Family Tree Maker 17th Edition Platinum PC Review - -

Installation 8.6
Ease of use 8.5
Usefulness 8.5
Value 8.8
Distributor: Mindscape
Review Date:
February 2008
Kyle Sudukis


Family Tree Maker 17th Edition Platinum

Its hard to believe that a non Microsoft program has been around for so long and Family Tree Maker 17th Edition Platinum is one of those programs which seems to get better with each version.

The Family Tree market is quite a difficult market, considering the specifics of the industry and this latest incarnation still delivers everything the user needs to trace and record their family roots. After 18 years, Family Tree Maker will not only draw you in but it also makes it difficult to put down as you become so engaged in tracing and creating your family history.

Family Tree Maker Platinum 17 (2008) lets you easily:

  • Build a family tree starting with names, dates and events

  • Attach photos, documents and audio and video files

  • Quickly merge new facts and records from the web into your tree

  • Use interactive maps to explore the places where your ancestors once lived

  • Design and print charts to display at home and share with family

This completely redesigned program has dozens of new features, including:

  • A new interface that combines elements of a pedigree chart and a family group sheet, making it much easier to enter, view and edit your data

  • Vastly improved integration with

  • A web clipper that lets you merge data from anywhere on the web into your tree

  • Standardised criteria for rating your sources

  • Features that make it easy to manage photos and other media files and incorporate them into charts and reports

  • A place authority with more than 3 million place names that helps you correctly enter locations

  • Dynamic lists that show you all the people and events associated with a particular place

  • Timelines that highlight personal, family and world events that occurred during your ancestorsí lives

  • A robust tool for sorting and managing your to-do list

  • The ability to import data from other genealogy programs, including Personal Ancestral File, The Master Genealogist and Legacy Family Tree

Ironically, my father has recently been recording our family history and when he heard about this program, he was over the moon with glee because not only did it allow to record our family history in an easily transportable and safe media format but it also allowed us to access a variety of other online references.

One thing that people are generally scared from is the installation process and interface of the program, especially with niche programs like the Family Tree Maker but needless to say, the program automatically installed once it was detected on our computer and once finished, an easy to user interface greeted us.

Although the interface is reminiscent of Microsoft Office, it does have quite a steep learning curve, especially to those a little unsure of computer programs but in around one hour, I had managed to create a quite impressive family history that include photos, video and even maps of where our ancestors have lived. The program is quite in-depth and my favourite aspect of the program is that it connects to for additional features.

Even if you're feeling a little overwhelmed at the power of this program, the Platinum edition contains a great training video by Megan Smolenyak, an easy to read getting started guide and the official guide to family tree maker PDF.

If the user carefully invests some time into this program, they will be pleasantly surprised at the results and will probably discover quite a large amount of information on their family but at the end of the day, it unfortunately takes some lengthy time. For those already having the information available and have some knowledge of their ancestry, this will be a much easier task.

The most scariest thing of Family Tree Maker was that it actually named my parents from their 1950's boat manifest which was a huge shock to me. I later discovered that the program contains over 100,000 arrivals and departure entries with some not even available to the archive authorities.

Family Tree Maker also offers a variety of different options and functionality and not all "family trees" need to be boring as the program features a great timeline feature that also work well with the interactive maps.

The program does not stop there and contains the following bonuses that are worth over $400AUD and for the cost of $99.95AUD, this family tree maker is worth every penny. A brilliant software package that is definitely the best on the market!

Family Tree Maker also includes over $400 worth of BONUS value:

  • Australian Shipping: Arrivals and Departments 1788-1968, Version 7. A collection of shipping and passenger information for Australia and New Zealand including 100,000 arrival and departure entries, some not available from the Archive Authorities. Plus, over 140,000 unique references to convicts, passengers and crew including facts relating to shipping, newspaper articles, reports and much more.

  • Australian Handbook 1904 (incorporating New Zealand, Fiji, and New Guinea). A handy reference to the world of our ancestors around 100 years ago. 1,012 pages packed with all kinds of useful and interesting information including calendar of notable events, mail tables showing arrivals and departures of Australasian mails, British customsí tariff, postal regulations, public amusements, public offices, members of parliament, emigration to Australasia, mining and land regulations, telegraphic and postal arrangements between Great Britain and Australia, history, descriptive accounts and statistical information on each state, New Zealand, Fiji and New Guinea, plus a gazetteer of the principal towns in Australia and New Zealand including irrigation, colonial buyersí guide, importers in Australasia, banks, Anglo Australian companies, government debentures, maps, plans and much more.

  • New Zealand Post Office Directory 1900 (Wise). An extremely useful tool for establishing when and where a person lived, how they lived, the occupations they held and the people they knew. The Wiseís New Zealand directory contains regional, alphabetical, trade and miscellaneous sections which list the names, addresses and professions of many in New Zealand in 1900. It also includes a street guide of major towns and separate directories for banking, public companies, medical, legal, ecclesiastical, educational, pastoral, municipal and government.

  • 90 day subscription to** Access more than 700 million UK, Ireland, Australian and New Zealand records including the Australian Convict Transportation Registers: 1788 to 1868, New South Wales SANDS Directories (1861-1933), Maryborough, Queensland Immigrants (1861-1891), Bounty Immigrants (NSW, 1828-1842), The ANZAC Day Memorial Book, as well as the England, Wales and Scotland Censuses (1841-1901), the England and Wales Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes (1837-2005). UK and Ireland Parish and Probate Records and the British phone books (1880-1984).

  • Pallotís Baptism Index 1780-1837. The 200,000 surviving records are a valuable resource for those seeking ancestors in the Greater London area. These parish, christening and baptismal registrations cover at least 22 parishes in London and Middlesex, around 27 other parishes and many other miscellaneous.

  • Pallotís Marriage Index 1780-1837. Covers all but two of the 103 parishes in the old City of London, England. Information available includes spouses names, marriage date and parish of marriage. More than 1.5 million marriage entries come mainly from London and Middlesex, but also include entries from 2,500 parishes in 38 counties outside of London, many not available in other sources. Also included are several records from counties in Wales.

  • Online Resources.*** Direct links into hundreds of the best genealogy sites in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. Access billions of records in National Archives, Public Reords, Military Records, Census Data and much more.

  • Training Video featuring Megan Smolenyak. Watch leading family historian expert Megan Smolenyak as she presents tips and guidelines for building your family tree. (DVD)

  • Online Learning Centre. Offers how-to articles, useful tips and other resources to help you with all your genealogy needs.


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