What's best - Family Tree Maker or Ancestry Quest.
December 2, 2012 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Genealogy Software - can't decide between Family Tree Maker and Ancestry Quest.

Time to consolidate the info I have including a family tree entered many years ago on an ancient version of Family Tree Maker. Googling around, it seems that the best candidates are the latest version of Family Tree Maker or Ancestry Quest. And it seems that Ancestry.com is the the best one point source for research. Considerations:

* Windows 7 only

* Would like ability to export to a standard format (is that GEDCOM?) for archival purposes and longevity of data.

* Don't care if I have to manually reenter everything.

* Would like ability to have a cloud based replication of the tree for others to view but don't anticipate a heavy-duty shared project.

* No interest in being able to print out pretty notebooks for relatives.

I"m leaning toward Ancestry Quest but perhaps family tree works better in conjunction with Family Tree Maker?

Any advice and comments appreciated. Thank you.
posted by Kevin S to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My mother maintains a several-thousand-person family tree in Family Tree Maker, linked to ancestry.com. It works very well.
posted by katrielalex at 10:02 AM on December 2, 2012

Best answer: I have not used Ancestry Quest but I've logged many hours with Family Tree Maker + Ancestry.com.
I started my tree in ancestry.com with a goal to print an entire family tree so the logical next step was FTM because you can easily import your data from ancestry.com and you can sync changes made in either program.

- Works fine with my Windows 7

- Many export formats to choose from including GEDCOM

- I personally found it easier to enter new people into the Ancestry.com interface and then sync the tree in FTM. For additional info (current location, career, military service, uploading a photo, etc) I found it easier to enter that data through the FTM interface.

- I was able to share the tree with people through ancestry.com, however, I was not too thrilled on the layout. I shared a 7 generation descendant chart. The largest generation consisted of over 100 people. In the FTM layout preview screen you can scroll through your entire chart, however on the ancestry.com view I could not expand my chart completely. Viewers had to click to expand certain branches while other branches would collapse (still looking for a solution to this issue).
In addition, you'll need to send invites to share your tree and then the invitees need to create a (free) account with ancestry.com to view it.

- FTM definitely feels like it's geared towards printing (I ended up printing a 30 ft wide descendant chart) but it works fine as a database.

One other tip if you decide to go the ancestry.com + FTM route: I would get errors once in a while if I made changes to both programs and then tried to sync them. It's much safer to only change data in FTM and then sync before making changes to ancestry.com (followed by another sync).

Let me know if you have any other questions.
posted by simplethings at 11:24 AM on December 2, 2012

I use Family Tree Maker, and you can export to GEDCOM files. I am not aware of the new version having cloud capability, but you could put stuff on a blog with user log-on or on Zotero. Or put it on Omeka, if you are really hung-ho.
posted by jgirl at 11:25 AM on December 2, 2012

Response by poster: simplethings - am I correct that for access to Ancestry.com I need to maintain a subscription? Not sure that I would want to maintain the subscription in perpetuity, but presumably I could subscribe again five years hence and resynch? Thanks.
posted by Kevin S at 5:29 PM on December 2, 2012

I'm pretty keen on Roots Magic, myself. It handles sources nicely.
posted by ReginaHart at 6:03 PM on December 2, 2012

Best answer: When I first joined ancestry.com I did a 14 day or so trial. I cancelled the subscription before the trial period ended so I wasn't charged anything and I still hold my basic (free) membership.
With the free membership you can create/edit/add to trees, you just don't have access to all the public records or other peoples' trees that share people in your tree(s).
As far as I can tell I didn't lose any of the information I gathered with the trial subscription.
posted by simplethings at 8:01 PM on December 2, 2012

Response by poster: simplethings - thanks, that's what I need to know. Looks like a new ftm and ancestry.com are the way to go, though I might also try the free version of ancestral quest and/or roots magic just for fun.

everyone - thanks very much for your responses.
posted by Kevin S at 8:29 PM on December 2, 2012

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