Posted by Tana L. Pedersen on October 4, 2010 in Family Tree Maker

If you’ve always wanted help starting a family history book, this is the tool you’ve been waiting for. Family Tree Maker 2011 introduces Smart Stories™— a narrative tool that helps you quickly fill up those blank pages by letting you use facts, sources, and notes you’ve already entered in your tree. Simply drag-and-drop the text into a story. And best of all, Smart Stories are linked to your tree so if you find out that grandpa’s birth date is different than you thought, you can change the date in your tree and the text will be updated automatically.

Let’s take a closer look. You’ve already spent hours entering facts, recording notes, and sourcing documents. So why should you have to retype all this information again in your book? That’s where Smart Stories comes in. In the image below, I have selected the personal biography option. Family Tree Maker has gathered all the facts I’ve entered for my grandfather and combined it into a short narrative. I then dragged the text into my document and now I’ve got a great start on my book’s intro biography. Because each fact is created as a separate “field” I can delete facts I don’t want to include or even edit the narrative text.

You’ll notice that some text is highlighted. This indicates that the text is linked to my tree and will be updated automatically if I make any changes.

In addition to biographies, Smart Stories can be used to create timelines, add images, and include facts and their sources. The image below gives an example of the facts option. When you select a fact (in this case the birth fact) a list of text options appear below the facts list. You can add the the information as a sentence or just the data like a place or date.

Although I’ve just started using this tool, I can already see all sorts of possibilities. My first project is making a timeline about my grandfather’s life; it’s going quickly because the facts I’m using already have the appropriate sentences created for me. No need to type! And adding images has been simple because I can drag and drop the photos I’ve already added to my media collection.

Have any of you tried Smart Stories yet? If not, how do you think you’d use this tool?


  1. Richard H.

    #2 Deb H. If you use Internet Explorer, hold down the CTRL key and press the + key to increase the size of the content of the web page. You may do this repeatedly to make things very large. Press CTRL and – key to reverse the process. The images in this blog appear very clear when zoomed like this.

  2. Robert Harper

    I hate ver. FTM 2010. I have to go back to ver. 16 to be user friendly. Please go back to the old why of making updates. I guess I could check out some of the other programs. The only thing I like about 2010 is the part that comes up on the right side with the photo of the person your working on. Other then that 2010 is a nightmare to work with.

  3. Karen Re; #6

    From Dick Eastman’s Blog:

    [QUOTE] announced last spring that the company would re-introduce Family Tree Maker for Macintosh before the end of the year. Apparently, the company plans to meet that deadline. The product isn’t available yet but is now taking orders and is promising delivery in “early November.” Best of all, those who order the product now will receive a 20% discount.

    A new page has appeared on’s online store to says (in part):

    Family Tree Maker for Mac – Pre-Sale
    20% Off

    Introducing Family Tree Maker for Mac
    For 20 years, Family Tree Maker has been the #1-selling family history software. Millions of people have used it to discover, preserve and share their family stories. Now Mac users can too.

    Family Tree Maker for Mac, which is based on Family Tree Maker 2010, makes organizing, researching and sharing your family history easier than ever, whether you’re just getting started or already an expert.

    The web site then goes on at some length giving details of the new program’s capabilities. To be blunt, it all sounds identical to the capabilities of the Windows version and I’d suggest that is a good thing.

    Near the bottom of the web page, it says “This item has not yet been released. It will be released and shipped in early November.”

    Family Tree Maker for Macintosh will retail for $69.95. The online store is offering it as a “pre-sale” for a 20% discount: $55.96.

  4. Kathy Marie


    I know this is not the place to report/suggest this, but I can’t seem to find the correct way.

    As you know, in Maine and Massachusetts in the 1600-1700 time frame when a person desired to get married they published a marriage intention in the Town Clerk’s record book and then when they were married another record was made in the town clerk’s reord book showing their marriage date

    I see a lot of records for this marriage information published on And references the FHL Library for the information. Unfortunately , I think, They (either or the FHL) is not distinguishing between the Marriage Intention date and the actual marriage date. The record, when “pulled-” up from, lists both dates as the marriage date. A very small example [try it your self], Silva Nickerson is shown as marrying Benjamin Nickerson on 10 March 1798 and also on (a separate record) 22 March 1798 in Harwich, Massachusetts. It seems to me that the first date is probably the marriage intention date and the second date is either the marriage date or the marriage publication date. Again, as you know, if you look at the actual record on the microfilm it distinguishes the two events. There are many many other examples of this type of thing happening (all seem to be associated with FHL data/records) when searching for marriage records on
    Could you please find someone that will look into this and have them fix it——Thank you

Comments are closed.