Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Family Tree Builder 3 -- First impressions

Family Tree Builder 3 is free downloadable program from MyHeritage. The program is designed to work in conjunction with a Web site containing the information in the local file. It is advertised to run in 29 different languages and lets you create and print your family tree in several languages. To quote MyHeritage's promotional material:
Bring your family tree to life with photos and documents and use our ground-breaking face recognition technology to annotate your photos and discover the identity of people you don't recognize in your old family photos. In a few mouse clicks, you can publish your family tree to the Internet on your own family Website and share it with family and friends!
Downloading the Family Tree Builder program is easy and it readily imports a GEDCOM file. I created a GEDCOM of my own family file from my Legacy FamilyTree database. I then imported the file containing 7020 individuals including photos and sources. My first discovery was that in trying to see if the matching feature worked, I was told that the feature would only work if the file was backed-up to the Internet on the MyHeritage Web site. So I began that process only to be told that the "free or basic" version of the program was limited to only 500 individuals. I chose not to upgrade and loaded the 500 individuals onto the Web site. The upload was rather slow although I have a cable connection to the Internet.

When I finally got through with the lengthy process, it turns out that the program arbitrary selected 500 individuals to load into the online file which didn't include the first names in my own family file. It appears that only by paying the fee for the upgrade, which was quite reasonable, would I have a workable file. If you really want to use the free version, it appears that you should only do so if you have file of less than 500 individuals.

I continued to look at the Family Tree Builder application and looked for the sources. I was finally able to find where the program had put the sources, but unfortunately, the sources were no longer attached to the person's events. The program then crashed and I had to restart it. Before getting back to my data, I was asked twice if I wanted to upgrade the program.

I couldn't believe that the source citations were not attached to an event, but that did seem to be the case, when I finally got back into the program. In addition, in looking at an individual that I knew had extensive source citations, I found that none of the detail from the sources had come across from Legacy FamilyTree.

In short, I found my initial inspection of Family Tree Builder 3, to be somewhat disappointing. The program may be adequate for some needs, but without a more robust system of citation, I could not recommend it.

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