Thursday, December 17, 2015

Part 4 ~ Genealogy Without Family Tree Maker

This is part 4 of an ongoing series documenting my search for a desktop/laptop genealogy software package to replace the retiring Family Tree Maker sold by  See below for links to the previous three blog posts in this series.

After playing around with some alternative software packages I’ve determined I needed a list of “deal breaker” features I need in my choice.   I’ll be looking for these features as I try out all the new software packages.  These are my “wish list” for a new desktop genealogy software package:

1.  A lineage report, for example, a simple report that shows how I descend from one ancestor.
2.  Concise citations that print out accurately on reports and charts
3.  An easy index of relatives, with a home button to easily return to a chosen relative (usually me).
4.  Easily produced GEDCOM files
5.  Good customer service
6.  Easy solutions for duplicate entries for relatives (collapsing pedigrees) and merges
7.  Handles large amounts of data on 50,000 to 100,000 relatives.
8.  Stability- no crashing, lost data, slow loading or other hints of poor software design

My “Would be nice” but not a “deal breaker” features:

1.  Sync to an online tree
2.  Drag and drop photos and documents

Helpful links found on line:

A terrific chart comparing software packages by The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) 

Also at NEHGS, a very timely and FREE webinar on Tuesday, January 26, 3pm Eastern Time, "Choosing a Genealogical Software Program" presented by genealogist Rhonda McClure.  Register ahead of time at this link:

An interesting view of Ancestry’s retirement of Family Tree Maker by Louis Kesser at the Behold Genealogy blog.  He brings up several good points about the lack of sympathy for the company for user suggestions and complaints.  Check out his post “What Ancestry’s ‘Retirement’ of FTM Really Means”   

And a blog post by Lisa Louise Cooke from Genealogy Gems "Family Tree Maker Alternatives: Great Offers, and What I do with my Tree"

Other good news!
Russ Worthington has been busy over at his blog Family Tree Maker User.  He’s produced a series of new mini videos to help you transition from FTM to other software-

“FTM2014 to RootsMagic – Living People weren’t included”

“How to View Media Files in Roots Magic 7 (for FTM2014 users)

“How to Download your tree from” 

Also check out Dear Myrtle and Russ Worthington at “Wacky Wednesday: Life Beyond Family Tree Maker”


PS-  In my Part 3 post I was playing around with MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder Genealogy Program.  They have a NEW OFFER for FTM users.   You get both the Family Tree Builder software and an unlimited size Family Site online for FREE!  The software was free before, but the unlimited size family web site is new.  And both will sync on your handheld devices, too.  See the details at the MyHeritage blog at this link:


Part 2 in this series   "Without Family Tree Maker" 


Published under a Creative Commons License
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Part 4 ~ Genealogy Without Family Tree Maker", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 17, 2015 ( accessed [access date]). 


  1. I want the genealogy software to export to Register style in native Word format.

  2. I am becoming more enamored with Family Historian 6 and have started blogging about it. One unique feature, I think, is that you can save a photo with lots of people in it and then draw boxes around each face and tag the person by name. Kind of like tagging photos on social media. Boy, will that change my image naming pattern. They have a tree trial version on their website, but I purchased it.

  3. Heather, good work. I'll get back to this someday. And, it will be interesting to see how the decisions go. is so troublesome, for so many reason. I wonder if I'm in a minority as it seems so popular.