Posted by Ancestry Team on February 8, 2008 in Family Tree Maker

I’ve received some additional information about the next patch and wanted to inform the Family Tree Maker community about the current status of this update. The internal development and QA teams have been testing the latest update extensively. We are just a few days away from releasing it to our Alpha test group for their input and analysis. Shortly after that the patch will be released to the volunteer test group.  The public release will then follow after incorporating community input and final in-house verification. Some features that should be available in this patch include the following:

  • Improvements in stability and performance

  • Global find and replace

  • Copy / paste source-citations

  • The ability to save charts and reports

    • This is an important step toward a full book building feature, which will be available at a later time.

  • RTF export enhancements

  • Book layout for Descendant Chart and Hourglass Chart

A special thanks to users that are taking the time to report bugs and request enhancements in the enhancement request form. Although each entry cannot be responded to individually, please know that they are looked at on a weekly basis and are helping make Family Tree Maker a better product.


  1. David Rawsthorne

    Does this update also include married names for females in the index, or do I still have to continue using FTM 2006 until this basic search ability is included in some later version?

  2. Michelle Procter

    Will it also include the capability of assuming a person is deceased over a certain age, where no death date is known? At present they are still assumed to be living and therefore not shown in any export/report where privatize living individuals is selected.

  3. Marcelo Remotti

    Will the next patch also include the ability to UPDATE a tree uploaded to the web without having to delete it and replace with a new one forcing users to redo all customization?

    This was another feature FTM 16 had and removed by you with the 2008 version.

    I requested/submitted this 3 times over already, I am sure it is in your logs.

  4. Barbara Ginsburg

    Is anyone talking about the seemingly lengthy down time for the family tree section?
    The phrase “check back shortly” does not mean “days” to me.

  5. Dale Chamberlain


    I think at this stage the paying users of FTM 2008 deserve a response with some substance to it. What you have posted here doesn’t tell me much about the “status” of the next update. I think we are familar with the process you go through, but PLEASE give us a targeted timeline! And PLEASE tell us what is included in the next update, not just “some” of what is included.

    Remember you have a generally unhappy lot out here and although some of us seem willing to not give up yet, you are at risk of losing more of us to your competition.

    With your statement “Although each entry cannot be responded to individually, please know that they are looked at on a weekly basis and are helping make Family Tree Maker a better product.” I can assure you that you have a long road ahead to make FTM 2008 a better product.

    I’ve submitted several enhancement requests and I can only assume some of them are included in the next release based upon your description here.

  6. Benjamin,

    Does the Source Copy/Paste functionality utilize the relationship database within version 2008 (i.e., when you copy/paste a source to five facts on the same person, when you create a report on that individual a single source is referenced versus appear as five separate sources (the challenge in version 16 that relationship database within version 2008 fixed).

  7. Jeffrey Chalk

    When will there be a patch to import FBC formats? My sister-in-law gave me her file but it is not use to me. Help!

  8. Michelle MM

    when will the 2008 version be capable of all the functions available on the 2005 version eg printing the entire tree to include all siblings. current print options very poor

  9. Daniel Osiedacz

    Hi Benjamin,

    Would it be possible for you to start a thread in this Blog that lists out the identified bugs? That might help some of us see that our issue has been documented? Then you could mark the bug when you think it has been addressed and we could check for ourselves. You might even be able to list a column showing us when it might be fixed.

    I am mainly talking about the bugs we have identified, not necessarily the enhancment requests. Although you might list those too, to allow us to help you develop the ideas.

    Thank you.

  10. Bob Hall

    Will the next update allow you to copy a source to different facts as FTM16 did? This was a big time saver that isn’t there in FTM2008

  11. Benjamin Nettesheim

    These are all excellent questions. Hopefully this additional information will help answer them. Please see the comments below:

    Development is currently attempting to have the “married names for females in the index” finished in time for the next patch.

    The capability of assuming a person is deceased is being looked at but is not currently scheduled for the next patch.

    The ability to update a tree uploaded to the web without having to delete it is a “member trees” addition that we are planning on having the member trees team add.

    The timeline goal for this next patch is a public release in March. This, however, does depend on testing results. I will also work on getting together a more detailed list of enhancements and fixes.

    We currently have the ability to link to preexisting source citations which would then show only one source citation in reports. The new copy / paste functionality is meant to allow the user to create a new source citation based on a preexisting source citation.

    We do not plan to import FBC (FTM compressed file) files. I would recommend uncompressing them before an FTM 2008 import.

    The current focus for publishing is the work being done to deliver the book building capability. Additional printing options likely will not be available until the next FTM release.

    I will see if I can get a more complete list of bug fixes for this next patch.

    Printing pedigree charts greater than 16 generations is being discussed, but likely will not be in this next patch.

    The next update will allow you to copy a source to different facts as FTM 16 did.

  12. David Rawsthorne

    Thanks for the update Benjamin. It looks like the FTM development staff have been busy after all. We appreciate the updates and work being done in the background.

    Now to work out how to get on the beta test team for this update so I can finally get serious with FTM 2008, as the global search/replace and married names for females are the 2 items I really need to seriously test before I really transfer over to 2008 🙂

  13. Andrew Moss

    “The current focus for publishing is the work being done to deliver the book building capability. Additional printing options likely will not be available until the next FTM release.”

    By release, do you mean the following SP or FTM 2009?

  14. Benjamin Nettesheim


    It’s just to early to know yet. I know it won’t be in this upcoming patch. I will keep the community informed as those dates get closer.

  15. Netzband

    On the older version (FTM 16) I copied a LOT of pieces of newspaper images to the scrapbook section. When I transferred to FTM2008 they didn’t show up. Am I just not seeing them? Can you help me? I don’t want to go back and do all that research over.

  16. Michael Schuler


    Make sure you have the lastest patch .559. The patch until then played games with images and rarily worked 100%. I have all kinds of problems, but since .599 (at least as far as images) it seems to work without problems.


  17. I am very concerned the the “check back shortly” issue also. I have been trying since Saturday the 9th of February to access my reords and I get the same old message –
    Check back soon.
    We’re sorry but this feature is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask for your patience at this time. Check back with us shortly.
    Shortly is days – when will it be repaired?

  18. Benjamin Nettesheim

    Yes, please make sure you have the latest patch .559.

    Images from the scrapbook are imported into 2008 in the following ways:

    • Items from a person’s scrapbook are shown in the person media tab in 2008 (Family tab right panel or Person tab lower panel)

    • Items from a marriage scrapbook are shown in the person relationship media tab in 2008 (Person tab, relationship view, right panel)

    • You can see all scrapbook items for your entire tree in the Media workspace in 2008 (Click the “Media” button in the top navigation bar)

  19. Bob Sangster

    Will this update correct the fault concerning Stepchildren, as at the moment if a mother merries/re-marries the children seem to be automaticly added as children of her new husband?

  20. Tyler Rasmussen


    I have a specific question about the upcoming patch, one which has been expressed on this blog as a concern: what will be addressed in this upcoming patch relating to the place authority? I know a number of people have mentioned the place authority seems lacking in the number of places it should contain. I know I have submitted enhancement requests relating to mis-entered places (like DeKalb, Missouri, which is entered as De Kalb, Missouri) and missing places, namely historical places in the US which do not exist today, but did 100+ years ago. Will the place authority be expanded? Will there be a way to customize the place authority with your own custom locations (thus getting rid of the annoying question mark)? Will there be a site specifically to request edits/additions for the place authority?

  21. Has the custom report been addressed yet. As it is now it is useless. It needs to be a single line report capable of being exported and used in excel, just as 2006 was.

  22. Bob Hall

    When your cursor is in a fact field and you hit cntrl-S you get the add source dialog box, but you don’t see the existing sources like you used to in FTM16. This makes checking/adding/editing sources awkward and time consuming. Please add this to the list of items to be fixed.

  23. Bob Hall

    As a follow-up to my earlier comment about sources, I’d like to add that when you click on the source-citation button next to a fact and then click on a source you are limited to only being able to edit that source. You sould be able to edit the source, add a source or scroll between multiple sources if you want.

  24. Bob Hall

    When you are in family view it would be most helpful if there was a way to view the facts about the individual highlighted, add facts, add modify sources for those facts, etc. This new program is extremely cumbersome.

  25. Benjamin Nettesheim

    Family Tree Maker 2008 will not be receiving any updates to the place authority. That would require a large (in size) patch update. There are, however, plans to make updates to the place authority in future version of Family Tree Maker. We’ve received great feedback for enhancing this area. Please note that updates and enhancements are still being prioritized for those future releases.

    An additional note… you can tell the program to ignore the place warnings and get rid of the question marks. That can be done under “Tools – Options – Warnings” and then uncheck the “Show unrecognized place name indicators” box.

  26. Bob Hall


    I just email customer support with this, but maybe you could help. I just purchased this FTM2008 a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been using FTM for about 15 years now, probably from about the beginning, and this release is so bad that it ought to be pulled and fixed. I’ve asked Customer Service about getting a refund until you fix everything…then maybe I’ll buy the upgrade. Please advise how I can get a refund. I don’t have the time to keep messing around with this defective product.

  27. I’ve really got a problem not knowing how many generations and number of people in my tree. On Version 16 we had 46 generations that would be 290 pages. We have greatly increased generations. Using your ancestry press, it just won’t work!!! I would like the option of where I can print my project!!

  28. Benjamin Nettesheim

    Updating the custom report is high on the priority list, but it is unlikely it will be ready in time for this upcoming patch. However I will keep you posted.

  29. Linda

    Bob Hall

    Hopefully customer service has responded to you about the return procedures. If not, go to, choose Help in upper right portion of screen. Put 471 in the keyword search for help and that will return Ancestry’s return policy. If you purchased it through, I’ve seen customers who have contacted Amazon and successfully received refunds even after the 30 day refund policy has expired.

    Don’t feel alone. Many people on the Family Tree Maker message board have returned FTM 2008. In my opinion, FTM 2008 will require many more updates before it is as usable as FTM 16.

    Good luck.

  30. Bob Hall


    Thank you for the advice. Actually, FTM customer service responded to my email and advised where to send my CD’s to receive a credit.

    It’s too bad that this version didn’t work out. It looked like it had potential, until you started actively using it…and then it fell apart and was difficult and more time consuming than FTM16. I sure hope they get their act together on this sometime in the future, as I’d like to purchase it again when it’s solid!!


  31. James Clouse

    Bob, the new version has potential but is still unpolished. One reason to keep it would be getting to know the new features when one eventually uses it 100% Once you “kick the tires” with the program you will appreciate many of its changes.

    I’ve “inherited” a 1.8GHz XP computer and added RAM to 1GB. The program runs much faster with this level of RAM (versus 256MB in the machine originally.) For example, a file (GEDCOM) with 30,000+ individuals, 10,000+ families with ~100,000 source records imports in ~25 minutes versus 8 to 10 hours with 256MB.


  32. I would like a true database search capability. I have more than 7500 individuals in FTM, and (for example) 36 Benjamin Bunnell/Bonnells. I’d like to be able to search for individuals based on marriage date, death date, spouse’s last or first name, place of birth, etc.

    Any chance of that being made available?

  33. Linda

    James said: >>One reason to keep it would be getting to know the new features when one eventually uses it 100% Once you “kick the tires” with the program you will appreciate many of its changes.

  34. Linda

    Whoops…maybe I got a character in there that it didn’t like.

    James said: One reason to keep it would be getting to know the new features when one eventually uses it 100% Once you “kick the tires” with the program you will appreciate many of its changes.

    My question is why would you want to keep tires that you can’t drive on 100% of the time and need to upgrade beyond the stated configuration requirements to get the same performance (sort of – it is still too flat to drive 100%).

    FTM 2008 is indeed a change of tires but doesn’t have the air of FTM 16. When a tire has a leak that can’t be fixed for several months, most people will use the old tire or move on to a different brand.

    I understand TGN is trying to resolve the issues and restore at least some of the features from FTM16. We still haven’t seen a full list of what they intend to restore more than one upgrade ahead.

    Charlie, I certainly would have liked to see FTM 2008 take advantage of the relational database structure to provide more data management capabilities such as searching on multiple fields. Maybe that will come when TGN sells new tires in a year or two. First, I’d like to see them get back to the full level of functionality of FTM 16 (i.e. index on married names; custom reports that can be copied to Excel; complete report options; ability to copy a report into Word without the built in table cells; error reports; search and replace; complete set of reports and charts that were available in FTM 16; tools such as date calculator and calendar; etc., etc., etc.). Once they get the basics down, they may be able to provide us a true upgrade.

  35. Athena

    Count me among those who would like some true database query capability. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t wish I could generate an extract based on a combination of criteria. In the past month I’ve wanted the following reports from my database:List of addresses for living descendants of a particular individualList of individuals based on their residence during a particular time period to use for generating maps that will show family migrations over time.List of individuals who attended a particular educational institutionList of individuals who served in WWI and WWIIThe last two of those lists could be obtained from FTM16 by exporting a custom report to a CSV file then operating on the output with another application. Between the absence of a custom report option and the dysfunctional CSV output though, I was unable to get anything useful out of FTM2008.
    As I recall, the Smart Viewer for the Postcard collection installed some sort of SQL engine. It would be nice to see that used for reporting too. Since FTM2008 is a .NET application, we do have the hope/promise/possibility of add-ins that could address the needs of more advanced users. Maybe someone will cook up a database query shareware add-in sometime soon.

  36. Joyce Lutheran

    Your new patch is fantastic! NOT!!! How can I take advantage of it if the program refuses to let me in? I’ve begged for help from you guys but am totally ignored.

  37. James Clouse


    Maybe the tires should be ignored 🙂

    I’m still using v16 as my main program but with the file size at over 1.5GB there will be problems soon. I am doing smaller projects in the new version and finding out its new features and faults. Each person must make their own decision.


  38. Karen

    Many people seem to be very unrealistic about how much can be done in these patches. Given the amount of resource it usually takes to fix the crashes and address performance, I wouldn’t expect to see a lot of new/restored features.

    I don’t understand the constant recommendations to keep the defective version. Why are people being encouraged to spend their money and time on something that is known to be deficient?

    I just don’t get it. I havent’ read a single comment anywhere from anyone who had FTM16 who is using FTM2008 as his primary geneaological program. The best that can be said is that some (by no means all) like the new interface and think it shows promise. That’s it. It seems to me that if the new interface really is better, it would be a snap for an experienced user to pick up…provided the program functioned as expected.

  39. Ernest Moore, Jr.

    Are all the mentions of patches to FTM 2008 an indication that you will be playing “patch and mend” to the somewhat inadequate FTM 2008 or are you going to issue a NEW AND IMPROVED version of a Family Tree Maker application sometime in the future?

  40. Liz

    I realize this may seem like a nit in the grand scheme of things but I don’t see why the little yellow prompt in the index column is so uniformative. Who needs to see all the blank space there and what exactly is the point of displaying to relationship (to an arbitrary “home person)?

    Right now it’s just a piece of useless clutter. I would much rather see the AKA and age at time of marriage or death there. Also, why don’t my column width changes stick? I can’t change the width of the index pane and it forces me to resize the columns every time.

  41. Rick Campbell

    i have never understood why programmers remove something from their software that is both good and valuable. was ftw 2008 not beta tested before being released. i just bought it and before even opening my ftw file from ftw 2005, i realized that there is no way to view the statistics for my file and also no way to to configure automatic backups, both features which i consider to be elementary and necessary. oh well, once again, we poor consumers have been duped into buying something which has less than what we were using. at least i got a 6 month subscription to, which i will make use of while i continue to use ftw 2005. since i bought my copy at fry’s electronics and they will not accept opened software for return, i guess i will keep it and hopefully sometime in the future, the programmers will restore the missing features.

  42. Tyler Rasmussen


    I looked at the place authority file, and you’re right, it’s huge. However, it is also a database file (VistaDB, protected by an encryption key, as I found out) which FTM queries to receive results. Though I don’t know what types of updates the place authority needs (like redesign issues and such), but in the terms of correcting and expanding the dataset available in the place authority, this should be as simple as sending a patch out which runs an SQL Update/Insert query over the data. I know there have been broad complaints about the amount of places covered in the place authority, both from a perspective of places which exist in the present and from a perspective of historical places. I request a patch which simply updates and expands the place authority with the new information which has been gathered since the release of FTM 2008 be sent out. At the very least, update any incorrect data present within the place authority (I know I personally have complained about one or two discrepancies between the data entered in the place authority and the official naming of locations). Such a patch would not need to send out an entire new file to replace the current place authority (being it is currently nearly 300MB in size), but runs an SQL script against the database with the new data.

    If the amount of new data which needs to be inserted into the place authority is large, an option would be to release a certain portion of new data with each successive patch rather than sending it out all at once. I know this could raise issues based on datasize and query speed, but I would hope those could be addressed within the program updates themselves anyway.

  43. William E. Tant

    Re Comments this article–every one worthwhile. At this point wish I had never installed the 2008 version–even with use of your Guide it is time consuming and not worth the effort.I’m seriously thinking of changing back to FTM 16. It has everthing I need and is easy to use.

  44. Alan Pereira

    In FTM 2005 I can produce a very large All-in-One tree of all my family as a single PDF (One Page). The PDF allows me to zoom in excess of 800% to see details of individuals as each person is encapsulated text. This is good for copying out details & sending to contacts without sending GEDCOMs. 2008 produces a PDF with graphics only image which loses quality so as to be unreadable on large descendant trees. This is a definite backward step. Will there be any attempt to rectify this with FTM2008.
    Like others, I purchased 2008. Will not use it nor register it until I see at least the same level of functionality & QUALITY as FTM 2005.

  45. David Bailey

    Count me with those disappointed in this 2008 downgrade. I did give it a try and my only question now is how do I export my work back the the previous version. This version is not ready…..

  46. Michael Schuler


    I do not believe there is a export back to FTM 2006. At least I have not been able to find one. You can export to gedcom and import into FTM 2006 but you would lose alot if you had any photos or other sources that have graphics of attachments. The main reason I have stuck with this version is this reason. I like the sourcing (once I spent 4-5 hours figuring it out) and I have tons of pictures and other things so gedcom is not an option. I would love to be able to export back but I think it would mess up the sourcing since the models are so different. My grandfather and I exchange files and he is still on FTM 2006 so an export would be helpful. Also the new web search is awful and I would like to use the old model since it’s fuzzy search is so much better. If there is a way to export I would love to know how and think FTM needs to allow for the export to FTM 2006 and also have a direct import to the myfamily and other ancestry sites because import a gedcom and reassignning all of the default images and all other images for that matter is a pain in the ***.


  47. Will this problem be corrected in Update 3:

    FTM v16
    Title of source: National Obituary Archive (NOA)
    Author/Originator: The National Obituary Archive™
    Publication facts: March 30, 2004

    FTM 2008 (from FTM v16 GEDCOM)
    Reference note: The National Obituary Archive™
    National Obituary Archive (NOA)
    (Name: Name: March 30, 2004;;).

    1 AUTH The National Obituary Archive™
    1 TITL National Obituary Archive (NOA)
    1 PUBL Name: Name: Name: March 30, 2004;;;


    Many more of these kind of problems at FTM 2008 Problems

  48. Karen

    I would like to know more about the book building feature that is being worked on. I have had a look at ancestry press and would like to see the inbuilt book feature have a choice of background images and colors for pages. A similar time-line chart would also be an improvement in the program. Coupled with my own suggestion of an option to choose “a country” whose historic facts make up most of the entries below the line, with a few world wide facts mixed in

    I would also like to a “bow tie” chart added to the FTM program which is like the ancestry press combination chart.
    The bow tie chart could feature the grandparents in the middle, with children below and then grandchildren below that. Then to each side of the grandparents, their own parents and grandparents.

  49. ALL NOTES, with correctly spelled words, from an FTM v16 created GEDCOM used to produce an FTM 2008 file results in many misspelled words as the following example shows (misspelled words in brackets).

    Will this problem be corrected in the next update?

    Alonzo at age twenty moved to Lockport, New York and began working for the lumber manufacturing [firmof ] Cameron and Moody. Initially the owners rejected his application, but Alonzo offered to work without pay to prove his abilities. After one day [onthe] job, the company hired him at the highest pay the position allowed.

    Alonzo started out as a chopper, moved up through the ranks, and after twenty years, managed the interests [ofthe] company. At that time, he decided to strike out on his own. After exploring possible business, he settled on Toledo where he established his home on the east side of town and a large and profitable business. His business supplied timber to the government during the Civil War. Construction of the [famousironclad] ship “Monitor” included his lumber. As his business expanded, [hepurchased] large tracts in timber regions of Michigan and Ohio. These holdings included 59,000 acres of land on Michigan’s northern peninsula

    For over twenty-five years Alonzo maintained his business headquarters with the firm of Bell, Emerson and Company [atthe] corner of [Madisonand] Summit Streets. In addition to [thelumber] business, he served as the vice-president of the Second National Bank of Bay City, Michigan [aswell] as the Exchange Bank of Lockport.

    Alonzo’s four sons inherited the business but Abram assumed the leading role in running the business.

    After Alonzo’s death in 1887, the company became known as Chesbrough Brothers. It operated until 1918 when Abram Chesbrough left to concentrate [onhis] personal interests. He did, however, remain involved [inthe] lumber business until around 1926 when he sold all his remaining interest in lumber mills and other holdings [inorder] to retire. Abram Chesbrough died in May 1928 after a brief illness.(Ibid).

    Many other FTM 2008 have been recorded, with actual examples, at FTM 2008 PROBLEMS

  50. looking for bio father name was adolfo mendez, I go by jimenez becouse of my step dad , but adolfo was in calif, around 1949 I was born may 19 1950…my mother is Victria Garcia.and I was born in LosAngeles ca in 1950

  51. Robert Lackey

    Larry, thanks for all your help by alerting us on so many different forums about the ripoff that The Generations Network calls Family Tree Maker 2008, version 17. I preordered that version last fall and installed it with only a few hitches. All I use the program for now is to faithfully check for updates each day with hopes that I will finally get the quality that I paid +/- $40 for.

    My first purchase of FTM arrived on a 3-1/2″ floppy disk at least twelve years ago, I upgraded to each new version as the years passed and was rewarded when they finally got it right with FTM 2006, version 16. The only feature lacking in that version was the ability to format Notes (bold. italics, etc).

    I am still using FTM2006, version 16: however, I have two other programs installed on my computer and am seriously considering a switch to Legacy 6. It appears to provide all the features and more that FTM 2006 does.

  52. Clovis LaFleur

    Hello Ben

    Today I received a e-mail notice from with the subject “FamilyTree Maker Little Book of Answers.” Did everyone know you can “Buy the new Family Tree Maker 2008 bundle and get The Family Tree Maker 2008 Little Book of Answers free!”

    Then they say “Already have Family Tree Maker 2008? Pick up The Family Tree Maker 2008 Little Book of Answers for just $9.95.”

    Two questions Ben!!

    1) Why is FamilyTree Maker Still trying to sell this product? If there was ever a software product that deserves a “recall” this is the one.

    2) Seems to me us folks who purchased 2008 and are now suffering as a result should at least get the “Book of Answers” FREE!:

  53. Leanne

    In your notes you’ve mentioned March. Is that early March or late March?
    I have a reunion scheduled soon and need to make a decision whether to scrap 2008 and rekey into 2005 as I cannot produce the reports that I need out of 2008.

  54. Athena

    The Family Tree Maker 2008 Little Book of Answers

    I noticed that among the topics included in this books about “Children born out of wedlock” and “Unmarried parents”.

    Did I miss something new in FTM2008? All I could see were the same problems as before… including 1) no way to sequence “spouses” except by entering false “marriage” information and 2) False statements of marriage on charts.

    Does this “book of answers” tell users how to avoid misleadng reports and charts in this area?

  55. Benjamin Nettesheim

    I would estimate mid to late March for the public release of the patch.

    Also, in regard to the Little Book of Answers, it gives suggestions of ways to enter information for common (or less common) occurrences in a family tree. An example:

    Under the “Unmarried Parents” section it reads:
    “Unmarried parents still need to be entered in Family Tree Maker as a “couple.” But you can indicate that the two were never married and specify the type of relationship they had.

    1. Click the PEOPLE button on the main toolbar.
    2. Click the FAMILY tab, if necessary.
    3. Enter the first individual in the appropriate spot on your tree.
    4. Click ADD SPOUSE in the family group view to add the next individual.
    5. Enter the second individual’s name; then choose a gender from the drop-down list and click OK.
    6. Click the PERSON tab.
    7. Click the RELATIONSHIPS button.
    8. Click the other parent’s name under the SPOUSE heading.
    9. In the editing panel, choose “Partner,” “Friend,” or whatever is appropriate from the RELATIONSHIP drop-down list.”

  56. Ernest Moore

    Robert Lackey – Legacy 6 does not allow “free text” when building a family history book as you can do in FTM v16. All you can do is utilize reports to build a “canned” history. Legacy v7 is coming out soon but I still do not know if they are going to heed my numerous requests to incorporate a full-fledged ability to write a family history.

  57. Robert Lackey

    Ernest, thanks for your comments about the family history features of Legacy 6 and 7. It seems that Legacy 6 was first issued only a few months ago.

    I would like to believe that The Generations Network will finally admit to their faithful customers that FTM 2008 is a dud and immediately start all over with FTM 2009, which should be available to customers of FTM 2008 without charge; however, I certainly won’t hold my breath until this happens.

  58. Problem running FTM 2008 V on Vista 64bit.

    Every hour or two, FTM closes. This is not a shutdown, but it just instantaneously disappears from the screen. I have not found any corruption to the database from this but it is something that needs to be addressed.

  59. This 2008 version of FTM is the only one I have used to any extent so I don’t have the basis of comparison that others have.

    Reading this forum, I am surprised and the number of features that were in earlier versions that seam to be left out of this current version. This brings up the question, of why was it apparently rewritten from scratch.

    I am disappointed in the rather limited amount of information that I can print or display at one time. Also the upload to the web site is either lost or it takes many hours to process and put up on my page.

    I would love to see the ability to display the tree with many generations which can be accommodated by many of the high resolution monitors that are becoming commonplace. The to be able to click on an individual and drill down to all the details in multiple steps.

  60. Jon Sanders


    It is true that 2008 is missing a number of features and still needing more polish. But 2008 also made significant changes to the use model that require users to “retrain” themselves to get the benefits.

    But the bottom line your ability to adopt 2008 is a function of:

    a) Your hardware, if you don’t have modern hardware then don’t get modern S/W. I upgraded my box and the differences were significant. Of course it would have been nice to have a chart of min and recommended H/W requirements for say 20K names.

    b) Your ability to learn the S/W which is not always easy, especially with all of the other issues we have all faced. But I’ve actually found 2008 more productive that v16 but only after I learned the 2008 way. The good news is there is even more room for improvements here.

    c) Your needs, this is the key one For power users that used features in v16 that many of us were not aware of or needed to use it sounds like it is not there yet. But I can speak for myself that I did not even reload v16 on my new box and only use 2008 for entry.

    I’ve got a tree of 12,000 names so not the biggest but big enough. I seldom use 2008 reporting features as they are too restrictive (so were v16 for my taste) but leverage other tools like Legacy or Charting Companion.

    At this point my top issue is the married names for females so I’m glad this one is coming in SP3. There are several usability improvements that I have also filed including what Liz mentioned in entry 43 that are also impacting my effectiveness.

    There are certainly other things that I see that should be done starting with more performance improvements as even still I can get the tool to hang after doing a task for minutes. And lots of missing features and new stuff including more usability improvements but for many it is at least usable and SP3 should continue to help us as well as hopefully a few more of the power users.

  61. Linda


    You have named three user requirements for adopting 2008. Here are my thoughts.

    a) HARDWARE UPGRADES- Those with configurations sufficient for more powerful software than FTM 2008 have found FTM 2008 to be unacceptably slow. This $30 piece of ____ software does not justify a new computer.

    b) ABILITY TO LEARN SW – Many of us who complain the loudest are software professionals who welcome change. From the input to the navigation, I found FTM 2008 to be very inefficient. Although I’m sure some of the new features are attractive to some, I didn’t find them useful enough to offset the reduction of functionality in input, navigation, data management tools and reporting functionality and other issues.

    c) NEEDS OF USER – Whether a power user or not, a user of a previous version and any new user of FTM is entitled to the same level of functionality from previous versions as well as new features. Although you have not reverted back to FTM 16 and didn’t utilize many of its features, you seem to have missed a couple features which should have been included prior to the release.

    NEW PLATFORM DECISION – While I believe it was a correct decision for TGN to rewrite for a new platform, I am extremely disappointed with their decision to release FTM 2008 before it was ready. They obviously have and continue to follow poor development processes. Now that it is released, fixing problems and making additions is a much slower process because they not only have to make changes in development but make sure that it will integrate with the already released version. Patches for this type of software are normally used only for bug fixes that are lower user impact; highly unusual bugs found after release; and for environmental changes (i.e. new operating system such as Vista); and new security issues. Patches are not met for fixing major bug and peformance problems or reintroducing features. Larry (Post #53) did an excellent job in summarizing some of the issues.

    SOLUTIONS – Although I know there are probably some FTM 2008 users who would be disappointed, I really think TGN should recall FTM 2008 and just concentrate on developing a good quality, complete product. At the very least, the users are owed an apology and a complete list of what TGN intends to “reintroduce” and corrections to be made and whether it will be through a patch or in the next full release. I don’t care if it is prioritized or has a timeline. I just want to have that added assurance that TGN really does plan to restore all the capabilities of FTMv16 as well as give us new features that truly can be defined as an upgrade.

  62. I have come across another issue in FTM2008. When exporting a FTM file as a GED file, the ability to select options has been removed. As a resutlt, I can no longer use the GED file from FTM2008 to generate files in the GedHTree program. The specific options missing are the ability to select “Abbreviated Tags” and “Indent Records”. As a result, I have to export from FTM2008, then import into FTM16 , then re-export as a GED file so it will work. Please add to your list of fixes needed.

  63. Alan Pereira

    By the time Family Tree Maker 2008 offers equivalent functionality to 2005/6 versions and is stable, all the other Family Tree Software Houses will have moved on to later versions of their software. By releasing a downgrade sold as an upgrade I think you have badly, if not irretriveably damaged your Market Brand/Share.
    A recall is probably your only Marketable way out of this mess.

  64. Theresa B.

    IMHO, any issues pertaining to the places database constitute a nit when compared to the all the missing or degraded FTM16 features and constant crashes.

    I personally don’t think a single minute of development time should be spent there until the conversion program properly converts every single item in the previous version database, all FTM16 features are fully restored, the various crashes have been eliminated, and overall performance improved.

    If TGN ever manages to get back to what we had in FTM16, then (and only then) the number one priority in the places area should be to allow users to customize the places file to add historical places and include cross references. No one should be expected to falsfy actual place names just to conform with Visual Earth.

  65. Albert R.

    Speaking of nits…what nitwit designed the CSV output? Will the next patch fix it?

    I don’t understand all the apologists who are posting here. No self-respecting IT professional would try to blame all these problems on rewriting and yet paying customers are doing just that. A rewrite s supposed to result in a demonstrably better product. That doesn’t mean the promise of a better product at some vague point in the future. It means a better product as soon as the rewrite is released.

  66. David Rawsthorne

    A rewrite is a good idea if the old code is that restrictive it will not allow future updates, BUT to go from a program that takes up 55MB and has great features for most people, and rewrite it and end up with a 360MB bloated bit of rubbish with 1/4 the features – I just can not understand it.

    I have been involved in Alpha and Beta testing Microsoft, Borland and Beta testing Adobe software, and in all cases I have not seen a new bit of software get this much “Bloat”, but have less features and run slower than its previous program (and that includes Vista).

    I am glad the programmers are trying to update the software, but that should have been done with the Beta testers, NOT when the program has been released to the public for months.

    Based on Benjamin’s comments on the next update, I think that version is probably getting close to the point where I would have considered the software completed enough to release. Thats about 5 months since its release (really 6 months as the update wont be ready until next month), and that is appaulingly bad management. I cant blame the programmers as I doubt it was their decision to release the software, but those in charge of the project should be removed and replaced with people that know the old product well, and want to expand on its ability. Alas managers rarely know what happens down the line and often dont use the product themselves.

    OK Rant over, Um, need any more beta testers Benjamin, as a few of my requests have made this version? 🙂

  67. JC

    I am a long-time and until recently satisfied user of FTM, progressing dutifully through the various upgrade versions. On faith I upgraded to FTM2008 and have had nothing but frustration, first at the overly complicated and sometimes counterintuitive desktop, then at the lack of capabilities, annoying inflexibility, and the general slowness of whole program. I’m not computer literate enough to engage in a detailed discussion. But if a measure of the failure of this program is my interest in using it, I would rate this program a 2 out of 10…and falling with each newly discovered glitch. It burns me when I remember how much enjoyment I derived from this hobby before I became distracted and aggravated by this bone-headed redesign. Sorry guys, I’m abandoning the ship for your competition…and I’ll be expecting for a refund.

  68. Gordon Pierpont

    Will the numbering systemn for Ahnentafal charts be corrected back to the standard format of all father’s being numbered as 2 times that of the individual, and the mother numered as the father plus 1. The curent system is sequential numbering, and this loses much of the advantages of the Ahnentafal report format. Also, the number of formatting options is horribly limited if you want to generate a concise report.

  69. I uploaded a file from 2008 today. I see that all the media that I so painstaking put into the sources, does not appear there. That is a shame.

    Is there and intent to change that?

  70. Benjamin Nettesheim


    I’ve received word that the numbering system for the Ahnentafal report should be back to the standard format when the next patch is released.

  71. Jock

    With respect to your comment “and are helping make Family Tree Maker a better product.”.

    The irony is that it already was a “better product” in V16.

    In most cases, these patches are really about getting it back to where it already was with V16.

    As my family tree grows, I can now almost prepare a cup of coffee for myself while I wait for FTM to start.

    Like many others, I appreciate the updates from you Benjamin but I have to wonder how much longer we’re all going to persevere before we give it all up and look for an alternative.

  72. Bob

    Is it possible that The Generations Network isn’t reading our comments on this forum? They are still pushing FTM 2008 at as follows: “Build your family tree. Preserve your family legacy.
    Millions of people have used Family Tree Maker, the #1 selling genealogy software, to discover and share their family stories. Now, with an intuitive new interface and dozens of new features, the latest version makes it easier than ever to explore your roots.

    Find out what makes Family Tree Maker 2008 the best software program of its kind.

    We are continually improving Family Tree Maker. Learn how to get the latest update.”

    Rather than organizing a recall of FTM 2008, they continue to push it as the best genealogy software of its kind!!! How many of you really believe that TGN plans to send you a refund. They will probably be bankrupt soon.

  73. Michael Schuler


    I know you are doing your best but on Feb 8, 2008. You said you were days away from releasing the patch to the test group. As a member of the test group I have not recieved any word. Do you have a status on the release and a current timeline?



  74. Clovis LaFleur

    I suppose folks have seen my earlier tirades. My anger mirrors much of what other folks have said. But most of all, I’m angry because with the release of 2008, FamilyTree abandoned it’s core users of their genealogical databases. Once a company disappoints it’s loyal customers, it is extremely difficult to regain their loyalty or their confidence in new products.

    Ben has a thankless job, trying to salvage a poorly conceived product that has already spent many dollars in research and development that somehow did not use some of those dollars learning about the product’s end users. Genealogists come from many varied backgrounds and have a wide range of computer expertise. That is a fact, and, like it or not, that is the market in which FamilyTree is competing. FTM 2008 doesn’t remotely come close to achieving that goal and is, without a doubt, a step backwards from it‘s previous software releases. The completion will most certainly take advantage and appears to be destroying FamilyTree Makers share of the genealogical database market. Meanwhile, Generations Network fiddles while Rome Burns.

    I consider myself computer literate for I have been designing and working with computer systems , both hardware and software, since before they were called computers:

  75. Clovis LaFleur

    Second Try. First try did show all of comment.

    I suppose folks have seen my earlier tirades. My anger mirrors much of what other folks have said. But most of all, I’m angry because with the release of 2008, FamilyTree abandoned it’s core users of their genealogical databases. Once a company disappoints it’s loyal customers, it is extremely difficult to regain their loyalty or their confidence in new products.

    Ben has a thankless job, trying to salvage a poorly conceived product that has already spent many dollars in research and development that somehow did not use some of those dollars learning about the product’s end users. Genealogists come from many varied backgrounds and have a wide range of computer expertise. That is a fact, and, like it or not, that is the market in which FamilyTree is competing. FTM 2008 doesn’t remotely come close to achieving that goal and is, without a doubt, a step backwards from it‘s previous software releases. The competion will most certainly take advantage and appears to be destroying FamilyTree Makers share of the genealogical database market. Meanwhile, Generations Network fiddles while Rome Burns.

    I consider myself computer literate for I have been designing and working with computer systems , both hardware and software, since before they were called computers. I have an Intel Pentium D CPU running at 2.8 GHZ; having 958 MB of Memory (RAM); a 32 bit operating system; and running on the Windows Vista Home Premium Edition Microsoft Operating Sytem. I am presently running both FTM 2008 and FTM-V16 side by side.

    I learned quickly that there would be compatibility problems between the programs, especially finding that FTM2008 could not convert a database back to V16. The database I loaded into FTM2008 from V16 consisted of about 15,000 individuals along with extensive notes for many, numerous photographs, scanned documents, and other items of interest. I have a total of 12 books on V16, all converted to PDF files, some uploaded to my rootsweb free pages web site for others to download, copy to their CDs, and take to their local printers.

    I was careful not to commit to data entry of new individuals, except as experiments, until I was comfortable with FTM2008. I did like some of the features, as I navigated through the new presentations, noting the changes, but not to disturbed by the new interface, although I didn‘t like it much compared to the ease of moving about in V16. I noted that moving about was slow in comparison to V16, but, again, not to much of a problem.

    I liked the Notes sections for individuals, noting the additional text formatting capabilities not present in V16 and additional space for longer notes. Although a bit complicated, the source features were not all that bad, and there were a few new abilities I liked. Some of my data came through “Changed” in presentation, but, again, nothing of great concern. I was beginning to believe my $30 investment was going to pay off.

    I then tried “Media” and was pleased to see all of the Scrapbook Items from V16 available at a touch. I then tried “Publish.” This is when my faith in FTM died. I could not believe all of the features I had in V16 that were missing in FTM2008 before the patch. And after the infamous patch, so much that couldn’t be done with the reports, and, of course, no book feature at all. After a bit of time of playing with these features, I was angry and regretted my purchase.

    Ben, I’ve not requested a refund (I purchased in September) although I should. I will wait for the patches and hope. But really, the brand name “FTM2008” should not continue to be sold and should be withdrawn from the market place. The reason is simple — for every one you sell, you’ve lost a customer — most likely forever — and most will, I‘m sure, demand a refund anyway. You will not only damage the reputation of FTM further, but the reputation of the Generation Network companies that are pushing FTM2008. I have become dependant on these companies over the years for my online research and their ability to allow me to share my research with others. It would be a great loss to the genealogical community if they fail because of FTM2008. So, for goodness sake, please, please, recall FTM2008 and refund your customers. Start over and do it right. It will go a long way in restoring customer confidence in FTM and your sister Generation Network companies.

  76. Tyler Rasmussen

    Ditto with the well thought-out and constructively critical commit from Clovis. She hit the mark perfectly, and I have nothing to add or take away from her comment; I can only to affirm what she has already articulated.

  77. Athena

    Regarding Post #61 (Unmarried Parents):

    The instructions deal with data entry. It is not sufficent though, to provide a way to input these relationships; the rest of the program has to actually honor the data.

    Currently, it is not possible to generate charts or reports from FTM that accurately reflect the data that has been entered. Even when the relationship has been entered as something other than “married” charts and most reports still list the individuals as “married”. What is the point of providing and input field for alternate relationships if the software ignores the contents for that field?

    Another problem is that, instead of allowing the user to manually sequence relationships, FTM uses the date field in a marriage record to sequence those relationships. Users are systemmatically encouraged by FTM technical support and others to enter a false “marriage” date to force proper sequencing of the relationships. Preparers are essentially told generate and distribute charts with information that is known to be false in the interests of “correct” formatting.

    Neither of these problems is new to FTM2008. It is distressing though, to see a new “Little Book of Answers” that glosses over them and perpetuates the generation of misleading documents.

  78. Benjamin Nettesheim


    I think you make some good points. Family Tree Maker 2008 does not currently have a way to properly show non-traditional relationships in charts and reports and does not have a way to manually set the order of relationships. However, this capability is being looked at for future versions of Family Tree Maker. (…not this upcoming patch)

    I appreciate the great insight.

  79. Ronald Chambers


    When do you expect FTM2008 to match usability and output of FTM16?

    Seems like that should have been the release date.

    RON C

  80. Clovis LaFleur

    Hello All,

    First, let me say I’m a “him.” For anyone who might feel badly, let me say this is a common gender identification problem for men with the given name “Clovis.” Many folks believe this French name is a women‘s given name (I even know a women named Clovis). Actually, it’s the name of several feudal French Kings who lived in the fourth century. I learned early in school on my first day in a new class to answer quickly when my name was called, for it I was slow, the teacher would always ask: “Where is she?”

    To the subject of books. As I indicated in my previous comments, I have a number of books I have created on the earlier versions of FTM. As each new FTM version came out, the book feature improved. However, the V16 book feature only has minimal formatting, editing, and spell check capabilities when compared to a reasonably good word processor , say, for example, like Microsoft Works Word.

    The most likely presumption by the V16 product development team was that the users would mostly create Ancestor or Descendant reports saying who begot who, perhaps even introducing the individual notes. This presumption was probably generally correct . However, they did not take into account someone like myself and others like me who wanted to tell stories, who wanted to include historical content about the region and time where an ancestor lived. You know, stories like: “The Life and Times of John Doe.” This is a lot more complicated than just having FTM generate ancestor and descendant reports.

    Although V16 had many weaknesses in this regard, I was able to come up with ways to work around these deficiencies. For the many “Text Items” I created in V16, I did my composition in Microsoft Word. All of the text formatting, special symbols, etc, were accomplished in this medium (excluding photo and document placement). When completed, I then “select all” and “copy.”

    I next opened a “Text Item” for a book in V16 and used “Paste.” To my delight, I found my composition created in Microsoft Word was faithfully reproduced with all of the text formatting I could not accomplish in the V16 word processor, with perhaps a few problems, but workable prolbems. However, I learned one had to be careful when editing in V16 for the transferred text formatting could be easily lost. However, it was a simple matter to correct. By going back to Microsoft Word and reformatting, and again copy and paste., the problem was corrected.

    The next step was to introduce photos, documents, maps, and other items into the text. This was quite simple. All of these items would come from the individual “scrapbooks.” I would simply place these items where I wanted them to be in the V16 text. I had to be careful to place these items against the left or right margin if I was going to present text to the left or right of “Insert.” Otherwise, one had to assure there would be no text around the “Insert.” This could only be accomplished by enter commands until the text curser was past the inserted item. This was OK, but a real nightmare if later you wanted to make changes that effected the placement of the Inserts. Not impossible, but took time to correct the complete document. The worst of these problems would be caused by page breaks.

    Finally, I had my document complete and was ready to assemble the book into a PDF file. Seemed simple enough!! My first experience was a disaster. It seems that when your V16 composition rolled over to the next page at the bottom margin, for some reason, the PDF created file would skip to the next page about three lines above the bottom margin and leave a giant “Space” at the top of the next page, throwing all of your “Carefully” placed Inserts completely out of sync with the rest of the document. After about three hours of trying to find a solution, it seemed the only way to work around the problem was to stop you text about three lines above the bottom margin, that is, insert a page break about three lines above the bottom margin. That solved the problem.

    After I had created my text items, I would then create ancestor or descendant reports, which was no problem at all.

    Ben, several other have stated items and features they would like to see in the Book feature you are developing for FTM2008, all of which I agree need to added. I only tell you the above to allow you to examine you code to be sure you to not reproduce the same problems that exist in V16. If you would like to see some of the books I created, say as an example of how one user uses the book feature, visit my table of content web page at URL

    Scroll down to and click on any of the items in the PDF file list. All of these files were created in FTM16 and converted by FTM16 to PDF files. One document was created entirely in V16 (note the lack of Text and paragraph formatting) while most of the others were first formatted in Microsoft Word and then transferred to FTM16. Hope you find this helpful in your development.


  81. Tyler Rasmussen

    My apologies, Clovis. Assumption really did make an ass out of me, and I’m sorry for offending you.

  82. Mark Miller

    I just discovered another feature that seems to be missing from 2008. In v16 you could scan an image directly into the scrap book for an individual I don’t see any way to do the same in the individual’s media folder in 2008.

    I just inherited a large number of old tintype and early photo’s of ancestors and relatives and now it looks like I’ll have to scan it using my scanner software and then import it into the appropriate individual media folder. Twice the work!!

  83. Pamela Mashburn

    I bought FTM2008 sometime in January. Can I get a discount on V16?
    I last had 2006 and find that what was once simple, is now complicated, if possible at all. All of my complaints are already noted here. All updates have been downloaded.

  84. Linda


    I know there is confusion about FTM 2006 vs. Version 16. If you have FTM 2006, it may have already been updated to Version 16 automatically. Go to Help / About Family Tree Maker. You should see the program version as 16.0.035 which is the latest version prior to the release of FTM 2008. It is the same as the version in the boxes that are sold as Version 16. If it doesn’t have that version mentioned, select the “Check for Update” option in the menu.

    Consider requesting a refund for FTM 2008. People have been successful getting refunds when purchased through or Just tell them it is simply unusable because of all the issues. FTM 2006 (aka Version 16) is a superior product to FTM 2008.

  85. Terry

    I have also been a loyal FTM user since the very first version….and was also shocked at unintuitive 2008 was. I am not real computer literate, but never had any issues with the prior versions. It has taken me many hours of trial and error to find my way around decently, but it is disheartening to hear more of you talk of all the shortcomings that very advanced users have come across.
    I’m no expert, but it appears to me there is more here than can be fixed anytime soon, and future patches will be “bandaids”. My guess it will take them another year or more to come out with a proper successor that truly is the right product…….question is, who will wait that long?

  86. Jerry Booz

    2008 was purchased about 2 weeks ago to replace FTM 2005 and to my surpise, some of the features I had in that old program are gone. I read with interest #86 from Clovis regarding the extra work he had to do on his books, and I had the same problems with the 2005 version, but worked them out and ended up with 750+ page book. Now what do I do? I had planned to do a revised book to include new family updates found over the last two years. The old book version included an index of page numbers to locate everyone in the tree. Now all I can find with 2008 is “Publisher” with a max of 100 pages. Other features also seem gone: 2005 had a “merge duplicate individual report” and an error report… did I miss something, can’t find them in 2008? From everyone’s comments, it seems that v16 had it over the new 2008 but 2005 had the edge too.

  87. Mark Ward

    A lot of good sugestions and comments. My only complaint as a new user is not being able to update directly to with having to reinvite family and add all photos again, otherwise i think it is a very good program, i have had no problems or crashes yet and i have had it since release.

  88. Nicole

    Let me say first, that as a long time lead developer with experience doing .NET conversions, FTM 2008 is the poster child for how NOT to do a .NET conversion. By now I am sure management understands this. I hope.

    Let’s not talk about “new” old features just yet. How about the fact that many of us continue to be unable to add sources at all? And that sending logs and data on the problem to tech support doesn’t even receive a token automated response?

    I would like to go back to 2006, but unfortunately I only purchased 2008 because my software CDs, old computer, and paper records, were destroyed in a fire. (Let this be a lesson to all genealogists to keep backup files and digital copies of documentation offsite!)

    Here’s what 2008 did right:
    -Home Person
    -Nice startup page, with the exception of featuring “add a new file” too much
    -Interfaces nicely with Ancestry’s online records

    Here’s what is got wrong:
    -No way to search through users
    -Standard shortcuts like “Ctrl-C” don’t work everywhere, and in some cases it works but FTM has overwritten your clipboard with something for some reason.
    -Can’t hide web dashboard
    -Attempted to do tabbed browsing halfway by using buttons at the top instead; but you can’t Alt-Tab or Ctrl-Alt-Tab between tabs.
    -Can’t really turn off web pings unless you disable FTM in your firewall; get constant debug script errors even when debugging is turned off in IE
    -Exceeding poor and unintuitive interface which is very slow and difficult for data entry
    -Too many backup nag messages you can’t turn off. When you are fixing a botched file, this is every other click
    -Can only add one media file or link at a time (no multi-select)
    -Media view doesn’t remember the last filter it was on; filters elsewhere also don’t remember what they were on, slowing down data entry and causing many extra clicks and scrolls
    -As already mentioned, forward and back navigation is inconsistent
    -The reports are, well, useless. And unattractive.
    -Web interface considers OneWorldTree, the IGI and other secondary sources as “historical”
    -Like most serious, longterm researchers I am not the least bit interested in surfing the web and attaching a random tree full of the same duplicated and duplicated mistakes, from researchers who may or may not know what they are doing, to my file because I think it’s cool.

    2008 thumbed it’s nose at serious researchers to pander to the I-found-out-I-was-descended-from-royalty-in-10-minutes! crowd.

    Converting a my files from 2006 deleted relationships, created duplicate relationships, attached totally unrelated people to each other, deleted sources and in other cases created duplicate sources and overall completely hosed my file so badly that I am needing to rebuild the file from scratch 1 of 30,000+ people at a time. Minus the sources, of course, since I can’t add any. Since I have to recreate everything now, this users of FTM since it was initially released is looking elsewhere for relief.

    After I finished reconfiguring my new computer to dual-boot to Win XP, and if 2008 still doesn’t work, it’s going in the round file along what appear to be the copies of many other people.

    Maybe I’ll reinstall 4.0 — I have THAT CD. It worked better than 2008.

  89. Bob Fuller

    Similar feedback as item no 47 from Alan Pereira
    “In FTM 2005 I can produce a very large All-in-One tree of all my family as a single PDF (One Page). The PDF allows me to zoom in excess of 800% to see details of individuals as each person is encapsulated text. This is good for copying out details & sending to contacts without sending GEDCOMs. 2008 produces a PDF with graphics only image which loses quality so as to be unreadable on large descendant trees. This is a definite backward step. Will there be any attempt to rectify this with FTM2008.”

    This version is defiantly a backward move.
    I wish to be able to produce all-in-one trees and full ancestor tree in PDF format so I have full control of content when passing on information to strangers via email. For this purpose a GEDCOM will not do.

    I am a retired software engineer and NO software should lose features unless there is a very good reason for it.
    The whole programme should be reissued as an upgrade of FTM2005

    Bob (disappointed and frustrated)

  90. Bob Fuller

    A word of caution

    I found a family and their 13 children on the census and merged them with my tree. I the found the same family on two more census’s , but the family name was spelt two different ways. (Bisseker shown as Besseker and Bissaker)
    This produced 39 new additions to my tree when merged and resulted in multiple marriages. I was unable to remove the spurious spouses. The only solution offered by the help line was to delete everybody and add all new information manually.
    I now only add new information manually, it’s quicker.

    It may be I did not fully understand the merge facility correctly but there was no easy route to correct my errors.

    Are we all beta testers by using FTM 2009?

  91. Robbie

    First of all, I really love the concept of this program. BUT I, like many other, have major problems with the program. I have been a long term user of FTM. I call tech support and get an answer. Doesn’t work, call back, get another answer. It doesn’t work either. Now I have been on hold for tech support for 35 minutes.
    My program just seems to be TOTALLY unstable. Without rhyme or reason, it quits working and closes down. This can happen when I click on a source, a place, a persons name??? Sometimes it closes completely. Sometimes I have to actually reboot the computer before I can reopen the file because the program keeps telling me it is already open. I have even gone to task manager to be sure that it is NOT OPEN. No luck.
    Right now my biggest problem is importing facts from ancestry. I locate a person by doing a web search.
    When I try to merge, sometimes the program closes. Sometimes the date and fact merges, but not the source or media file.
    I have installed and uninstalled until I am blue in the face.

  92. Linda

    Nicole (#93) – Return it for a refund and use FTM 5, buy FTM v16 (aka 2006) from Amazon, or start trying the competitor’s trials. I think Legacy 7 that is in the works will be promising.

    I’m sorry about you losses in the fire. It is a lesson for all of us. I was lax until a couple months ago when I looked around and realized how much I would lose in both the data I put on FTM and the many original and copies of photographs and documents. I’ve been scanning, backing up regularly and have been distributing copies to my son several states away.

    Bob (#95) – Your caution about merging is good. In the long run, manual entry can be less time consuming and you learn lots more. By entering manually, you are forced to really look at the census image and find things like the street they lived on, their occupation, Month/Day of birthday (1900), number of children the woman had and how many are living, etc.

    I prefer to summarize the census in my notes and download the image to a Windows folder manually. I don’t care to automatically link images. Who knows whether that linkage capability will be able to be imported by future versions or by other genealogy software if you change.

    Whether or not you like the merge feature, use it wisely!

  93. Sean Bagby

    I am also a long time user of FTM. I think my first one was version 3. I’m glad I found this blog because I have been considering updating to FTM 2008 from 2005. Now it seems like I will be much better off waiting until FTM 2009 or whatever the next version is, comes out. I don’t want to have a hassle importing 40,000 individuals, with thousands of pictures, documents, and sources attached. I back up to DVD regularly, so I wouldn’t lose anything in the short term. My question is this: Why would a software company take the brand name of a wonderful piece of software and drag it through the trash like as been done with FTM? After reading these posts, I will NEVER upgrade to a forthcoming version of FTM without doing a lot of research. That is the risk that the software company was willing to take when releasing a faulty version of FTM. Remember the Edsel? Ford Motor Company fought the repercussions for many years….

  94. Ernest Moore

    We have a mayor in our town who believes he gets his instructions from God, therefore he is entitled to ignore criticism. After reading, and experiencing, a lot of the faults of FTM 2008 and seeing no replies from the FTM programming staff, I am wondering if they are of the same mind as our “beloved” mayor. All we are getting from FTM is new patches and continuing promises of marvelous things to come.

    Legacy 7 is supposed to come out in
    April and I, for one, am anxiously awaiting the “coming out.” I have given up on FTM 200???.

  95. Michael Schuler

    As a member of the Update 3 Beta program, I downloaded .902 last night as I have to say many things are better.

    The program is faster I would say about 50-60% Faster in screen refreshing and things. Still not as fast as it need to be but much better and almost to the point where it is not a distraction.

    A Copy function has been added to the source function which is good but the whole procedure, while now functional, still takes longer then FTM 2006 but a positive step.

    The export “privatize” function appears to work and take out both private facts and privatize people living but some options would be nice. Being able to have “Living Schuler” not just “//Living” would make it more functional. Version SP 2 Rev 2 export “privatizer” sis not work at all so progress is good.

    Some of the nasty sorting and other interface bugs and flat out errors have been fitted and that is a good thing.

    A save function has been added to the reports and that is great.

    The Register Report still remains weak as far as I am concerned. I realize I have a publishing background and fonts and formatting are very important to me but this report still has a lot of problems.

    1) Ancesters should only have their First Name ie. Michael Alan Schuler (Mathias1, William2, William3, Norman4, Alan5). There are two reasons for this one that is the way the NEHGS Register format is used (I checked the Register, as I am a NEHGS member and the Mayflower Familes Book that uses that format) and second for a large family tree like my link to Stephen Hopkins – 11 generations it saves tons of space.
    (FTM 2008 included the whole name and even FTM 2006 that has a much better report included First and Middle Names).

    2)It may seem like a small thing but the “Superscript” of the numbers is very important and more importantly looks cool. If NEHGS could figure out how to do it in 1870 I think ancestry could figure it out in 2008.

    3) The Format uses footnote and not endnotes. This may seem to be a small issue but in a 47 page report looking at the end is a pain in the A**. I can see having the option to do either becuase I could see wanted wither depended on the family but only endnotes makes the report less usable for large families.

    4) The Horizotal Lines also seems to be ugly to me again having the option to turn them off would be better. I see no need to have the title on every page it just wastes space. I would much rather have the title in the footer one all but the first page just look more professional. Also having the seconds (time) that the report was created is a little overkill. Having some options for the footer like Version Number on something like that would be great. Time is ok too but to the second is really not required.

    5) Smaller point. The Source [1] should be superscript and not subscript. It is correct that they are [] but should be superscript to be NEHGS standard.

    Finally FTM 208 .902 is getting much better and appears to be approaching a release version of the program. Most if not all of the “nasty” bugs appear to be gone, but I have a “forest for the trees” moment last night and that is since most of the bugs are out of the program do I like it and is is functional. My answer is not really.

    I have been spending a lot of time in FTM 2006 working on a file with my grandfather and been reflecting on the two programs.

    FTM 2008’s flow even “almost bug free” is limited at best. To add a family and 20-30 people from a book like a mayflower Family book or something is slow and has no flow. There are two many clicks and windows and such. The nice flow of FTM 2006 is gone maybe some rethinking needs to go on about how to get that flow back. Same with internet searching the flow is gone and needs to be worked on. I am greatful to FTM for getting the program fixed but flow and user experience need to be looked at.

    For now I am still a FTM User and want them to continue to fix this application, but I have to say I have looked at now less then 4-5 programs and own Legecy and a few others and if I find one that is better then FTM 2008 for my needs I will leave in a heartbeat, so FTM does not have years to fix this problems they have 6-10 months.


  96. Kathy Marie


    I suggest that rather than “hardwire the system”, that is, only providing one particular way of doing something in FTM 2008, that [wherever possible] options for accomplishing something should be made available. I realize many options have been provided for accomplishing something in FTM 2008, but I think there are more opportunities for the use of options.

    A very simple example of the potential for the use of options is the “Sex” field in the data entry portion of the system. In Family Tree Maker Version 16 the field defaulted to filling the field with an “F”, standing for Female. In FTM 2008 the field defaults to a blank space and the user has to add either an “M” or a “F.” There has been much discussion in this Blog as to why that change was made and arguments back and forth as to which is the best way. But, as in many things one person wants something “this” way and another person wants the same thing “another” way and it becomes impossible to satisfy both people. In this small example all the people can be satisfied if an option “box” (with three sub boxes) were made available to users that would allow them to check one sub box if they desired to have the field always left blank or another sub box to always have the field filled with an “F” or the third sub box to always have the field filled with an “M”.

    A second example is part of comment 100 in “Update 3: Information” section of the blog which is shown below:

    Written by: Michael Schuler
    Posted on: March 8, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    This suggestion states that:
    3) The Format uses footnote and not endnotes. This may seem to be a small issue but in a 47 page report looking at the end is a pain in the A**. I can see having the option to do either becuase I could see wanted wither depended on the family but only endnotes makes the report less usable for large families.”
    The comment is not completely clear (at least to me), but evidently the way the [Genealogy?] Report for FTM 2008 is programmed there is only one way of including notes and the suggestion implies there could be options, though he prefers one way.

    The options for the Genealogy Report in Family Tree Maker 2006 are quite extensive and are very good examples of the use of options to satisfy everybody. Hopefully, they will/are used as a starting point for the creation of options for the Genealogy Report in FTM 2008.

    In general I suggest that the system developers review the system that has been developed so far with an eye towards increasing the use of options. In the end there will be more customer satisfaction with the system as a result of increasing the use of, and providing options for accomplishing things.

  97. Bob

    Referring to Michael Schuler’s comment #100, I wonder why someone from The Generations Network staff couldn’t have been kind enough to pass that information along to us long, long ago. Someone has finally informed us that progress is being made on FTM 2008.

    Thanks for the progress report, Michael. Please keep us informed.

  98. Clovis LaFleur

    I have also just completed a beta test of SP3 and generally agree with Michael Schuler’s comments. I also believe the Descendant Register Report default report (the report generated after you give the command) should be the NEHGS standard report adopted in 1870. If one desires to deviate from this report format, this can then be accomplish by various available options. (But, then, why deviate from the standard?). I also believe before one gives the command to generate the report, the # of generations and data to present options should be available to set up the report before it is generated. Presently, in both FTM-V16 and FTM2008, you can only change these options after the report is generated. After generating a report and working on other items in your database, when one comes back to generate a new report, your last settings will be used to generate the new report. These remarks were included in my Beta report.

    I scrapped the first file I uploaded to FTM2008 back in September (After the problems developed, I returned to FTM-V16). I then uploaded my present file from FTM-V16. Worked well and had only a few issues. Took about 9 minutes to upload 14700 individuals with 29000 records. I can’t say that is good or bad, but for me it was reasonable.

    I did have one upload issue that, quite frankly, is a puzzle to me and has been included in my SP3 report. Apparently, while uploading my file, FTM2008 created a “Address Fact” and a “Phone Number Fact” for a number of individuals in my database — which were not facts I created in the file being uploaded. For example, my deceased father’s old phone number and address were presented in these fact fields — but were definitely not entered in my FTM-V16 fact fields. Don’t know if this was a result of SP3 or has been present all long for didn’t notice this in my upload previous to installation of SP3.

    Here is another example of these fact fields being presented after the upload to FTM2008. I have a gentleman named Aaron Stark who lived between 1608 and 1685. Found this in his facts list after upload — which was not in my FTM-V16 file:

    Phone #: “Hartford Ct. by Miss Helen Stark, S.F.A. Historian”;

    Address: “Arrived Massachusetts Bay Colony early 1630’s / Was in Stonington Conn. in 1637. In 1645 he was / in Windsor. By 1653 he was in New London Conn., December 2, 1667 he was on Ministers Tax List New London / This data comes from research @ Ct. State Lib.” Now I’m aware of Miss Helen Stark’s research and have all of her articles on the Stark Family. I’ve entered her information in other ways (through lengthy biographies). I’m not opposed to references to her, just puzzled as to how this was introduced into Aaron’s fact fields without my knowledge.

    These two fact fields for Aaron are not in my original FTM-V16 file. In both cases, FTM2008 apparently looked or searched somewhere during upload and then introduced these “found” facts during the upload. I first noticed this after generating a Register Report. Both of these fields appeared in Aaron Stark’s biography section of this report. I suggest folks take a look at their facts list and see if the same has occurred. I suggest you report what you find on the blog. Perhaps I am the only one having this experience. Perhaps this is a clue to the slow upload of files. I don’t believe there is anyone in this audience that wants information like this introduced into our files without our knowledge. I certainly can’t explain this mystery.

    I believe FTM is making the correct moves with the FTM2008 package and the software developers are listening to the blog comments. It will eventually be a good genealogy database. It’s just a shame it wasn’t done correctly in the beginning. I now await the “Books Capability,” which, hopefully, comes out in the very beginning able to upload my books from FTM-V16!!! That’s when I will then convert to everyday use of FTM2008-V??

    Clovis LaFleur

  99. Linda


    I don’t think fan charts were going to be in the next release. You might want to look at the Legacy Charting 7 pre-release fan charts. It is different than FTM v 16 but I actually like it better. I was able to quickly import my FTM v 16 file for use in the charting. You can download it free at

    Michael above mentioned his concerns about the reduction in the ease of data entry in FTM 2008. You have to leave the keyboard to enter children for example. Ease of entry was one reason I have liked earlier versions of FTM over Legacy in the past. I’ve also liked FTM’s feature in the past which allowed for navigation from the chart to an individual record by clicking the name on the chart. Legacy hasn’t had that in the past and suspect it won’t have it in the future. Unless Benjamin tells us otherwise, I suspect we’ll never see the chart to individual navigation nor easy flowing input of persons feature again in FTM.

    So with loss in the features that made me choose FTM over Legacy, Legacy is looking a lot better. The number of charts and options far exceeds FTM 2008. Legacy does not have the All in One chart that FTM v 16 has…but FTM 2008 doesn’t have it either. I’m anxious to compare Legacy 7 with FTM v 16 when it comes out. Based on the quality they put in their pre-release charting, I already know it will be superior to FTM 2008.

  100. Nicole

    Linda (#97) – At the moment I am rebuilding the file only using the bare bones features which export to GEDCOM well. If the upcoming update solves my immediate crashing issues, I may hang with FTM for a bit longer until I get things sorted out a bit before migrating again. If I go looking for new software, I would like to try Legacy 7.0 in the pack, but that seems like it has been coming “in a few months” for years.

    I finally received a reply to my support issue (after 7 days), which rather hysterically suggested I constantly monitor my Task Manager to be sure the Users Objects doesn’t exceed 10,000 objects, and to close the file before if does. I needed a good laugh right then; as support responses go, it was classic for so many reasons.

    Oh yes, for anyone wondering, FTM 2008 was equally unstable on Win XP.

    In a way, rebuilding the file is good. Although I have lost and orphaned huge amounts of links between people, the ones I am rebuilding now are VERY well documented, because I have the docs right here. And some of them I haven’t looked at in 10+ years, so with a little more experience under my belt I am picking up more clues than I did the first time around. (Lemons, meet lemonade.)

    Michael (#100) Amen on the superscript and footnotes!

    Clovis (#103) – I gained a lot of interesting new fact fields, many of which are duplicates. I can’t delete most of them, and for others which are full of garbage or misplaced, I can’t run a report which says “the xx users have a fact #5). So you aren’t the only one with fact issues. I would genuinely love to get rid of or at least hide about 80% of the built-in facts.

    I am also finding that a lot of spaces were stripped from my notes, so I have huge run-on words everywhere.

  101. George Massingham

    Does anyone know why the contact Ancestry email help never sends my message and always times out.
    Have tried over several months at different times of the day witrh no success.
    I am wanting to send the following feedback,
    Is there a way of amending an individual’s personal fact name without transfering the data.
    eg. census1 1941 London
    census2 1951 London
    census2 1961 London
    I would like to amend the individual’s census2 1961 fact title to read census3, also without losing the census2 1951 London details.

    This was available on 2006 version 16.(Seperate dialogue box asked if this applied to individual or all file )

    I have tried the delete process on 2008 and although this transfers the data to the selected new fact it also deletes the original fact name which i do not require. It also transfers this change of data to the whole ftm file which is also not required.

    Without this facility when adding an individual’s details between their current file information it means deleting and re-entering all information again which is too large a work load on a large file.

    Thanking you — i hope i have managed to explain what i mean

  102. Clovis LaFleur

    To Nicole (#106) – Deleting a fact

    This is not very obvious in FTM2008. Understand your problem on deleting a fact. Took me a while to figure that one out. I have the test version of SP3 installed, so don’t know if the following is just added to my version and not in previous versions. Anyway, give it a try and see if it works and let us know.

    You first go to “Person” view.

    Click on the fact you want to delete in the “Fact List.”

    At the top of the “Fact List” will be a row with “Fact” / “Date” / etc.

    Place your “arrow” anywhere in that row and right click.

    Action: A menu will drop down. In the list will be “Add a Fact” / Delete a Fact / and other items.

    Choose “Delete Fact.” (Be careful!!!Make sure you have selected the actual fact you want to delete as described above. Otherwise, this will delete the first fact in the list.)

    Hope this has been helpful.


  103. Clovis LaFleur

    Delete Fact

    Something I missed. You can also delete a fact by clicking on the fact. Action will be the fact row will be highlighted. Now right click over the highlighted fact. The action will be the drop down menu with the “Delete Fact” option.


  104. David Rawsthorne

    I managed to get involved in the SP3 testing as well and the update has been astounding. The following is pretty much the email I sent in. Still testing and a few of the items I noted with reports have already been noted by others here so I will not bother sending them in. Items like the married/maiden names of females is in a horrid place to swap, and sometimes doing the swap it does not re-order the individuals properly.

    My system specs: Intel Quad Core Q6600 (Clocked to 3Ghz). 2GB 800 RAM in dual channel mode, main Family Tree file location HDD is 200GB IDE drive, 75% filled, defragged prior to testing. CPU usage: 99+% idle during testing. Secondary test platform is Intel Core 2 Dual core E6300 Laptop with 160Gb HDD. Unless noted any tests were carried out on both PC’s

    Importing speed: Importing a FTM 2006 file (Initial reported items are: 28,361kb, 34,356 people, 11,289 marriages, 278,851 test records) yielded 34,356 people, 11,492 families, 3,210 sources, 49,058 records (64 records/sec) took 12 minutes 35.158 seconds (Fractionally longer on the laptop)

    Loading speed: First load after applying patch was using old imported data. The above import test was done after the patch was added. The first load (old data, roughly 34300 people) ) was extremely slow (20 seconds?), but subsequent loads (Even after reboot) were MUCH quicker – 8-10 sec max, which is much improved. FTM 2006 takes 8 seconds to load and that was always considered good. Laptop speeds were no real diffreence

    Fine & replace: My file contains probably 80% locations as (location), NSW. I tried a global search & replace to replace NSW with New South Wales, Australia in everything EXCEPT notes. Backing up the file took 60 seconds, but the first 50 seconds it appeared as though nothing was happening, then it backed up in the last 10 seconds. On find & replace it took about 60 seconds to find and replace 5377 instances. At this stage FTM was still using 25 to 50% of the CPU usage, and was using between 400MB and 580MB of RAM (it continued to cycle for 8 minutes). Pressing OK at that stage returned to the normal screen, BUT processor is still using up to 50% for FTM. I waited another 5 minutes at 50%+ CPU usage and did a Find on NSW and it has not completed all the changes from NSW to New South…. Same issue was noted on laptop

    Waiting for CPU to reduce to 0% for FTM 2008 took well over 60 minutes, at which stage I gave up watching the CPU usage! At this stage I closed down FTM and it closed, but ftm.exe continued to run the in the background and use 25 to 50% of the CPU as well (For 10 minutes until it was stopped using task manager)

    When doing a “Usage” on a source (through the Edit, Manage Sources menu) that is linked to thousands of records (In my case the New South Wales Births, Deaths & Marriages) the PC appears to freeze. Minimal HDD activity, hourglass icon, but no sign of activity. Might be better to add a counter in a box that increments as items are found, AND add a cancel button. Took over 20 minutes here before being aborted, and during that time clicking on the sources box makes windows flag that window as (Not Responding).
    Same goes when you click on a source when viewing a person – it appears to go off and count the sources. For one source here that is linked to 5291 individual items, it takes 2-3 minutes, in which time FTP appears to “Freeze” and give no indication that it is actually doing anything at all.
    Doing a usage a second time, or clicking on the source icon a second time causes the listing of the source to be done much quicker.

    I was changing places in the Place tab across the top. I had 4 different entries for Forbes District Hospital, Forbes, NSW – slightly different spelling & layout, so I decided to change them all to a location of Forbes, New South Wales, Australia and on 2 occasions it crashed FTM. Not entirely sure how it happened, but I repeated it twice and it crashed, but I have been unable to repeat the crash since. What I THINK (This probably won’t help) is that I had a source named “Forbes, New South Wales, Australia”, already. I changes one other to Forbes, New South Wales, Australia” and a description text to include the local hospital. Because “Forbes, New South Wales, Australia” is a place in the places database, the first place update had no question mark in front of the name, but when I tried to modify a name that was exactly the same location but no extra description text, it failed. I have tried a few other times and this has not occurred, but that’s what I believe I was trying at the time. This crash was encountered on the laptop and not the main test PC

    Ahnentafel Report – appears good now.

    Merging people: Tried numerous merges that almost always crashed at least every 3rd or 4th time and no crashes evident at all.

    Name changed: No crashes previously, and no crashes now

    Adding sources: No crashes experienced in adding 30+ sources.

    No non-preferred facts shown in reports at all now. I never realized this fault occurred, but on non SP3 install on the laptop it does throw a few in that are not selected as preferred (I use this to “Hide” some dates and places)

    Gedcom importing: Now works as expected. I had a few gedcoms that simply refused to be imported with SP2 of 2008

    Gedcom exporting: Works fine which is a definite improvement (Although I never checked SP2 to see if that was the fix for my issues)

    Publish: Great additions that work and will help in the future book building capacity

  105. David Rawsthorne

    I just noted one huge bug & am trying to see wheree the error occurs. I just looked at my great-grandparents and there were no dates shown for children, just places. Odd, so I had a search around and theres dates missing everywhere

    I have used this file for testing heaps of things (including a few crashes), so I am importing from 2006 now and will see if I can recreate the missing information again

    Sigh – found it. They are not even imported!!!!

    From FTM 2006:
    Thomas Joseph RAWSTHORNE
    b. 26 Oct 1886
    Carrawobitty station, Forbes, NSW
    d. 15 Jul 1959
    Eugowra, NSW

    His wife:
    Agnes Bridget COLLITS
    b. 06 Apr 1888
    Bandon Station, Forbes, NSW
    d. 23 Nov 1988
    Lithgow, NSW

    From 2008:
    Thomas Joseph RAWSTHORNE
    b. (No date)
    Carrawobitty station, Forbes, NSW
    d. (No date)
    Eugowra, NSW

    Agnes Bridget COLLITS
    b. 04 Jun 1888
    Bandon Station, Forbes, NSW
    d. (No Date)
    Lithgow, NSW

    Their marriage has a date in FTM 2006 but not in 2008

    Most of their kids (Including my grandfather) have at least 1 or more dates or locations missing!!!!! It’s not “Living individuals or anything like that – these paople have, in many cases, been dead 20+ years

    I tried an export in Gedcom of the FTM 2006 file and noted a few things. It imports MUCH quicker into 2008. According to the report it is doing 513 records a second as compared to 60-70/sec when importing the plain FTM 2006 file), and ALL the places and dates are…. THERE


  106. David Rawsthorne

    My last email.

    AKA’s need some work. For instance I have a woman here (Picking one at random) who has an AKA of “Nellie DENT” and a real name of Ellen W E DENT. In FTM 2006 the index would have both DENT, Nellie and DENT, Ellen W E in the list. Some peoples nicknames become so used that people don’t even know the real name (My grandfather’s brother has been known as Max for his entire life and I definitely want both names shown when I look for people like him in the list, not just SURNAME, Hilliary Raymond “Max SURNAME” as would currently be displayed – if I have 400+ of the same surname then finding “Max” amongst that is near impossible.

    I believe that when the “Use AKA if available” is ticked then both the real name and AKA should show up in the list. Also many people using FTM 2006 & earlier put the AKA for a female as their firstname maiden-name and when this gets added to the current list it looks horrid. For a married woman with an AKA like this it becomes “RAY, Ellen W E “Nellie DENT” DENT” – can you think of a better way to handle AKA’s for females?

    If I tried to explain what I want I’d probably confuse you, but basically “if last name in AKA is same as maiden name or married name then drop it from the displayed data”. This would allow people to enter AKA’s as a single name (in which case nothing would not be displayed) or Firstname Lastname and the lastname would be dropped just displaying the different name in the display. Confused? Yeah me too 🙂 Lets see if I can show you an example

    “RAY, Ellen W E “Nellie DENT” DENT”
    “RAY, Ellen W E “Nellie” DENT” (DENT = Maiden name & is dropped from “AKA” section)
    As well as being listed a second time as
    “RAY, Nellie DENT” if displaying married names or
    “DENT, Nellie” if not displaying as married names

    FTM 2006 never handled AKA’s that well when sorting under married names but it is much neater than the current layout in 2008.

    While we are on the “Name Index Options” selections, when you select or deselect the “Use married names for females” and click on OK the index should automatically be re-sorted using the currently selected sorting order. At the moment it is not and the order can be totally wrong, forcing the user to select the current sorting order again to resort. I actually would like to see a Family (Married), Given Name included in the sort order to save having to select/deselect the “Use married name for females” in the options – only saves a few clicks, but since this is an option I very regularly swap over (Sometimes 4 or 5 times an hour when researching cemetery records and grave lists then branch off to adding or updating children and spouses) making it easier would be great.

    In the “Find Person” box (Pressing F2) I just noticed an odd behavior. Normally in a spreadsheet double clicking between a column will resize the width of the column to fit the widest entry in the list. Doing that in 2008 resizes the column width to fit the widest item displayed on the screen, not the entire list. Only a really minor issue, but it would be nice if it made the list for “Future” updates if that section is being worked on.

    Oh and when I say FTM 2006 I am talking about V16.0.350, the latest version I have installed here, and 2008 refers to the patched beta of SP3 –

  107. I just transferred my tree to the new member tree format, and all the pictures, and source data that I had posted is no longer there. What is going to be done to make sure all this data is retrieved and uploaded to the new format?

  108. Linda

    David – Thanks for the update. Looks like TGN didn’t have enough internal testing for this patch or once again have made poor decision in releasing the patch for test. Missing dates with the FTM 2006 import is a HUGE problem. There is no excuse for a QA group to miss that or management to let it be released consuming yours and other testers valuable time! Those upgrading do not want to import gedcoms into FTM 2008.

    Customers are normally utilized for usability testing (flow, intuitiveness) and to find the more obscure problems an internal test team might not find. I guess dropping data is one way to improve performance:)

    I have never used married names in the AKA field but do use the married name indexing in FTM v 16 and AKA indexing. There is actually a bug in FTM v 16 that will cause some misorting with this the female married indexing option that they never fixed. Can’t remember the exact scenario but I did diagnose it once but it didn’t happen on too many of my names. TGN was aware of it. I also want AKA’s to be indexed in order. I, like you, have a lot of cousins who are known by their middle name, some variation of their name or some totally different name.

    I again urge TGN to adopt good INTERNAL quality processes before taking up the time of the customers for anything but usability testing.

    Can you copy and paste and/or export reports so that they are editable (without the cells)? Can you change the font size and type within the copied report without messing up the entire formatting of the report?

    On find and replace, can you find and replace one at a time like in FTM v 16? If so, is it clearly show the excerpt, the person affected, and the location of the data (i.e. family view, notes).

  109. Benjamin Nettesheim

    The patch that the volunteer testers have does not currently have the .rtf enhancements. They will be included before public release and that should remedy the .rtf issues mentioned above.

    Also, the find and replace (in the upcoming patch) does give the ability to find one at a time and to see where the data is from.

  110. David Rawsthorne

    After my emails I have had good responces from Benjamin Nettesheim as well as the Development Manager for FTM (According to the footer on the email lol). The missing dates issue does appear to have been fixed and they requested my file for testing.

    An excellent (and quick) responce to the email, and I hope to be involved in the next round of testing, as I believe the more people involved, the more issues that are found. I spent probably 15 to 20 hours poking and prodding this Beta, and have probably done less than 1/2 the tests I want to. If all the beta testers did that sort of testing then the chance that one of us will stumble across an issue is high.

    While I have been critical of the way in which the program was released, I do give credit to all those involved in trying to fix issues as soon as possible.


    The find & replace 1 by 1 seems to work OK, but its a little clunkier than I would like. One good feature is that say searching for NSW as I mentioned in a previous post, and i finds “Carrawobitty Station, Forbes, NSW” it will then ask you if you want to change ALL of that location to Carrawobitty station, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia”. If you select No, it changes just that one, if you select yes it updates all to the new replace string. The program does seem to “Freeze” just for 3 to 4 seconds, or a bit longer depending on how many changes are made, instead of a progress bar showing you the progress which I would have preferred.

  111. Nancy Rogers

    I am not a techno individual, but as I looked at the pictures of the new FTM I have been struck by one thing, there is alot more graphics on the screen. Last fall when I first started helping a friend of mine out at a local genealogy library who is blind, I spent considerable time trying to see if there was one of the programs that he could use for his family tree. I actually called FTM and talked to them and they all said that the new FTM would be easier for him to use…that is just not true when it comes to graphics on the screen. What is going to be done to allow individuals with handicaps to use and create their own family tree files? To be blunt about it the system that would work best for him would be an old DOS based system. As a former teacher of the handicapped I reject out of hand that I do it for him. There should be no reason for why he could not do it for himself in today’s world of readers on computers for the blind.

  112. Nicole

    Clovis (#108), thanks but I meant deleting a fact from the master list. If you go to Manage Facts, you can delete any custom facts you created, but there is no way to delete (or just hide) any built-in facts you’ll never use, like “Baptism (LDS)” which isn’t any more useful than “Baptism.”

  113. David Rawsthorne

    Nancy, I agree that the screen is a lot more difficult to view if you have a disability. Even normal sighted people could well be overwelmed with the new screen, so anyone relying on text to voice software would, in my opinion, be better of using an older version of FTM or other programs.

    The FTM developers seem to think that people want all this data on the main screen, and I think it simply slows the system down, and makes it more confusing for newcomers. Do I NEED to know the relationship of the currently displayed person back to the home person all the time? Nope. I tried running the program on an old underclocked Athlon 2800, but it only has a 14″ monitor running at 800*600 and it’s almost unusable at that resolution, but on my 22″ widescreen it’s perfect

    Entering data into FTM 2004 could be done using the keyboard & tab key to jump between the tabs on the screen. In 2008 you need the mouse a LOT more, and I find myself clicking a lot more and typing less. I’ll probably do a test later today and time myself entering, say, 20 people into both versions and post the results if people want?

  114. David Rawsthorne

    Nicole: I agree, a “Hide/Unhide” button for the built-in facts would be brilliant. I never use 90% of the built in facts, and some of the others are odd…

    Why is there a date, Place & Description for an AKA?

    I have added some Occupations for people, but because Occupation also has Date, Place Description, and the imported information has it in Place, not description… Yep, Apparently “Pound Keeper”, “Typist” and even “Catholic” and “Church of England” are locations. Apparently 2008 does not realise that the old 2006 used “Fact or Description” for items like religion, Occupation etc, so imports them purely as a location 🙁

  115. Ronald Chambers

    David #120. I reported this problem before the release of the program. No fix yet. Ben, is fixed in next repair?

    AKA should have date and place. Think of the criminals in some of our trees used AKAs in many different places and times.

    RON C

  116. Tyler Rasmussen

    You know you can change the settings for facts on whether they have date/place, date/place/desc, or just desc, right?

    Edit -> Manage Facts -> Select the fact you want to work with (facts built into FTM cannot be deleted…or hidden…) -> Edit… -> Fact elements -> Select between those three options

    So, David, if you don’t want AKA to have a date or place (there are times when I would like AKA to have a date and desc but no place so I can say “bet. birth and 20 AKA danny”, but that’s not an option), then remove it. Ronald, if you want it, keep it. My tree doesn’t have date/place for AKA (again, if date/desc was an option – or if you could enable disable all three fields separately, that would be great – along with hiding unwanted facts or at least changing the order so your top 20 used facts appear first or something…).

  117. David Rawsthorne

    OK thanks – I did miss that feature Ron & Tyler, thanks for pointing me in the right direction.


  118. Nicole

    David (#120) – Yes, I experienced the same problem importing fact/description into location. So far 3 hours spent cleaning them up. I’m about halfway done.

    My current biggest NEW frustration is trying to clean up names which got imported wrong. FTM keeps “correcting” my corrections, so I have to cram atypical names all in the surname field, otherwise FTM moves my suffixes to the first name field if they are anything other that “I” “II” or “III” If you have a “VI,” it will import as first name VI, suffix VI and VI will also be in the surname. If you try to correct it to be a suffix only, FTM moves it to the first name field. If you move it all to the surname field, FTM STILL moves it to the first name field AND the suffix field. If you put it in “/name/” it moves the name to the first name field and the VI to the suffix field, which messes up the index.

  119. Ronald Chambers

    Nicole #124.

    To fix names, go to PERSON and click on the preferred name in the NAME list, in the right panel, the name should show with PENCIL tool on the end of the field. Click on the PENCIL, a dialog will allow you to specify the name as desired. If PENCIL does not show, eight click on name field OPEN IME.

    RON C

  120. David W.

    Do you foresee the relationship calculator having any work done to it? I will take two individuals and place them in the calculator and I will get one relationship with Person A in the 1st position and Person B in the second position. When I reverse them I will get a different relationship. That’s one problem I’ve seen. Another one I have is: I have 1st cousins that married back in the late 1700’s. After I show them as married FTM08 will only see them as husband and wife and not as cousins. Cousins (1st & 2nd) were common early on in colonial times. so if this quark could be remedied it would be appreciated.

    David W.

  121. Clare Loppe

    On Ancestry Publishing “Contact Us” page I cannot send comments due to the second step not allowing entry. I cannot clear the “New Content” window when I open one of my projects or create a new one. Please help so I can work on my projects. Thanks.

  122. Nicole

    Ron #125/#126 – Yes, I am using the pencil tool. FTM then “corrects” my manual corrections and I haven’t found a way to keep it from “helping” me.

  123. Ronald Chambers

    Nicole #129

    Are you separating the III etc. with a comma? As James Jones, III. You must!!

    RON C

  124. Nicole

    Thanks for the suggestion, Ron. I tried that, but it makes no difference. My suffixes still end up in the first name field. Your suggestions only works for individuals which have modern, westernized names like John Smith, Jr. which have a distinct given, surname and suffix.

    Take something like John II of Smith. No matter what you do in FTM you end up with “II of Smith” as the first name and “John” as the surname. Unless you just cram everything — and some of the names are pretty long, like “John II, the Elder, of Smith and St. Chesterfield” — into the surname field and leave it indexed that way.

    There are crazier examples… I wouldn’t want FTM to try and handle all possible name forms, but if you manually edit it to meet a form which indexes properly and makes sense, I think it should leave your corrections intact.

  125. Ronald Chambers

    Have you tried:
    Given: John II the Elder
    Surname: of Smith and St. Chesterfield

    If that doesn’t work, you need FTM fixed but don’t get in a hurry as the real release is in 2010 – maybe.

    RON C

  126. Michael Schuler

    I am in disbelief. As a person that reads the entire blog and is a member of the Beta Test Group, the lack of official communication has gone beyond the point of regretable to the point of stupidity. I am not blaming Ben becuase I would not want to have his job and I am sure this a very small part of his overall job.

    Ancestry or the TGN was just brought for $300 Millions you would think they would let us know what is going on. As a World Deluxe Ancestry Member and Owner of FTM 2008 I except much more. There are about 20 things in the fire, but no word when any of it is going to be complete or functional.

    My Family 2.0 – Is a very cool concept and I am sure that their plan is to merge the My Family functionality and FTM 2008 but when ? How? and more important as a user what can I do to minimize my rework. One great example is if FTM 2008 had a Save function with the export lists when I could create a list and develop a site from one side of my family and other follow researchers, but I do not want the entire 272 MB file to be exported. I am not however going to select over 200 poeple every time I would to refresh the output.

    Ancestry Search – When is the new search going to happen. I anyone has notices you can do a search for “Schell” in the main Search and not get results that you will get if you do the same search in for example Newspapers. is a pay service there is NO excuse for that. Just because I have taken 300 Level Database class in College I should not need it to use the search. I hope the new search works, but how about telling us what does not work now so we can still get the information even if it takes longer.

    FTM 2008 – The unreleased Update 3 is a much better version then SP2R2 but more information is needed. It has been in test for almost 2 weeks and not one msg to the test group. During the last test I got a msg about 2-3 times a week. When is it going to be released? What else is being fixed? Or Better What do they think is wrong and needs to be fixed?

    I want to believe in Ancestry but I need information. I do not want to switch to Legecy or something else becuase I have looked and honesty like Ancestry better becuase of data that backs Ancestry up, but without the information I am beginning to wonder if I should just jump ship and do the extra work to have a product I can count on.



  127. Nicole


    I can get FTM to produce that result with a lot of “\” characters, but then the name gets indexed as “\of Smith and St. Chesterfield\, John II the Elder.” Depending on the time and place, Smith and St. Chesterfield could be a location, identifier, or a title or some combination. So when indexed that way, it makes if very hard to find the person especially if you are looking at a record before the title (let’s say) came into use.

    Just trying to work around the limitations of just having one giant index and no search utility.

    But haven’t you heard — they are already taking pre-orders for the FTM 2009 book. I wonder if anyone has told the developers?!

  128. Michael Schuler

    Since I am always trying to be fair the second Beta Patch did come out last night and was mailed to the test group that I am a member. I have not had a chance to look at it yet but at least it is some communications. I still contend more should be done and if I was not in this test group I would be in the total dark.

    I think made what Ancestry does not understand is that thousands or hours a year in a lot of cases go into this files and we care a lot more about it then Word or Photoshop and except at least that level of service.



  129. Allan Leonard

    I have the same/similar query as Marcelo Remotti (post 3: 9th Feb): the desire to sync an EXISTING family tree with a desktop FTM file.

    There’s no problem in using a desktop FTM file to create a NEW family tree, but appears to be no way to use an EXISTING online family tree: forced to delete it and replace it with a new one. As I have spent several years creating a rich online family tree, I hardly want to do this.

    I purchased FTM 2008 on their advertisement that one could sync desktop and online family trees, but this is only partially (desktop file first) true.

    I’ve been a Reunion for Mac user for nearly 20 years, and I have never had the types of issues FTM 2008 users are facing. If FTM 2008 can’t deliver online/desktop synching, I’ll just have to go back to Reunion 9.

    I’d be grateful to hear from Benjamin or any beta test user whether the online synching feature has been improved. Many thanks.

  130. Josie

    Allan – The FTM 2008 marketing hype can be deceiving. However, I don’t see anywhere in the marketing materials where it says that you can synch the FTM 2008 family tree and the online tree. What I saw says you can backup your FTM 2008 online. Backup usually means a copy. There is nothing stated about FTM 2008 tracking changes. If you have seen the syncronization feature advertised, I would be curious where you saw it.

    TGN is using the patches for making fixes and restoring previously available features. Using patches for this purpose is risky enough without adding brand new features. Many of us long term users have either switched to a competitor or using previous versions while patiently waiting to evaluate upcoming competitor product version. You will have to decide whether Reunion or FTM 2008 works best for you. If the potential syncronization is the only thing that attracted you to FTM 2008, you might as well stick with Reunion. I’m not saying it will never happen but I don’t see it happen until at least the release of another full version.

  131. Nancy Rogers

    Thank you David for seeing this issue as a part of the bigger problem of the newest version FTM. I had some one else suggest that we try PAF but that to has turned to graphics. I have used FTM since sometime in the mid 1990’s and for some reason was smart enough not to get ftm 2008, probably all the graphics on the screen. This issue could also cause difficulty for individuals who have significant learning disabilities. I guess what ftm wants us to believe is that one size (type) of genealogy program fits all.

  132. Allan Leonard

    Josie (137), I agree with the deception — “By using Family Tree Maker together with, you can:” (

    * Quickly compare information you find on Ancestry with the data in your tree and use a merge wizard to selectively import new facts and records

    * Back up your Family Tree Maker data by automatically creating a member tree on Ancestry (you can choose to share your tree with others or keep it private)

    Indeed it does say ‘back up’, but I got excited about ‘compare’ and ‘merge’.

    If did allow a merge FROM an existing online family tree to a FTM 2008 tree, they would have a remarkably powerful product, particularly for those of us who have been dutiful subscribers to

    But as you suggest, this doesn’t appear likely to be addressed until some future version. Too bad; I have no reason to stay with FTM.

  133. Athena

    RE: messages 137 and 139

    However, I don’t see anywhere in the marketing materials where it says that you can synch the FTM 2008 family tree and the online tree. What I saw says you can backup your FTM 2008 online. Backup usually means a copy

    Actually you can’t backup online either. As you note, backup usually means a copy; the implication being a complete copy that can be used to recover ones data in the case of catastrophe and there is no such online capability in FTM2008.

    If the marketing team at TGN can’t disginguish between a backup and an extract (i.e. a GEDCOM that does not include supporting documentation), how is the unsuspecting buyer supposed to know what he is getting?

    This is another example of using a familiar term to describe function in FTM2008 that does not meet the commonly understood meaning of the word. FTM16 had both online synchronization with a personal homepage and online backup. FTM2008 uses the same marketing content as FTM16 but it has neither.

  134. Michael Schuler

    You all missed my point about Ancestry has said nothing official about the link between myfamily and FTM, but if you try and create a book then it creates a myfamily tree to hold the FTM file and publish the book. This is a pretty cool feature and it imports all of the pictures and censuses, etc. I “ASSUME” that there future plans are to put the whole thing together. My guess is that this is why all things have been messed up with FTM 2008 release becuase when the TGN acquired all these things they have been trying to fix the Search, myfamily, FTM and all that and they have got in why over there head and are trying to dig out. My only point was that they should give us the roadmap so we can figure out where the company is going. Since Family trees take thousands of hours to create, it would be nice to know that what we are creating will be supported and expanded one. If some things were being phased out then we could react to that as well. Without information though even the “neat” things go unnoticed and leave everyone unhappy.


  135. John Green

    Well, it’s 31 March and FTM 2008 still says I have the latest version so I guess Benjamin’s team are due to get reamed for missing the patch/update deadline again……

    Let’s hope everything that’s been promised is actually in there. I’m still thinking of transferring my allegiance to Legacy…..

  136. Benjamin Nettesheim

    The timelines I have published have been estimates based on how I’ve seen the internal, alpha, and beta tests progress. All of the teams have submitted great feedback and as a result the FTM team has decided to include many of these great findings and suggestions into this upcoming patch. The test teams should be getting a third SP3 candidate this week. I’m now estimating a first-half-of-April public release.

  137. Jaems Robertson

    I have a lot of people with shared facts with Unknown. No facts there of course and I have not figured out a way to get rid of these extras. I don’t know where they come from either but it may be when I merge facts online such as census data.

    I hope this is cleared up with the forthcoming patch.

  138. Scott

    In past versions of FTM you were able to export reports to PDF format. There were two or three options to the layout of the PDF format. Now we’re down to just one! The report is always being shown on multiple pages in PDF. What happened to the ability to put the entire report onto one page only.

    That was especially helpful with tree reports so as to let you see the entire tree at once and zoom in where you wanted to, rather than having to scroll from page to page and hope to find it. Very difficult when you have a tree with hundreds or thousands of individuals and a PDF with 800+ pages!

  139. James Ralston

    This is not considered abuse, just old fashioned, hitting the nail on the head. As usual, Benjamin, you keep going along and telling us one timeline for an update to this piece of junk and wa-la, now it is changed again to sometime in April. Keep up the good work like your doing and you will definitely be out of business. You know the competitors are rolling over laughing at the “slop” you guys are putting out. Someday, maybe, just maybe, you people will wake up, take a lesson in management 101, think of your customers, who make or break you and smell the coffee.

  140. Mitch

    This application is absolutely pathetic. Every time I try to add a source citation to a fact it crashes.

    Unless the programmers are company executives, I have little doubt that they are not responsible for its release before it was ready. That had to be an executive decision … a MONEY decision.

    I’m going to give Legacy or Roots Magic a try. FTM 2008 is inexcusable in my opinion.

  141. Bob

    Two months and 147 comments ago, one of the wheels at TGN made an attempt to inform us that help is on the way!!! TGN is going to update the new monster, FTM2008,that they created last fall and sold to as a complete rewrite for +/-$40.00. I have copied and pasted the promise below so you won’t have to scroll all the way back to the top of this thread.

    “Update 3: Information
    Posted by Benjamin Nettesheim February 8, 2008

    I’ve received some additional information about the next patch and wanted to inform the Family Tree Maker community about the current status of this update. The internal development and QA teams have been testing the latest update extensively. We are just a few days away from releasing it to our Alpha test group for their input and analysis. Shortly after that the patch will be released to the volunteer test group. The public release will then follow after incorporating community input and final in-house verification.”

    Now doesn’t that make you happy? Over six months after they took our money, we still have a dud. They are probably trying to deatermine how they can issue Update 3 as FTM 2009 and charge us another $40.00.

    One thing they taught me is that I already had a great genealogy progran in FTM2006, version 16. I’m still using it and will continue to do so until Legacy 7 is released in a few weeks. The TGN can keep their FTM 2008. They are incompetent.

  142. Barbara Cunningham

    The one feature I absolutely require in a genealogy program is the ability to print ancestor or descendant charts in book layout. FTM 2008 removed that feature and only allows one layout for a descendant chart. Unfortunately, the only other program which has the feature is FTM 2006. Therefore, I always tell people to find FTM 2006 when I recommend a genealogy program.

    I’ve been promised that this feature will be restored. I’m still waiting.

  143. Doug

    I generally like the program FTM2008. I however am dismayed by the lack of response from Ancestry to the peformace problems . I personally know 27 people who have bought Roots Magic because of the problems with FTM 2008. Today I will also purchase Roots Magic. I think 7 plus months is long enough to wait for the promised fixes or patch. I have always been a satisfied user of FTM from the beginning. I always recommended it to my associates when I was a local genealogy society president. But enough is enough!

  144. Violet Pajerski

    Has anyone had a problem with merging indivduals and not having them show up on the screen where they should be, but show up correctly in a report? When I try to re-enter the individual – the program tells me they are all ready there. I have tried searching the blog for anything pertaining to this, so if this has been addressed please point me in that direction.
    I am extremely dissapointed in FTM 2008 and wish that I had known that it didn’t have the same features at FTM 16 – I assumed it was an upgrade like all the other upgrades had been, not a completely reformatted version that I had to relearn. I have spent more time trying to undo errors because it doesn’t work the same as previous versions and not doing what I want to do – which is research.

  145. Josie

    I’m concerned about the purpose of the recent survey. It asked users to rank and rate outstanding features available in previous versions. In my opinion, this survey is an indication that TGN has not established a plan. There has been plenty of data from customer feedback forms. This customer data along with TGN’s analysis of the logical sequence of development should have enabled TGN to come up with a prioritized list within a month after last year’s release. Only discovery of new high priority bugs should affect the prioritization. Why do you need a survey to tell you that these are features that are important to long time customers at this stage?

    A number of people have requested a list of issues that are to be fixed including issues related to the “reintroduction” of previously available features. While many of us will not consider using FTM 2008 as our primary genealogy software (or at all) until the majority of previously available capabilities are restored, we would like some assurance that features will be restored. You’ve got to realize by now that long time users of FTM have either abandoned FTM, are sticking with FTM v. 16 (or another previous versions) or are using a combination of their previous version and FTM 2008.

    While your intentions may have been good, the survey was not a good decision. It raises more questions than answers.

  146. James Ralston

    The more one looks at this Generations, or FamilyTreeMaker 2008, the more of us realize what a joke they have become. It takes guts to ask about a survery, when they can’t even fix the junk they screwed us on in the first place. Then to add insult to those of us already injured, all you have to do is look at the Ancestry home page and see the bogus advertisement about how good FTM 2008 is and how good it works. Hey, BENJAMIN and all of the rest of the crowd at Ancestry, wake up, smell the coffee and see what fools you are making of the company and the program. Only thing good I see that you people can accomplish is to promise, promise, promise and never deliver. Example of this is the promised update that never seems to get to us. If it is anything like the others, it to will be a joke. One thing is for real, if you guys stay afloat, it will be a miracle. Yes, all of this may seem harsh, but you people constantly dig your own hole, deeper and deeper. If upper management is aware of all that is going on, then I truly feel sorry for the dupes who recently bought the company. Oh, I don’t expect any response from you, you people never answer serious inquires anyway.

  147. Benjamin Nettesheim

    The survey that was recently released has been very helpful. The response to it has been huge and I appreciate the time that was taken to respond to the survey.

    As you’ve seen, the Family Tree Maker team has released features into Family Tree Maker 2008 in chunks. For example, in Service Pack 2 Genealogy Register & Genealogy Ahnentafel Reports were added. In Service Pack 3 you will find that an enhanced “find and replace” feature has been added along with ability to save charts & reports, save user created templates for charts, and have the ability to apply predefined templates to charts, among other things.

    We understand that many users are looking for features that were in previous versions of Family Tree Maker. We have been moving forward with that assumption. The purpose of the survey was to help confirm that assumption and to identify which of those features users find most important. We’re obviously too close to releasing Service Pack 3 (now scheduled for this month) for the survey to significantly affect its release, but the results of the survey do have an impact on which upcoming updates and improvements receive priority.

    I, for one, would like to do more surveys. I get a general idea of what the community is interested in by reading the comments on the blog, looking at message boards, receiving weekly updates from the feedback form, and reading reviews and letters sent to me… but the surveys help me, and the rest of the Family Tree Maker team, distill the desires of the community into quantifiable results.

    Again, thank you to everyone that participated. We take user suggestions and surveys very seriously, and are continuously planning new features according to what our users want.

  148. Mitch

    So, with our input, we might someday have again what we once had? How many months ago was this application sold to us? Will it ever be right? Will it ever be stable? Is there a reason we should continue putting up with this?


  149. Ernie

    There is no reason in the world to keep putting up with this way of “running a railroad.”

    I have been a user of FTM since almost the beginning but I now have the test version of Roots Magic and it looks pretty good to me and it appears to have what I want, in the main, a book writing feature, NOT a compilation of “canned” charts and lists.

    Also, Legacy 7 will be coming out soon and I will get it when it does.

    Sayonara FTM, in whatever version you eventually come up with in the somewhat dim future.

  150. Dale Chamberlain


    So we do you really expect SP3 to be released since your last 2 estimates have been missed?


  151. Robbie

    I would really like to know how many people are having the VERY basic problem which I am experiencing. The program crashes and closes for no reason. I have talked to tech support until I am blue in the face to no avail. They are generally all nice, but they do not solve my problem. They all have different recommendations, but the program continues to crash and close. I get the little message that FTM has quit working. Is anyone else having that problem?

  152. Hal Smith

    I have the mysterious crash problem as well. It usually seems to occur when the user is faster than the program (and you don’t have to be very fast) in performing tasks like deleting people from the file. If you do that about 2 or 3 times and don’t take a solitaire break then the program will disappear. What’s more annoying is that sometimes a FTM process will remain open and tie up the file. You have to use the task manager to kill the process before you can bring the program back up.

    I’m a simulation professional in my day job. If we ever sent out a “release” that was this unstable, we would be fired. Get real guys, even SP2 is no better than an alpha release. This pig should never have come to market. I’ve been using FTM since release 7. I would hope those of us who are suffering through this would get the FTM 2009 release without charge.

  153. Doug

    I too, have the crash problems described above. Also the slowness of accepting individuals being typed in. I did purchase Roots Magic, It seems to be working just fine. I believe it the incessant search that is holding everything up.

  154. A. F. Burkett

    Mr. Nettesheim,
    You survey obviously misses the most important issue because you do not wish to address it. I was a FTM user for years beginning with V7 to V16, but no longer. I believe the MOST important things your product should provide is safety, stabilty and reliability. I can wait for new features and capabilities but not at the expense of file destruction. Goodbye Sir.

  155. Graeme

    It’s now over 2 months since this patch was first mentioned. What about an update on progress with it.

  156. Robbie

    I took your survey, but I was not allowed to say what I really wanted to say. The single most important thing which you can do with this program is stabilize it. The shutting for no reason is not only annoying and time consuming with the constant reboots, but it makes me nervous as to the security of my data.
    I went back to version 16 and worked for several hours. It didn’t shut down 1 time. So much for your tech support who tells me:
    1. Problems with security software
    2. Problems with firewall (by the way, I shut down both the firewall AND the security software to see if 2008 would run. No go)
    3. Problem with my system–
    64 x 2 Dual core processor, 5200+, 2.60 GHz, 2 gigs of RAM)
    4. Must reinstall and run as administrator
    5. AND best of all, 1 (and I stress only 1) tech support rep who told me that it wasn’t his fault if I couldn’t remember the things they told me yesterday.

    I don’t give up easily, but count me as one of those who will return to v16. Not as slick, but at least it works. Count me as one who still has hopes for this program, so I am not asking for my money back, but I have wasted too much time trying to make this program work.
    You need to fix the basics before you add bells and whistles

  157. James Ralston

    As usual, Benjamin, you and this bunch of so called programmers, continue with the drab, nothingness as before. You people at this company are a disgrace to the people you duped into buying this garbage. You continue to advertise this 2008, piece of crap as if nothing were wrong with it. You promise and don’t deliver and I, for one, can’t figure out how the top management puts up with this. HOW WONDERFUL IT WOULD BE TO HAVE SOMEONE, WITH INSIGHT, GUTS TO TALK STRAIGHT WITH US, ACTUALLY POST SOMETHING TO THIS BLOG THAT WE MIGHT BELIEVE. Surely Benjamin is not the top dog in this show, but if he is, then promises are going to be your demise. Come on people, give us the ability to talk with someone who cares and is not full of hot air and promises. I am like most others, I would like a product that doesn’t crash when it feels like it. I know one thing, I will never buy your garbage again, because I only get suckered once.

  158. Beryl Blickstein


    Enough of this. You certaintly don’t need more surveys to to find out what user really want. You need more surveys like a fish needs a bicycle. Have you fixed the performance problems, and if so, when can we expect the release?

    I can hardly be concerned with new features (vaporware) when the program locks up for 60 or 70 seconds from just adding a date of birth!

  159. Mitch

    I strongly recommend that everyone using FTM 2008 make daily backups, even though the backup feature doesn’t function properly either.

    Don’t think it isn’t possible for this application to damage your file. This company wrote a version that did just that to users several years ago. If a person in your file had 15 facts, the sources for all the facts were bumped up one fact and the top one was knocked off the list. I lost six months work.

    Don’t think this company couldn’t do it again.

    If this application damages your file, you certainly will want to have a backup to restore from.

    And, by the way, have additional programmers been hired to help resolve this problem? Are the new programmers working the weekends so the original people can get some time off?

    Has the person responsible for the release of this mess been terminated?

  160. Robbie

    I’m way ahead of you on the daily backups, I back up every couple of hours. I am that afraid of this program.

    You have a thankless task. I tried out the new search. It’s ok but very slow. You all just don’t seem to be hearing the complaints. The basics of this program don’t work. That needs to be TOP priority.

  161. Robbie

    OK, Ben, here I am again. I went back and tried 2008. Result, worked for a while, then crashed. Rebooted. Search worked, tried to merge data from ancestry site. The fact merged. The source and media did not despite the fact that the program indicated that it had.

    Called tech support. uninstall program.
    Edit registry. empty temp folder. reinstall, don’t let program boot up. install patch as administrator. Program worked for a little while, then crashed. Reboot. Won’t merge data.
    Call tech support. uninstall. make new user account. reinstall. reinstall patch. This at 6:00 PM last night. Sure hoping it will work. Won’t work.
    Call tech support this morning. Check error log. Nothing there. Check user objects. Low number.
    started a new file. It would merge, so not a problem with the website. But I am back to having a file which I have worked very hard one which I believe to be corrupted from the crash.
    Can you help me.
    What is causing this failure to merge?

  162. Robbie

    Hopefully this might help someone. One of the folks at technical support gave me this tip and permission to post it.

    It seems that when the “user objects” gets to about 10,000 FTM crashes. This occurs after you have been working in the program for a while at one sitting. The fix to this is to monitor the level of “user objects”. If the number of “user objects” gets to say, 9,000, close the program down and reboot. Supposedly, this will help stop the crashes.
    In Vista, you check user objects by
    1. Open task manager
    2. Click Process tab
    3. In the menu bar at the top, click view
    4. In the veiw menu, select columns
    5. Scroll down to User objects and be sure there is a check mark in the box. Click OK.
    6. In the column labeled Image name, scroll down until you find FTW.exe. Highlight and check the number of “user objects”. If higher than 9,000. Close program and reboot.

    I hope this helps someone. Too late for me

  163. Tyler Rasmussen

    Robbie, this sounds like a major leak of some type. User objects are getting created but no destroyed. I started FTM and it initializes with about 440 User objects. My system has been running for a couple days straight now, and the only other application with more than 200 user objects running it Internet Explorer.

    Ben, is this one of the things being fixed in SP3? I’m not totally sure what user objects are, but reading on Microsoft’s website they sound similar to event handlers or threads. Either way, it sounds like a major leak for a program that initializes with less than 500 user objects to reach 10,000.

  164. Robbie

    I don’t know what they are either, but the young lady at tech support (very nice) said this was one of the emails they had been sent to use in troubleshooting user calls. She gave me permission to post. I Hops it helps someone.

  165. Robbie

    Update, that sure isn’t the only cause for crashing. I was monitoring the user objects carefully. They do go up fairly quickly with data manipulation. I was at about 7,000 when boom it crashed.
    Rebooted, let FTM look repair any damage it found because I!!!!! didn’t shut it down correctly. File opened, compacted file. Decided to check for any unlinked sources. Lots there, so decided to remove them. Went ok for a while. User objects not rising. Suddenly touched a source that FTM didn’t want me to touch–even though unlinked and that frequent [no source-citation information]. Program crashed.
    Does everyone else see that no source as often as I do?
    Where does that come from? I seem to see it often when I attempt to merge data from the ancestry web site. The program tells me that the source and media were merged. When I go to the person view, I find that the fact, ie 1850 Perry, Tennesse, was merged but the source lists a 0 number and there is no media.
    What am I doing wrong?

  166. Robbie

    OK, here is another example. Tried to merge a fact, source and media to a person. Her family is already merged, so the media exists in my program. Just shuts down. Family tree maker has quit working. User objects were about 5,000

  167. James Ralston

    Well Benjamin, you have done it again. PROMISE PROMISE PROMISE, nothing but promises on this patch and again you lied. It was mid April and hey, guess what, tomorrow is May and no patch. Then you have the guts to make a statement to one person of: “this patch should or may clear up the problem of crashes”. Why do you even continue to sell this crap to the public, if you know up front that it crashes. Tell us, Benjamin, are you the head cheese at this joke of a company? Right now, I would like to have a dollar for every good customer that you once had, who, now, because of the incompetence at the highest levels, have decided to drop you like a hot potato. You people have no credibility with the buying public anymore.

  168. carl reddick

    i am not o good at this. cant see to good .but i cant stop this is so the people thart are helping. with all this ; are wonderful to.its something’history that you will neverget about your family in alllllll.

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