FTM SIG next week

There will be a short FTM Sig meeting in the club library on Tuesday March 15 at 9AM.
Rich Schlesinger will lead a discussion about the future of Family Tree Maker.

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One Response to FTM SIG next week

  1. Arthur (Art) Petty says:

    Just a few thoughts before the upcoming meeting. First of all, I have been an avid user and staunch supporter of FTM for over ten years. I maintain a very large tree and hanging with FTM has been despite a number of issues, software glitches, and frustrations. There have always been “issues” with the FTM software and support team and these issues seem to get progressively worse as trees get larger. Many discussions with “Fast Rhino” attribute most of my problems to the rather archaic methods/platform that FTM uses to construct their database.

    Beginning in early December after Ancestry’s announcement, I have spent considerable time looking at alternatives. (I know that Ancestry has now come up with alternatives to keep FTM alive.) After much deliberation, I have chosen RootsMagic. There are many alternatives available and many of them are probably excellent choices. However, some of these, despite their user friendliness and powerful options, are also based on the same antiquated technology that FTM uses. This makes updates and modifications tedious, time-consuming, and prone to glitches.

    There are many things that have impressed me with RootsMagic. 1) Their reputation is solid! It is virtually impossible to find anyone online complaining about their product or their customer service. 2) Their customer service personnel are knowledgeable and lightening fast. 3) Their product is incredibly user friendly and most features are intuitively obvious. (As with any new software, there is an initial learning curve.) 4) Their software has every available feature that I have seen in any package and then some. (The reports, charts, and lists and the ability to “color code” are incredible!) 5) Their software is lightening fast!! My large tree takes almost three minutes to open in FTM after a hard reboot. It takes less than one second with RootsMagic. This is because FTM loads the entire database into memory while RootsMagic (with SQL technology) only gets what it needs at the time. This becomes even more important if you have an older computer with limited random access memory. 6) The online manual is excellent (a hard copy is available for a nominal fee if needed) as are their “help” screens. 7) They are currently offering rock bottom prices to FTM users who make the switch. (I think the start-up fee is currently $20 and that includes the software and a free copy of the online manual). 8) They offer a couple of ways to move data from FTM to their database. As with most other software providers, a GEDCOM file works flawlessly. However, as of yesterday they allow the direct transfer of FTM files without the intermediate GEDCOM step. This is true for ALL versions of FTM so even if your current copy is older, it works to perfection. The direct transfer method preserves ALL of the special features embedded in your FTM file to ensure that you lose nothing! And finally and most importantly, 9) the RootsMagic software is based on the industry standard SQL (Structured Query Language), open-source database platform. Unlike FTM who encrypts the data making it virtually impossible for recovery by anyone but them, there is no encryption with RootsMagic and their database can be easily accessed and modified by others for a long time to come.

    While there is no guarantee that any software will be with us forever, SQL (like CDs and USB ports) has been with us for a long time and is unlikely to change in the near future. And for clarity, “no I am not on the RootsMagic payroll.” This endorsement is definitely my own personal view, but I think anyone who is considering leaving FTM should take a good hard look at RootsMagic! I’m pretty sure that you will never look back.

    And one last thing… My comments are ONLY focused on “Family Tree Maker” (the software). I will definitely maintain my subscription to Ancestry’s records. Their repository is by far the largest and best maintained in the world and their DNA testing and tools are outstanding.

    Art Petty

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