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Pros and cons of different family tree programs and software

Discussion in 'General discussion' started by canadianbeth, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    I was hoping to already find that someone had started a discussion like this. I have had Family Tree Maker for many years now and am relatively happy with it, not knowing that there were others out there that might be better until recently. I tried MyHeritage because my cousins were using it but find it hard to navigate in the family view, and then folks here were saying it was not private enough so I stopped. I have since uploaded my DNA information to it and heard from one possible match. I also have Family Search but there are people on there that are not correct and I have been unable to delete them (I just sent them a message regarding that). I just downloaded the trial version of Family Historian and like the setup for the ancestor diagram and the fact that there is a definite line between two brothers whose children married, making them first cousins and my grandmother's parents. I have not yet done much else with it though, so any tips would be helpful. The Quick Start Guide was too small for me to really understand.

    FTM now has colour coding but I do not understand it at all. It would be helpful if someone could explain it and say whether it is really all that useful.
  2. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    Are you working with a PC or a Mac? The options are different for each and I wouldn't like to presume.

    As for the Colour coding - I use it in two different ways. If you are clicked onto a person, and then you click the "Colour coding" button, it allows you to colour code all the ancestors of that person in 1 colour or 4 colours; All the descendants of that person in a single colour etc. I presume you can use that set of colour coding for as many people as you like.

    I also use colour coding for filtered, saved lists (only once you have saved the list can you add a colour to it). For example I have a list for all those who I have already found on the 1939 Register. That way it makes it easier to find those I might still need to locate. You can filter your lists for anything you like and whatever is most useful for you in your own research. - Each individual on your tree can have a total of four colours attached to them. (Depending on the lists, it might be nice if they can eventually have more.)

    For context's sake, I work mainly on a Mac and use a combination of FTM and when I'm looking for errors, Mac Family Tree 8 - which has very nice chart sets (better than FTM's), and a different way of dealing with places which makes it easier to find issues/duplicate places.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
    • Useful Useful x 1
  3. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    Might I suggest that you use a similar approach for 1841/1881/1911 census records entered at LC? I do something similar within my GenoPro software on my PC. It highlights areas in my charts which I need to concentrate on to get further matches and is much easier than having to use FTA later to find missing entries. However, I should note that I do use the wonderful FTA as a back stop to catch any that have been missed.
  4. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    That is a good idea, currently I use FTA to help find those missing - but it would also work to discover who has a "LC" fact on my tree. Thanks!

    It was used for the 1939 Register because I was searching on FMP and then adding to FTM/Ancestry and once Ancestry had it, I was using the filters to compare who I had added using the Ancestry references and who I still had to find that I had already discovered... It took ages to make sure it all matched up.
  5. palfamily

    palfamily LostCousins Member

    Has anyone had any experience with WikiTree? I’ve just found a couple of cousins from GEDmatch who have trees there.
  6. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    I am using a PC.

    Colour coding sounds very time consuming and confusing as well. How do you keep track of who has which colour? If I use red for my Dad for instance, I would also use red for his mother, and then her mother (or father?). Which line gets which colour? My grandmother's parents were first cousins so their parents were brothers, do they get the same colours? A different colour for his Dad, supposing he had one. And then my mother - different again for each branch.

    Where do you have lists?
  7. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe this will help illustrate the colours on FTM. From the home person each of your grandparents are allocated a colour, this is done by FTM.

    So if you see a blue colour you know it's your father's fathers bloodline, green is your father's mothers bloodline etc. Quite useful as you look at your family tree and spot the colours as you now know they were your ancestors. Unfortunately, they don't have this on Ancestry, so I have adapted the same principle and added a coloured box to the picture. These do show up on Ancestry :)
  8. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Superstar

    If you use the Filter... button to filter in selected people (either as ancestors/descendants or using search criteria from any 'events' you've recorded), you can then save the list with a name and colour code, and this will then appear in the 'Manage Lists' dropdown menu, showing any colour used for coding that list. There may be other ways of organising lists, but I've found this way quite convenient - and it acts as an index of who has which colour in FTM. Saved lists are also useful to create sub-trees that you might want to send to others or upload to Ancestry.
  9. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Superstar

    Good tip. I noticed the colours in FTM don't upload to Ancestry. Not sure how you add a coloured box to the picture though?
  10. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    I took a snap shot of the Ancestry image (I use Greenshot but any snipping tool should work) and then added a coloured box with the family name in it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2018
  11. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    The Filter button is at the bottom LHS of the screen when you are in People, Tree view.
  12. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    And you can filter practically anything - In order to follow Bryman's suggestion above, I clicked the "Filter" button; then filtered in everyone with a Residence Fact (how Ancestry and FTM classify census inputs) for 1881 (and ticked the "alternate facts" box), and then to make a list of those I have to add to LC, filtered out the people who had a LC fact for 1881; then I saved the list (appears under your list of people that you have filtered) and added a colour - I then did the same for the 1841 and 1911 English censuses, the only issue will be that it will have pulled any census fact that has those years, but that will be a small issue on a UK dominated tree like mine.

    I have also previously filtered by Notes, death years, places of death etc. You can also filter for all the descendants/ancestors of a single person in your tree.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    Do FTM does it automatically once I click on a specific person and access the colour coding section? That would definitely be helpful. I will try it out later.
  14. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Superstar

    You can automatically colour code ancestors (or descendants) by clicking on a person and using the dropdown colour coding menu which has an option to have 4 different colours for each grandparent's bloodline, as shown in Tim's earlier post. But if you want to do a 'bulk' colour code based on anything else, you have to use the Filter function, which is very powerful, as described by Jorghes.
  15. KC4

    KC4 LostCousins Member

    Have you persisted with Family Historian?
  16. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Star

    Do you also keep paper copies eg of census returns, Canadianbeth? I colour code the files in which I keep printouts and BMD certificates, using a different colour for each grandparent's family. Apart from being a helpful system, the files look good on the bookshelves:)
  17. PhilipT

    PhilipT LostCousins Member

    I'm a volunteer with Croydon Libraries, showing beginners how to use the libraries' (limited) Ancestry.co.uk access. Now we're confined to quarters, I'm offering online beginner help to members of my local church, choir, and pensioners' association.

    Many beginners want to start without spending much or any money, so my first "lesson" is about what to do first. I want to include advice as to what program to download. Ideally one that's free. (I've also been passing on Peter's recommendation for Family Historian, although that's not.)

    What does anyone (else) think?
  18. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Philip, Family Search is Free. FreeBMD is Free and the GRO site is free to search.

    There are many other free resources but it depends where people are researching.

    I personally would recommend FTM2019, it's syncing with Ancestry is excellent and using Ancestry online is also very easy.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  19. PhilipT

    PhilipT LostCousins Member

    1. I already have a handout for my library "customers" which includes those online resources, plus others - although there's no way I could list everything. Lost Cousins is the only website included in my first online "lesson", since it has so much to offer as well as being free to join, and complements other advice (i.e. to find out what your relatives can tell you).

    2. I'm still using FTM2014.1. What extra does FTM2019 offer, that you find really useful?

    BTW How/where do I upload to Lost Cousins a photo of myself?
  20. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    I added the picture of my Dad by clicking on my name in the top right corner; there is a place there to add a photo.

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