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Up A Tree

Up A Tree
by Gary Woods

Genealogy is a very cool topic. Digging around in your past to figure who your relatives were can be fun, disappointing and exhilarating. There have been various software packages for sale for a long time, but the latest offering is called Family Tree Maker 2008 which runs on Windows XP of Vista and retails for $39.95 direct.

To get started with your Family Tree you start with names, dates and events in your history. You can then attach photos, documents and even audio and video files to the data. After that you can quickly merge new facts and records from the web into your Family Tree. Then use interactive maps to explore places where your ancestors once lived using that information to design and print charts to display at home and share with your family.

This 2008 version of Family Tree Maker is not just an update of a previously released piece of software it has been written completely from scratch and has a much better interface that its predecessors. This version basically does the genealogy for you because it syncs with the website which costs anywhere from $12.95 to $34.95 per month.

Because of this connection to you can often find missing information about your relatives with just a mouse click. The software searches for each name entered into your Family Tree and denotes matches with green leaf icons.

Some of the very interesting options on the website are the many different ways that you can print out what you've found. For instance, the Book Option allows you to order a customizable, coffee table-style book documenting your lineage.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc