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Article posted: May 21, 1999



Review: Family Tree Maker Version 6.0
By: Ryan Taylor, Biography and Archived Articles


Family Tree Maker, the most popular of the commercial genealogical softwares, has come out with edition 6.

Anyone who has seen the earlier versions will find the new one familiar enough, although the appearance of the tool bar has changed, with slightly different buttons.

The software is used in the same way as before. The basic tool is a family group page with parents and a list of children at the bottom. Buttons on the right hand side lead to other pages for the children or the parents' parents. As before, it is possible to list more than one marriage or family grouping for the parents, and relationships other than marriage are also possible. This is especially handy for many modern situations.

Among the new aspects of the software is an expanded means of adding information. This would have been thought of as 'notes' in early automated genealogical databases. There are also expanded facilities for creating a scrapbook of scanned documents and photographs which can enhance your collection. All of this will lead to a greater ease of creating a book-like report using the material you have entered, and the sorting and presentation abilities of the software.

One difficulty which some people find with reports written automatically by software is that it includes everyone, and many folks would rather that their own information (birthdates or marriage information) be kept from indiscriminate broadcast to strangers. Edition 6 makes it possible to tell the software to keep information about anyone under 100 years of age private and delete it from future reports.

The forms of charts has also been improved. FTM has always offered pedigree charts in the usual pattern, but now you can create fan-charts, hourglass charts (which show both ancestors and descendants of one individual), and also descendancy charts. These latter include creating old fashioned charts which give all the descendants of an individual, each person in a tiny box of their own. These quaint old charts were common in genealogies published a century ago, but they had to be created by hand, each box and entry typeset and put in place. For this reason, few modern family histories have featured them but they are very attractive, and the fact that each generation's line could include all the children of that generation in one row was convenient and informative.

A decade ago I created one of these old-fashioned charts giving seven generations of my mother's family from her and her first cousins back to a progenitor in the 1740s. For the five intervening generations I gave each child in the direct line with dates of birth and death and spouse's information. It was a very expensive and technically difficult project, which I only achieved through the kindness and efficiency of Waterloo Printing. As far as I know, Mike Litwiller and his crew there can do anything.

Well, that kind of professional looking chart can now be made at home with Family Tree Maker. I have only made a couple of very simple ones so far but I intend to create something fancier once I have some time to work on it.

Another possibility is an All In One tree, which includes everyone in your family file. I want to see the result from one of those genealogists who boasts to me they have 10,000 people in their family tree.

Edition 6 comes with a 15 CD packet of information (Canadian version contains 16 CD's, including the Canadian Genealogy Index) including family information from thousands of submitting genealogists and a variety of American sources in index form. It requires a CD-ROM drive, Microsoft Windows 95 or 98, 486 IBM PC or compatible, 8 MB RAM (16 recommended), VGA display running in at least 256 colors, Mouse and 20 MB free hard disk space.

Click here for more information on Family Tree Maker 6.0 Upgrades and for full Family Tree Maker 6.0 Software packages.



Ryan's Heritage Notebook...

We are all aware of the importance of Grosse Ile in Quebec, where so many of our ancestors entered Canada. Fewer may remember that Halifax was also a very important landing-place. The emigrants' spot there was Pier 21. The history of that part of the port of Halifax was written a decade ago, but has been reprinted. Pier 21: The Gateway That Changed Canada,by Trudy Duivendoorden Mitic and J.P. LeBlanc (ISBN: 0-88999-406-4) tells the story of quarantine, war brides, post-war refugees and all the other emotional tales of an emigrant embarkation point. It is available from Nimbus Press, Box 9301, Station A, Halifax NS B3K 5N5 (902-455-4286).

I often hear complaints from non-French speakers about the lack of explanatory materials which will dissolve the mysteries inherent in early Quebec records. Here are two books which will open doors, both available from GlobalGenealogy.com :
    Miller's Manual: a Research Guide to the Major French-Canadian Genealogical Resources, What they are and how to use them, by Douglas J. Miller, explains the works of Cyprien Tanguay, René Jetté, Dictionnaire national des canadiens-françaus (1608-1760) usually known as Drouin, PRDH or the Répertoire des acts de baptême, mariage, sépulture et des recensements du Québec ancien, created by the Programme de Recherche en Démographie Historique (or PRDH). There are also general discussions on baptismal, marriage and burial records as well as a glossary of the common terms which, once learned, will help non-French speakers to read French records without difficulty. Click here for more information.

    Searching Through the Old Records of New France For all those Precious Genealogical Details is a translation by Armand H. Demers Jr. of Cyprien Tanguay's A travers les registres. In his extracting work in the old répertoires of Quebec, Fr Tanguay noticed many interesting and unusual things which were also recorded, or recorded in greater detail than normal. He offered these in this supplemental book to his great series of genealogies which we now refer to simply as 'Tanguay'. Many names are mentioned in this translation, aside from the interesting material you will gather about the way your ancestors lived in New France. Click here for more information.
Donald Whyte's name is familiar to Canadian genealogical researchers as the author of the two volumes of A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada Before Confederation (1986-1995). He has also written a pair of little dictionaries about Scottish names. Scottish Forenames (1996) tells about where and how certain Scottish name were popularized, their derivations, pet forms and earliest appearances. Scottish Surnames and Families (1996) does the same for last names. These were published in Scotland but are available in North America through Global too. Both can be used to add interesting background information to your family history.

After the 1837 rebellions, many of the rebels fled to the United States. Those who were caught and given jail terms were often exiled to Australia, which was still being used as a penal colony by Britain in those days. I expect that few of us know what happened to them there. Jack Cahill's Forgotten Patriots: Canadian Rebels on Australia's Convict Shores (1998) is a fascinating look at those people. The rebels from Quebec had a particularly difficult time because of language and religious difficulties. Roman Catholics laboured under a deep prejudice in England, and this had been transferred to Australia by those in charge. John Bede Polding, the first Catholic bishop of Australia helped alleviate their troubles. The tales Cahill tells are rough and bloody, very different from the non-violent lives most immigrant Canadians knew. (editor: A supply of this book has been ordered and will be at Global within a week to ten days. Send Global an e-mail if you would like to be notified when it is in).

This past winter included a bad bout of flu for many people. It was nothing compared to the epidemic of 1918-1919 when thousands died. Few families escaped and those who lived through it often had tales which remained vivid decades later. For a long time there was no account of the 1918 influenza in Canada, but Eileen Pettigrew's The Silent Enemy: Canada and the Deadly Flu of 1918 (1983, ISBN: 0-88833-104-5) tells the story, giving both a helpful overview and many personal stories. Then as now advertising executives were not slow to take advantage of social fears. One ad which Pettigrew reproduces says "To Avoid the Flu, Ride a CCM Bicycle". This was based on doctors' advice to take plenty of fresh air. This book is ideal as a way of learning about an event which affected all our families. It is short, interesting and will undoubtedly provide you with some colourful background information. Some editions had the title The Deadly Enemy. Although out of print, this book may be found on your library's shelves, or you can order it on interlibrary loan.



Books By Ryan Taylor

Across The Waters, Ontario Immigrants Experiences 1820 - 1850 - by Frances Hoffman & Ryan Taylor, 1999. Riveting first-hand accounts of the immigration and settlement experience, taken from the diaries and letters of 150 immigrants.

Routes To Roots, The Best of Ryan Taylor's columns from the Kitchener Waterloo Record, by Ryan Taylor 1997



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The Merivale Cemeteries
(Protestant - Ottawa area)