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December 9, 2015

FamilyTreeMaker Bombshell Rocks the GeneaSphere

Yesterday evening the Genealogy Community almost exploded with the sudden news that Ancestry FamilyTreeMaker (FTM) is being discontinued. Part of the blog post and email sent out by Ancestry stated

....we’ve taken a hard look at the declining desktop software market and the impact this has on being able to continue to provide product enhancements and support that our users need. With that, we’ve made the tough decision to stop selling Family Tree Maker as of December 31, 2015.

And it began - owners of FTM, furious at the news, began screaming on Social Media sites. One of the top complaints I spotted was "It's the busiest time of year! How can I get my media files and online tree saved to my computer before the end of December!!!"

Those FTM owners who continued reading the announcement would have seen this bit

"Ancestry will continue to support current owners of Family Tree Maker through January 1, 2017. During this time, all features of the software, including TreeSync™, will continue to work, and Member Services will be available to assist with user questions. We will also address major software bugs that may occur, as well as compatibility updates."

In other words, those affected by this decision have an entire year to do whatever they need to do.

I happen to be a long-time user of FTM (over 18 years! Check out my personal collection of FTM versions in the graphic above) but the sync feature is not that important to me. I like the Ancestry hints that pop up when I view the Pedigree of an individual but I can get the same results by searching on the Ancestry website. 

I hope folks understand that the software program itself will continue to work until you upgrade your operating system to something that doesn't recognize the program! So we all have time to find a new program and start learning how to use it.

There are many alternate software programs available for family trees. If you are a windows user you have Legacy Family Tree , RootsMagic (with a special $20.00 offer for FTM users) and many others. 

Mac users (like me) have fewer options. RootsMagic has a special time-limited offer on their software. If you are an FTM user wanting to switch you can get the full RootsMagic version for $20.00  

I decided to buy RootsMagic for Mac but I was confused by the page for the FTM users to switch. It seemed to only be for those wanting to buy RootsMagic for Windows. So I reached out to Bruce Buzbee, CEO of RootsMagic and here is his response

"The CD version includes the download also. It is shipped because it includes the printed book"

After learning that, I ordered the RootsMagic software this morning. I'm not going to set it up until after the New Year and then I'll get started. Who knows, maybe I will like it better than FTM! 


LarryD said...

I suspect you will be happy with RootsMagic for Mac. I have been using it for awhile now without any problems, having moved from The Master Genealogist after they ceased operations. My only complaint would be that some features from TMG that I relied on are missing from RootsMagic.

Unknown said...

hi Lorine
I've been using MFT and very happy with it, check this out

Jackie Corrigan said...

Love RootsMagic, though I use the Windows version. I'm sure you'll like it.

Unknown said...

I too like the "Ancestry hints that pop up when I view the Pedigree of an individual but I can get the same results by searching on the Ancestry website". I like being able to use the Shaky leaves and 'Merge' feature. I wonder if these features will still function the same? It would be inconvenient if I could only search on the Ancestry website without being able to merge - very time consuming me thinks. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...


When Ancestry says the syncing features will not be supported (i.e, turned off) you will not be able to see those shaky leaves. You also will not be able to merge trees that are online with your desktop program.

Think of it as cutting the cord - the online Ancestry will no longer be "linked" to your desktop program of FTM. But FTM will continue to work for you until you get an operating system that doesn't recognize it.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Hi Larry - I bought RM, installed it but so far am not liking it anywhere near as much as FTM.

It's not about a learning curve, it is easy to navigate. I just don't like it as much!

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Hi Nick, I purchased MFT some time ago (at your recommendation). Love the charts but dislike the program itself! I really don't like using it. :-(

Unknown said...

too bad Lorine, I know software is a pretty individual thing, especially for genealogists :)
After using Legacy for years I wish it was available on a Mac platform but MFT fills my needs (I also tried Heredis) and I agree with you, the graphics are nice