Family Tree Maker: what the latest news means for users

By Guest, 4 February 2016 - 1:07pm

Genealogy tech expert Nick Peers shares his views on Ancestry's decision, which will see Family Tree Maker and its key features taken on by new publishers

Nick PeersThursday 4 February 2016
Nick Peers
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The Family Tree Maker brand will be taken on by Software MacKiev, while RootsMagic users will be able to synchronise their Ancestry data with the program for the first time

Ancestry dropped one bombshell in December when it announced it was discontinuing Family Tree Maker

And then it dropped another just days ago when it revealed a permanent stay of execution for the popular program by passing it on to Software MacKiev, the company that has been developing the software on Ancestry’s behalf for the past six years.

If you’ve no desire to move from Family Tree Maker that’s brilliant news – it means Ancestry’s original announcement that saw key online features including Tree Sync and Web Merge stop working from 1 January 2017 along with an ending of support for the program, is now redundant.

Software MacKiev will be on hand to continue selling the program from 1 March, while also supporting it and ensuring it remains compatible with Ancestry’s online services beyond the end of this year.

There’s another bit of good news too: Software MacKiev has all the expertise to continue FTM’s development, and the company has plans to produce a major new version of Family Tree Maker for both Windows and Mac in the mid to long-term.

The program has fallen behind other applications in recent years, and we hope a new version introduces some much-needed improvements like an upgrade to the program’s sub-par media editing tools, for example. Check out the MacKiev website for details.

The news came literally hours after the March 2016 issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine had been sent to press. I'd written an extensive four-page feature on what to do about moving on from Family Tree Maker. The good news is that most of that feature remains relevant – it advises you not to rush into moving on from FTM, but should you still wish to do so, you’ll find it’s packed with lots of useful information about which programs to switch to.

There’s one further piece of welcome news from Ancestry’s second announcement – in addition to giving Family Tree Maker a reprieve, it also announced plans to connect rival program RootsMagic to Ancestry by the end of 2016, giving it both Web Merge and Tree Sync capabilities, so bear that in mind should you want to switch.
 

Nick Peers is a freelance writer whose work has been published in more than 40 magazines

 

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