Friday, 23 December 2011

The Master Genealogist 8 and Family Tree Builder 6.0

At Tuesday evening's meeting of the OGS Ottawa Branch Mike More mentioned in passing that the latest version of The Master Genealogist has been released. I googled it.

To the left is what I found on the home page of Wholly Genes, the company behind The Master Genealogist, the background showing computer code with with expressions like "Runtime error in /Merchant2/4.24/modules/util/DEN_TINYCART.mvc". 

It's fixed now, but catered to my previous prejudice that this is a program for techies, not the average genealogist. 

A review for version 7 summarizes, "The Master Genealogist genealogy software is designed for only the most serious genealogists who approach family history with discipline and highly technical skills. This is not a family friendly program. Heirloom projects give way to statistical reports. There are higher ranked programs that are powerful, easy to use and more inviting."

Is the new version 8 any more user friendly?

I've not reviewed it, but judging by the information available, I don't think so. To get a demo you're asked to download an executable file with all the alarm bells that sets off. Why not on YouTube? Read the features and you're blessed with reams of technical detail, enough to deter anyone but those with the most "highly technical skills."

It's also a program the company seems to want to keep a secret. Aside from the announcement on the company website I could find no other mention of version 8 on the internet including social networks.

That's in contrast to the release of version 6.0 of the Family Tree Builder software announced on the My Heritage blog. There's lots of coverage.You can download a free version. It's not a program I've tried; I'm already confused enough with having different versions of my genealogy database on Legacy Family Tree and Family Tree Maker!


Mike More said...

John, I don't know why a problem with the website software provided by a third party should reflect back on a company that uses it. Wholly Genes produces TMG, not website software.

I will agree that The Master Genealogist is a program for serious genealogists. It has lead the way for years in the genealogy software business. If you expect to click on a leaf and find your whole tree in front of you, TMG is NOT the program for you.

Pierce said...

TMG is probably one of the most feature rich programs on the market. Yes, it is a program that techies can get there teeth into, and several have by creating useful add-on programs and documenttion (web sites and published books) that make it even more useful.

It also has an enthusiastic user community very willing to provide help to other users. And some of those "helpers" appear to have a non-techy background.

It has a few features that few other programs have:
1. It can directly import the data from other popular programs' databases, rather than rely on GEDCOM, which always looses data. If you have one of the supported programs, you can maintain your data there but transfer the data to TMG to use some of its special features

2. It has a great charting program that lets you do extensive editing of your chart once TMG has produced it. Several times I have created wall charts that combined a descendant and ancestor chart, and rearranged the boxes to better fit the paper.

3. Its "tag" structure allows you to describe events (or documents) that reference many individuals, who don't have to be related, and you can link those individuals to one tag, giving each a pre-defined role. For example, for a census record, you have one tag that you can link everyone in the household to, rather than having to define an "event" record for each of the individuals (even "visitors" or "lodgers", if you want to).

You do not need to have a technical orientation to use TMG. You can use it in a fairly simple fashion and use only those more complicated features that you find useful.