Thursday, October 16, 2008

Family Tree Maker 2009 Platinum, Deluxe & Essentials plus

I finally remembered what I wanted to write about yesterday...Family Tree Maker 2009. I was in Staples the other day and noticed that they had Family Tree Maker 2009 for sale. As a matter of fact, it was on sale. I do not remember the specifics but I think it was like $30 off or something for the Platinum edition.

The thing that caught my eye was the free, 6-month membership to In my book, that makes it a pretty good deal, especially with the rebate/discount that the store offered. Again, do not quote me on the exact price, but I think it was about $60 for the program and the six-month membership...a pretty good value after the money off.

I started checking around online and found that there are at least three versions of FTM 2009. They are Platinum, Deluxe and Essentials. There are several difference between the three packages and I will go ahead and list them below. I am taking this part from the product descriptions at
  • Platinum - Includes a six-month subscription to, interactive training tutorial, The Family Tree Maker Little Book of Answers, a 25% off coupon for Ancestry DNA and a 15% discount on a professionally printed family history book or poster
  • Deluxe - Includes three-month subscription to, interactive training tutorial, The Family Tree Maker Little Book of Answers, a 25% off coupon for Ancestry DNA and a 10% discount on a professionally printed family history book or poster
  • Essentials - Includes one-month subscription to, interactive training tutorial and The Family Tree Maker Little Book of Answers
That seems like a pretty sweet deal in the long run. Family Tree Maker 2009 is sorta pointless if you do not have a membership to in my view. Maybe that is a bit of an overstatement. You can use FTM 2009 without an Ancestry membership but you would loose a lot of the bells and whistles. It would be like driving a convertible that you could not put the top down.

If you were thinking about buying FTM 2009, now seems to be a good time. I would try going to Staples first and checking to see if the still have the rebate. If not, click the link below and buy it from the Ancestry Store.

Family Tree Maker 2009


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your review. I'm considering Family Tree Maker for the first time, but do not use extensively. (And since I heard that they have outsourced their document transcriptions to central China, I don't plan to use it any more than I have to. No offense to Chinese speakers, but transcription is a tough job even when you speak the language.)

So, can you be a little more specific about why FTM 2009 wouldn't be that useful without an subscription?


Kevin Lett said...

I do not know anything about being populated with information by workers in China. If you have a source for that, I would love to see it. As far as I know, it is all-American. If you look on Yahoo Jobs, The Generations Network is always hiring new people to scan documents and such. I agree with you, having Chinese-speaking people transcribing American documents would not make much sense.

As for my comments about FTM2009 not being worthwhile without, you have to take them with a grain of salt. My example was buying a convertible without putting the top down. FTM2009 is very powerful if you also use It is perfectly fine without it but so much better with it.

You can import documents and data directly in from the site. It will search their records, based on the people in your family tree, and alert you when new documents are found. There are just a lot of advantages to having the membership that you would not get, just by having FTM2009 alone.

Kevin Lett said...

This from a reader:

"Hi Kevin,

I finally got my FTM 2009 from Amazon. I loaded on my laptop and then copied my tree from my computer via a thumb drive. Everything transferred smoothly including pictures and documents and I love it!! It is a little different but so far I've been able to use fairly easily.

Hope this helps.


yankinulster said...

Thank you for your introduction to Family Tree Maker 2009, but you don't actually provide a review. FTM 2008 received many complaints from longtime FTM users, and I had to abandon it after a while. Main complaints centred on its linkage (poor) with its site. I would like to learn whether this has been rectified.

Kevin Lett said...

This post was not meant to be a review. If you do a search on Family Tree Maker 2009 in my search box, (maybe try FTM 2009 also) you should find several posts on the subject. It is a running topic more so than one single review.

Fiber addikt said...

I'm using FTM what you're saying about the versions is that there is basically only the difference of the length of time you get for free membership in terms of the version you buy, as well as the printing of the book? I'm not going to print a book anyway, and I already subscribe to so it looks like I'm going to get the less expensive version. The problem I'm haing is that I have over 42,000 in my tree now and it simply won't upload anymore. I hope they have fixed that...and info on that? Thanks!

Neil Rossiter said...

Re. FTM 2009. I have used FTM 4.01b for quite a few years and found it excellent. Prior to upgrading to FTM 2009 I emailed to check on compatibility and was assured it was fully compatible with all previous versions. IT IS NOT. Many earlier versions require ancestry's archive programme to enable upload of data saved on the earlier versions. Second you find, as in my case, that a 32MB file is transformed into a 104MB file on FTM 2009? According to it is because FTM 2009 handles info in a different way? Thirdly, be prepared to tear you hair out with all the glitches - lost info, inexplicable rearrangement of relationships and so on. Granted there are a few decent ideas, but overall FTM 2009 is rubbish. What makes the problem even more frustrating is trying to deal with the sanctimonious imbeciles at who seem incapable of giving a straight or truthful answer. Buy FTM 2009 at your peril.

Neil Rossiter

Kevin Lett said...


I do agree with you on a lot of your points. FTM 2008/2009 are completely different than anything they have put out before. It took me a long time to appreciate the newer look and feel but I am starting to like it more and more. I can see the potential that the new format has and the limitations of the old software. I think the benefits at this point are marginal, or maybe there are more negatives than positives, but I think it is better in the long run. I work for a robotics company and I understand that sometimes you have to make major shifts in software to keep up with the direction in which future development is going. FTM 2008/2009 is more inline with the type of software being developed in the general software industry today. This shift is a major reason for the increase in file size. I actually had to go buy more RAM for my computer to help it run the program smoother.

If you hate 2009, but it aside and wait until about 2012...then try FTM again. By then they should have a lot of the kinks worked out. I think this format is here to stay but it will take a lot of work to get it right, not to mention get all of the necessary features added back in. I am most disappointed in the way books are handled in the newest version. You cannot create, save and publish your own book, without going through their publishing service.

Take care,

Neil Rossiter said...

Hello Kevin,

When I loaded FTM 2009 I was enthusiastic about the new format. I am more than happy to struggle for a bit learning to work a new programme so long as I can see the benefits. What irked me was the lying by people at Ancestry and the different people I spoke to contradicting each other. I have now gone over to Family Historian and loving the format and features. I have been playing with the evaluation programme for a few days and only got the full version yesterday. FH does everything FTM does and more so that is now it for FTM. Why Ancestry insists on putting out a new version every year regardless beats me. You would think (from all the negativity regarding FTM 2008 I have read online) they would have got it right before putting FTM 2009 out? What also worried me with FTM was every time I opened FTM 2009 my modem send light started flashing away. They claim they are not downloading info from my file, but somehow I don't believe them. I don't have any other programme on my computer which makes the modem send light flash like that unless I am actually online working.

Appreciate your comments.

Regards, Neil

Nico Durand said...

The new version is a little friendlier, but FORGET using it with large trees (>100,000)!

It takes almost 1.5 GB of RAM.

Also, some great features of FTM 2005 were lost (copy tree to clipboard, display an interactive descendant tree, etc.)



Jen said...

I have been looking into getting FTM 2009. I am using FTM 16 and it crashes all the time. I have Vista and read somewhere that Vista and FTM 16 dont run together very well. I have even downloaded the update to use it with vista. Still it crashes. Thank you for the info on FTM 2009.

Uboat Charlie said...

I am not surprised on folks having crash problems using FTM and the Vista operating system. I have worked in IT for many years, as have my friends and we remove Vista on our personal pcs and put XP on them. FTM works fine for us.

MORE importantly, having gotten a very good deal on the FTM 2009 Deluxe (w/3mo / at Best Buy (tagged at 69.99, on xmas sale for 29.99), I have held off opening it until I could locate some of the changes from my current version 16. I checked out the "Offical Guide to FTM 09" by Tana Pedersen, from my local library. Chapter 9 is titled Creating a Family History Book. It goes on to tell how nice it is being able to have your files uploaded to and they do the publishing. I DO NOT WANT TO DO MY PUBLISHING. I would rather do my own publishing, which it appears that this new vesion 2009 does not permit. The Pedersen guide book only describes using I like the version 16 options for book making, that includes contents pages, sources, and an index for all the names.

I will be calling FTM magazine tomorrow to inquire if they are aware it the guide book failed to include my ablity to publish without using, or if FTM programmers/management eliminated that fabulous feature.

I have a feeling that I'll be returning my unopened FTM 09 Deluxe purchase back to Best Buy before the weeks end.

Anonymous said...


I just stubled on your blog while searching for information on the Family Tree Maker 2009 Platinum version. A friend gave me their copy because they stopped using it to switch to another program. I have used the 2006 version, but did not have it installed on my newer Dell laptop. I do remember that when I bought the 2006 version, I received a YEAR subscribtion to, making it very helpful.

I was very disappointed to see that apparently many changes have been made in this program in the few years since I've used it, especially the ability to print my own books! Like many of those posting on your blog, I prefer to print my own books, without depending on or any outside source. I am a writer and freelance journalist, so having those kinds of controls is important to me.

I have not determined whether or not I will bother to install the FTM 2009 Platinum as of yet, but your blog has certainly given me reason to further evaluate it before I do.

Thank you so much for your valuable information. I really appreciate your views and those of your obviously experienced readers.

The Ray Media Group
Columbia, South Carolina
September 7, 2010

arvin said...

My own genealogy includes all known ancestors, most of whom lived in the Hudson Valley. My husband’s

family was from Western New York. The following link to my blog has links to my genealogy website and

to DNA projects that relate primarily to upstate New York families.

genealogy forum