Can FTM World Family Tree CD's compatible with FTM 1995-98 still be accessed for use with FTM 2017, or is there another program that can access this data for research purposes.


To read the information on the World Family Tree CDs, Windows users can use older versions of Family Tree Maker, or the standalone program Family Archive Viewer.

Family Archive Viewer 11.0 supposedly runs on Windows 95 and higher. I can confirm (see screenshot below) that Version 11 SP2, for Windows 98, ME, and XP, still runs on Windows 8.1. I have not been able to test it on Windows 10, but some users have had success.

Dick Eastman reports in his article The Demise of CDs and DVDs (posted 31 July 2017) that "The required Family Archive CDs software will NOT work on Windows 10 and there is no known workaround." I'm not sure which software he was referring to. He goes on to discuss availability of Family Archive Viewer (past availability and current as of 2017).

If, like Dick Eastman, you don't like downloading software from unknown shareware sites, you can get a copy of Family Archive viewer as a free download from the UK retailer S&N Genealogy (the retail partner of TheGenealogist.co.uk).

(Note: I am not connected with S&N Genealogy or TheGenealogist. I do have a subscription to TheGenealogist and have purchased boxed software from S&N Genealogy and got good service from them.)

screenshot of the About information from Family Archive Viewer 11 running on Windows 8.1

For some history and technical information, see these captures saved in the Wayback Machine:

The Family Archive Viewer captured February 27, 2015. This appears to be the last capture before Ancestry redesigned Genealogy.com and made it read-only. installation notes

Have Family Tree Maker? Please note... All versions of Family Tree Maker between 4 and 16 (2006) support both Genealogy.com CD-ROM data and World Family Tree files.

If you have one of these versions of Family Tree Maker you do not need the Family Archive Viewer.

Need help figuring out which version you have? Just open Family Tree Maker and go to the "Help" menu. From there, choose "About Family Tree Maker...". Your version number will be listed in the box that pops up.

Before opening your Family File with the Family Archive Viewer, you should make a backup copy. If you open your Family File in the Family Archive Viewer, your copy of Family Tree Maker won't be able to open the file.

The note at S&N Genealogy says:

You do not need this viewer if you already have the Family Tree Maker program installed (with the exception of FTM2008).

I have kept my older versions of Family Tree maker, but I do not have Family Tree Maker 2017. My memory is that my version of FTM2014 (the last Ancestry version) did not read the World Family Tree CDs. Searching for World Family Tree CDs in the program help doesn't yield any results, nor do I see reading the CDs as an option in the menus. From this, and from the comments at S&N Genealogy, I would infer that the feature was dropped in FTM2008 and was not availavble in later versions. I suspect FTM2017 and newer versions won't read the CDs either. It seems unlikely that MacKiev would have added the feature back in.


I just installed the family archive viewer on Windows 10 (using the version provided by the wayback machine link mentioned in the other answer) and am able to open the data discs.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! This isn't a robust answer to the question, so we may have to delete it, but thanks for letting us know you were able to install Family Archive Viewer. Once you have more reputation points, you'll be able to comment everywhere. Can you use the edit link and add more information? Is there anything Windows 10 users should know about the installation process to make it go smoothly?
    – Jan Murphy
    Jul 7 at 20:19

I was also able to install the Family Archive Viewer on Windows 10 with the Wayback Machine link provided above. When I first tried to install it, the installer stuck on 0% for a while. I stopped it, but when it asked me to confirm that I wanted to stop I chose NO. Then it loaded quickly. I've been using it all morning.

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