers

    I am using FTM version 11 – happy with it, but need to save entire trees to a CD – disc. Going to up grade computer. How can I do this?? Version 11 is not able to format to CD – what version do I need to order to help with my problem. Do not want to order FTM 2008 just yet. Thank you.

  109. Dale M. Knebel

    How can you read all the articles in the blog and feel that you have a marketable product? I have gone back to version 2006 because version 2008 is just plain unusable and lacks functionality. Fortunately, you are still supporting 2006. When the day comes that I need to upgrade, and the current Family Tree Maker is as unusable as 2008, I will jump ship and find a competitor’s product.

  110. James Clouse

    Anne Marie,

    Use Windows Explorer and copy the file to a CD (you need a CD Burner to do this) or copy to a USB Flash drive.


  111. Ann

    I purchased my FTM 2008 three months ago. Since then I think I have had every problem listed in the above posts.

    I am extremely disappointed with the product and with the technical support. Being told to empty my temporary internet files did nothing to stop the program crashing or fix any of the multitude of other problems I’ve had.

    Incidentally, why is it so hard to report problems. I know I keep generating error reports which fly off into the wide blue yonder, but nothing seems to result from them.
    Can anyone tell me if they go to FTM or Microsoft?

    To sum it up – if I had known then, what I know now, I would never, ever have bought this product. In fact I recommended to two friends that they NOT buy this program unless it was a previous version.

    In the meantime, until you fix what’s wrong I will continue to battle along because when the new features do work, they are fantastic.

    Top of my wish list tho’ is that a lot of the features from previous editions that you have removed be replaced. At the very least, let me print out an index of people on my tree.

  112. ann

    What have you tweaked wrong this time??

    The program shows media in the right hand pane ready to be merged, clicked merge button, am told that media is successfully merged but nothing appears in the left hand media pane.

    Then the program freezes. Not happy at all when so called improvements aren’t!

  113. I have been using FTM for many many years and now am using version 16. Is purchasing FTM 2008 worthwhile? Can I buy it with the patches already installed? If not now, when?

  114. Ray Smith

    What is the plan for FTM 2008? Are you going to scrap it or patch it to death? In my letter accompanying the return of my copy of FTM 2008, I expressed my supreme disappointment with the product. I’ve been with FTM for 15 years and never have I been so disappointed with a product as I am with FTM 2008. I guess I got spoiled with your simple, easy-to-use earlier products that responded quickly to all commands. FTM 2008 is just too slow and clunky. The features you removed were, well, great features. So what is the plan? Do I continue to use V16 or start hunting for new family history software? Surely, you don’t expect to be in business much longer with FTM 2008 as your flagship software.

  115. clyde rhodes

    I have FTM ver 16 on my windows xp pc and have just purchased a new pc with vista home edition.
    Can you please give me a detailed explaination of how to transfer all the info over to new pc
    will it transfer using a transfer cable or is it best to make cd. I am at a loss at the proper procedure thank you

  116. Ndlovu

    Hi, You seem to know you way around FTM.
    Please help me.
    I have an old version of FTM v2.
    I was informed that I am unable to import my data into FTM 2008. Do you know which the latest version of FTM I can import the data to. I thought I could then import from that version to FTM 2008.
    Your advice would be appreciated.

  117. Mike Derdowski

    I had FTM 2005 on my old 1998 Pavilion with upgraded XP…When I installed FTM on my new computer with Vista, it wouldn’t let me open my files that I had trasnferred..It wanted me to contact FTM to purchase the newer program…After several weeks, I got smart and converted the files on my old PC to GEDCOM format…burned them onto a CD…and uploaded them into my new PC…Then I opened them and saved them with a new name…BOOM!!!….DIDN’T have to buy the new program!!!…LOL…SEE YA

  118. Brian Alexander

    Has anyone else who has registered their copy of FTM 2008 get an email from Ancestry about getting FTM 2009 for free? This is the email that I got today.

    “Dear valued customer,
    We’ll soon be releasing Family Tree Maker® 2009. When we do, we’ll send you an email that will tell you how to get this latest version for FREE.
    We want you to have a wonderful experience with Family Tree Maker. Because you registered Family Tree Maker® 2008, we’re giving you this new version at no cost so you can enjoy all the latest additions and improvements.
    Look out for an email with instructions in the coming weeks. Enjoy the new software.
    The Family Tree Maker team”

    With all the problems that I have seen discussed on this forum (and I have experienced a lot of them myself) I wonder if this is Ancestry’s way of trying to make amends for the awful way FTM 2008 works. I am about at the end of my patience with FTM 2008 and am seriously considering changing to Roots Magic. I previously I used FTM version 10 and was very happy with that program. I am not pleased with the a lot of the “enhancements” that came with FTM 2008. It seems like all FTM 2008 is concerned with is getting you to pay to have a family book printed.

    Do I wait and see what FTM 2009 fixes?

  119. Ron Mosoff

    Benjamin, I am troubled. Tell me if am wrong, does Family Tree Maker 2008 publish it’s trees to’s web sites like previous versions of Family Tree Maker? I have not found a way to do this using this version. Your support people have not addressed this issue correctly with me. If I cannot update my website on through Family Tree Maker, I will be very upset.

  120. John Payne

    Help. I upgraded and purchased FTM 2008 and imported my database containing over 36,ooo individuals. 10 years of work. Downloaded the “patch”. As I began working with this new program, there are many things I like about it. I like the feel and the new view of it.

    One major problem It seems that it did not import my custom facts that I generated in my original database. Why? Without this information it is not worth continuing!

  121. Dave K

    I just bought the software for family tree maker 2008 and I can’t seem to connect to the internet. As you can see I am on my Labtop and the connection is just fine. BUt when I try and connect through the software to registar, go online or just search after installing the software, it won’t connect.. any ideas?

  122. Christopher Onufrieff

    Your help service is a complete failure. You do not respond to calls for assistance with dismill failures of your program. Your programing expertise is obviously primitive because I shudder every time you patch something with your updates and something else ceases to work in FTN 2008…ie internet connection to Ancestry through Web Search, online connection to register or account details, failure of bookmarks to function at all, shutting the program down completely, etc., etc.
    Very impressive, sophisticated work by your “team”!!
    I think after years of unpleasant experiences with your poor quality programme that won’t upload to or download from all the data that one would expect it to do, I will be definately selecting some other program that can execute basic functions and would recommend that other clients of FTM 2008 do the same. Then maybe you will clean up your act.
    I was for a long time willing to give you the benefit of the doubt when reading all the complaints online but no more!!

  123. Bill Gmelin

    I have not been able to connect to the web search feature since, what I am assumming is, when I upgraded to Windows Vista. When I click on Web Search, or when I even click on the “person” tab in the program, the program shuts down.

    I have ordered the 2009 version of the program – will this solve the problem or is there something else I need to do?

  124. Jane Brent

    I eagerly await my 2009 copy of FTM! 2008 is a wonderful program and you are to be congratulated. After your department helped me rid myself of the problem with publishing, (a corrupted font on my computer), I was up and running.

    Question, will we need to purchase The Official Guide again to be able to see the wonderful new changes you have made for 2009?


  125. Keith Russell

    How can I pull down all the media items associated with my tree into FTM 2008/2009? I will not go through each person manually as I would probably be dead before this is completed. 😉

    I would like to see a way to directly connect my FTM tree to peeps in an Ancestry tree and scrape my media items. If it’s a copyright issue (which I doubt would be defensible), then perhaps just those I personally posted.

    Thanks for listening. It can be done for sure.


    Thank you,


  126. Keith Russell

    @ Dave K of post 131,

    I had the same problem. Go find the latest service pack or patch for FTM 2008. Download, install, and reboot then retry.

    Good luck!


  127. Eleanor Roberts Davis

    I have Family Tree
    Maker – 2005 – which I have put on my new Dell which is Vista. when I try to do a web search, FTM simply will not access ancestry – and sometimes says may be behind a firewall. when i first started using my FTM 2005 on the new Vista, frequently the web search of Ancestry would work – now it doesn’t ever work. I disabled firewalls and still can’t do a web search – from FTM to Ancestry.

    Help – Thanks.

  128. ralph hannan

    I just installed my new FTM 2009 software on my desktop; the setup proceeded well and I got the message …do you want to start FTM now?” i answered yes and nothing happened. I then went to my desktop where I found the FTM 2009 icon, clicked on it and got an eror message trelling me that the apllication configuration is incorrect. I am operating XP w/o sp2, I have more than enough memory and hard drive space. My computer is a sony pcv rx370ds with Pentium 4 processor. My system seems to meet the requirements listed on p2 of the FTM2009 booklet. I was able to load the sw on my laptop and operate the sw . Any suggestions?

  129. Colin Jones

    How can i create a GEDCOM file in Ancestry using Firefox as my browser which has no export facility. I want to transfer my family tree from Ancestry to Family Treemaker 2006.

  130. Jostein Loftheim

    I have used all Version from the beginning and baught and installed allso Version 16.
    I have also bought and installed the FTM 2008 /2009 and am satisfied with this new Versions. Since I, however, installed the FTM 2008 I am not able to open any old family files on the old Version 16. What can I do to reopen FTM 16?

  131. When adding hints that have proven correct, why does the info always go to the last entry? ie – several marriages are known, but the proof is for the first one. It always adds the document to the last one. To correct – so far, I have had to remove all marriages since the one found, then enter them again. Is there a way to specify the correct location?

  132. Once an entry is updated on the Web Tree, how can I get the same info to my HD version of my Family Tree, without having to re-type all the info. I have never had any luck with merging from one file to another.

    Thank you for any help offered.

  133. i have ftm2008 after having 2006– which i was realy happy with – however i had to replace my p[itor and had the vista put on ( which i thought the newest would be better – ) but wouldn’t accept my 2006 so i bought the 2008 verson—-i am not happy at all with it–
    i got the 2009 verson when you offered it to members — but have not installed it–
    does it have the features that 2006 had ?? would i be be happier with it ??

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