My copy of the all new completely revamped Family Tree Maker 2009 came in the mail yesterday. It has undergone many changes in ownership, since I bought the very first version back in about 1994 or 1995. It has undergone many revisions. Ancestry.com began making more drastic changes, but it was still similar to the original basic format. This 2009 version is all new - a totally new type of program that only has the same name. I have not had it long enough to play with everything - so, I may be able to change the layout on the screen, but the default has four frames on display at once. There is a generation chart (displaying up to four generations) in middle top with a lower section that is similar to a family group sheet. On each side are other two frames - left side is an index listing of names in the database file and on the right side is the individual data for that person highlighted on the generation chart. The various sections are not as easy to navigate as the older versions in finding notes, etc. but, it is just different than the way it has been for 15 years.
For some reason the default "Home Person" is one of my father's uncles. I do not know haw to change that, yet. But I have not had time to do extensive changes to the default settings. You can transfer databases into this program quite easily... it only took about a minute to download my older files from FTM 2006. You can also download Personal Ancestry Files (PAF), The Master Genealogist, Legacy, Gedcom's, etc.
Now, of course, I bought this version because Ancestry.com had it on sale that also included a reference library CD - all for about $30 for the upgrade & the library. At first I thought I was going to have to return the CD since it did not seem to function. It uses Adobe Reader to read the PDF format. I learned that I could open up the Adobe Reader and go to the CD Drive through the program and then open up any of the books which includes: a genealogical dictionary, finding answers in the US Census, historian's address book, The Red Book, The Source, U.S. military records and the Library of Congress guide to genealogical research. These are every page PDF's, searchable and printable.
Overall, my first impressions are good for the new FTM2009 and the reference library is a great resource... a definite bargain for $30. Of you who have this new program, please share your comments on it.
- Reviewed by JGWest