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I was considering purchasing Family Tree Maker only to find it has been discontinued.

What do they plan for a replacement ?

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    Is it possible to answer this question? Surely outsiders can only copy and paste what Ancestry have already said? Anything else is speculation, surely? – AdrianB38 Jan 5 '16 at 20:06
  • I did post my own thoughts about: What Ancestry's "Reitrement" of FTM Realy Means. Basically, I'm say they want more users on their subscription service, and Family Tree Maker was not helping them with that. See: beholdgenealogy.com/blog/?p=1622 – lkessler Jan 5 '16 at 20:57
  • Hello, Paul -- a belated welcome to G&FH.SE! You'll find the usual help center and Genealogy & Family History Meta where you expect them so don't hesitate to make use of them. Since your question as originally written might have been better as a chat topic than a question, I'm going to take the liberty of answering a related question which I've put in my answer. I've made some light edits to improve readability -- please feel free to re-edit, especially if I have inadvertently changed your meaning. – Jan Murphy Jan 5 '16 at 21:13
  • Clearly Ancestry.com feels that their web-based products are the future. The whole software industry is being pushed by two big forces: mobile computing (smart phones and tablets) and "software as service" which replaces purchased software with rental at small monthly fees. FTM is not going to be replaced by Ancestry.com, this is clear – Pat Farrell Jan 6 '16 at 3:08
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In late December 2016, MacKiev announced the free update for users who had previously purchased FTM2014 from Ancestry. (This was an update for users who had Ancestry's FTM2014 to MacKiev's version of FTM2014. Users who signed up for the mailing list at that time were eventually offered a discount for FTM2017 before it was released.)

As of 1 November 2017, MacKiev's FAQ says:

enter image description here


Here's an update from Keith Riggle, originally posted on 31 Dec 2016: Family Tree Maker Updates Officially Released [Updated 1 Jan 2017].

MacKiev has a page with details at Free updates for FTM 2014 and Mac 3 users Update Center Information Page with instructions on how to perform the upgrade.

MacKiev's FAQ says:

Q I already own FTM 2014 or FTM Mac 3. Do I need to purchase this new version? A. No. There is a free update available. If you haven’t been notified that your update is ready, please sign up for our mailing list at www.familytreemaker.com and you’ll receive instructions and a link in a few days.

Older information is below the dividing line.


Feb 2016 update:

New Family Tree Maker Options posted Posted by Kendall Hulet on February 2, 2016 on the Ancestry Blog.

Software MacKiev

Software MacKiev, with whom we have a long-standing relationship, is acquiring the Family Tree Maker software line as publisher for both Mac and Windows versions. Software MacKiev has been the developer of Family Tree Maker for Mac for more than six years and is thrilled at the opportunity to publish future versions of Family Tree Maker for Mac and Windows.

This new agreement means you will receive software updates and new versions from Software MacKiev, and have the ability to purchase new versions of Family Tree Maker from Software MacKiev as they are released. You will have continued access to Ancestry Hints, Ancestry searches, and be able to save your tree on Ancestry with Family Tree Maker moving forward.

The blog post continues with an update on Ancestry's agreement with RootsMagic. See the full post at: http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2016/02/02/good-news-for-users-of-family-tree-maker/#sthash.ZNclKaeZ.dpuf

And from the RootsMagic blog:

RootsMagic and Ancestry: Working Together at Last posted 2 Feb 2016

They promise that RootsMagic will be able to sync with Ancestry online trees, search Ancestry, and import FTM files directly.

Family Tree Magazine's Diane Haddad posted on the Genealogy Insider blog:

Family Tree Maker Returns PLUS Ancestry Partners With RootsMagic on 2 Feb 2016

Update: Here's how Ancestry.com responded to my question about syncing: "Family Tree Maker will continue to have syncing capability with Ancestry trees, however this feature may evolve as Software MacKiev updates the software.

"It will use different underlying technology than our current TreeSync but it effectively provides the same basic functionality of allowing the user to keep data in their online tree and data in their desktop tree consistent."


My take, given what I've read, and from comments made by Ancestry employees:

I suspect more new customers were interested in having mobile apps than in the desktop software, and someone decided to allocate Ancestry's resources to the mobile apps, instead of maintaining and fixing the notoriously buggy FTM2014. One clue is in the quote contained in this answer where they allude to declining software sales. This is a hint that someone might have expected the income from the sales of the desktop software support the division that maintained the software. Note that Ancestry recently changed hands, and it's not usual for new owners to look for ways to trim the budget.

In dropping Family Tree Maker, Ancestry has abandoned the vertical integration between the desktop software and the website. This may put them at a competitive disadvantage against sites like MyHeritage, which gives away its Family Tree Builder software for free. MyHeritage also opens up their API for other third-party products like FamilyHistorian and RootsMagic so their users can make use of MyHeritage's hint system. RootsMagic and other software also allows users to interact with FamilySearch's Family Tree.

Ancestry may open up their API as well, but we don't know how long that will take or how useful it will be once they have done it.

So the question you might want to ask now is:

Is it worth buying FTM2014 now, despite the upcoming EOL date?

The deadline for buying the download from Ancestry has passed, so if the downloads have been shut off as they predicted, that means finding a boxed copy.

One reason to buy it might be to use TreeSync to pull down your information and images from your online Ancestry Trees. This function should be supported for another year. On the other hand, many people have reported having terrible trouble with TreeSync, so expect to spend some time checking that all your data has actually been captured.

The major reason to use TreeSync over exporting a GEDCOM is, in my opinion, the ability to download most of the record images (what Ancestry's FTM support calls "citation media") from the website. These are not automatically downloaded when you export a GEDCOM file on Ancestry's site and download it for use in another program -- an exported GEDCOM only saves links to the record detail (their 'transcription' or extract/abstract) page. Using third-party software and/or an exported GEDCOM, you have to download all the images yourself if you want to have a copy offline -- and you DO want to have an offline copy, because you lose access if you discontinue your sub, or if Ancestry loses the rights to host that database.

However, the user has to read the support docs carefully to understand exactly what TreeSync captures.

These are some of the 'gotchas' that I've discovered so far. Note that my experience with TreeSync is extremely limited, and I hope that others will comment if I've made errors.

TreeSync does NOT sync:

  • comments on Profiles
  • Member Connect information
  • multi-image documents (it captures only the first page)
  • web links you've made on Profiles
  • some of the Media that you've contributed

I purchased FTM2014 after the announcement was made, in order to use TreeSync. I bought a copy of the Premium version, which came with a 6-month subscription. The retail cost of the boxed Premium FTM2014 was about $10 more than the cost of the sub, which seemed like a good value for software that had only a year of support left.

However, I understood from the beginning that if I try to import online- or FTM-exported GEDCOM into another program, it is going to take a lot of cleanup. Here are some resources:

See the related question: Choosing non-cloud software to transition to from Family Tree Maker 2012?

Ancestry support pages for TreeSync:

Analysis from bloggers and websites:


I'm incorporating a link originally posted by @lkessler in a comment on the question. Louis' post What Ancestry’s “Retirement” of FTM Really Means on his Behold Genealogy blog included the links below to three posts from Tamura Jones' Modern Software Experience. In my opinion all four of these posts are worth reading, so I'm putting the links in this section to highlight them.

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Ancestry.com announced that Family Tree Maker was retired on 8 Dec 2015. There has been A LOT of blog coverage and commentary, both serious and hysterical. Just google: "family tree maker" retired. It is still possible to purchase the program on software retailer sites (mentioned in some blog posts), but ancestry support will be limited.

Several alternative desktop software programs subsequently offered special deals for people wanting to transition to other software (Rootsmagic, Legacy, MyHeritage, and others). Ancestry has said they will consider working with other software providers to allow syncing with the online ancestry.com trees, something that is currently only possible with recent FTM versions.

As for the reasons behind the decision to retire FTM, Thomas MacEntee has an interesting post discussing the wider transition to subscription software instead of purchase and cloud-based storage rather than the local desktop, and how those trends apply to genealogy. It boils down to profit and control.

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On February 1st, 2016 I had a conversation with a Ancestry.com representative and they said multiple software vendors are being worked with to provide access but could not name any of them at that time on each platform.

I also reached out to the makers of MacFamilyTree and they said they have reached out to Ancestry.com since the announcement to utilize the API but so far have not received a decision from Ancestry.com on whether they will be allowed to do so.

On February 2nd, 2016 Ancestry.com did send out the following statement stating at this time there are two immediately available replacement products from Software MacKeiv for and Roots Magic for PC and Mac (see note below).

From Ancestry.com as a follow-up to the original announcement of the end of support of Mac FamilyTree; screenshots not included in original announcement and taken from Vendor's websites.

Today, we are pleased to announce two options for desktop software that will work with Ancestry.

Software MacKiev

Software MacKiev, with whom we have a long-standing relationship, is acquiring the Family Tree Maker software line as publisher for both Mac and Windows versions. Software MacKiev has been the developer of Family Tree Maker for Mac for more than six years and is thrilled at the opportunity to publish future versions of Family Tree Maker for Mac and Windows.

This new agreement means you will receive software updates and new versions from Software MacKiev, and have the ability to purchase new versions of Family Tree Maker from Software MacKiev as they are released. You will have continued access to Ancestry Hints, Ancestry searches, and be able to save your tree on Ancestry with Family Tree Maker moving forward.

enter image description here

RootsMagic

We have made an agreement with RootsMagic, a leading genealogy desktop software program publisher, to connect Ancestry with the RootsMagic software by the end of 2016. With this new relationship, RootsMagic can serve as your desktop family tree software, while having access to Ancestry hints, Ancestry searches, and the ability to save your tree on Ancestry.

enter image description here Important Note 1: The note on RootsMagic that it will bring these Ancestry.com Integration features in the 'near future'; sometime later in 2016 per their website and are NOT currently in RootsMagic7. Note 2: RootsMagic for Mac installs CrossOver/Wine to let the Windows program think it is in Windows and RootsMagic is not a native Mac application.

Then went onto say....

We have heard your concerns and are working to provide the solutions you requested. These new agreements will make it possible to preserve your work on Ancestry and Family Tree Maker and enable future features and benefits to help you discover your family history. Be assured that Ancestry, in cooperation with Software MacKiev and RootsMagic, will continue to support you as you discover your family history.

We ask for your patience as we work diligently through all the details to make these solutions available. You can find additional details about these Family Tree Maker partnerships on our blog. We also encourage you to continue to check back on our blog for future updates in the coming months.

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I'd say that you should ask what it is you need your genealogy software to do. Then check the features on offer. If FTM matches your requirements, then by all means use it. I still see new copies of FTM on sale from time to time, and since Ancestry's announcement they are "cheap as chips".

Full disclosure: I'm still using Family Tree Maker 2010 as my main genealogy software, and it does everything that I need.

(I also have PAF 5.2 on the PC at home - which can be useful for particular tasks - and GedStar Pro on my mobile phone)

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