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I have become obsessed with genealogy. I've always been interested in my ancestry; for years I've read books on how to do it, and I finally decided to investigate my ancestry once I got a PC. A cousin of mine had prepared a family tree for the WOLFRAM family. I liked what he did, and realized that nobody (as far as I knew) had done the THOMSEN family. The THOMSENs are my paternal grandmother's family--and is somewhat large, and now scattered across the United States. We originated in Denmark--my great-grandfather was born in Copenhagen (or so his death certificate said--he wasn't).   I thought somebody should gather the information and perserve it; and that 'somebody' might as well be me. I purchased a copy of Family Tree Maker (FTM) version 5 in July 1999, when I was able to get it extremly inexpensively, and I've been at it ever since. When I bought it, the then-current version was v.6. I now have v.7.5, and I will never upgrade this version.

There are many who love FTM; there are a huge number that can't stand it. I'll try to be honest: it's easy to use, and it makes great box charts (some of the best I've seen, and they give a lot of control over how those charts look). They have other good points, but the company that manufactures it can be aggravating.   I also have a long list of things that they don't do right, or at least didn't do right in v. 7 (in my opinion, at least) in regard to data entry and reports.  That company (Genealogy.com) also produced an excellent software program, named Ultimate Family Tree (UFT) which was ranked as the second best genealogy program for a PC. The best? By almost unamious common agreement, The Master Genealogist (TMG) produced by WhollyGenes Inc., a small company in Maryland, USA. What did Genealogy.com do with UFT?? They discontinued it in May 1999. To be fair the designers were attempting to upgrade the program and simplfiy the code.  Despite their best efforts they couldn't do it.  Genealogy.com wanted UFT users to become FTM users (in their dreams).  Knowing it was discontinued, and that e-bay received a good number of copies of UFT, and they were going cheap--I couldn't resist it.  I purchased a copy of UFT, version 2.7. There's a free upgrade to version 2.8 on their website, which I took advantage of.  The last version was 3.1, and version 3 was bug-full.  The only thing 3.1 did was to correct some of the bugs.

A few of my thoughts on U.F.T. and why T.M.G. is better can be found here.

In November 2000 I gave up on FTM and moved my entire genealogical database to The Master Genealogist v.4.0c Gold.  It's excellent; you can do almost everything with it. The current version is 7.04. Version 7 is the long awaited 36-bit program, and it does even more of everything.  It was rumored that version 8 was to be released by Christmas 2010.  I'm writing tis in August 2011 and version 8 still has not been released, although a public beta of version 8 is available for those who are using Windows 7.  TMG v. 7 does not work properly in Windows 7 (at least the 64-bit version).  Version 8 does.  All we know is that once all the bugs are fixed and all the features are added version 8 will be released.
 
When UFT was discontinued Wholly Genes made an offer to the users of UFT that they could obtain, at half-price, The Master Genealogist---once an upgrade was released that would incorporate several UFT features into TMG.  My guess is that many of the UFT users took that offer.  I no longer have UFT on my computer, partly because I'm no longer using the computer I had then, partly because the operating systems have advanced to far and left UFT behind, it being written for an earlier operating system, and mainly because I found The Master Genealogist much better and UFT remained unused and more unfamilar, and therefor more difficult to use.  
 
When my grandparents HALTEMAN married the article in the local newspaper declared that he was from a prominent Philadelphia family. We laughed at that--what was so prominent about them?? Besides, he wasn't from Philadelphia but from nearby Montgomery and Chester Counties, Pennsylvania. When I started my genealogy I found out--gradually--whom he was related to. I found he was related to some very old and quite prominent families in that area. He descends from the founders of Germantown, which is part of Philadelphia.  His family was also the easiest of my four grandparents to trace.
 
The family tree of the WOLFRAMs that I mentioned?  My cousin got most of his information from his father, my grand-uncle.   I enjoyed correcting that tree, mostly in finding the correct places.  My cousin thought my great-grandmother died in her hometown, where she is buried.  She actually died in my hometown.  My mother then recalled that my grandmother once said that she was in this city to visit her mother-in-law, and that it was before my father married and moved here.  The things you find out...

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