Posted by Tana L. Pedersen on March 22, 2010 in Family Tree Maker

We’ve all been there. You’ve spent days (or years) looking for a relative’s grave, and when you finally locate it in a middle-of-nowhere cemetery, you realize that you’ll never remember how you got there. Or be able to explain to anyone else how find the same location.

In years past you might have created your own genealogy-style treasure map. But today we’re lucky to have technology such as Global Positioning System (GPS). Many cell phones have built-in GPS functionality and personal GPS receivers are readily available and fairly inexpensive. And now with Family Tree Maker 2010, you have a place to permanently record those coordinates.

Entering GPS coordinates in Family Tree Maker is simple. Click the Places button on the main toolbar and select the location you want to add coordinates for in the list on the left side of the window. On the right side of the window, you’ll see the name of the location. If you hover your mouse of the Location field, a calculator icon will appear.

Click the calculator icon and the Location Calculator window opens.

Enter the coordinates and click OK. It’s as simple as that.

So the next time you stumble upon the old family homestead, record the GPS coordinates in Family Tree Maker and not only will you be able to find it again, but so will other family members down the line.


  1. James

    This is a nice feature. I “found” my 3rd Great Grandfather’s family cemetery through the map feature then traveled 400 miles to the cemetery. The “birds eye view” was very helpful in showing current landmarks, etc..


  2. Can you please clarify if it covers the area out of the US, I mean is this for the whole of the world or its just limited to the US?

  3. Murphy

    GPS is nice, but one critically important feature still lacking is the ability to export links to multimedia files within GEDCOM exports.

    This is basic funcationality that is missing from the software.

    FTM really needs to address this. Is the feature coming or not? The users have been asking for it back during the November 2009 patch with no answer.


  4. I KNOW most people use the degrees/m/s format for entering lat/lon and you include the three most common formats in the GPS feature. But, as the US moves “into the new century” I feel the metric-based UTM system will get wider use. I currently use it (yes, I am a science teacher) and it is much easier to locate places on maps “in the field” since you’re not dealing with degrees but with meters. Have you thought about including UTM?

  5. John Donaldson

    # 5 David

    A US software producer using meters, that would be a first. 🙂

    Next you will be wanting to get rid of miles, pounds, US gallons and Farenheight and actually join the rest of the world.

    The location calculator provides 3 means of adding GPS references but not meters (or metres as we spell it where I live – AU)

    John D

  6. Tana L. Pedersen

    # 2
    Frank, as was mentioned the GPS and virtual maps work all over the world. The one thing to keep in mind is that the bird’s-eye view doesn’t work everywhere.

  7. Fred Newton

    I’m glad to see a spot for GPS coordinates on locations, but there needs to be a spot to note what datum was used. It’s naive to assume all coordinates are WGS84.

  8. #8 Fred:
    Thanks for adding the “datum” info request. I guess we’ve all set our hand-held units to WGS84 BUT most of the “old” USGS topo maps (in our area they were last updated in 1972) are based on NAD27 and when you get down to locating individual sites from/to the maps it does make a difference. I know this is getting technical for the everyday user but it is a big deal when it comes to GPS coordinates…

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