There is big news today from Software MacKiev concerning Ancestry’s TreeSync® feature, a tool many researchers count on to sync their Ancestry family tree with their offline software.
MacKiev has announced that as of March 29th at midnight (mountain time) Ancestry’s TreeSync feature will go offline forever. According to MacKiev it will be replaced by March 31st with their new sync solution FamilySync. But there is a big catch – the new FamilySync will only work with Family Tree Maker 2017, an entirely new version of FTM that MacKiev is releasing on the same day.
That means that anyone who has an older version of Family Tree Maker will no longer be able to take advantage of the syncing feature at all. This feature was a major component of FTM 2012 and 2014, as well as recent Mac versions. It is the reason many people purchased it.
From Software MacKiev’s FAQs section concerning the change:
- FamilySync will be available only in Software MacKiev’s Family Tree Maker 2017 edition, which is planned for release on March 31, 2017. No other FTM edition will sync with Ancestry trees.
- Ancestry’s search, merge, and Ancestry hints will all work as they do now in FTM 2017 for users who sync with their Ancestry trees. After March 29th these functions will no longer work in any other FTM edition.
Family Tree Maker has experienced a wild ride over the last 15 months after it was first announced that Ancestry would retire the program. Shortly afterwards Software MacKiev, who had previously created the Mac version only, took over and promised updates to FTM for everyone. They delivered on their promise, and in Jan of this year they announced that you could now get a free update of Family Tree Maker if you owned FTM 2014 or Mac version 3.
Now MacKiev is telling us that we will need to purchase Family Tree Maker 2017 if we want to continue to take advantage of this core sync feature.
Some people will get a free copy of 2017 on March 31st – but only those who actually purchased the program from MacKiev (and not Ancestry) or people who paid for the 2014.1 or Mac 3.1 upgrade. It seems that if you simply took advantage of the free update from 2014 or 3 to 2014.1 or 3.1 that was offered in Jan 2017 you do not qualify to get FTM 2017 for free. They make this very clear on their website.
We further clarified this via live chat with a MacKiev representative Linda. She verified that those who recently upgraded for free to 2104.1 or 3.1 do not qualify for a no-cost upgrade to FTM 2017.
By itself, buying a CD, DVD, USB drive or a Family Pack Upgrade does not qualify you for a free upgrade to FTM 2017. Only a purchase of the FTM application itself (download installer) qualifies. Since you have used free update to install FTM 2014.1 on your computer, you can not get FTM 2017 for free. However, for just one week, we are offering a pre-order price of $29.95, just until the launch on March 31st. After that it will be $39.95 for upgrades for a limited time.
So, if you want to keep using the syncing feature with Ancestry you will need to get a copy of Family Tree Maker 2017. If you purchased your copy of FTM through Software MacKiev or paid for an upgrade to their newest version, you will get a copy for free.
If you purchased 2014 or 3 (or an older version) through Ancestry (back when they owned it) and updated to the new MacKiev version for free you will need to pay for a copy of 2017 if you want to take advantage of FamilySync. This is also true if you never updated. MacKiev is providing 2017 for $39.95 (or $29.95 as a preorder price until March 31st) for those that own previous versions. If you have never owned a copy of FTM before, the price will be $79.95. You can view their site for more information on how to order.
This will certainly be very disappointing for many users and we are sorry to hear that MacKiev is not going to add FamilySync to 2014.1 and 3.1. So many people paid full price for this program when Ancestry owned it and have gotten very little use out of it given the many technical issues it has experienced. Although we certainly appreciate that MacKiev updated it for free, losing TreeSync makes the program nearly useless for many who host their tree on Ancestry.
Still, we understand that they have to support themselves and $30-$40 is better than $80 for the new version, and we are excited to see how 2017 looks and works.
They have provided a verification center to check if you qualify for a free copy of 2017. You will be asked what registered version you have on your computer. If you select 2014.1 or 3.1 they will attempt to verify your purchase and provide solutions if they cannot do so.
For those who will not be getting the new version (2017) be aware that you will no longer be able to sync your tree after midnight (MT) on March 29th. We encourage you to take the time to sync now and download all of your records while you still can. Read about why this is so important here, and how to do it.
For questions about these changes you can contact Software MacKiev here.
Alternatives to Family Tree Maker:
Free: MyHeritage offers a downloadable family tree program that some of you might like to try. You can download it for free here. It also syncs with their own online tree, but not with Ancestry. This works nicely when paired with a MyHeritage record subscription to allow you access to record discoveries. You can get a free trial of their record collections here.
Paid: RootsMagic 7 is a program many people like. They have stated that they will sync with Ancestry records in the future, although that is not the case now, and their price is very reasonable. Find it here.
Please note that we are beginning our Unofficial Ancestry Crash Course on March 31st. This course includes numerous tips and tricks to help you make the most of Ancestry.com and locate more records. We will also go over, in detail, these new changes to Family Tree Maker. You can join the course by registering here. We’d love to have you.
By Melanie Mayo, Family History Daily Editor