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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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Joel. Personally, I wouldn't upload a gedcom to ancestry because of their get rich quick schemes. The Family Center run by the 7th Day Adventists is the place I would go to. Their services are free for all to see and look at. I don't like providing information that I have garnered to a paid service like ancestry so that they can make more money off of all my efforts. some people may disagree with me, but thats their choice.
Joel, I have Family Tree maker 8.0, myself. I don't use it much, though, because it truncates the lengthy titles of my royal ancestors. So, my primary program of choice is Personal Ancestral File.

That aside, there is no reason to upgrade, in my opinion. FTM 8.0 will do what you need it to do.

As for uploading your mother's data to a website where it can become part of a larger collection, from which you can link to the lineages of other people, there are now several of these. Probably the oldest and most notable is One Great Family ( I tried it when it was in beta and found I'm a distant cousin to its founders, Donnie and Marie Osmond (the singers). There are some others out there, as well, but I can't think of their names, at the moment. The way One Great Family works, and I assume the others do, as well, is you join, upload your gedcom file (which Family Tree maker can easily generate for you), and then you can see where your family tree intersects with the family trees of other users. This enables you to fill in the blanks; for example, say somone else has all the children of an ancestor that you only have one child for. Things like that. It, basically, completes your family tree for you automatically, depending upon who else is a member of the site, of course. It can add entire lineages immediately.

Thanks Gary... good info and I'll consider One Great Family.

Joel, I live in Jo Daviess Co and volunteer to do cemetery photos. Several years ago I had a request to get some of the Barrett tombstones that were at the Old Barrett school site in Derinda twp. Most were badly damaged or completely buried, but I did get two, after piecing them together - one for Arad Barrett and and for your Lockhart Barrett -
Wow! Very cool. Thank you so much for this information and the picture! Wish I could find more information on Lockhart Barrett but my trail ends (or begins?) on the Barrett side with him. He was my 2nd Great Grandfather.


I have a Family Tree Maker group here on Genealogy Wise.

Please join us and we'll help you.

Please contact me. I am requested to be added as a Friend.

Thank you


Version 8 is Old. You can use it, but IF you want to learn the Family Tree Maker program, I might suggest that you upgrade to Version 2009, the current version. It WILL read and open your two Family Files. I might suggest, that IF you are interested, you can Merge these two files and make them into ONE file..

As for the Extra CDs, I'd hold them aside for a while. You may find, that is IF you want to get involved, that you might consider giving them to a Local Genealogy society or a local Family History Center. Most, if not ALL of the data on those CDs are online.

1) Install Version 8 onto your PC, if you want, and Open those two files. The files should be < filename >.FTW If you aee a .FBK, that is a COPY of the FTW file. And yes, Version 2009 can open those FTW files.

2) You can't do much with that Family File with out the program, unless you give those files to someone else. I am not sure that I would suggest that you do that. Now, with Version 8 (your version) you CAN create and upload your file(s) onto a Family Tree Maker User Home Page. (its free)

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you,

I submitted my questions to Family Tree Maker tech support as well and got this interesting response:
Version 8 of Family Tree Maker is no longer supported by phone or email. However, you can certainly install the program onto your computer and work with it. It is also possible to upgrade to Family Tree Maker 2009 (version 18), our most current version, and import the file created with version 8. There is no need to install version 8 as Family Tree Maker 2009 is a stand alone program and does not need a prior version to "update".

It is also possible to upload the .FTW file, the Family Tree Maker working file, directly to This can be done with a free guest account. A paid membership is only required if you would like to view records contained in the collections at ancestry. The file size limitation is 75MB. The steps on how to do this are as follows:

- From the homepage of Ancestry, put your cursor on the Family Trees tab in the Ancestry navigation bar, but do not click.
- With your cursor over the Family Trees button a dropdown menu will appear listing any existing trees. Click on the option at the bottom of the list to Upload a GEDCOM.
- When the Upload a Family Tree page appears, use the Choose file field to find your FTW file on your computer.
- Type in the Tree Name box how you want the tree to be called on Ancestry.
- By default all trees are listed as public trees. This allows all members to see the deceased individuals of the tree. Uncheck this box to make your tree private if needed.
- Enter a Description if needed on the details of the tree.
- Carefully review the Submission Agreement and mark the box next to I accept the Submission Agreement.
- Click Upload. The file will be uploaded to Ancestry and notify you when it is complete.

Your family tree will now be available in the Family Trees section of your account.

I say this is interesting because I did not find anywhere on that tells you you can upload FTM files. Thought this might help others who are in a similar scenario. Also, if you just want to check out the contents of a FTM file without using a program to convert it to GEDCOM file, this sounds like a pretty easy way to do that.


What is your direct link to Pocahontas?  I descend from her through my 3rd ggmo, Nancy M. Bowles, whose mother was Fanny Bolling.  Lots of us are related to her.  Just curious.  Maybe we are related although I don't recognize any surnames.

My link to Pocahontas was through Elizabeth Bolling and her son John Gay.


I haven't researched the Bollings for some time.  Who was Elizabeth's father.  I do recognize the Gay surname.  





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