- Chris, I used Family Tree Maker for many years. I too enjoyed its intuitive approach to adding and grouping information.
While the included CD's were "interesting" and provided some clues as to further generations, I quickly learned that like most genealogical information available, it included errors; some simple things like spelling or dates, but other more serious such as wrong family groups joined together. I would not rely on any of those "published" ancestries very much and I have learned to check original sources to confirm printed indexes whenever I am able.
The "biggest" problem I had with FTM was the sharing of the information with my family. Sure I could print wonderful charts and lists of names, but unless they had a copy of the program, that was about the extent of it.
I have now (recently) shifted to Personal Ancestral File (PAF) available free from the Church of Latter Day Saints. This is a powerful tool similar to FTM in its capabilities; but being free, anyone can download the software and use the data files as they please. I am also relatively confident the program will continue to be supported for many many years, and I expect any upgrades will be free as well. They do want you to register, but you do not need to be a memmber of anything and I have yet to have anyone from the church attempt to contact me.
The LDS also have a vast collection of records, very similar to what you would find on the FTM CD's. It is free and easily searched. You can find it (and PAF) here:
And, if you have the time and are interested, you can even assist with their many projects of collecting and indexing genealogical information for the free and public use of any who desire it. :)
I wish you the best of luck, and no, I am not a Mormon. Cheers, Dave O.