Their initial blog post announcing the ‘retirement’ of FTM has so far generated over 8500 comments. A second follow-up post has generated another 950 comments so far. Cleary, people have concerns about how Ancestry is handling the transition.
Other companies, of course, are not sitting still. Pretty much every other major desktop genealogy software company has made announcements trying to get disaffected FTM users to switch over to their software. Here are the announcements I found:
Ancestral Quest (Win & Mac*): Ancestral Quest competitive upgrade for Family Tree Maker
Family Historian (Win): Family Historian Welcomes Family Tree Maker Users
Heredis (Win & Mac): Important information about genealogy
Legacy (Win): How to import Family Tree Maker into Legacy PLUS your questions answered
MacFamilyTree (Mac): Family Tree Maker discontinued – Switch to MacFamilyTree and Switch from Family Tree Maker to MacFamilyTree and import your family tree
MyHeritage Family Tree Builder (Win & Mac*): FTM Users: Join MyHeritage and get Family Tree Builder with an Unlimited Size Family Site for Free
Reunion (Mac): Moving your tree from Family Tree Maker to Reunion
RootsMagic (Win & Mac*): Family Tree Maker Upgrade
* These Mac versions run in Emulation using CrossOver or similar technology. This means they are essentially the Windows versions running on the Mac, with no special adaptation made to the user interface to fit Macintosh interface guidelines.
My impression was that RootsMagic was the first to come out and announce a transition plan, even launching the site ftmupgrade.com with instructional videos within a day of the announcements. Most companies have offered financial incentives to switch now as well. Ancestral Quest is offering $10 off their normal price, Family Historian is offering 20% off, Heredis is offering 50% off, MacFamilyTree is offering 50% off, MyHeritage is offering an unlimited size family tree (normally their free tree is limited to 250 people), and RootsMagic is offering their full version for $20 (instead of $44.90). Most of these deals are limited in time, so if you’re interested in taking advantage, definitely check out the programs soon.
It seems everyone suggests exporting a GEDCOM from FTM and then importing that GEDCOM. Only FTM 2012 and later support exporting media with the GEDCOM file.
One problem that seems to be common among those transitioning is how FTM handles source citations. FTM allows media to be linked to source citations, which are in turn linked to a master source. Many genealogy programs use a single master source, but not individual source citations for media. This is confusing some imports, and is not being ignored by the other software companies. I’ve noticed Reunion mentioning that they are working on a fix for this in their forum. I’m sure others are also working on this problem.
Do you use FTM? What are your plans for transitioning? Are you planning to switch to Ancestry’s online site, or moving to a different desktop program? Have you already switched? What has been your experience so far?
While I try to answer questions people post in comments, sometimes the back and forth comments diverge from the topic of the post, or sometimes people have questions that are not connected to a specific post.
In the past, I sometimes received comments on pages and didn’t know the comments had been made, only finding the comments much later. Since moving my blog over to WordPress that problem has gone away (notifications are much better), but the above problems still exist.
Today I’m launching a new feature on this web site, Questions & Answers. The new Q&A page (which you can always find in the top menu above) will allow you to ask any question you want, as well as respond to other people’s questions. I will certainly try to respond to all questions, but if you have the answer to someone’s question, feel free to answer it yourself.
The Q&A system is powered by a company called Pubble. You can comment by being logged into either Facebook or Twitter, or by setting up an account through Pubble. I hope this makes it easy to participate. If you have any problems with the Q&A system, please contact me.
This is a bit of an experiment, so please help me test it out. There are some neat features of the commenting system, such as being able to follow responses to specific questions, being able to share questions on Facebook, etc. Let me know what you like and don’t like about how it works. Some things I might be able to change, some things I may not be able to change.