Customer Reviews: Family Tree Maker Essentials [OLD VERSION]
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VINE VOICEon December 4, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
FAMILY TREE MAKER has been a very reliable resource for people interested in charting and developing a detailed, informative history of their family genealogy. It makes sense that people who have been using this software and been pleased would jump at the chance for the upgrade and all it says it does. For those starting out fresh and having this version be their first installed software for this purpose it really is quite a find. Registration and instllation is very simple and their are tons of helpful videos and tutorials. Easy help is there for setup and establishment of charts and reports The integration of is also smooth. For newbies all their dedicated family research will find a happy home here.

But this is the very important part of the review. For those with earlier versions of this software it is not simply that the new version adds little but that the upgrading installation process is extremely slow and tedious, often faltering altogether. There is no seamless transition to the new features this software says it has. I've found there is no solution to work around this. If you have an older version, this one will lead to frustration as you try to upgrade. I've found over the years that will all different types of software programs a particular version might not be good as an upgrade. I don't in any way mean to totally dismiss this product. It is an excellent and detailed software for those new to FAMILY TREE MAKER. It will provide the groundwork and basis to finally find a true home for all the family research you've done and look to enhance on. This will become a neverending project that will bring you much joy. But as an upgrade to their earlier versions it is just a bust.
1414 comments|134 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 18, 2011
Family Tree Maker 2012 is too slow. It's slow starting up, sometimes taking 2 minutes while it makes its connection to Also it's slow every time I make a change to a name because the index on the left side has to reload. I even get "failing to respond" messages while the index is rebuilt (or whatever it's tring to do). The interface has been around since the 2008 version. It's informative by showing 4-5 generations in the middle, the index on the left and the person's information on the right as well as how the person is related to the home person.
Another thing I don't like about this and other versions since 2008 is the reports. It seemed like sharing information with my Aunt was much better with FTW 2005.
33 comments|63 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 11, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been using Family Tree Maker software since about the 1990's or so and have always liked the way it assists me in organizing my research. I've kept the 2005 version to compare with the 2009 and 2012 versions. For some reason, that I haven't figured out yet, the 2009 and this newest version seems to take longer to load than the 2005 version. Personally, I don't like having to wait that long to access software. Watching it load is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

I'll keep testing the 2012 version but if it continues to load slowly, I'll probably continue using the tried and true 2005 version.

Update: Monday, December 12, 2011

I've continued to compare the 2012 version of Family Tree Maker to my old tried-and-true 2005 version and I have to say that I prefer the 2005 version. My older version loads faster and is MUCH simpler to enter information and update it. The 2012 version is SLOW, SLOW, S-L-O-W!!!!! Much TOO S-L-O-W for my tastes! It has also been made much more COMPLICATED than it needed to be! To add to my frustration, I have not been able to locate the means to indicate non-traditional family relationships, or multiple marriages/relationships, within the 2012 software even though the 2005 version permitted me to do so. As a result, I am downgrading my rating to only ONE star!
66 comments|46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 20, 2012
I have done genealogy research for many years and happily used older versions of Family Tree Maker (pre-2006) to build data base. Now, I want to print and publish my database. After all, what is the point of carefully gathering the information except to finally publish and share it. So I purchased FTM 2012 from Amazon. Neither FTM 2012 or the several editions which preceded it are able to assemble and print the data. My computer is an Dell Inspiron 580, Intel Pentium G7950 2.80GHz with 8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz-4x2GB running Windows 7, so it can certainly handle this sort of home application.

My genealogy records go back to 1545, so that involves 18 generations. I used the "Publish" option to produce a Descendants Report starting with my earliest ancestor and displaying all source notes (end notes).

Set for 6 generations, it ran in a few seconds and produced 17 pages with 138 end notes.
Set for 7 generations, it ran in 28 seconds and produced 59 pages with 544 end notes.
Set for 8 generations. it ran for 1 min 23 sec and produced 189 pages with 1,769 end notes.
Set for 9 generations, it ran for 22 min and produced 518 pages with 4,069 end notes.
Set for 10 generations, it ran for 15 hours and produced nothing, so I finally shut it down.

My genealogy spans 18 GENERATIONS. Even when I had other programs running concurrently, the combined usage of all programs never exceeded 55% of CPU capacity or 3.03GB of RAM (out of 8GB available). My computer can handle the work; the FTM software is defective.

I have previously posted critical reviews of earlier editions of FTM, and I had written to the company (about FTM 2009), described the defect, and asked them to fix it. I thought that by FTM 2012 they would have done so; however, THEY HAVE IN FACT MADE NO CORRECTIONS TO THIS DEFECT. Compare this. In 2009 using FTM 2009 I got these results:

Set for 9 generations, it ran to completion.
Set for 10 generations, it produced 932 pages and 3,616 endnotes.
Set for 11 generations, it produced 1,263 pages and no endnotes.
Set for 12 generations, it produced 695 pages and no endnotes.
Set for 13 generations, it produced blank output.

And, of course, ordinary data entry and look-up activities under FTM 2012 are painfully slow, as described by other reviewers.

Amateur genealogists: Until fixes this defect, your years of work will amount to nothing, since you will be unable to publish.

I gave this product one star because there is no method for assigning a rating of zero stars.

* = * = * = * = *

Since my 20 February 2012, rating has issued two updates to their 2012 version of FTM, the current being I have installed both. These updates provide no improvement to the severe problem I reported in my previous rating. On 18-19 May I ran the descendants genealogy report with a setting for 10 generations. It ran for 12 hours and produced nothing, so I shut it down. If this was a car, it wouldn't go far enough to get out of sight.
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VINE VOICEon November 27, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was looking forward to using Family Tree Maker and, but alas, I was unable to install the software. Using Windows 7 Professional with a 64-bit OS, with 2 gigs of RAM on an Intel Core Duo CPU I popped in the CD and let it whirl. When it was finished the Family Tree Maker 2012 icon showed up on my desktop. I double-clicked the icon, and an Update Available box appears telling me that the update is required. No problem. I have the required Internet connection, lots of free HD space, and I've updated software hundreds of time. It can be annoying, but it's nice to have the updates and it just takes a few minutes. So I start the update process, and I got an error. It seems that it won't work if I have my firewall protection working--or virus protection.

Now, I know what happens to computers that have their firewalls down and without virus protection. Bots are circling like vultures, and as soon as you drop your protection, they pounce. It's like dropping your pants at a Pervert Convention. However, I really wanted to use this software; so I disabled all of the protection that Norton Security provides and proceeded. With a screen screaming protection warnings, I went ahead, and it still would not update. I proceeded to attempt the update several times without protection, and I finally gave up.

I fully understand the need to protect against software piracy--I write software. However, I also know that using software should be as hassle-free as possible. Whomever did the programming for this, needs to have their skills updated. There's no reason to have a firewall and virus protection removed during an update, and I don't care how good your program is--if people cannot use it; then it's worthless.
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on March 25, 2012
The biggest problem with this program isn't with the product per se but with getting it to install. There is a trick to it. It took a number of calls to tech support, but I finally got a supervisor who knew her stuff. If you get the message to install the net 4 framework, cancel the Family Tree software install. Go to Microsoft's site and download and install the net 4 framework from there even if your computer says it is already installed. Run that setup, either as a new install (if it doesn't recognize your net framework is already on board) or as a repair/reinstall. THEN and only then, run the Family Tree setup program. The installation should be smooth. However, when you get the message to download the update, CANCEL the update, dismiss the warning message, and open the program WITHOUT updating. Next, register the software. Then from the help tab, run the update. Once the update has installed you will then have to re-register (I was told this will be true for every update you ever do), but it will go smoothly because of the crazy work around.

You might ask, why go to all this trouble? The programmers really should have done a better job creating a smooth install. True. However, Family Tree Maker 2012 is worth it. It is a great piece of software with awesome options for adding photos, video, stories, and documents as well as having a seamless and actually helpful integrated search. I like it a LOT better than versions 11, 2005 or 2009 versions. It is easier and more intuitive to input and organize data, as well as more helpful with searches for those of us who aren't genealogy experts. Also, I haven't seen any issues with it being slow to open or run so far. Perhaps that will become more of a problem as I add more material. However, I suspect it could be a by-product of a problematic install. I highly recommend the program if you take the time to install it using the steps I listed. It's amazing.
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on March 13, 2012
I would love to leave a review about the features of this software, but I have spent 5 days trying to get it to load and have decided a refund is the answer. My first problem involved missing installation files, which required a call to tech support, which offered a software download via e-mail. The e-mail took over an hour to arrive and included a nice "download now" graphic that linked to nothing. I called tech support again, to find out they had closed for the weekend. I sent an e-mail instead, hoping that someone would solve the issue for me while I was at work on Monday and could not call back. The e-mail answer was, you need to call customer service or use online chat. I tried the online chat and after 30 minutes, never saw any indication that someone would pick me up in the queue. So I called. And waited for 45 minutes while I was reminded they had a high call volume and my wait was going to be ten minutes. That phone call resulted in an e-mail with the link to the download, which took 30 minutes on high-speed internet. An attempt to install resulted in a message that the serial number could not be processed at this time. Back to the phone to tech support. This time I waited an hour and a half before hanging up (thank you speaker phone so I could do something else at the time). Next step is a refund and a different genealogy program.
0Comment|16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 23, 2012
I bought Family Tree Maker in February 2012. I decided to take them up on their research service free trial. I didn't find it particularly useful, so I canceled the service at the end of the trial period. I know that I canceled because I vividly remember selecting an option in "Why are you leaving us?"

They have no record of the cancellation, which means that their own form didn't go through to them. It also means that they renewed the subscription contrary to my instructions, charging me $77.70 for a service I had canceled.

It took over a month for the renewal to show up on my credit card bill. When I called to get the charge reversed, they hid behind the policy of no cancellations over a month. This is obviously an ongoing problem for them because when you go to cancel, they have a link to "Why don't I qualify for a refund?"

The trial is a scam! You may find it useful, but when you go to cancel it, make sure that the cancellation goes through. It must be a real money maker for them to "accidentally" lose cancellation e-mails and continue subscriptions when people try to quit the service.
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on November 30, 2011
My 2005 version was great, but 2012 is very hard to learn. it can do a lot of things but it is not easy to work and slower than cold snot as it has it's own browser built in which is SLOW. I addition it is much harder, slower, and confusing to enter data. I have nearly 2,000 entries in my research which is to say genealogy is not new to me, but this program is not fun to use.....
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on April 24, 2012
I purchased Family Tree Maker 2012 as my old computer had crashed, and i couldnt find my old install disks

It took quite a few attempts to get the software working, but eventually it installed

and then came the problem of trying to convert my database of just 420,000 names. I ran out of storage at the first two or three attempts, then found a "slow" method to convert.

it took a week of solid processing to convert, and appears to have failed at the end. 169 CPU hours on a new fast pc. Unbelievable.

I can see a lot of the family tree. It takes about 10 minutes to start up, and about 5 minutes to respond to any request. It is therefore unusable. I cant see the relationships between most of the family.

I need to find an older version to go back to, otherwise i shall have lost 20 years research.
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