Category Archives: Family Tree Maker

Family Tree Maker to Retire

The genealogy community is all a buzz due to the announcement two days ago by that they would be retiring and no longer supporting their software program, Family Tree Maker.  As a FTM user, this news was very upsetting to me. I have spent many hours of my life building my family tree online with, using FTM. You can view their announcement at their blog site,

Since the announcement, I have calmed down and the initial panic has worn off.  I have decided to sit this out for a while before I make any major changes to the way I do my genealogy work.  After all, we have until January of 2017.  I know other family tree software companies will use this time of panic to make sweet offers for the panicked masses of FTM users to switch to their products, which is tempting I admit. But for now, I will wait it out and see what else happens or comes about.

First though, I have to say to that your timing on this deal is pretty crappy.  You won’t be offering FTM for sale after Dec 31, 2015 and you announced this on Dec 8, 2015.  Seventeen days before Christmas.  I’m sure most people, like myself, are already budgeted to the max.  I bought the program and downloaded it to my laptop, without ever getting the setup disk.  So of course I would like to now buy the disk so that if my laptop crashes, I can at least add the program back to a new computer.  That would be $79 I wasn’t expecting to spend with such short notice, right in the middle of the holiday season.  My children thank you.  They will now have to believe again in Santa Claus if they want their stocking filled up.

The reason I use the FTM program is because I need to print my work out, run reports, see cousin relations, etc. I also use the program, to catch errors, and make mass changes at once.  Here is an example of a report I always use when researching.  I keep this right in front of me when working on a line, this way I know all the players and dates for reference.

Me to John Floyd Ball

The main reason I will sit this out before switching to another software program is the tree sync feature that FTM offered with  I spend many hours working on my family tree.  Sometimes I work from, and sometimes I work directly in the software, offline.  When I go back online, FTM automatically syncs my data from the software to my tree online.  That means, any changes I made on is downloaded and updated to my software program, and any changes I made in the program is uploaded to and my tree there is updated.  This means I do not have to do double the work, and my tree is exactly the same in both locations, online and offline.

At this point if I switch to another software program, any changes I make to my tree, will have to be manually made in two places.  In the program, and on my tree. In the past, before I used FTM tree sync, this meant I would get on a roll, working away on and not even really remember what all I had changed, and then have to remember to make the same changes in the software program. Inevitably, this meant I would forget to make one or two of the changes and then my data is comprised and not correct, and doesn’t match in both places.

And yes, I know I can just do my work on and then extract a gedcom, upload in my program and then they match.  I don’t want to go through that every time I make changes.  I want a program to sync with  Hopefully, one of the other programs will step up and make the sync with a possibility, and if they do, that is who I will switch to.

The other major problem with them discontinuing the program, is all the reporting that the software program has, that does not have.  I use these reports daily, in one way or another, and only offers reports that you have to pay to get.  I’m definitely not paying them to print out a copy of the work I have done myself. Never will that happen.  In fact, if they would just add the reporting abilities to their website, then I would be more than happy to do most of my work online on their website and then back up my tree to my computer any time I make changes.

This announcement two days once again fostered my fear of what will happen to my family tree when I am gone?  How do I keep my work up to date, all together, less confusing and easily accessible to my descendants or any family members that are interested? What if the one way I have decided to keep my information becomes obsolete and all my work is lost before another family member becomes interested?

I know for a fact, all this paper work I have lying around, will probably just get trashed when I am gone.  My kids are not going to look at all the data I have collected in these binders and boxes.  My hope was to get all this information, photos, maps, letters, diaries and etc, integrated into my tree, easily accessible on the computer and then maybe someone would be interested if it was all easily searchable and organized all together.  I know, I know, you are laughing at me right now.  No family historian ever really accomplishes this.  But I had planned to die trying.  LOL!

So, my new goal for 2016 will be to come up with a plan for all my work, and figure out the best way to save all this for future generations so that it doesn’t end up in the dump when I die, or better yet, die out with an obsolete computer program.

In a way, I guess this is a big thank you to for waking me up enough to realize that my work will not survive solely in a computer program, with reports lying around in binders.

Family Tree Maker with the new Tree Sync Option

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I’m not all that happy with this upgrade to Family Tree Maker 2012.  There are many things I like about it, but the whole reason I paid for the upgrade was because I was very excited about having my tree sync with the tree on my computer in my Family Tree Maker program.

More and more of my family has become involved with working on our lineage and I wanted all of our information to be on so family members can keep up with progress, but have my tree in my computer, for reports and such.

Supposedly, I can sync my trees with Family Tree Maker 2012.  That doesn’t seem to be the case for me.

First problem that I encountered was I couldn’t sync the tree I already had on to the tree I already had on Family Tree Maker.  You can only upload one and then sync it, or download your tree from Ancestry and sync it.

My dilemma with that was, I had about 350 more people on my Family Tree Maker program that I did on my Ancestry Tree.  Since I have spent many hours connecting my Ancestry tree to other family members, photo’s and other information, I didn’t want to lose those connection’s by uploading a new tree.

Thinking I had no choice, because I didn’t want to have to reenter all the people and their information, I downloaded my tree and I merged it to my tree in Family Tree Maker.  Then I spent days cleaning up the mess that it caused.  Then I uploaded that tree to Ancestry, creating tree number two on my account just so I could sync my tree.

Nightmare number two commenced.  Pictures went everywhere, sources got linked to multiple people they didn’t belong to, so on and so on.  So, I started working on cleaning up that mess.  Then about day two, the tree stopped syncing.  After countless emails to Ancestry, their solution –  keep trying.

I gave up.  After three days. support says “Keep Trying”.  That’s what the program tells me as well.  That however, is not helping me one iota.

Not to be beaten by a program, I decided to download my original tree because I really didn’t want to lose those connections anyway,  and I spent another two days adding the 350 people who weren’t in this tree, and the syncing worked fine.

Until two days ago.  I got the error message again, and still today, it will not sync.  I’m not sure why I thought I could go to bed and it would work fine today, but it is what it is.

So, and Family Tree Maker people, listen up!!  You better do something besides tell me to keep on trying, or I will discontinue the $30 a month I am currently sending you.  I’m not wasting any more of my life trying to make your program work.

Neither of the two trees I have spent the past week and a half working on will sync at all.

Am I the only one that is having this problem??  I would really like to hear from some other Family Tree Maker users.

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