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on January 10, 2012
I have two family tree files and was using FTM 2006, while keeping Ancestry.com manually updated. I loved the idea of the automatic SYNC feature. My smaller file worked fine first time out, and has had no problems. The conversion of my larger file had been a nightmare. I converted just like I did the smaller file, but I couldn't get it to SYNC. I was told that my FTM 2006 file was corrupt and was given instructions on how to fix it, and then start all over. That worked for a few days, and then once again failed. I have merged files, converted files, reloaded and deleted files at least six times. The SYNC process works for a while and then fails. Most recently, I was told that the media files had a problem and some must be missing. When I ran the utility to check for missing media, it turns out that 80% of my media was missing. At this point, the suggestion was to reload FTM from Ancestry. I always felt my FTM data was more likely to be complete and error-free, but right about now, I'm desperate and I've wasted days and days of work. I reloaded from Ancestry, found all the missing media files, and the SYNC worked...for 3 days. Ancestry support has been very good, but now they have taken my file to "fix" the problem. My question is: how long is it going to work once I reload it into FTM 2012? I am ready to go back to 2006 which, by the way, is much easy to use even if it doesn't have some of the cool new features that 2012 does.
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on April 11, 2012
If you own a HP with an AMD Athlon x4 processor running 64 bit Win7 this software is a potential nightmare.

I spend 4 hours installing (and uninstalling) three (3) times with no success. FTM 2012 regularly crashed when merging data from Ancestry.com and crashed 100% when printing a report. Upon reporting these issues to Ancestry.com customer service I was rewarded with a link to a 7-page "canned" solution to the problem I experienced. Obviously this software has experienced these same issues since FTM 2008 (5 YEARS) on XP, Vista, & Win 7.

Their solution is to blame every other product (Windows 7, net.framework, HP PC's, HP printer drivers, security software, a corrupted user account, MSE 3.0, a damaged FTM database and every other potential excuse except the most obvious. Their "fix" included disabling security software, updating Windows, updating net.framework 4, re-installing MSE 3.0, updating printer drives, and manually re-installing FTM 2012. Each suggestion appeared reasonable excepting the manual uninstall which include the use of RegEdit to manually delete several keys in the registry - a dangerous proposition for the average PC user! Another 5 hours invested (+ 100 hours frustration) and no solution.

The final straw was their instruction to manually toggle through all keys in the WoW6432node, locate any reference to FRM 2012, and delete the entire key. Wow! on my HP machine this represented 196 keys to be scanned, analyzed, and deleting (hopefully) the correct key. We have now expanded the fix to realm of crashing systems. I wonder how many systems have been rendered useless as a result?

Fortunately I located a fix for the printing problem at[...]. A solution that addresses the issue and actually works - what a concept! The merge issue still exists with no solution from Ancestry.com.

The bottom line is Family Tree Maker is buggy, unreliable, and contains unresolved issues that have been known for years! Purchase at your own risk and be prepared for an adventure (unsupported). Ancestry.com should be ashamed! This product is without value.
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on February 10, 2012
I have been using this poor excuse for a program for several months. I have a medium size tree with over 2500 names, photos and citations. The initial issue was the major sync problem that many people have had. This has been partially resolved with their lasted patch, But it did not address the problem with syncing after "Finding Duplicate People" and combining.

I'm glad for those who have not had these problems, but I had to rebuild my entire family tree on-line wasting many many hours due to this program. Give it six months or more before you consider buying or better yet wait till 2013.
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on December 11, 2011
Stop!
Before you buy this, understand this as simply as can be. You're better off just using the ancestry.com website. This desktop application is painful beyond all possible word to navigate and use.
Further unless you have a completely simple family tree with no divorces, step parents, etc., you'll will hate the interface.
The final nail in the coffin for me was when it associated my birth mother to my half sister as the preferred parent and gave no method to update the data other than deleting my birth mother and starting over.
I've lost too much time trying to make a UI work that should have been the simplest part of the program.

In short, ancestry.com the website provides all the brains to this program for research, and you will find you're subscribing for an added fee as soon as you start to use it. You're better off skipping the senseless UI and using the website directly.
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on January 28, 2012
I installed FTM after using Legacy for over 7 years. It was mainly to support a "gifted" subscription to Ancestry.com. I am ready to ask for my money back. It was buggy to install, took several tries. The first sync with Ancestry.com went well. The subsequent re-syncs won't complete. Using their troubleshooting techniques I managed to undo several years of system tuning by starting and stopping services and auto-start applications. I decided to just download a GEDCOM file as backup which I can load into Legacy or use as a reload for Ancestry.com. Even that doesn't work although that problem isn't related to this software.

I used FTM for over 10 years before trying Legacy. FTM 2012 is much slower in both start-up and execution, has a poorer interface, is more difficult to add and correct relationships, and has fewer assists when errors occur.

Try them side by side and return the worse one.
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on March 27, 2012
I have used Family Tree Maker 6.0 since it came out and was very happy with it but when I bought a new computer, I thought I would try the latest FTM. Wish I hadn't!!! This version is complicated to navigate and takes a LOT of time to sync with my online tree. I finally took my online tree down because I was having to manually update both. I like to print out genealogy reports to share with family members and am very disappointed in FTM 2012's reports. I can't make an outline descendant chart and the genealogy reports themselves are not nearly as professional looking as the ones I generated in the earlier version. So, I am hanging onto that earlier version and using it. I do not recommend FTM 2012 at all.
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on January 6, 2012
NIGHTMARE! I bought FTM to try to solve having to cut and paste all my new info from Ancestry to PAF and vice-versa. I figured that a big company like Ancestry would definitely have software that would somehow update my trees online and in my laptop, and do it with ease, but I was sadly mistaken. I had nothing but problems with FTM 2011, but finally got it to be somewhat stable, so when I heard that they had released 2012 with the new "sync" feature enabled I was excited, but skeptical. After talking to my dad, who has a Mac, I felt a little better about buying the new software, so I gave it a shot. I have a PC, though, so I shoulda known that I was in for a battle! I had the same problems with 2011 - couldn't register my software. I spent an hour on the phone with tech support (mostly waiting on hold!), and finally got my free 6 month U.S. membership sub. going. The tech supp. guy actually told me that if I could log in to the dashboard, it was the same thing as registering. WHAT? Then why doesn't the software say I am registered? Anyway, things worked okay for a few days, but suddenly my trees weren't syncing anymore, so the knowledge base told me to delete the synced trees on ancestry and upload them again, but it didn't work. 2012 kept crashing, and not syncing, so I was instructed to do a "clean uninstall and install". I printed out 7 pages of instruction, followed them unwaveringly, but still my program crashed - even worse this time. I have spent half of my day trying to fix this thing, and I am fed up!!!! But what to do? This is the only program that words with Ancestry.com. It's great when it works, but when it doesn't (which is 90% of the time) it's horrid!!!! I've never bought a worse program! Maybe Mac users will be okay with it, but not PCs.
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on December 26, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This program is a great tool for the experienced genealogist, and for the beginner. With Family Tree Maker 2012 you can make an unlimited catalogue of your ancestors and your extended family. This "unlimited" capacity is particularly useful if you have been working at genealogy long enough to have discovered your ancestors as far back as the American Revolution. Not only can you catalogue your great x5 grandparents, but you can easily include their brothers and sisters as well. Using Family Tree Maker 2012 in this way you can trace multiple family lines over several generations. And with Family Tree Maker 2012 you can download your findings from Ancestry.com directly into the the (Family Tree Maker 2012) family tree that you keep on your PC hard drive. Family Tree Maker 2012 is designed to interface with Ancestry.com, the site of it's parent company. With the Deluxe edition of Family Tree Maker, you get a free three month trial subscription to Ancestry.com. If you have not been doing genealogy, you will be amazed at what you can discover about your ancestors. Why do you need this program? If my experience is any indicator, you would quickly need room for a library if you tried to keep all of your ancestry findings on paper. With Family Tree Maker 2012 it's conveniently there on your computer (no paper clutter to manage). A brand new feature of the 2012 edition of this program is "tree-sync" which allows you to simultaneously include new findings on your Family Tree Maker file, and on your Ancestry.com tree. You make the choice whether to "sync" your Family Tree Maker 2012 tree with your online tree at Ancestry.com. While I am not an iphone user, there is an iphone app for folks that are interested. Tree sync is the first big innovation to Family Tree Maker for 2012. I had been using Family Tree Maker 2011 since last January, and while I like tree-sync, the new feature for Family Tree Maker 2012 that I like best is the ability to quickly list ALL of the children of a particular ancestor with just a simple click of a toggle button. In previous editions of Family Tree Maker you had to select a separate view with each spouse in order to see the children from that marriage. In Family Tree Maker 2012 you can see all the children at one time if you choose. My own family has multiple blended families due to widowing and divorce, and it is really convenient to be able to toggle all of an ancestors children on or off with just one click. It is also neat that Family Tree Maker uses icons to distinguish first and second (or third) family offspring when you have "all children" toggled "on," so you can scroll through all of your greatgrandfather's children at a glance, and determine which family they came from.

A few comments about hardware and the software. I began using Family Tree Maker 2011 on an Intel Core Duo-based PC with just 1 GB of ram, running Windows Vista. 2011 worked fine with that configuration. I now have Family Tree Maker 2012 installed on an AMD dual core based machine with 4 GB ram running Windows 7-64 bit. Performance is great on the AMD/Windows 7 PC. I liked the 2011 version of Family Tree Maker, but wanted to upgrade for the "blended family" viewing capabilites in 2012. I am totally happy upgrading to Family Tree Maker 2012 for that reason alone, but I have discovered an unexpected bonus. For some reason, my number of ancestry.com "hints" has skyrocketed using this software. I am getting multiple new hints that I did not see in last year's version of the program; I am not sure why that is happening, but I am very happy with the new clues. Bottom line: If you like doing genealogy and want a solid unlimited database program that interfaces seamlessly with Ancestry.com, this program will delight you. (Please check your system against the system requirements for the program).

Addition 12/30/2011: The printed User's Guide that comes in the box with Family Tree Maker is the most functional and helpful software User's Guide I have read in a long time (in fact, I can't think of any users guide that I have ever read that was this comprehensive or this clearly written). I read the FTM User's Guide cover-to-cover and learned a great deal of useful information about the application in the process. It was actually so well-written that it was a pleasant read. It also answered any questions I had in a clear, useful way. Five stars for the printed user's guide.

Addition 1/15/2012: Upgraded reporting options. The quality of pedigree charts was significantly upgraded in 2012. I can now add generational labels to each page. When you are producing a multigeneration Pedigree Chart that requires several pages to complete (mine requires 18 pages), you can ask the program to place generational labels at the top of the page. That way, you know if an ancestor was your 1st great grandparent or your 5th great grand parent just by glancing at the label. This is a great convenience, and makes the chart instantly more useful and meaningful. The program also allows you to include your thumbnail photographs on your printed pedigree chart. If you are fortunate enough to have photographs of your more recent ancestors, you can include a thumbnail photograph with each ancestor.

Addition 6/22/2013: There are multiple report options available in the "Publish" tab of the program. These are customizable, and are a great way to obtain a detailed text catalogue of your ancestors. Both the Ahnentafel and Descendant reports allow you to integrate your self-generated "Person Notes" and "Research Notes" (contained in your Family Tree Maker Tree) into the reports. This is great if you have had to go beyond basic genealogy sources to develop a line, and you have described that in your tree. You not only have basic information, but your own descriptive data, right there in your printed report. The Reports are a great help a seeing all of your findings in detail, either for your own reference or to share with other family members.
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on May 3, 2012
Don't buy or use Family Tree Maker 12 if you want a family tree that everyone can see. Looking forward to finding long-lost cousins and distant relatives? Don't. They will only be able to see your tree if they buy memberships. How about your family, then? They can see the tree--but only if you personally invite each and every one of them. Anyone whose address you don't know, and future generations? Well, tough luck to all of them. They'll just have to buy expensive memberships in Ancestry.com.

Yes, Ancestry.com does believe that for a few bucks they earned by selling you their new software, they OWN your family tree. They bought out the Family Tree Maker name, so if you have the old software, you can no longer use it to update your family tree. Instead, you are forced to buy their new software, which requires people to BUY MEMBERSHIPS. There they sit, raking in money by requiring paid access to the data that YOU put together.

If that weren't bad enough, it's a buggy program that syncs with your computer. Do you KNOW how dangerous that is?

Instead, use myheritage.com. It's free, and anyone can see it. Use your old Family Tree Maker software to convert your FTW or FTM file to a GEDCOM file, and you can use myheritage.com to import the GED file you created. Like the OLD Family Tree Maker, it's free, and anyone can see it.

I'm disgusted with Ancestry.com. Today I am sending my software back and demanding a refund.
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VINE VOICEon January 17, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am no stranger to Family Tree Maker. I had an earlier edition and have been a member of Ancestry.com off and on for a number of years. Since I had an earlier edition, the main concern was, will it be easy to install and hopefully not lose the family tree's I've created already. It found my earlier software, asked me if I would like to add my files to the new version. Very easy. When you've worked hard on something like a family tree, the last thing you want is your file lost or corrupted.
This version gives you 3 months free with Ancestry.com That is a good deal in itself. Once you have registered and placed your first name in your tree, Family Tree Maker and Ancestry start working for you. A leaf appears next to any names that show up in Ancestry's large databases. You click on it and it takes you to the various files, census, military, immigration, etc and as you read the files, you will be able to see which are for your relatives or not. When you add a file, Family Tree Maker does the work for you. You tell it what facts you want to keep and is will disregard what you don't want. You can add family stories in the notes sections and copy and paste photos. The newest feature of this edition is to sync your tree. To sync your tree means to upload it to Ancestry. This also means that you can update it from any computer, anywhere. You can share your tree with family with the use of a special password. Being able to add information from any computer will help you input information you find from anywhere; your local library, a family reunion, etc. A nice addition to an already good product.
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