Monday, October 3, 2011

No Lineage Charts on Family Tree Maker 2012?

The last version of Family Tree Maker that produced reports like this was FTM2006 otherwise known as version 16.   This was before the big re-do of Family Tree Maker.  This is the report I print out most of the time.  It is useful in many ways:

1.  To show how someone descends from an immigrant ancestor
2.  To show how someone is a cousin through a common ancestor
3.  To demonstrate all the generations between someone and a particular ancestor
4.  For applying to lineage societies, such as Mayflower, DAR, or Colonial Dames since it shows all the generations, pertinent BMD data, and spouses with their BMD data.  This is all the information lineage societies ask for on their membership applications, along with source material.
This is an descendant report from FTM 2006
showing a lineage from Mayflower passenger John Howland to Donald M. Wilkinson

I just spent almost an hour on the phone with trying to find out how to produce a similar chart with Family Tree Maker 2011.  I had called about this back when I had Family Tree Maker 2009 and with 2010 (they told me it was impossible), and this weekend I was puzzling over how to do this with my copy of Family Tree Maker 2011.   The first operator had no idea what I was talking about (and this is a genealogy company!).  So I was passed on to his manager, who had to look in several books and at version 16 to see what I wanted.  Then he recommended this chart as the next best thing.

There are several problems with this second report.  First, it's not a report, it's a tree chart showing a single line from John Howland to Donald Munroe Wilkinson.  It's missing wives and all their important data.  This would be OK for casual conversations with cousins to show how someone descended from a particular ancestor, but not acceptable for filling out lineage applications which always require spouse information.  It also takes up two sheets of paper.

The customer service representative also told me that Family Tree Maker 2012 will not produce lineage reports, such as the one in FTM2006.  What!  After half a dozen years I still cannot produce the one report I use the most often, and the one that is most helpful for lineage societies!  He wrote down my suggestion to report to the team producing the next version (2013?) However, that is what the operator told me back in 2009, and in 2010.  Maybe if enough of us call and complain and suggest this it might come true in the next half dozen years?

It's a good thing I still hang onto FTM2006...

UPDATE!  -  Russ Worthington, the author of the blog "Family Tree Maker User", commented below, and actually spent quite a bit of time figuring out how to print out a lineage report with Family Tree Maker 2011. You must read this if you are interested in this type of report.  It's a complicated process, so go to this link and print it out...

UPDATE 2!   Midge Frazel, at her blog "Beyond the Horizon", also read all the buzz on this blog post in Facebook and wrote up directions on how to produce lineage reports with RootsMagic4.  I am not familiar with this software, but many people use it.   She learned how to produce this type of report from Bruce Buzbee at the NERGC conference (he is the president at RootsMagic).  You can find the directions at this link: 

Thanks Russ and Midge!

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Heather,

    Please provide feedback to the developers by clicking on Help, within Family Tree Maker, the Online Help Center, and click on the Enhancement Request link.

    Yes, the Version 16 report is not in FTM2012. But, I have a question. What would you like to show in such a report? It is purely the Outline Descendant Report between an Ancestry and a specific Descendant? I ask, only to see if there is another way to provide you with the information that you want.

    For example, Filters can help you determine who to show in reports and charts. I have found that the Filters have provided me with a number of things I have wanted to see. Although I use the Outline Descendant Report, and find it helpful, but I have found filters have helped as well.


  2. Heather, it turns out this was a very good question! Thanks for bringing it up (thought the issue was just mine).

  3. Barbara, I used the link from Russ (see above) to lodge a formal complaint/suggestion. Hopefully if you and others make the same suggestion they will take it seriously.

  4. Things like this is one of the many reasons why I moved to Legacy and then onto RootsMagic. I probably need to quit jumping software at some some point, though...LOL. I'm pretty happy with RootsMagic. It has a lot of flexibility with custom reports and the ability to create your own source templates.

  5. It looks like it is more difficult looking at the updated link...I am going to second think getting the new version. Thanks for sharing this information.

  6. I just had this same question in email from a reader. I pointed out my blog post at about making a direct-line descendant chart.

    It's a chart, but looks good and has most of what you want, I think.

  7. Yes, Randy, it's a nice chart. I could do something similar to this with the 2011 version, too. What I want is better reports on FTM. Maybe version 2013?