Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Family Tree Maker 2008 Beta WebSearch

NOTE: Family Tree Maker 2008 has been released and is no longer in beta or available for download.

**The Genealogy software program
Family Tree Maker 2008 is available at The Ancestry Store and is constantly being updated and improved. **

A new version of the Family Tree Maker 2008 Public Beta was released on July 25th at Family Tree Maker 2008 BETA. If you have a fast Internet connection, you may want to download the newest beta, give it a test run, and then send your opinions to the email address listed at Family Tree Maker 2008 BETA. This is the genealogy community's chance to let the Family TreeMaker people know your thoughts and suggestions upfront. (Hint: if you have previously downloaded the beta, delete the old beta before downloading the new version) .

FTM has had a complete program rebuild from the ground up. If you have been using FTM for a long while as I have (about 12 years), you will see that the FTM 2008 interface looks completely different. I believe that with version 2008 they are building a strong foundation for the next generation of FTM. Because it is a new program, and not just an add-on upgrade to the old version, some things are done differently than before, so you might consider downloading the beta to check it out.

I've been using the Beta quite a bit and have given my My First Thoughts about FTM 2008 and extensive details about my Additional FTM 2008 Thoughts after using the program for a week.

I like the new FTM 2008. It has many new features, and I find it is easier to use than the previous versions. Now when I go back to FTM16, it seems a bit old-fashioned and clunky-looking in comparison. I especially like the new screens of FTM 2008 which make it easier to see everything in one glance. The index is always in view. The family view now combines the family tree and family group. I like the combined views because it is a time saver not to be constantly clicking back and forth from one screen to another. And it makes it makes it much easier to see everything that I have for a person in my tree with one glance.

One feature of the new FTM 2008 I have been playing with this week is the WebSearch. FTM2008 WebSearch is not focused just on records. The new webclipper enables the user to incorporate information from any web source into your tree. This FTM2008 WebSearch searches,, as well as Google, Yahoo, MSN and any website you would like to add to your Personal Favorite Sites. I added and a few other websites that I access all the time. Adding my favorite websites to the program reminds me to check each of these websites for each person in my tree.

FTM 2008 WebSearch is much more than just an Internet search. The WebSearch actually integrates results into your file - you can merge any data found on any Internet site into your tree with no retyping and, in addition, archive a copy of the web page. I'm not talking about merging other trees into my tree but rather merging actual data into my tree. As more and more important datasets become available on the Internet, the more useful this becomes.

Family Tree Maker’s Web Clipping feature is pretty nifty. You gather data and images from the web and merge to your tree. Highlight the text from the web, a menu appears in FTM, select the fact type and the selected text is copied to the Search result detail pane, ready to merge. If you highlight the place name, it is automatically put into the place field in the program. If you highlight the date, it is automatically put into the date field. No retyping and no typos.

You can do the same with images and pictures on the web. As you move the mouse pointer over an image on the web page, a frame appears around the image. Click the image and it is copied to the Search result detail pane, ready to merge.

Here is an example of an image of my grandfather's naturalization Declaration of Intent that is online at a NJ county library site. Using the webclipper, I was able to click on the image and copy it to FTM 2008. The top arrow is pointing to the webclipper feature. The bottom arrow shows the fact that was automatically added when I highlighted the date that was in text on the previous page and selected the Naturalization Fact.

If you find a matching record at site, you can merge the facts into your tree by clicking the Merge button. Along with the facts, FTM 2008 links source information to each fact. If the record has an associated image, such as a census image, it is linked to the source and merged into the Media Collection. Data and sourcing is merged into your tree with no retyping of data.

I like FTM2008 but everyone has different needs and wants in a genealogy program . People have different sized family tree files and different computer configurations. People may use different features than I do. For example, I didn't try the merge feature of FTM 2008 since that is something I never use, but if it is important to you, consider downloading the beta to see if it works for you the way you want.

I think it is great that the FTM 2008 beta has been made available for the public to try before they buy. Because this program is different from previous versions, give yourself time to give the program a good workout to see how things function.

Family Tree Maker 2008

1 comment:

Trishymouse said...

I have been playing with FTM 2008 BETA, also, and really like what I see. I'm much more inclined now that the Generations Network has made things to seamless, to buy a subscription to It's really worth it now...