Genealogy Wise

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Got some questions on Family Tree Maker for you. My Mom, who passed away a few years ago, had FTM version 8.0. I have the installation CDs and a ton of extra CDs (1881 British Census, 1880 US census, and whole bunch of other CDs). I also have two FTM files (Barrett - Dad's side of the family, and Wright - Mom's side) and some Bio files. I guess these are my basic questions:

1) What does it take to "dip my toes" into this hobby -- could I just install the version I have and see what's there or should I upgrade to a newer version. If so, wouldn't I need version 8.0 installed anyway to upgrade it? And would that new version be able to read the v8 files?

2) If I didn't want to install it, is there a way to get the information Mom collected into a website or uploaded to a larger collection where it might link into other people's research? Would there be a cost to maintain that online? Could other people view it as well, like my family?

I really don't want to evaluate all the genealogy websites. I'm looking for someone who has done this and already knows what to do and, more importantly, what not to do. I don't want to lose all Mom's hard work -- she was very good at genealogy research. She volunteered for a long time at the Family History Center (a Mormon library and branch of the Family History Library) in Columbus, GA. Mom volunteered with the genealogy library because she loved it so much and spent almost 20 years there. She also ran a small research consulting business in her spare time.

I'm pretty sure the information she collected on our family is very accurate. She was very meticulous and triple checked everything. She found a direct link to a Civil War soldier and that's how she got into the Daughters of the American Revolution. She also found a direct link from our family to Pocahontas, strange as that may sound.

Anyway, I'd appreciate any help or suggestions you can provide.

Thanks in advance,
Joel Barrett

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My father's side (Barrett) came from Medford OR. His father was Haney Franklin Barrett (Los Angeles, CA) then Wilbur H. Barrett (Jo Daviess, IL) then Lockhart Barrett (NY). She wasn't able to get any further than that on the Barrett name but always thought that Lockhart's (b. 18 July 1816) parents emigrated from Europe. Never could prove that though.

Thanks for the info on FTM. I'll check out those websites.

Hello Joel,

My thoughts are, take this information to the Family History Library your mother was spending so much gracious time with and donate the research to the center. They know how to process what you have. If any one understands all the work put into it, believe me they are the experts and the web site will thank you for it. It is free and the Center will assimilate what they need. Please include any family photos or family stories you may have.
I also highly recommend if you are going to share thru them it would be free.

If you update your Family Tree Maker to vers.16, yes it is an easier program but if you are not going to use it at this time-!? The company updates too often to pay the money now when it may be a totally different program you may need in the future. Just a thought.
It appears that both of those sites charge you to do anything of importance. I just want to preserve the work my mom did. I don't want to spend a ton of money and time doing additional research right now. This was her hobby and currently isn't mine. What recommendations do you have for someone who just wants to preserve what's already been done without having to go down the whole route of becoming a genealogist?

Joel. Do you have your Mom's PC? The reason is her files may still be on the PC. If you were to install your ver 8 to your own computer, all you will get is the FTM file where you start filling in your information. If you have her PC and the Ver 8 FTM is already installed, you should be able to see her files. If her PC doesn't have the Ver 8 installed, the files she created will still be there somewhere on her computer. so all you would need to do in this case is to install the Ver 8. Once you have the files, you can always backup the complete files on a thumb drive, and then go to your own Pc and install the files from the thumb drive. I hope all this makes sense to you. You can contact me at kegan32(at)netzero(dot)net if you have further questions.
I no longer have her PC but I do have all her files and know they've been backed up correctly because I did them (I have been using computers for over 20 years and am in the IT industry as a Sr network engineer).

I know I can install FTM v8 on my computer and start working with the files she created. What I really want to do is upload them to some online system where they can be added to a "master" tree so that others can share in the information my mom found and, if I eventually decide to get in to genealogy, I can go back and add stuff later. So, the only purpose I'd want to install FTM v8 is to get the files into a format that can be shared with others -- I don't want to do that if I don't need to but I also need a trustworthy website that's going to be around forever and isn't going to charge me just to upload data that's going to get shared with others. Does that make any sense at all?


1. First, you will need to install Family Tree maker if thats what she used onto your computer.
2. Once you've done this open up family tree maker program, then click to open her file. * Make sure you have whatever removable drive or disc it is included on.
3. Next, Once you have her tree open Save it to your Hard Drive.
4. Once you have saved it. You can then Click on "Copy/Export Family file" under the FILE menu.
5. Once you have gotten this far you will TYPE whatever file name YOU choose to save it under & then CHANGE the "Save as type" to GEDCOM format & click SAVE.
6. Once it is saved on your computer to GEDCOM format you can upload it to pretty much ANY genealogy site that allows Uploads.

I hope this is helpful! I personally have mine uploaded to, & Tribal If you have any other questions feel free to email me at: .
Thanks this is good information that will quickly get me going.,, and several others are all part of the parent organization. How do you choose which one is the best, or are they all the same with just different front pages?
Joel, once you have created a GEDCOM file from the FTM files (others have said how to do this), I recommend uploading it to WorldConnect at . This is a free site. You can share your information and no one will need to pay to view it. I find it much easier to search and peruse trees at WorldConnect than those uploaded to Ancestry. owns rootsweb but the difference between looking at trees on rootsweb's WorldConnect and Ancestry is night and day to me. And the speed at which one can look at the tree - World Connect is ever so much faster. I'm a big fan of rootsweb and have been since it first started back when in the 1990s..
Good info and I'll look into it. Thanks!

I see that Rootsweb allows searches but then says there is more information in the search results which takes you back to and their subscriptions requirement.

After researching all this stuff, I am amazed at how many different sites there are for genealogy. Of course, most of the big ones are owned/controlled by I wonder what this site (GenealogyWise) will do about that?

Joel, the "more information" at Ancestry almost always comes up because they have census records and more that would provide supporting documentation for a tree at Rootsweb's World Connect. BUT... you do not need to pay anything to view, add postit notes information to World Connect db, etc. I hate looking at trees on Ancestry because I find them very cumbersome to navigate. It's a breeze at World Connect.

I use Ancestry and get good information there, vital records, census, etc. but find their tree stuff very awkward and searching their trees often brings up lots of records I don't want of folks not even mentioned in my search parameters. It appears the search weighs the parameters and I want them to give me the combo of all my parameters with equal weight. At World Connect the search works much better and one can specify more search parameters. Can you tell I'm a World Connect fan?...Smiles!
I created a trial account on I then took a lot of the information my mom created which was nicely laid out in a couple of Generation Pedigree Charts and entered it into Ancestry. I figured this would give me three results: 1) I would learn all the stuff she gleaned while doing her research, 2) I would learn how to use and an electronic genealogy program, and 3) I would be able to create a GED file from the results. So far I am into my third day of the 14 day trial and have accomplished all three expectations with a fourth, unexpected result -- I kinda like doing this stuff.

I didn't want to do two things: 1) Spend a lot of money and 2) Install FTM 8 on my laptop that's getting ready to be upgraded in about a week.

So, now that I have a GEDCOM file from, I am in the process of checking out I really liked the layout and convenience of It was pretty cool seeing lots of information about my ancestors pop up (almost too much information at times) but I still don't want to pay $150+ per year so I'm going to see what RootsWeb is all about and see if that won't "fill the bill". I'd like to, at some point, be able to present my siblings with the results so it'll have to be free for them to view. I know offered this but I haven't gotten to actually checking out how free "free" is, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, thanks all for all your help. I think I'm pointed in the right direction and, who knows, maybe this will become a hobby for me... never can tell.

Ancestry is a paid subscription site for their databases, but they have the Ancestry Family Trees where you can upload a GEDCOM file and have your information online. There is no cost for that. You can either make your tree(s) public or private. Those who have a subscription can access the info in a public tree, and of course you can access it. You can also send invites to others to view both public and private trees.
There is also WorldConnect, which I don't have personal experience with, but plan to upload my info to it someday.



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