Family Tree Maker, RIP…

Family Tree Computer KeyBig news from Ancestry today, announcing the discontinuation of their Family Tree Maker (FTM) desktop software.  I don’t want to think that this is a business move intended to force everyone to enter their family tree data directly into their online tree, but it’s sure going to push a lot of folks in that direction.  This also means that you will need to maintain a subscription if you want to keep accessing your information. 

Personally, I’ve never used FTM because of the dependency on the online tree and for fear that something like this might eventually happen. Instead, I do my research on Ancestry (and Family Search, Find My Past, etc.)  but keep all of my records in an independent genealogy software package on my desktop.  I do maintain an online tree, but it’s there primarily to help unknown cousins find me (“cousin bait”) and contains only what I have been able to find on Ancestry.  Doing this keeps my data independent, makes it easier to pass on to my children and nephews, and allows me to drop my Ancestry subscription if it becomes too expensive or if I want to save some money for a few months.

Support for FTM will continue for another year (until January 1, 2017), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some functionality start to fall to the wayside before that.  So if you’re using Family Tree Maker, best to download a GEDCOM for Ancestry trees and start shopping for new software!

More reactions to this news can be found on the Genea-Musings blog, GeneabloggersGenealogy’s Star, and on engadget.  In addition, Dear Myrtle is planning a live stream discussion on this topic this evening.

So what do you think?  We’d like to hear your reactions in the comments!

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7 Responses to Family Tree Maker, RIP…

  1. Carol Callaghan says:

    While I am disappointed that Ancestry will stop selling Family Tree Maker, I want to point out to people that they can still use the software. I have an old version of WordPerfect that I have been using for about 15 years,because I prefer it to Microsoft Word! I will start looking for replacement genealogy software, but until I find something I like as well as FTM, I will continue to use FTM. By the way, I don’t see why functionality should drop off….only the help should be affected, so I recommend getting the books, Companion Guide and Beyond the Basics, Tana Pedersen, usually available from Amazon.

    • Reese says:

      You make a very good point, Carol. I also continue to use a couple of programs that have been discontinued. Useful life of software continues long after support ends. That being said, there is a chance that FTM will not work with the next version of Mac OS or Windows. And a couple of the links I included suggest that TreeSync might end with a future website change.

  2. Joe says:

    RootsMagic is running a great promotion for those who may want to switch! See their offer below.

    Update Discount for Family Tree Maker Users

    To make the transition as painless as possible, we’ve set-up a special website at that includes training videos, testimonials, and more. And for a limited time, we are offering Family Tree Maker users the full-version of RootsMagic for the amazing low price of only $20. We will also include the printed book, “Getting the Most out of RootsMagic” absolutely free (a $14.95 value). You must visit to receive the discount.

    • Carol Callaghan says:

      Family Historian is also offering a discount for FTM users. But it looks like things will be lost when you do a GEDCOM transfer. Need to check other software packages.

      Legacy does not have an offer up for FTM users yet, but I figure they will do so soon.

      In January, I plan to get both Roots Magic and Legacy and try them out.

  3. Mary Lou says:

    As I have had Legacy Software for years as well as FTM, I suggest that everyone should look at this link from the Legacy webiste (12-10-15).

    It has a short video about how to transfer your work from FTM to Legacy….lists of why to move to their software….reminders of their extensive webinar archives (webinar wednesdays weekly lectures by all the big name speakers in the genealogy field, etc. I have my trees on both and have not loaded my trees on to Ancestry site nor on Family Search….only have a skeleton tree out there to capture possible cousins.

    Both Legacy and RootsMagic offer FREE standard software that we can download and try out.. I did this a few years ago and decided on Legacy. Legacy also has a very heavily used FB page that supports their users continurous questions about how to do this or that….Legacy has a moderator that I see often putting in her 2 cents.

    Point being that I think there is lots of support for their software. Owner Geoff Rasmussen will do free webinars several times a year to show us how to do this or that or new things that he has added to software….look on the webinar archive for them as they stay free to use and don’t move to archive for pay.

    Yes, it is a Mormon owner and that is their bent….it has not been an issue for me.

    Just want to say that the website and software and FB presence is worth a look….they compare well to all the other softwares in any reviews out there.

    I have continued to use FTM because I enjoy all the genealogy classes at Osher at UDel and FTM is what they use for all classes. It’s the only reason I still use it.

  4. Mary Lou says:

    Sunday late day after reading many comments on the Internet about FTM

    If you are on Facebook, be sure to sign up for 2 blogs I read….lots of good info:
    1. “Technology for Genealogy” – info on RootsMagic and LegacyFamilyTree software
    2. “Legacy Users Group”….this is the Legac- run blog….. great source for how-to when stuck….and very active right now with 4 moderators

  5. Pingback: Family Tree Maker - It's Back! - Delaware FamiliesDelaware Families

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