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The Change Being Made!

After more than 8 years of using Family Tree Maker (FTM), and paying each year to upgrade the software it was difficult to decide to make a change at all. Moreover, the enormity of the challenge was buried beneath my frustration with FTM.

After months of thinking about it, and weeks of researching and trying other available software, in January 2008, I made the jump to LEGACY!

In spite of the challenge, moving to Legacy was, in my own mind, the best choice, I have no regrets.
You Did This WHY?
In just one word - FRUSTRATION!.

FTM, it seemed to me, had become yet another Corporate Machine whose ONLY concern is to "make money". While making money is good for a company, it should not be accomplished by forgetting that it is the customer who is paying the bills.
No technical support, and doing away with "upgrade" pricing were just two reasons to start looking.
Add the elmination of certain features to the UPGRADED version and the deliberate attempts to coerce users into "freely" placing their research on, a "pay" site, you get "CHANGE".
The last version of FTM that I upgraded to was Family Tree Maker, Version 16, also known as Family Tree Maker 2006. This whole process began when I was informed by Ancestry (now the parent company of FTM) that I could not simply "upgrade" at a "reduced cost" rather I must purchase, new, the full software at full retail price. After having spent hundreds of dollars over the years to maintain a current version, I felt a little bit slighted.

I am not a reviewer of software and by no means, an expert on genealogy software. I only know what I learn and what I like. That said, I spent hours upon hours looking for information on the latest and greatest FTM upgrade. Touted as the best yet, there were signs of unease and concern among some people, as evidenced by postings in various newsgroups and Rootsweb lists.
FTM 2008 Original Problems List After a few weeks, a list of complaints surfaced showing the changes made by the latest FTM software release "Family Treemaker 2008". This list, as it appeared about the time FTM 2008 was introduced, is available by clicking the link (right). It is in a PDF format and Adobe PDF Reader is required to open it.Opens in a separate window Click to Open -->

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Please find out more for yourself - check out the Legacy Website - be sure to read the product comparison charts and the reviews, not to mention user comments. I don't care to list them here but I will say that I agree with every user comment listed. I was so impressed, I purchased the deluxe edition very quickly after trying their free trial version. Even the cost is reasonable.
I looked at several options, beginning with a "google search" for the term "genealogy software reviews" without the quotes.

Theres a lot of them out there but the "top 10" was a good place to start.
Find Reviews
  • genealogy software reviews - top 10
  • consumer
  • genealogy software news
  • eastmans online genealogy newsletter
  • THE FIELD OF CHOICES NARROWS - If I only had a MAC! "Reunion" for the MAC is most outstanding but alas, just a PC h ere. After reading reviews and consumer comments, then actually downloading and trying a handful of software, my choice was down to "Legacy" and "The Master Genealogist".(TMG)

    The final choice became known when I attempted to use "TMG". I consider myself fairly computer literate but I simply could not face the challenge of both the conversion from one software to another (with 65,000+ individuals) AND what I would consider to be the very steep learning curve of "TMG", it was simply too difficult for me to comprehend.

    My Own Conclusion

    I did what I believed I had to do. I only wish Legacy had been around first. If it had been, with the power it has behind it, I wouldn't be spending hours fixing my mistakes. If you're going to do it - I recommend, without hesitation, LEGACY!
    I am not against but I do believe they are far to high priced which prohibits many from using their services (perhaps inlcuding myself someday). I also believe that while they do provide a good service for some, many more are taken advantage of by way of making people pay for access to the research of others. So far, Rootsweb is still free, even though it is affiliated with Ancestry and much of the same information is available. I hope it will remain that way.

    The word "opine" comes from the Latin opinari = "think." When one "opines" in a public forum, one is simply sharing one's own thoughts. Most all of us are rather opinionated, thus we each "opine" frequently. At times our thoughts are appreciated; at times they are not. These are my thoughts, I hope you can appreciate them, if not...sorry bout that!
    JANUARY 2008

    My use of Legacy has uncovered a lot of errors that I have made over the years with FTM. As of July 2008, I have fixed less than one-half of those errors.

    Besides the "on-line" data-base being updated only once every 6 months or so, errors remain in spelling, dates, places, even names.

    Remember, for information that is more current and more accurate, please contact me directly.

    Legacy allows you to both view and edit master lists of various things, including locations. In just ONE example, I had Saint-Barthélémy Québec spelled at least 5 different ways:

  • Saint-Barthélemi
  • Saint-Barthélemy
  • Saint Barthélemi
  • St. Barthelemy Berthier
  • St-Barthelemi, Berthier

  • With the so many places in Québec, you can imagine how many places I have spelled differetly...I'm cleaning up as I go. Legacy makes this much easier with their use of "Master Lists".
    Converting from FTM to Legacy also had challenges. Both telephone calls AND emails were well recieved by Legacy staff and questions were answered quickly and understandbly.
    Much like the Ink Spots sang, "into each life some rain must fall" - there is work to be done, as I suspect there would be ANY time a change in software is made. It is not the fault of Legacy that I have work to do to make is my own ignorance of what was right and what was not when I started doing genealogy. With Legacy's built-in help, "someday the sun will shine" and I will have made all of the corrections.

    If you're thinking about making a switch, be ready for the work that may be required to get it right.
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