FTM 20XX: A comparison

 

The new and improved FTM 20XX has arrived and is supposed to have a lot of improvements over FTM 2008 or latter versions . Lets do some tests and see what the improvements are:


Topics
1) Testing of a XP Pentium 4 System
2) Testing of a Vista-64 8GB Ram, Intel Core 2 Quad Processor
3) FTM-2009 SP1
4) Memory Use when FTM-2009 is running
5) Books in FTM-2009
6) Requirements and Enhancements for Books: Preliminary
7) Report Enhancements:
8) Comments on other Reports and Charts:
9) Comments on new features in FTM-2009:
10) FTM-2010 Features and comparison:
11) FTM-2011 Tests:
12) FTM-2012:
13) FTM-2014: The newest version has now been received.

 

Testing of a XP Pentium 4 System

The tests reported on below are only dependant upon the speed of the CPU, memory, and disk speed and not upon any external connection to the internet. System Specifications: Operating System, Windows XP Home SP3; CPU is a 2.53(Pentium 4) GHz HP Pavilion 763N, with 2 GB of memory and a hard-disk with 392 GB of free space, rotational speed of 7200 rpm (Seagate ST3500630A).  Performance specs for Seagate are:

Spindle Speed 7,200 rpm
Average latency 4.16 msec
Random read seek time <11.0 msec
Random write seek time <12.0 msec

1) Tried to import my FTM-2006/16 database with 162,221 individuals and this failed with the following Import ERROR "The import failed because an unknown error occurred." This was tried three (3) times and the number of individuals imported different each time. The numbers imported were 12,535, 40,439, and 47,398. Since this is the same kind of random error that was present in FTM 2008, it has not been fixed in FTM 2009. Not even any trace-back report to give any idea of what kind of error has taken place or the condition of any pointer, buffers, or anything to aid in finding the cause. Very poor maintenance aids. Since my datafile would not import then I had to use the GED approach to moving my data from FTM 2006/16 to FTM 2009.

2) A GED file was exported from FTM 2006/16 and this file became the standard to test the import capabilities of FTM 2006/16, Legacy 7.0, FTM 2008, and FTM 2009. By using this standard file and the four programs then one can determine the speed of import for each program as shown in the following table.

Program

 Time to import GED file Time to export GED file CPU utilized by pgm.  
FTM 2006/16 21 min 4 min 50 sec Low  
Legacy 7.0(7.0.0.55) 62 mim 17 min 15 sec Low  
FTM 2008 (17.0.0.965) 342 min 13 min 30 sec Very High 100%  
FTM 2009(18.0.0.95) 312 min 14 min 30 sec Low  
         

Not much improvement in the import speed for large files. The time taken to do the individuals is only about 6 min but the time to do the marriages is where all of the time is spent and this shows that a very inefficient process is being used to locate the persons in the database. Much improvement needs to be done on this!!!!

When exporting the GED file in both FTM 2008 and FTM 2009 the data shown in the small window that shows the activity shows the wrong final value for all items. The last value shown for the number of individuals exported is the value from the last update and not the last number of individuals exported. This is also true for the families/marriages. When the export is compete then this window dissapears before one has a chance to view the final values which makes the use of this window just about useless. This needs to be fixed so that the last values remain and also the total lapsed time is shown and not that one has to use a stop watch to find the lapsed time. The only way that I was able to check the numbers was to upload the resulting GED file to my WorldConnect account and see that it worked there and had the proper number of individuals and marriages. This also checked that the resulting GED file from FTM 2009 was compatile with the WorldConnect database at Roots Web where the older version of FTM 2008 was not.

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Vista-64 on HP Pavilion Elite Computer

Tests done using a new HP Pavilion Elite m9450f Computer System: CPU Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q9300, 8 GB system memory, 7200 rpm Sata 750 GB hard drive. Vista-64(Home Premium) Operating System.
Produced GED file of 163,143 Individuals, 51,864 Marriages, 735,977 Text Records. The "Windows Task Manager" was kept running during the import process to monitor the progress and if load sharing between the processors was taking place. The Performance monitor was done on a second display screen while the FTM program was on the main screen.

Results using

Program

 Time to import GED file Errors shown on import CPU utilized by pgm.  
FTM 2006/16 14 min 0 Low Mainly single processor during import of GED but multiple processors when running
FTM 2008 (17.0.0.438) 100 mim 19 Low Uses single Processor during import?? Multiple processors when running
FTM 2008 (17.0.0.965) 100 min 0 medium Uses single Processor during import?? Multiple processors when running
FTM 2009 (18.0.0.095) 075 min 0 Low Uses multiple Processors during import( one does most of the work). Multiple when running.
Legacy 7.0(7.0.0.55) 23 min 0 Low

Uses 4 processors when importing Individuals, one when doing families

Legacy7.0(7.0.0.76) 23 min 0 Low

Uses 4 processors when importing Individuals, 4 when doing families

Summary of times to do various segments of the import proccess using a GED file.

Program

Import Individuals Import Families Save to Data Base Total Time
FTM 2009 (18.0.0.095) 13 min 53 min 19 min 75 min
Legacy 7.0(7.0.0.55) 19 min 4 min ?? min ( none indicated??) 23 min
Legacy 7.0(7.0.0.76) 19 min 4 min ?? min (none indicated??) 23 min

 Import using FTM 2006/16 database file. Using Vista-64, this test fails using Windows XP and a Pentium 4 processor

Program Time to import data Errors shown on import CPU utilized by pgm. Notes
FTM 2008 (17.0.0.965) 132 min 0 Multiple Processors This method of importing the data takes longer then using a GED file. Multimedia files are imported.
FTM 2009 (18.0.0.095) 124 min 0 Multiple processors This method of importing the data takes longer then using a GED file. Multimedia files are imported.

The import time for FTM 2008 is broken down into the following: 1) 44 min import of individuals, 73 min import of families, and 15 min to write database to disk. Total time 132 min. This

The key feature that appears to be the most important in the speed improvement is the large amount of memory and multiple processors to share the load of work required by the program.

The problem with speed appears to be taken care of with FTM 2009 and the new Computer System. However, the functionality of FTM 2009 as compared to FTM 2006/16 is still unanswered. I will continue to use FTM 2006/16 for all my genealogy work but keep a version of FTM 2009 to see if and when the capabilities of FTM 2006/16 are available. I have been a user of FTM since Sept. 1996 when I purchased FTM 3.01 and have used all the updated versions since then but NOT FTM 2008 or FTM 2009 and will continue using FTM 2006/16.

When one compares the capabilities and speed of Legacy 7.0 and FTM 2009 Legacy comes out ahead as all of the report generation is present, unlimited books, special charts for y-Chromosome and mtDNA. The limited number of books in FTM-2006/16 is a drawback but their ease of use is a major factor in trying to stay with FTM-2006/16. However, it appears that FTM 2006/16 is not compatible with Vista-64 at the present time while Legacy 7.0 is compatible for all the tests done so far.

Latest information is that the missing features in FTM 2009 are going to be added and books will be available. Time will tell if this is fact or fiction.
The present FTWVistaUpdater.msi program is not the correct one for Vista-64 and the log file indicates it is for Windows 2000/XP/2003. Anyone who is trying to use this updater patch is warned that the present program as of Dec 21, 2008 does not work for Vista-64.Watch this page for updates as I work towards getting my system up and running properly with Vista-64 and FTN 2006/16 while waiting for FTM 2009 that has all of the functionality of FTM 2006/16.

Tests done(7 Jan. 2009) on a system that had 64-bit architecture but running Vista-32 showed that the FTMVistaUpdater patch did indeed allow FTM-2006/16 to produce PDF output when exporting a report. The Family Tree Maker printer was in the Printers folder that showed the printer installed correctly. No tests were done to determine how stable the PDF printer driver was as Tech Support at Amyuni indicated the following: "

Support for Vista has been available as of version 2.50g-4 of the PDF Converter and the version that you are trying to install (version 2.1.0) is not compatible with Windows Vista (32bit and 64bit versions).

While older Amyuni applications may install and run on Windows Vista, they were designed, tested, and released to the public several years before this new operating system became available.

You may, therefore, experience a variety of installation, stability, and reliability issues for which there is no resolution. Older versions of our software will not be updated to support Windows vista.

To successfully install on Windows Vista you will need version 2.50g-4 and higher."

Load times for 163,143 individuals in database

The times shown for not cached are found by doing a Restart/Reboot of the computer and doing a time for the first time that the program is run. Cached times are for subsequent loads of the program and database.

The following table shows the time required to load the database and be prepared to accept entry of new data.
Program and Operating System Load time (not cached) Load Time (Cached)
FTM-2006/16 Windows XP 18 sec 13 sec
FTM-2009 Vista-64 90 sec 33 sec

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FTM-2009 SP1(version 18.0.0.305)

The new update, SP1, for FTM-2009 was available last evening. Downloaded the update and tried to import my 31 Books from FTM-16. The import of the books seemed to be working but failed with an the following error "Import failed because an unknown error occurred" The log file produced by the import has a size of 0 so is totally useless. This seems to be an oversight by the development group as the log file should show what has transpired and what book gave the error. The user should not have to check each book to see which one that was not imported and has a different item that cause the failure. Information available during import showed that 22 books were imported with 453 items. No errors were reported for any of these books while the import was being done other then the error message and the import stopped. There were actually 21 books imported into FTM-2009 and the 22nd  book was the one that had the error condition but no name was shown for this book in the log file.

When I used FTM-2009-305 to look at a book, it showed that all of the register reports were errors as I use the NGS Quarterly(Descendant Ordered) format rather then the one available in FTM-2009. The reason for my choice is that the Quarterly report has all persons numbered while the NGS format shows Roman numerals for each child in a family and only numbers those who have descendants. By having a report that all persons are numbered then a 6 generation report shows the total number of descendants in the six generations and this is important when comparing one database with another that may have a different number of persons. Give me the choice of selecting the format and not force me to use what FTM provides now. the log report shown when the books were imported shows only the number of books and items that seem to correspond to each chapter or section in the book. All errors are reported as 0 when in fact, everyone of the genealogy report chapters shows an error message that the NGS report format is not available.

Have also found out why you have to keep compacting the source file if you delete anything as FTM-2009 when importing books treats the space from a deleted book as a null book and creates a book with no title. This shows as a book with a number like 1, 2, 3 etc. in the list of books the next time you do an import to FTM-2009. Fails on the same book with the unknown error condition but now to find which one of the 9 remaining books is causing the failure!!!

The other item missing out of the list of items to include are the items for "Spouses Father" and "Spouses Mother". This is an essential item. To test if this was just an item in older versions of FTM, I used my version of Legacy 7.0 and found the option to include "Spouses Parents" and it worked as suspected. Seems like the development group overlooked many of the standard options when they rewrote FTM-xxxxx and still have not listened to the users and added the items back.

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Memory Use when FTM-2009 is running

To fully get an idea of how much memory is used, you must restart your system and give it a few minutes where you have not loaded any programs. The other item is that you should close the database before you exit from FTM-2009 so that you can see how much memory is taken by the program when it first loads.

1) Restart your system and give it a few minutes to get everything running as stated above.

2) Start the Task Manager and select the Performance tab (Note Vista shows two charts for Memory, one is the current value and the other is the chart for Physical Memory Usage History. XP shows PageFile(PF) Usage History) The values reported below are for Physical Memory Usage.

    2.1 ) 1.67 GB base-line

    2.2) Load FTM-2009 (no database) 1.74 GB note this is an increase of 130 MB for the program only

    2.3) Load database, mine is a 300 MB file of 163,143 individuals. 2.15 GB another increase of 410 MB. Do no other actions

    2.4) Close database and exit program. 1.60 GB decreased further to 1.58 GB

    2.5) Load FTM-2009 again. 1.66 GB

    2.6) Pgm & database 2.13 GB increase in size occurs mainly during loading of generations & Surnames.

    2.7 Close database. 1.95 GB

    2.8 Exit FTM-2009. 1.59 GB  This is lower then the base-line shown in step 2.1 as some programs must have been placed in the cache.

The database has 163,143 individuals; 51,864 marriages; 735,977 Text records as shown when datafile was imported from FTM-16 It is impossible to tell the exact usage of memory by FTM-2009 and the database as the cache can be used to hold parts of the database in memory when it is not needed. Only the development group will know how this works.

Results for XP operating system on a 2GB RAM system show the following:

    1) base line 1.36 GB free memory

    2) FTM-2009 1.24 GB free memory. 120 MB as compared to 130 MB so the values are approx the same 3)pgm & database. 0.77 GB free. 470 MB extra used, compared to 410 MB for the Vista system.

It appears from this that a copy of the compete database is kept in memory when the program is running and to this must be added the amount of memory taken by tables etc.

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Books in FTM-2009

FTM-2009 SP1 version 18.0.0.305 now has the capability to import books from earlier versions of FTM see notes shown above. When importing any books from earlier versions of FTM, the book items that contain any images are left just as a page and all the images have to be added again using the features in FTM-2009. The addition of book generation within FTM-2009 SP1 is also available. This first attempt at books appears to be very good but a few important factors have either been overlooked or are being left for the next update. The following section show the capabilities of FTM-2006/16 and FTM-2009-SP1(18.0.0.305)

The two versions of FTM have a similiar philosophy in the design of a book but are quite different in other ways. FTM-2006/16 when creating a new book requires a name and Author only and the resulting book does not depend upon the person that is currently selected from the list of individuals in the database. The items that are available are shown on the left side of the screen and are listed as a report or chart of selected person. The selected person can be changed easily by clicking on the Index of Individuals and selecting the one required. The only item that is in the book is the Title Page that should have no reference to any person from those in the database. FTM-2009 shows the Title Page of currently selected person. This is very bad as any book that is of a general nature or covers a large group of people or trees will have a Title Page but should not show the name of any person. The title of the book should be independent of any person.

Items to Include for the two versions of FTM are shown below:

FTM-2006/16

Items that are dependent upon the person selected are grouped together and include:

  1. Notes for individual if notes are present. Not shown if notes are blank

  2. Ancestor Tree

  3. Ancestor Fan Tree

  4. Vertical Ancestor Tree

  5. Descendant Tree

  6. Descendant Fan Tree

  7. Hourglass Fan Tree

  8. Kinship Report

  9. Outline Descendant Tree

  10. Family Group Sheet

  11. Genealogy Report

11.1 Register Report: NGS format
11.2 NGS Quarterly Report
11.3 Ahnentafal Report

12. Map               Don't see how this is dependent on the person selected!!
13. Timeline

The next section are independent of the person selected and are as follows:

  1. Text Item

    1.1 New Text
    1.2 Introduction
    1.3 Preface
    1.4 Foreword
    1.5 Dedication
    1.6 Copyright notice

  2. Calendar

  3. Table of Contents

  4. Index

  5. Place Holder

Last section shows any saved reports.

FTM-2009-SP1(18.0.0.305)

Create a new book opens a small window that requests the Book Name. Enter the required name.  Just use the name of "Junk" then click Save. The Title page opens with the title of Junk by and now you can enter the name of the Author or whatever info you require on the Title page. To add a new item to the book just click on the + sign at the top of the right hand window and a new window opens with all the different items that can be added. These are:

  1. Charts

    1.1 Pedigree
    1.2 Descendant
    1.3 Relationship
    1.4 Hourglass
    1.5 Vertical Pedigree
    1.6 Horizontal Hourglass
    1.7 Bow Tie
    1.8 180 Fan
    1.9 Family Tree
    1.10 Extended Family

  2. Genealogy Reports

    2.1 Register NGS format  This is not the normal NGS report but just the Register Report in earlier versions of FTM .See help notes shown below
    2.2 Ahnentafal
    2.3 Simple Register NGS
    2.4 Simple Ahnentafal
    2.5 MISSING!!!  NGS Quarterly Report

  3. Person Reports

    3.1 Individual
    3.2 Custom
    3.3 Research Note
    3.4 LDS Ordinances
    3.5 Task List
    3.6 Data Errors Report

  4. Relationship Reports

    4.1 Family Group Sheet
    4.2 Kinship
    4.3 Marriage
    4.4 Parentage
    4.5 Outline Descendant Report (This seems to be out of place as it should have been in the Genealogy Reports section)

  5. Place Reports

    5.1 Place Usage

  6. Media Reports

    6.1 Media Item
    6.2 Photo Album
    6.3 Media Usage

  7. Source Reports

    7.1 Source Usage
    7.2 Source Bibliography
    7.3 Documented Facts

  8. Other

    8.1 Calendar
    8.2 Text Item (This always shows the title of Text Item of person currently selected. Note that this is a MAJOR ERROR)
    8.3 Table of Contents
    8.4 Index
    8.5 Place Holder. (Just skips pages so that other items can be inserted for the missing pages)
    8.6 Items for the following are missing an need to be available in future versions:

    1. 8.6.1.1 Preface
      8.6.1.2 Introduction
      8.6.1.3 Foreword
      8.6.1.4 Dedication
      8.6.1.5 Copyright notice

  9.  Saved Publications

    9.1 Saved Charts
    9.2 Saved Reports

The speed of generation for a book seems to be very slow as compared to FTM-2006/16. Full details on this will be published as tests are done when and if NGS Quarterly Report becomes available.

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Requirements and Enhancements for Books:

This section is an attempt to show the requirements and improvements need in the book publishing capability of FTM-2009. MyCanvas is not included in this discussion.

Fundamentals of any book creation facility:

  • Functionality: This is the most important item as the book creation facility must produce a functioning book with all of the features required by the author. If it does not do this then no matter how good the individual parts may be they are useless if the book is un-functional.

  • Ease of Use: Family Tree Maker has one of the easiest book production facilities as compared to my limited use of other programs (Legacy and Ancestral Author)

  • Full compliment of selectable items that the author can draw from for chapters, reports, charts, and special features. This includes a rich selection of options for any report or chart.

  • User selectable features for page numbering. Are all pages numbered consecutively starting with page 1 as the first page printed or are the first pages given a Roman Numeral Numbering and normal numbering continues after a particular chapter. With the use of eBooks today, this has changed the way the numbering should be looked at as the page number shown by an electronic Reader program (i.e. Adobe Reader) should match with the pages as shown in the Table of Contents and Index of individuals. The older style of paper books didn't have this problem as one just looked for the page number that corresponded with the page in the Index and you could find the required item. An alternative to this is to have the page numbers shown in the Index as hyperlinks so that all you have to do is to click on the page number and you are taken to the correct page in the document. This is a very nice feature of  "Ancestral Author" books.

  • A log file should be produced whenever a book is produced and this log should show the time required to fully create the book and any error conditions that may have been found when creating the book. The title of this log file should show the name of the book so that it is not overwritten when the next book with a new title is created.

  • Chapter titles in the Table of Contents should require a minimum of changes by the author to create the desired effect. At the present time the Chapter Title can only be changed by going to the Chapter Properties option and editing the name to what is desired. This is acceptable but should not be required for every chapter. An example of a book that was produced using FTM-2006/16 that has many of these features is available from Krause eBook Privatized. Note: this ebook is 28MB in size and is password protected. Password is "kra01"

  • Method for handling multiple books. The list of books that have been created in a database needs to have some way of arranging the order of the books and not just the way they were created. If only one or two books are available then there is no problem but when the list becomes long, they should be listed in an alphabetized fashion. This will make the selection of any book much easier then it is now where one has to look through the compete list to find the desired book.

  • The size of the icon that shows the book should be selectable as either small, normal, or large. FTM-2009 seems to be using a large icon which limits the number of icons that can be shown on the screen at one time without a slide bar to move the screen.

Ability to import books from earlier versions of FTM:

This is an essential item and the following items should be present:

  • When using the import option, a new window should open that shows the names of all books in the database that one wants to import from. There should be button to select all items in the list or the user can select the items that they wish to import. This is essential as now, all items are imported every time that you try to do an import. The only way to get around this problem is to create a new version of the database that you want to import from and then delete those books that you do not wish to import then you must compact the database as any book that has been deleted and not compressed will appear as a numbered book with no contents. Very time consuming when with my large database, it takes over 30 minutes to compact the file on a very fast multiprocessor system.

  • The log file produced when importing books should show the names of books imported and any error conditions that may be present in that book. The user should not have to open the book in FTM-2009 to find that there are errors for every chapter where the report format is not supported by the current version of FTM-2009. In my case, when doing an import from the books in FTM-2006/16 the information shown on the screen indicated 22 book with 453 items when an Unknown Error occurred. The log file showed no errors but every chapter that was an NGS Quarterly report showed an error but this was only found when the book was opened in FTM-2009. Upon inspection of the list of books in FTM-2009, there were only 21 books so now to find what book was the 22nd one that caused the error condition. After much effort and time, it was found that only one book was causing the problem. Found the one file that was causing the problem and deleted it and then imported the remaining 9 books that had a total of 103 items. Once the single book that was causing the problem was isolated then had do go through the process of creating a database with only that book in the list of books, compact the file then import this one book. The results of this import indicated the number of items imported when the Unknown Error condition appeared but the resulting book showed one less items and in this way the chapter that had caused the error was identified and removed/replaced with the NGS report format rather then the NGS Quarterly Report format that seemed to have the problem. This was way to involved and time consuming and would turn-off many people from using FTM-2009 for it's book production facilities. The actual Chapter was found to be "1A3-2: NGS Quarterly Report of Caroline L. Krause" in the eBook link shown above.

  • Any chapter in an imported book that has an image associated with it should also be noted as an error condition as the image is not imported and no indication is shown in the log file that this chapter will need to be corrected and the image added back into the format for the book in FTM-2009. Luckily, I have only one book with any images but can see that others who have spent many hours to include images of photos, census, or other documents into their books will have to redo all this again. Not a good solution!!

I have also been testing the problem found when importing books and this is a strange one. If one tests the database for any errors when running on the XP system and no errors are found. If you transfer the database file to the Vista-64 system and run the same error check with FTM-2006/16 it reports the following error message "Test #20511 Book 908479 has book 877041 with illegal start page: 0". If this same file that shows this error message is transferred back to the XP system and the same FTM-2006/16 is used to test for any errors in the database there are none found!! Is this an incompatibility problem with FTM-2006/16 on  a Vista-64 system or is it some other problem? If one attempts to compact the file with FTM-2006/16 on the Vista-64 system many errors are found and the datafile is corrupted and must be replaced.

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Report Enhancements:

At the present time the following report enhancements are:

  1. NGS Quarterly Report. The Help file for these reports in FTM-2006/16 indicates the following:

Family Tree Maker creates three different types of Genealogy reports(from help in FTM-2006/16):

·       Register (Descendant Ordered) — The Register format is a descendant-ordered format; it presents information about your family starting with an ancestor and moving forward in time to that individual's descendants. The Register format is the format which is accepted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, one of the oldest genealogical societies in the country. The Register format dates back to 1870 and is used to establish "pedigree."

·       NGS Quarterly (Descendant Ordered) — The NGS Quarterly format is also a descendant-ordered format; it presents information about your family starting with an ancestor and moving forward in time to that individual's descendants. The NGS Quarterly format is the preferred genealogical report of the National Genealogical Society. The format dates back to 1912.

2. When any of the genealogy reports are selected, there is an icon that allows the user to select "Items to be Included". The options here need to be expanded to what used to be available in FTM-2006/16. This is particularly true in the section on Sources. At the present time there is only one option to ether have sources shown or not and these are as end-notes. What needs to be added is the option to have the source either as in-line or as end-notes. Sources shown as end-notes are just about useless unless you can have a copy of the end-notes available while reading the page where the information is shown. Anyone reading a document that sees an indication of a source shown as a small number needs to know the name of the source as it may just be somebody's GED file and that is not a source as far as I am concerned as it may have never been sourced from any primary document.

The report presently used in FTM-2009 is the first one in the list while the second one(shown in bold) is not present. I use the second one as all persons who are descendants are numbered while the first report only those that have descendants are numbered making it impossible to determine the total number of descendants unless you manually count them.

  1. Reports not previously present in FTM are:
    1.1 Male Y-DNA  Chart. Two types are available called Standard and the other is Carriers Only. I have to use Legacy Charting Companion for these charts which makes it difficult to include them in any book
    1.2 Female mt-DNA  Chart. Two types are available called Standard and the other is Carriers Only. I have to use Legacy Charting Companion for these charts which makes it difficult to include them in any book

FTM needs to address the inclusion of the DNA charts as this is a very important and new tool for the genealogist.

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Comments on other Reports and Charts:

The following section describes some of the features and pitfalls of the report and charting facilities found in FTM-2009. The  comments on the Genealogy Reports NGS and Outline reports have been indicated previously.

Custom Reports:

This report format leaves a lot to be desired as compared to what was previously available in FTM-2006/16 where the user had many options to select from for items to be included, columns to display the data where the width of the column could be changed to meet the needs of the user. To fully understand what used to be available, one must use the Custom Report facilities in FTM-2006/16 on one computer while trying to do the same thing or equivalent in FTM-2009. One Custom Report that I use regularly is one where I want to determine how many stray persons in my database with the name of XXXX do not show any parents. This happens regularly when one is dealing with a large database and when doing a line a spouse does not have the parents shown or if they are the grandparents of that spouse are not know but may be found later. The process that is used is to generate a Custom Report that includes the persons with the required surname.

  1. Select Custom Report then Individuals to Include. FTM-2006/16 never gave you a chance to select the individuals as the default was to use all individuals in the database. With 164,000 individuals this was a waste of time to wait for this first report then select the required surname. FTM-2009 allows the user to select what they want before generating the report.

  2. Select Items to include from a complete list of all items that are shown in a list. The ones used are: Name (Last, First Middle); Birth date; Birth Location; Parental relationship (adopted..); Spouse:(Last, First, Middle)

  3. Sort Report. Two sorts are required, first sort by Parental relationship in ascending order then by Name in ascending order. This causes the sorted list to show all unattached persons at the top of the list so that they are easily seen and the first few pages of a very large report can be printed if desired.

  4. The widths of the columns are adjusted to for Landscape layout on Letter size paper. Adjustment of the individual columns is important as the ones where clipping may occur should only be on items that are of secondary importance.

FTM-2009 Custom Report starts off by generating a report on the person that is currently selected. this report shows name, birth(date, location), Marriage(date, location), and Death(date, location) as these are the default and only items that can be selected.

  1. Select Individuals to include option and select the required surname using the "Filter In" option. Enter the desired surname. The resulting list shown in the right hand window will contain persons even with a first name of that may be the same as the search name and these need to be high-lighted then Excluded. These only appear at the first of the list. Anyone that matches where the match was within a longer surname are shown at the end of the list and again these should be Excluded by selecting the first person with the incorrect surname and click on the Exclude button. Keep clicking the Exclude button to the last person to be deleted. Then Click OK

  2. Now Click on the Items to Include. BINGO a surprise as the only items are the ones in the default report that was produced. This custom report is totally useless for what I want to do. This Custom Report format is in it's infancy and needs a lot of work to bring it up to the standard found in FTM-2006/16

  3. With no facilities for other items, no sort facilities, etc. This report is just about useless unless you just want a list of  persons that shows B/M/D.

The following is a short segment of an email reply that I sent to a person who was trying to work with a Custom Report in FTM-2009 and could not print in Landscape format.

"You should be able to setup your printer preferences for Landscape printing. I just tested this with a small custom report and if you click on the icon for Page Setup then a  small window opens and you can then select the Orientation as Landscape, the default is Portrait. You can also set the margins as the 1 inch for both top and bottom eats up 25% of the page in landscape view.

I tried selecting the paper size as Legal in the page setup to see if the b/m/d info would be printed to one line rather then 3 but no it still keeps the same 4 lines/person while over half of the page is white space. Very poor layout on the part of the developers. You should be given the option of columns for each of the headings of the 7 items and you should be able to select the width of each column like in FTM-2006/16"

Kinship Report:

One report that I generate regularly is the Kinship report for my daughter. Using FTM-2006/16 it takes 50 sec to produce a 1499 page report as shown on the computer screen using my old computer system running Windows XP. All individuals were searched and no extra information is shown between any persons name and the next one in the list.  Using the same system but FTM-2009 a similar report took 55 minutes. After 8 minutes of processing I have no idea of how long the process will take as there is no progress bar other then  a little activity bar that keeps cycling to indicate that it is working. Could be minutes, hours, or days!! Again, FTM-2009 kinship report facilities are just about useless as far as I am concerned at the present time.

The Kinship report done on FTM-2006/16 on my 8 GB Vista system took 30 seconds to produce the 1249 page report and with FTM-2009 the time was 16 minutes or 32 times slower. So much for the new and improved version of Family Tree Maker. There is a lot of work still to be done on improving the speed and functionality of FTM-2009 based on these recent tests.

Major differences between the reports generated using FTm-2006/16 and FTM-2009 are in the following items:
 1) FTM-2006/16 produces a much report with less overhead in headers and footers. Only one title line is produced at the beginning of the report and each page has the named person shown in the column headings. FTM-2009 shows the title on every page and in fact, two copies are on each page as well as the column headings.
 2) FTM-2006/16 shows the kinship of each person using all relationships while FTM-2009 shows only the closest relationship. If you have a person that married their cousin and that person was you sibling then FTM-2006/16 shows the sibling and cousin relationship while FTM-2009 shows only the sibling relationship. This should be an option to allow multiple relationships to be shown in FTM-2009.
 3) When using FTM-2006/16 the resulting kinship report shown on the screen has a search window that allows you to do a search of the report for any individual and thus determine the kinship to that person. FTM-2009 does not have this facility and you have to page down through the report to find the person in question. Very poor!!

While doing the kinship report in FTM-2009 I found that the option from FTM-2006/16 and prior versions of FTM that had allowed a person to have the following option in People>Other Parents> "Exclude this relationship from trees and kinship" had been omitted in FTM-2009 so any pseudo-family lines did not work properly. I use the pseudo-family relationships to track large groups of similar surnames where the line may or may not be related. By creating a pseudo-person called 00Root-surname with pseudo-children all males that have the option set to exclude them from trees and kinship then all families with that surname can be grouped together but are not related. As more information is found then if connections are proven it is easy to make the changes and connect the two lines together. I call each pseudo-child a Branch-xx (xx is 01, 02, ... ) Maybe FTM-2009 has some other way to do this same thing but it is not clear now or if it has then when importing from FTM-2006/16 this should have been passed on to the datafile in FTM-2009. Using a GED file to import the database would not support this as this exclude is not part of the GED standard as far as I know. Examples of how this is used are found at Pseudo Family and the further division at Branch-Eight where this family is a child of the Root family and also of the one called Schlochau Branches that identifies those branches from an given area.

As can be readily seen, I will be staying with FTM-2006/16 on my XP system when I add any information to my database and only use the Vista system and/or FTM-2009 for evaluation purposes. This has been an expensive experience for me when it was advertised that FTM-2006/16 worked with Vista, only to find out later that the advertisements should have stated Vista-32 as Vista-64 had never been tested. LET THE BUYER BEWARE!! I have learned the hard way!!

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Comments on new features in FTM-2009:

The following is note from David C Abernathy that was posted to the FTM-TECH list:

"With all this discussion about breaking down sources, it appears to me that not many of the posters have had a look at them and tried them out.

I, myself have a lot to learn about the new version of 2009, but it appears to me, that it is a VERY usable version."

and my response to his posting:

"You have made a very good observation and with all of these differences it is imperative that people are aware of the pitfalls that may befall them if they accept these changes and then find that they cannot export their database to a different platform in the future.

Those people who are/were using FTM-2006/16 have found out the hard way about continuity of the product as they have been left high-and-dry with no support for FTM-16 [as it is a dead-end].

My suggestion to anyone is to try these new features then export your file to some different platform to see if the new items are transportable. New features are nice but if they are not transportable then they become useless except with the product that they were developed for. If they are transportable to PAF, Legacy, or any other genealogy database platform and you have proven that the transport works then by all means go ahead and use it in FTM-2009.

I imagine that all sort of people are going to jump on me for making this statement but once bitten twice shy as the experience with FTM-2006/16 maybe the same for the next version of FTM where the development team decide that a new and wonderful approach will be best so they abandon the FTM-2009 approach and those with that product and databases are left to find whatever solution they can!!"

From the discussion on the FTM-Tech list, a lot of people misunderstood what I was meaning when I indicated that all the nice new features in FTM-2009 need to be tested for compatability with other Genealogy programs. For example, I noticed a few people indicating the new Sourcing templates and other super features that they are using. Well these may be nice but if you produce a GED file and import the data into another Genealogy program is the information transferred in the way that you expected it to be and had worked so hard to make it do just what you wanted only to find that the new format for FTM-2009 was not part of any standard and could not be transferred to any other program. I was not talking about the database format being transferrable just the data in a transferrable format and today that is GED.

If one wants to start a new standard then you start by getting the standard changed then incorporate that into your program and not do it first in your program then hope that the standard will change to accept your format. If the standard never changes then you have a product that is a dead end as far as any compatability with any other genealogy program.

Right now I see a lot of people being drawn into the use of a free web page that will allow them to enter their family tree at Ancestry.com. When I check their web pages, I see no facilities for doing any sort of a report or exporting their data back out of the database that they have created. They are being hooked into acting as inputs for the data to Ancestry and by using MyCanvas can produce a book of their data. The books produced by this method are very nice looking if you want some pictures as background and a limited number of report or chart formats. These people tell me that they just don't have the need right now to do reports etc but when they do, they will look to see what is available. Well at that time if none exist, they have spent many hours entering their data and find that they cannot do what they want using the facilities provided by the present system at Ancestry.com. The format of the web pages at Ancestry.com for these databases look very similar to the FTM-2008/FTM-2009 format but at least some of the report and charting facilities are available now but when FTM-2008 was first released it was not clear if some of these report formats would be available.

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FTM-2010 Features and comparison:

AncestryStore has the following announcement for FTM-2010  The information on the new features are repeated here so they can be viewed and compared at a later date.

What’s New?
 
  1. Enhanced integration with Ancestry.com –Import your Ancestry.com family tree, along with attached photos.
  2. Improved organization – Enjoy new ways to organize photos and other media.
  3. Slideshows – Create slideshows from photos in your tree.
  4. Family books – Publish beautiful keepsakes and books to share with friends and family.
  5. Standard source templates – Cite the right information every time.
  6. A new person view – View relationships within the context of your entire family tree.
  7. Scanner support – Add photos directly from your scanner.
  8. Family migration paths – View timelines and interactive maps highlighting events and places in your ancestors’ lives.
  9. Better Performance – Experience faster load times and navigation.
     

The recent release of FTM-2010 has not given me much to be elated about other then the increase in speed of importing a large file from FTM-2006/16.The time taken to import a file is now consistent with the times taken by FTM-2006/16 and Legacy this being in the order of 22 minutes. The majority of this time(2/3) is spent in the section where it states that the program is writing to the database but this seems to be a misnomer. If a memory stick is used as the storage location for the file, the time remains approximately the same indicating that disk activity is not what is causing the problem. The speed of import is not a problem anymore with this version of FTM.

The major upgrades seem to be that of allowing anyone with a tree on Ancestry.com to  import this to FTM-2010. I have not been able to use this feature as I do not have my tree on Ancestry.com but know of others who had trees but could not produce any reports from them but were waiting for some way of doing reports. Now is their chance to try FTM-2010 to see if it will import their file compete with Media and Data.

The report facilities of FTM-2010 have not been improved that much from what I can see, still no attempt to add the missing report facilities that were in FTM-2006/16 and are much need for my purposes. See requirements shown above for what is missing when FTM-2009 was tested.

One very strange thing about the way that I was able to pretest FTM-2010 was that Ancestry.com came looking for me to do speed tests on importing datafiles. They had been aware of this webpage for several months but had not contacted me but others who used my test results in their blogs were contacted to do the tests. When I was contacted by the person that had the blog then I contacted the Development Group and finally signed up to be a Beta tester for FTM-2010. Did the tests and reported my results which they must have known about already as I was only able to test three different Beta versions of the program before it was released. Received my release version of FTM-2010 today(24 Oct 2009). Thanks very much Ancestry.com as I can now test the release version.

Results when importing a large datafile into Windows XP on a system with 2 GB of memory were not very fruitful as an error report would be received indicating "Unknown Error". When the Development Group was contacted they could offer no assistance but wanted me to send my database to them. I did so and they managed to import it on a system with 3 GB of memory so they reported back to me that I needed more memory. This seemed very strange as I had always monitored the memory use when importing and at no time did the free memory fall below 1 GB which indicated that I had sufficient memory. Just another case where they sweep the problem under the rug and that makes it go away. This problem has been with FTM-2008 and is still there in FTM-2010. Does not give me much confidence in the quality of workmanship and testing that they do on their products.

Many of the features that are supposed to be new as shown in the release information shown above are actually features that had been added to FTM-2009 as updates. Books are a good example of this as I see no additional features in the books that were not already there in  the latest update for FTM-2009.

The bottom line of all of this is the question "WILL I SWITCH TO FTM-2010". The answer is: Not until it has the missing features of FTM-2006/16.

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FTM-2011 Tests (2 steps forward 5 back!!)

This version of Family Tree Maker has some very interesting enhancements but also some very bad features in that the speed of importing a file is back to the same range as FTM-2009. Why can't the developers keep the features that they used in FTM-2010 when the database was generated in memory then transferred to disk. Tests done that compare the import time for FTM-2010 show a total time to import a large database as 22 Min 33.242 Sec while the same database imported into FTM-2011 has a total time of 3 Hrs, 51 Min, 57.079 Sec. The process of doing the marriages appears to be the big bottle-neck as the rate is 4.7548 marriages/sec. Totally unreasonable speed for a modern program. If one uses a memory stick as the destination for the database then FTM-2010 takes 17 Min, 13 Sec while FTM-2011 takes 3 Hrs., 34 Min, 39 sec. From this it appears that FTM-2011 generates the database to the C: drive disk then at the end transfers the database to the memory stick. Again very poor response and enough to make me continue to use my FTM-2010 just to test how bad these new versions of FTM are compared to FTM-2006/16

One feature of FTM-2011 that does not seem to be working correctly is the Kinship Report. If the database is small then a report is done on everyone in the database but if the database is very large then a report is very slow or useless if I try to do a report for 179,000 individuals in the database. FTM-2006/16 does a report in about 20 seconds but FTM-2011 has not produced anything after an hour. This is completely unacceptable!! The method of doing a kinship report should be to do the ancestral lines for the person that you are doing the kinship on then do a descendant list for each of these lines. In this way, only those who are related to the person are included rather then the method that appears to be used in FTM-2011 where every person is checked to see if they are related.

Other items that still need to be fixed are:

  1. Option in report generation to allow sources to be shown as in-line rather then only as end-notes. Option should include at least a) no sources, b) end-notes, c) in-line.
  2. Speed of response for generation of all large reports. Any report of 100 pages or more needs to be compared to other programs (FTM-16 etc) and be comparable and not as slow as it is now. An example of this is FTM-2006/16 takes 14 sec to generate a 117 page report while FTM-2011 takes 5 min: 15 sec or 21 times slower. Another example is a 1051 page report takes only 2 min, 10 Sec and shows a total of 14,228 individuals when using FTM-2006/16 and when using FTM-2011 the same report still had not produced an output after 3 hrs 30 min when it was aborted!!!!  This speed of response is completely unacceptable.
  3. There is a  bug or oversight in the NGSQ report format where duplicate families are listed in FTM-2011 while FTM-2006/16 just shows an entry that the family is previously shown. This happens when two people marry that are related via the same common ancestor. The children should only be counted once and not twice as is done now!!!
  4. Books: This is a very frustrating situation as the imported books from an FTM-2006/16 file that use NGSQ format for the reports still shows that this report feature is not supported when in fact, FTM-2011 does have NGSQ formatted reports. The present import results in a person having to redo over 90% of each book instead of only 10%. This is in much need of improvement!!
  5. Custom Report features: I use a special custom report that consists of the following items: Name, Date of birth, Birth Location, Parental relationship, Spouse. This format is used to find strays in any family name as the stray person does not have any parents. The report must be sorted first by Parental relationship then by name so that all strays appear at the top of the report. FTM-2011 does not have the Parental relationship item that needs to be included in the report nor the sort feature.
  6. A more detailed description of the requirements for Books, Reports, and Charts, are found in items 6, 7, and 8 as shown in the topics section shown at the top of this page.

I cannot recommend anyone to switch to FTM-2011 if they are using FTM-2006/16 and if they do then make sure you keep your database updated on version 16 as you cannot convert from FTM-2011 to FTM-2006/16 unless you use a GED file which loses all of your books etc.

When will I abandon FTM-2006/16 and migrate to the new version!!. Only when the new version has the features that I use daily in FTM-2006/16.

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FTM-2012

This version of Family Tree Maker seems to have very few improvements over the previous versions in the FTM20XX series. One thing that has improved is the speed of importing a file from FTM-2006/16 where a very large database of 200,00 individuals can be imported in about 20 minutes. The shortcomings listed for FTM-2011 are still present while the company seems to be all enthused about their Tree-Synch ability to a database that is on Ancestry.com. This is a real pity as the fundamental features of any good genealogy program that were present with FTM-2006/16 have still not been implemented.  A few features have been added like the NGSQ format for reports. The shortcomings are listed above in the sections on FTM-2010 & FTM-2011. I still use my trusty FTM-2006/16 and only use FTM-2012 to check what others have in their databases on Ancestry.com.
I cannot recommend this program for any new users or ones that use FTM-2006/16 unless they look at it very carefully to see if it does all of the things that they did using FTM-2006/16. Remember, if you import your database into FTM-2012 and add new data then you cannot export it back to the program that you used previously and must re-enter all of the data again. In no way should any user get caught in a situation like this!!!!

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FTM-2014

This report will now be generated as I have receive my release version of FTM-2014. I was a Beta tester and all of my experience has been with that Beta version. The items listed below show some of the short comings of FTM-2014:

  1. This new family of FTM-20XX has a closed database and does not allow other programs to read from the database like FTM-2006/16 did. This does not allow programs like Legacy Charting to generate special charts for Y-Chromosome and mtDNA Chromosome carriers for families that I have in my FTM-2006/16 database.
  2. The speed of import from a very large database of over 211,000 individuals is very good and a little faster than FTM-2012. the rate of import is about 282-296/sec or it takes a little less than 20 minutes to import the complete database. the new feature of having the sorted Index as a file is a great time saver when using the program.
  3. When generating genealogy reports in books, the number of generations in the FTM-16 book are not carried forward into the FTM-2014 book. This is a real pain as every book has to be regenerated at a considerable cost in time. In my case, I will stay with FTM-16 until this is cleared up.
  4. Adopted children in a family unit are treated the same as natural children as far as kinship is concerned. This is a huge oversight and needs to have an option that will not treat these adopted children as natural children.
  5. There must be an option to allow sources to be shown as in-line rather than as end-notes. End-notes may be fine for short reports but any report needs to have in-line sources to allow the reader to see what the source is rather than trying to find the notes at the end of a chapter. Make this an option like in FTM-2006/16.. the Dev Team must have never read any large formal reports or they would never force a person to use the only method that is presently used in FTM-2014.
  6. The errors in the import and export of GED files in the Beta version of FTM-2014 has now been cleared up. I did an export to GED then imported that GED file back into FTM-2014 and no error were reported, all media was present and the stats shown on import were as follows: Individuals: 211217, families: 71,641, Media: 69, rate of import was 780 records/sec.
  7. When a GED file is produced that includes the Media, it appears that only the links to the Media may be exported and not the actual Media document. When using FTM-2014 it is impossible to determine if this is true or not but I have Legacy 8.0 and if I import that GED file into Legacy then some of the images are present but when the Legacy database is backed up then the Media portion of the backup contains the directory structure that is for the FTM files and not any new structure that Legacy created. The way to really test this would be to transfer the GED file that contains the Media to a different Computer that had FTM-2014 installed on it and see if the imported results contained the actual Media or are they missing. I was able to prove this when I did an import of the GED file into FTM-2014 after the original file that was used to produce the GED file had been deleted. The resulting FTM-2014 file had the Media items listed with the proper names but no images were present. If the original media still exists the they are transfered to the new Media directory making it appear that the Media was contained in the GED file. This is a disaster waiting to happen if anyone thinks that the GED file can be used to transfer their database to a new computer or different genealogy program.
  8. One short coming that I noticed when doing the export to GED was that the data box that shows the number of individuals, families, sources, and media did not show the number of media and did not remain on the screen so that the user could see the results. It also appears that any information in this window is only the last update and not the final numbers. This needs to be fixed to allow a person to either do a screen snip of the information or have the date sent to a log file.
  9. The information shown in the summary window when importing a file should have the time for each segment and not just the total time. Why should a person have to sit in front of their computer with a stopwatch to see how long each segment takes. the segments are for Individuals, families, sources, and writing to disk. Presently only the total time is shown.
  10. Other items as I find them.

 

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Last updated: 16 December, 2013 09:21:57 AM

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