Posted by Tana L. Pedersen on February 7, 2011 in Family Tree Maker

The Family tab on the People workspace provides a comprehensive view of your tree. This is where you enter information about individuals and families in your tree—and where you will spend most of your time in Family Tree Maker. Over the next few weeks I’ll spend some time explaining each section of the workspace in detail. You’ll find tips and tricks to help you quickly navigate in your tree and enter information more efficiently. Today we’ll focus on the pedigree view.

The pedigree view lets you see several generations of your family at once and easily navigate to each member of your family. The individual on the far left side of the tree is the “root” individual of the pedigree view. “Root” simply means that this person is in the primary position of the pedigree view and his or her ancestors are being displayed: paternal on top and maternal underneath.

Changing the Root Individual

If you want to change the root individual, hover your mouse over an individual in the pedigree view until an arrow appears (see fig. 1). Click the arrow and the individual moves to the root position and his or her ancestors are displayed.

Figure 1

Navigating within the Tree

You’ll notice that other types of arrows appear next to individual nodes on the tree. These arrows can help you navigate to other people in the tree.

A solid right arrow (fig. 2) indicates that the individual has parents (ancestors) who are not being displayed. Click this arrow to view these additional generations.

Figure 2

A white arrow (fig. 3) indicates that no parents (ancestors) have been entered for the individual. If you click this button, you can add a father or mother for the individual.

Figure 3

A solid left arrow (fig. 4) that appears to the left of the root individual indicates that he or she has children (descendants). If you click this button Family Tree Maker moves the root person’s first child (or the child in the direct line of the home person) to the root position of the tree.

Figure 4

A solid down arrow (fig. 5) underneath the root individual indicates that the individual has children. Click this arrow to see and/or navigate to his or her children. Note: If the individual has more than one spouse, the drop-down list displays only children from the individual’s preferred marriage.

Figure 5

You can also change the number of generations that are displayed in the pedigree view–up to five generations. Simply drag the slider at the bottom of the view to the number of generations you want (see fig. 6).

Figure 6


  1. Craig Spencer

    One Major Problem I wish you would address and I know from many people they also have a problem with this. When There is missing generation(S) in your tree, then at a later time you find information on these missing generation(S). There is no way to input this information without “All” or ‘Some” of your tree getting DELETED. This is one major weakpoint to your program. it is hard to sneak a generation(S) in between,lets say 20 generations, without 10 of them getting dumped. You would have to input them again,but if you have many more generations like my Tree there is a big problem if you know what I mean. This has discouraged me from upgading many times. Please address this.
    Thank you.
    Craig W. Spencer

  2. Richard Davis

    Mr. Spencer’s comment somewhat confuses me. If you have a missing generation(s), how on earth do you know that the older family is actually ancestral? Sounds like an opportunity for some wishful thinking here.

    Nonetheless, there are two possible ways to address this problem. When constructing the tree, if you feel there is a generation missing, put in a dummy generation, “Yehudi Potzrebie,” or some such name. Then, when an accurate connection is found, simply modify the spelling of good ol’ Yehudi’s name and proceed as normal.

    Second possible solution (and this is the one I use), set up a second, separate tree. If you find a connection later, it’s fairly easy to merge the two.

    In my case, I have my main tree (4700+ individuals) and a separate tree for my great-grandfather (1000+ individuals) because I’m not sure that the Samuel (NMI) Davis I found on-line is MY Samuel Madison Davis. It’s close enough to follow up, but there are enough inconsistencies to make the match questionable. So, I run two trees. If I choose to merge them later, I lose nothing.

  3. James

    “Lost” persons can be due to a relationship not being set properly. I’ve not found that my persons are deleted from the database but sometimes not linked properly. On the Person tab, select “Relationships”, make sure the Relationship is set properly between person and parents, siblings, etc..

    I love having the Pedigree View combined with the family. I can see 5 generations, the parents and 10 children on the same screen page.


    • Jeanie Croasmun

      Note: the post Andy is referring to has been removed. Just a quick reminder: this forum is viewable to the public — please keep that in mind as you’re creating your posts (besides, what would your ancestors think?)

  4. PamDj

    Craig #2
    It’s easy to ‘insert’ missing generations. Simply detach the person who is currently the parent of the missing generation, add in the new person as the new parent of the descendant, and then reattach the detached person as the parent of the new person.

    Not sure what version of FTM you’re running but you can do this with all the later versions and you don’t ‘lose’ anyone from your tree.

  5. Debra Elliott Messer

    I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised when I learned that I am a direct descendant of Governor William Bradford of Massachusettes. Not only was he governor, he was one of the first pilgrims to come across on the Mayflower. WOW!!

  6. Paul R.

    Craig Spencer #2

    Another way to add people to those “lost generations” in FTM is to add them as an unrelated person then attach their parents, spouses and children (if any). That way you won’t lose any information or have to recreate what you’ve already put in.

  7. Tony Knight


    I am afraid that this is one of a great string of things that works alright under Windows, but does work/work properly for me on the Mac version.

    At least under Windows we larger database holders generally only faced problems with crashing and slow responses. Now I face that and other problems.

  8. Herbert Bell

    Lets see if I can explain this correctly…Originally when I placed a found ancester in my tree, I only had the name, spouses name, and one child.
    As years have passed, I have found considerably more information on that ancester.
    I found a couple of gerenations of names and included them in my tree.
    Later, after checking for correctness, I found that the original name was in the tree twice. Once with the original information and then again with the new and vastly added information.
    I have tried and tried to figure out how to maintain the information from the original entry while somehow including all of the huge amount of information from the later entry without losing anything but the original name entry… Can I do that like a merge, as when you obtain information from another persons tree or is there another way??
    And can I download my tree onto cd or dvd?????

  9. John Donaldson

    # 10 Herbert

    I would suggest merging two duplicate individuals which will preserve all your data

    I would also si=uggest that you use the extensive Note capability on FTM including Research notes

    As always when merging have a good back up

    John D

  10. Tony Knight

    Why can’t I display 5 generations, I thought to myself as I wrote my earlier comment? I needed to check on a larger screened machine.

    The answer is that I resized the bottom frame to allow for the display of more chldren, which reduces the maximum shown on the slider to four generations.

    There is then a filled triangle just below the slider which if pressed hides the children and allows the display of five generations in the pdegigree.

  11. Chris R

    In FTM 2010 the solid down arrow appears under the root person regardless of whether they have children or a spouse – it allows you to add a child. Has this changed in FTM 2011?

  12. John Donaldson

    # 13 Tony

    5 genertions in what?

    Pegigree chart?

    pedigree view?

    If you are talking pedigree view in the People Workspace have you considered minimising the index the RH editing panel and the children’s area?

    John D

  13. Sharon Wiliams

    I have the mac version of FTM and am experiencing a very frustrating and inconsistant problem that I would appreciated some help with.

    On the pedigrre page, duplicate children appear. They are not listed as duplicates in the index. I cannot merge them, when attempting to delete one… both get deleted, any change change in information for one, changes both!

    The error report acknowledges that there is a problem, but offers no fix. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

  14. Kelley

    I am not impressed at all with FTM 2011. It is not as user friendly as some claim. I will uninstall and use 2005 instead!

  15. SW

    I actually just deleted an online tree which I reduced down first and I noticed the same thing that Sharon #16 mention. I had some duplicates. I was going to keep one for awhile to make sure I had everything but when I changed info on one, it changed on both. I couldn’t make the two people different enough to keep one but not the other. When I finally deleted one, both deleted. It didn’t really matter to me, since I was deleting the tree but thought I’d mention it since Sharon did.

  16. Allen Sutton

    I am very frustrated with 2011 and Ancestry. I have a problem with 2011 crashing every time I try to import my own photos from my own storage. I have reported this problem 3 months ago and have sent an error log and as yet no reply on how to fix. I am in Australia and while the team here have tried they are unable to help me. I have had to revert to using 2010. PLEASE HELP ME!

  17. KIM

    We just installed FTM last night and are very frustrated with it. A simple thing… how do we look up a birth certificate or Marriage certificate? We are going out of the program to do everything. We purchased this program thinking it would help us locate these things easier and keep track of it but I am not so sure about it now. Any suggestions or help? Oh and by the way if you ask the Help feature about looking up a birth certificate it says no matches found! Very confusing program.

  18. FRAN

    hi i got window 7 ,and got the new family tree 2011 ,my problem is when i try to deleted a source or onlink i have to get out of the program ,for the double personne it true you got them sometime twice but i merge them no problem ,i would like the vital information first not the personal tree because we do not know if they got no source were they take those information ,thank that my two cent

  19. Marion Ramage

    I am very disappointed with FTM2011. I would like it to have a Family view as in Ancestry. I find it long winded to obtain info. In fact almost given up on it altogether.

  20. Tracy

    I am also having the problem with the duplicate children in the latest MAC version and would dearly like a fix for this problem. The method of detaching and re-attaching the parents is long winded and very time consuming. I also find it odd that it only happens to some families and not all. Please sort this problem out. Also, is there a way to sync the online version with the software version so we don’t have to keep updating both? Very frustrating and not at all easy to use. Needs a lot of work to get this up to speed.

Comments are closed.