I use Family Tree Maker every single day. There are many reasons why I love it. I can move around my tree without having to wait for web pages to load with each new click. I can customize my screen to show me exactly what information I want to see about each person. I can privatize specific pieces of media or facts that I don’t want uploaded to my public tree on Ancestry.com when I sync my offline and online trees. Not connected to the internet? No problem. I still can access my tree from my laptop at 30,000 feet or when I’m at grandma’s house.
Here are a couple more examples of ways in which I use Family Tree Maker to enhance and improve my genealogy research experience..
I enjoy having so many options for creating reports. I can create pedigree charts and family group sheets, relationship charts or descendants reports. There is even a report I can run for all undocumented facts in my tree. I can print these reports to use as a map for my research or just create a PDF file to share with family via email.
My favorite Family Tree Maker report is the data error report. This report allows me to check my file for common mistakes that are made when I enter information into my tree. Did I mistype a birth date and have a woman married to a man who died before she was born? Are there families in my tree where the children are not listed in birth order? Is there anyone in my tree who lived to be more than 120 years old because I copied a piece of information incorrectly? The data error report allows me to search for these and many other possible errors. A list is generated that I can then print out and use as a guide to go through my tree and review those errors so I can fix what needs fixing..
As much as I love family history research, one of my personal challenges is focus. Some days I sit down to work on my family history and I don’t know where to start. Or I start with one thing and get distracted along other lines of the family. Sometimes this is a fun way to approach the climb up my family tree. Other times I frustrate myself with this behavior. One of the features in Family Tree Maker I use a lot is the filter. I can filter the index of people in my tree down to any specific criteria. Then I can focus on that specific list of people to do further research. The possibilities are endless but here are some suggestions to get your brain working.
- Who in my tree was living in the United States in 1940 but does not yet have a 1940 census record attached?
- A new database just came online at Ancestry.com. Who in my tree ever lived in the specific location covered by the records in this new database?
- Which men in my tree were eligible for the World War One draft but don’t yet have a draft card attached?
- Who are all of the descendants of a specific ancestor?
The list of filter options is only bound by your imagination and could invigorate your family history research. And, the more facts you record about people (hair color, eye color, height, military service, occupation, etc.), the more your filter options become a really fun tool to use.
Now, I’d like to hear from you. What’s your favorite feature of Family Tree Maker?
Have fun climbing your family tree!