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Which FT program do you recommend?

Discussion in 'Digital records' started by trebor, Sep 2, 2013.

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  1. trebor

    trebor LostCousins Member

    I am slowly becoming disillusioned with the FTP that I have used for many years. Each new update brings in more messages pushing me to pay them money to use the online features which they seem to be concentrating on and which I do not want. Also some of the tools are no longer working the way they used to. It is a free program (when used without the online sources) so I should not complain. I have no aversion to paying a reasonable amount to get a better solution but which one? My major limitation is that it should feel at home with Windows 8.

    Any recommendations will be gratefully accepted especially if you list any pros and cons from your own experience. I have tested a few of the free starter versions of the common names but would really appreciate the views of longer term users.

    Many thanks in advance.
  2. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Trebor,

    I have used 2 pieces of software now, GenoPro and FTM2012. GenoPro is very visual and easy to make branches which are hyperlinked to make things very clear. However, it not so good on capturing some of the data that I want to capture to enable me to use FTAnalyser more effectively.

    So I made use of one of Peter's top tips. I purchased FTM2012 from Amazon (FTM2011 was not available). It was just under £50, and you get 6 months free subscription to Ancestry. (if you already subscribe, they just extend your expiry date).

    You get software to load on your pc and you can also work on-line. I do most of my work on-line and then sync my pc version to it. Its simple to create gedcom files to import into FTA and the pc version has a lot of other tools. Adding census information and BMD facts are very simple and pretty quick, and it will add the census info to all the other members of the family in the household.

    I like it now, and at the moment I'm going through the exercise of adding census info to all the 2,800 people in my tree so I'm learning a lot of how it works. I'm finding a lot of new people to add because their Hints are surprising accurate.

    Have you tried it on-line? Start a test tree and see how to add census and other info, and other family members.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. trebor

    trebor LostCousins Member

    Thanks Tim your comments are appreciated.
    I also took Peter's advice and bought the 2011 World version. To be honest I was not looking to change my program at that time so probably did not give it a fair trial however I was not impressed. From the reviews I have seen the 2012 version has some good improvements - maybe it is worth giving it a second look - especially with the benefit of the Ancestry membership as I am sure there will be new records to search. However I would be interested to hear how does it rate as a program without the Ancestry membership - I am a committed FMP user and have not yet been convinced on the benefits of a total change of allegiance.

    Following your mention of GenoPro I downloaded the trial version but it gives the impression (unless I have missed something) of being biased toward presenting a tree rather than recording it.

    Can anyone add to Tim's reviews please? When looking at a totally different program it is easy to sometimes miss the valuable bits while trying to master the different methods involved.
    Other trial programs I am looking at are Roots Magic 6 (seems to be excellent for searching Family Search), Family Historian 5 and Legacy 7.5 - again the effort of trying to master the basics may mean that I am missing the real features - any guidance would be appreciated. Have I missed any other program?

    The program I use at the moment is My Heritage Family Tree Builder - its major benefits and uniqueness in my view is the ability to see both ancestors and descendants at the same time in the tree view (up to 6 generations at once - 3 ancestors + 2 descendants) and the ability to double click on any person in the visible tree to see all of their individual records without leaving that tree window plus the ease to change the focus person / couple and then switch back to the previous one. Are these features available in other programs and I have missed them?
  4. Cathy

    Cathy Moderator Staff Member

    Take a close look at Legacy Family Tree. On the website you'll find training videos. Legacy also offers Webinars. These cover a whole range of topics. Amongst them you'll find some Watch Geoff Live webinars which are some of the best training.
    Legacy has a variety of ways to view the data you enter. Given it's one of the best programs, it is very reasonably priced - less than many of the others - and the free standard version has the major features.
    Note that the FTA is unnecessary. Legacy does these things already and Legacy 8 is enhancing them.
    You can search all kinds of internet sites from within Legacy (not something I do) and it has a special module to allow you to interact both ways with FamilySearch Tree.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  5. trebor

    trebor LostCousins Member

    Thanks for the advice Cathy. I have looked at the free version of Legacy 7.5 but must admit I have not checked the videos - that could be very useful. I will also see if I can get version 8.
  6. Cathy

    Cathy Moderator Staff Member

    You can't get version 8 yet. It hasn't been released. But watch for it later in the year.:) The Legacy News blog has been announcing new elements in Legacy 8 over the past few weeks.
  7. AnneC

    AnneC LostCousins Star

    I would also recommend Legacy, I've been using it for about ten years and although I've tried other programs I always go back to Legacy. The webinars/videos are also very good.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Norman

    Norman LostCousins Member

    I've said before - if you ask 10 genealogists for their recommended FT program you'll get 10 different answers.

    If you use Ancestry on-line then Family Tree Maker is almost a no-brainer. If you buy it you'll often get 6 months free access to Ancestry too. This offer gives you 6 months "free" world wide Ancestry membership. The cost is £78 but as a year's membership of Ancestry (Worlwide) costs £155 you effectively get Family Tree Maker for nothing.

    If you don't use Ancestry then my recommendation is RootsMagic. I've used many FT programs over the years and this comes closest to my personal requirements. Take a look at the videos on their site too. There is an "essentials" (free) version to get a feel for the program and it also comes with "RootsMagic To Go" which allows you to run the full program from a flash drive (USB memory stick) and keep your PC version and the memory stick "in sync".
  9. Norman

    Norman LostCousins Member

    I should also have said that the 6 months free offer is available to existing Ancestry members too. They extend your membership expiry date. Best to telephone them to arrange it though.
  10. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    Try any new FT program and you will almost invariably go back to whatever you are most comfortable/familiar with. As Norman says there is no one FT program that is better than any other there are different products for different tastes. You also get used to how an program does things switching to a different program will always then cause you to have problems around "that's not what I'm used to." Many of these problems if you persevere (regardless of FT program) you will either come to love the new features the new program provides or more likely you will hanker after the feature your old program has so you will return to it.

    Where the issue forces itself, due to the program becoming obsolete or no longer working/satisfactory for whatever reason the you are in trebor's situation and look around for greener grass. The core thing that will help make a decision is if a new FT program "flows" and "feels right" to you. For that reason those like Legacy that offer a free version to try are already streets ahead as you can see if you like it before you decide to buy.

    I suspect however trebor that your answer will become obvious once you realise what it is about your current program you dislike and what other program solves that issue without introducing too many new issues. It's often difficult to put your finger on exactly what you dislike about something like an FT program. However if you could have a think and try to explain then that might help identify what the solution that suits you is.

    I don't know why you persist in posting this mis-information. FT Analyzer is NOT a family tree program. It aims to analyse your data and highlight issues and errors. It does a different job from a FT program and does have several things that Legacy does not do neither in version 7 nor 8. Like double click searching of Ancestry/FindMyPast/FreeCen/FamilySearch for census records and coming soon BMD records, or producing customised Lost Cousins reports etc. Just because you choose not to use it doesn't mean it is not going to prove useful to others who use Legacy as their FT program.
  11. Cathy

    Cathy Moderator Staff Member

    That's great that FT Analyzer is a useful tool for you.
    However Legacy DOES enable you to highlight issues and errors and Legacy 8 does this in a more upfront way. Potential problems are highlighted as soon as data is entered in Legacy 8 - and the number of things checked has increased. In Legacy 7 you have to go and run a report.

    And yes you can set up Legacy so that a click has you searching particular internet sites for particular data. A feature I don't use but it's there.

    You started out by seeking to identify from a Gedcom who you needed to enter for a particular census. Legacy does that too. Produces a really useful "census list" with the ability to mark or omit people you've already found however you entered the data.

    Sorry. You obviously don't know the features as well as I do. Don't call it misinformation when I point them out.

    Is Legacy perfect? of course it isn't. Does it suit everyone? Of course not as we work in different ways.
    There's much in what you say about familiarity. I turned to Legacy 15 years ago for the ease of use and the sourcing capabilities. It's changed over the years adding things I use a lot and things I don't use at all. I used a number of programs before coming to Legacy. From time to time I look at what is on offer from other programs. Whenever I've been tempted to change, I've always found the grass on the other side isn't greener after all.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    I'm the author of course its a useful tool to me.

    You were NOT pointing out features you were saying the results of my time and efforts were not necessary if you used Legacy and that is simply not true the two tools serve different purposes. There is overlap of course there is but Legacy has gaps that FTA seeks to cover. I go to great lengths to assist users and to add new features to help people understand their data better. If Legacy works for you despite it's garish non windows standard looks that's great but please don't denigrate my work.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. trebor

    trebor LostCousins Member

    I feel that I have opened a can of worms here that is not beneficial to the purpose of this forum.
    I would like to thank everyone for their advice and opinions but also request that this subject is closed.
    There are many programs both paid for and free that benefit the end user and because one program is not needed by a specific user or group of users does not take away its value to others who find it of value.
    I would not like to see a war of words generated following my honest and simple request so would like to see the subject ended.

    Thanks again to everyone for their comments.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
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