GSP – Family Tree Maker 2005 Collector’s Edition review

trace and record your genealogy
Photo of GSP – Family Tree Maker 2005 Collector’s Edition

Sooner or later, most people think about tracing their family tree back through the generations to see if they’re related to William the Conqueror or Vincent van Gogh. The problem is, who has the time, energy and dedication to go chasing through old church records and censuses?

Enter Family Tree Maker, which is designed to take the pain out of searching for your roots. Now in its 12th incarnation (we reviewed the previous, basic version here), the 2005 Collector’s Edition comes with no less than eleven CDs worth of data plus a free one-year subscription to’s OneWorldTree and a 30-day free subscription to’s UK and Ireland Collection.

Once you’ve installed the main program, the manual will lead you through the four basic steps. First you build your history by adding all the family knowledge you already possess to the user-friendly data screens. Then you start searching for more information via the links and the enclosed CDs.

Two big warnings should be highlighted at this point. First, while your subscription to is free, once you start exploring it and want to go deeper you will be encouraged to take out further subscriptions for things like photos and newspaper clippings and earlier records from the US and UK. Second, when you examine the CDs more closely, they include English Parish Records, Scottish Parish Records, 1851 UK Census (selected Records), British Chancery Vol.1 & 2, Pallot’s Marriage Index, Pallot’s Baptism Index, Cambridge University Alumni and the 1891 London Census.

Some of the CDs didn’t want to load, and as three of them are geared towards London, their usefulness will be severely limited in the North of England or Wales. So if you’re just starting out on the genealogy path, it might be better to buy the basic package and then do most of your hunting online.

Where this package scores is in both collating and designing the resulting information. The Family View allows you to see three generations at once, while the new Pedigree View will stretch to seven generations. The other helpful new tool is the Web Merge Wizard which alerts you when new information is found that could be relevant, and you can then add it to your tree.

There are dozens of ways of displaying your ongoing tree which will incorporate photos, articles, video, etc., and they can be turned into calendars, cards and labels. The final product can then be backed up onto CD or printed out in book form.

Company: GSP

Contact: 01480 496666

If you want to find out all about your ancestors then this is a highly efficient tool for assembling a family tree using both online and CD resources. But beware of the hidden online costs and think carefully whether the CDs will be relevant to your history before buying the Collector's edition.