Thursday, September 4, 2008

Trees from Dendrology 101: Trees inherited from

Family Tree Maker

Logo for Family Tree Maker 2008 In April 2003 The Generations Network (then called, Inc.) acquired and with it, a couple of family tree systems. Family Tree Maker (FTM) is a desktop family tree management program. When Family Tree Maker version 11 was released in September 2003, FTM was over ten years old. FTM 4.0 for Windows was released about August 1997. I'd like to learn a bit more about FTM's history, if anyone would like to post some comments with the information. Since completely re-wrote FTM, it has been the object of considerable criticism, which I don't intend to cover here. If you feel the urge, go ahead and leave a comment.

World Family Tree

World Family Tree (WFT) also gave The Generations Network its World Family Tree (WFT), a collection of user contributed family trees which it resells on CD. WFT was available by January 1997 from the Banner Blue division of Brøderbund Software. WFT Super-bundle 2, containing vols. 8-12 was released about March 1998. The latest volume is 339. I wouldn't mind someone posting some WFT history, as well.

WFT has also been a popular target for complaints by those who feel it unethical for a company to resell user-contributed pedigrees. However, contributors are clearly informed of that fact before they are allowed to submit family trees. I'm guessing that the biggest issue is the unauthorized submission of one person's work by another. I can imagine one would be quite shocked to come across one's hard work being sold by without one's knowledge, permission or compensation.


  1. I wrote this short timeline a while ago:

    Feel free to get in touch if you have other questions.

    -->Paul B.

  2. > I'd like to learn a bit more about FTM's history, if anyone would like to post some comments with the information.

    Family Tree Maker's history is one of mergers and acquisitions.
    It started as a product of Banner Blue Software, founded by Ken Hess, and grew to have almost 100 employees before he sold it.

    Paul Burchfield joined Banner Blue and worked on FTM for almost ten years. Back in 2003, he posted a helpfull overview of the company changes he experienced: 9.5 years in one place, but many companies.

    Ken Hess has a website too: Kenneth Lafferty Hess.
    He based a book "Bootstrap: Lessons learned building a Successful Company from Scratch" on his Banner Blue period.
    I have not read it, but it is likely to contain some information about Banner Blue and FTM history.

    - Tamura Jones

  3. I found Ken's book really interesting both as an insider as well as from a business perspective.

    I remember his celebrating his 40th birthday at work. Now that I'm past that age, I appreciate his dedication, hard work, and accomplishments even more.

    -->Paul B.

  4. Tamura and Paul,

    I was hoping for just such commentaries. I love the Internet! Thanks for your comments.

    -- The Insider


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