Review – Family Tree Maker Mac 3

Review – Family Tree Maker Mac 3

I should know better.  Paying good money to purchase Ancestry’s Family Tree Maker for Mac 3.0 was a bad, bad idea.  Again they released what I would think of as beta software and they hope that many people won’t notice.  Had I not had existing files, I might not have.
I purchased the upgrade version. Installation is a bit different than most Mac software. Download the file, then executing the DMG file doesn’t open and execute the installation, rather, it puts a device on your desktop.  You then need to execute it from your desktop to install the product.  If you aren’t a big desktop user, you might not notice the additional icon.  I didn’t because my desktop was already full and double stacking icons. There is not message that it has done so.
Once installed, and program key entered, the initial screen is like the 2.x version except some things are moved from the right side of the screen to the left.  It is still focused on “getting started” and doesn’t have an option to open your last file.  
Once you import a file from version 2, or otherwise have a file you will enter the “Plan” view.  It contains the same information that version 2 provided, but again, it is shuffled around like they think if they move it we’ll think it is new.  “Trees” moved from this page to the menu which was very good. However the space dedicated to the “Ancestry Web Dashboard” was expanded from what was about 1/6 of the screen to a good 1/3 of the screen. Like the previous edition, you can’t change the size of any of the “Plan” window elements.  It is obvious they think that what my activities are are at least 1/3 of all that is important to me.  Sorry, not true.
I will again say they attend a Trees selection to the menu bar so it is available on any page.  That is one of the few changes that I think are good. 
Their advertising mentions they added an “Export Branch” feature.  It is okay. It allow you to select a person from your tree and then export just the ancestors & descendants of that tree.  In actuality it just creates a backup file of that line.  It would be nice if you could export a branch then delete that branch from your existing tree, but that is only a hope for me.  If you export a branch you will need to delete the individuals from your old tree individually or have duplicate entries in two different trees.  Once exported, you will need to effectively restore that backup and then export that branch in another format if you so desire. 
In the Media section it is now possible to select more than one media at a time.  This is great because it makes it much easier to apply categories and do other actions to media in bulk.  There is also a new utility to “find missing media” which is a great addition.  It allows you to much more easily reconnect media that has become disconnected.  For example, I renamed a directory that had media in it to support some other actions I was doing with the media.  This utility will help clean up that type of action more easily.  
Family View Report
New in FTM-Mac-3
Reports look about the same. There is a new “Family View Report.” It is a simplified family sheet, showing couple and children with a pedigree chart above. I like it and may use it in the future, but otherwise, the reports appear to be the same as in Version 2.x. 
Now the reason I’m unhappy with FTM-Mac-3.  Sources.  The import process just trashed the sources.  It sometimes moved source citations to another source title.  Some sources appeared to vanish. However, when I created a new Source Title with the same name as before, they magically reappeared.  Sometime the citation detail was now blank but the citation text was still good. All in all, it appeared to trash the database. 

I use different files for my various projects.  I converted two of my projects to FTM-Mac-3 and am very unhappy with the results with the sources becoming corrupt.  I am so glad I have paper copies of most everything important so I can reconstruct the sources and source citations as I com across them.  In the meantime, I will continue using FTM-Mac-2 for all my other work and projects until they do an upgrade that fixes the problems.  Maybe, I’ll just return to Reunion or Mac Family Tree next time.  Maybe even Heredis if they have fixed the name issue
I recommend saving your money and continue using FTM-Mac-2 until they, at least, correct the sources import issues. If you are new to FTM and aren’t converting files, FTM-Mac-3 is great software and I recommend it.

– Don Taylor

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