I have never hidden the fact that I don’t use Family Tree Maker. And even until recently, I have avoided using Ancestry.com. That was until recently, when I discovered a distant cousin sharing a family tree on the website which provided me with a few missing pieces of information. The principal reason for my lack of support of the website is that I tend to question the practice of sharing family trees so openly with other people. It is not that I have a concern with privacy (because tree setting allow for very good privacy especially on living people), it more of a concern that the information being shared is not actual fact. Perhaps a date of death was an approximate (aka “a guess”) and now this data is being passed around as if it is fact. Few people using the website are actually doing the leg work and will attempt to verify the information whether it is through source referencing or simply by asking the questions: “Where did this person get all of this information? Are they legit? Can their data be trusted?”
Despite being reeled into Ancestry.com, I still remain skeptical on information obtained from the website. And when I do find data, I verify sources and attempt to double-back and check on the data myself. However, despite this issue, there are plenty of positive aspects of Ancestry’s service such as its access to plenty of legitimate databases. To date, I have subscribed to the “paid” service of Ancestry.com for a number of months here and there, as I can not see the benefit of long term subscription with my current schedule. It anything, Ancestry.com has turned thousands of people onto an interest that love so that is a good thing. Also, I have just recently begun to use the family tree maker on the website which has turned me on to Family Tree Maker 2012, the popular family tree computer program.
So, I must now admit, publicly for the first time, that I like Family Tree Maker. Yes, I should have taken the advice of those fellow genealogists who repeatedly tried to sell me on the wonderful features of the program years ago. A few of those features that I enjoy is the ease at printing generation charts/reports and the ability to produce a calendar with all of the vital dates of your family tree. In minutes, I can have wonderful documents of my database. Plus, my family tree is saved as single computer file versus the 100+ files of my currently method.
Will I give up on my manual database and utilize Family Tree Maker? Probably not, but I will now enjoy maintaining two databases.