Family Tree Maker Finally Gets Free Update: But Should You Install It?

Family Tree Maker Finally Gets a Free Update: Here’s How to Find It

Family Tree Maker (FTM) has been through more than a few twists and turns over the last year. In Dec 2015, Ancestry announced that it would no longer sell or support its popular genealogy program and many thought FTM was done for.

Shortly after, however, it was announced that Software MacKiev, the maker of Family Tree Maker’s Mac version, would be taking over the program. At the time MacKiev promised that they would provide a free update to the software to those with current versions of the program (2014 on Windows and 3 on Mac). That was almost a year ago — and MacKiev has now made good on that promise.

This weekend, MacKiev sent out an email to current users (who are registered and subscribed to their updates list) letting them know that a stable, recommended update is now live (an earlier, less-than-fully-stable update was offered in late 2016). This update provides a new version of Family Tree Maker – 2014.1 or 3.1 depending on your system – and it looks like they’ve made some big improvements.

The new version promises to increase stability, security, speed and responsiveness and has, according to MacKiev, been extensively tested to work out the bugs. If you’ve been having issues with your copy of 2014 or 3, as many of us have, this update may be your solution.

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Who qualifies for the update?

According to MacKiev, the update is for users of FTM 2014 (or Mac 3) who registered their copy of the program. When following the link to receive the update you will be asked to enter information to verify your registration.

What if I never registered or don’t know what version I have?

If you never registered you can do so under the “Help” drop down (top left) in your software. This is also where you can find out what version of the program you have if you are unsure (click on “About” under the “Help” drop down). Once registered, you can sign up for updates from MacKiev here. Click on the green circle in the upper left.

What if I have an older version of the program?

A discounted offer to upgrade is being offered. You can find this offer in the email they sent to registered owners and here.

20 Billion Genealogy Records Are Free for 2 Weeks
Get two full weeks of free access to more than 20 billion genealogy records right now. You’ll also gain access to the MyHeritage discoveries tool that locates information about your ancestors automatically when you upload or create a tree. What will you discover about your family’s past?

Will TreeSync still work in the new version?

According to the update email, TreeSync® will continue to work after the update. MacKiev will be retiring the current version of TreeSync® eventually, but will replace it with a new version before they do. This a big relief since many of us count on that feature for a seamless integration between devices and to more easily back up our ancestry records.

Should I update to the new Family Tree Maker?

The decision about whether or not to update is yours, but given the ongoing issues many have been having with FTM 2014 and older versions, this update seems like a great idea. It promises to provide much-needed stability and speed, and will no doubt be required for any future updates or upgrades. There may be some issues, as there usually are with updates, but MacKeiv’s release of an earlier version of this update likely helped them solve many of these bugs before offering the new, stable version.

So, how do I update?

If you received the update email from Software MacKiev read it carefully and follow the instructions. If you did not get the email you can find a link to the update page below.

A few important words of caution, as provided by MacKiev, before you update.

Make sure you have your version installed. The update will look for an installed version to update. If you deleted your copy at some point you can get a free replacement here.

Do a manual backup of your tree with media. This is always a good idea every time you update. To do this, simply select “Backup” under the “File” menu link in the upper left hand corner of FTM. Make sure you give your file a new name, such as YourTreeBackup0117 and don’t forget to make sure the media checkbox is selected. This only takes a moment.

Don’t unlink your tree from Ancestry. The update will move your link to the new version.

The update process is fairly simple. Follow this link to the update page, verify your registration and then follow the ordering steps provided by MacKiev. They will ask you to fill out an order form for your free update, will present you with some addon items to consider before completing your “purchase,” and then provide you with a download link.

Once you have downloaded the new update make sure your copy of FTM is closed and run the provided installer. An install wizard will walk you through the needed steps. We had no issues updating our copy.

You might also enjoy:

Stop ‘Saving’ Records to Your Ancestry Tree Until You Read This – information on the importance of backing up each media file in your tree so you don’t lose access and how to do it with FTM

Are You Still Using Family Tree Maker? If So, Read This – includes alternatives to Family Tree Maker

40 thoughts on “Family Tree Maker Finally Gets a Free Update: Here’s How to Find It”

  1. I have a FTM 2006 on a Windows 7. I also have a new Windows 11 laptop. I dread having to lose the ’06 because it has things about it that isn’t in the newer versions… and I have had many. So far, my husband has bought the same model laptop on Ebay the 2006 is on. He just switches the hard drives out when the old laptop gives up. So far, it’s worked really well!

  2. I am very old (90) and worked on my family lines for about 30 years. When I first got my computer my husband bought me FTM 2005, and it took me ages to put all my info into it. I would like to upgrade so I can put it on Ancestry, and make sure that one of my 9 children inherits it. My problem is, I am not very good at doing anything much on my puter, and concerned that I may lose some of my data from my 2005 version. I dont know how to upgrade to the newest version, will it take the info from my 2005 version and put it on the newer version?

  3. I cannot sync with Ancestry. I looked for updates to Mackiev and it is referring to 2014.1 I think I have 2016.4. So what is the proper procedure to update. I am not sure if this is listed in my name or my wife’s name, Roxana Robinson.

  4. I have version 16 but have new pc with windows 11, which did not accept FTM right away, I fiddled with different things and can use the program but Im interested in upgrading, will my info install in new upgrade?

  5. The latest version in this machine is FTM 2019. How can I update this to 2020.

  6. I have Family tree maker version 10. I recently had to get a new computer which is using windows 10 in s mode for safety which does not allow me to load FTM 10. Can I get an upgrade that will operate in windows 10

  7. I don’t think your 340,000 names is the problem. I only have 9,000 in my FTM 16 and I’ve been getting the same message for a couple months. So far, it hasn’t caused me any problems, but I’ve been trying to rectify problem by updating Windows 10 drivers, but that doesn’t work. I can’t find updates for FTM 16, so I’m going to go ahead and buy FTM 2019 and install on a different computer that hasn’t updated Windows 10, and see if that works.

  8. I have been using Family Tree Maker Version 16 for many years. Years ago, when I tried to upgrade to Family Tree Maker Deluxe, the program could not handle the 280,000 names I had in FTM 16. The newer version slowed to a crawl. By reverting to FTM 16 I was able to continue using FTM. The program has worked with Windows 10 until now. It has been working until today. I get an error that says the driver is causing an unstable condition. I suspect the 340,000 names I have in the program is the issue.

  9. I have Family Tree Maker 2011 within a very extensive family tree how can I upgrade to the latest version?

  10. I have an old version of Ancestry but I don’t know which one. How can this 87 year find out which one i have?

  11. I have 2005 Family Treemaker in my old Microsoft 7 Computer. I have just bought a new computer with Microsoft 10. Can I have my old version of Family Tree Maker 2005 downloaded in my new compute?. My 2005 Disk cannot be used in my new computer. It is important that the 2005 Treemaker will work on Microsoft 10. If my 2005 Treemaker will not work my question is will have the latest version of Treemaker? Carol

  12. I have an older version of Family Tree Maker and have a problem, I never had before.
    In printing a complete family tree, it included numbers for each person listed. Came to about 170.
    Thank you for your help.
    [email protected]

  13. I have been doing research for over 30 years. I have never seen anyone yet that can trace their family back to these early dates ( year 900, etc, ) and document their line back this far. There is always some skips in their proof.

  14. Darla D. Winfrey

    I have Family Tree Maker Version 11 for Windows . I would like to update it so I can then copy then download to my
    laptop. I have ancestry DNA program. What can I do? HELP Thanks

  15. I have an old version of FTW, i think its V4 for Windows 95, with family history of over 800 people.

    i know have a new computer with Windows 10. What do i do now?

  16. Hi
    I had 2014 Family Tree Maker on my computer which has now crashed. Lots of files can not be accessed and FTM appears to have gone back to an earlier edition 2012. Have had computer experts check it and no one has been able to find out how this happened. On my fathers side I was back to the year 900. A lot of information and the photos have disappeared. We have just bought a new PC and still have to install it before we can check it thoroughly. Can you please let me know if the 2014 edition which we bought online is registered. Also if it has been can I download the 2017 version without loosing anything more.

  17. I had FTM 2014 Ancestry version and haven’t synced since they turned off TreeSync. Decided to upgrade. I was able to get the free upgrade to FTM 2014.1. After I registered this, I went through upgrade process again and it then showed I had 2014.1 but since I did not originally purchase 2014.1 MacKiev version, I had to pay discounted upgrade to FTM 2017. I did not attempt to contact MacKiev and request other options.

    The great thing was I was able to upgrade to 2014.1 and then to 2017. It converted my previously downloaded trees from Ancestry and reconnected and synced. Last time whenever reinstalling 2014 I used to have to delete trees from my computer then download new to sync. But that was never an issue since I did all my changes online and not within FTM.

  18. I have the 2010 version and had an older version before that (the older version was better). I never ported the info as I was afraid of losing it and now I have so much detail in my family tree I really don’t want to put it in again. What can I do to upgrade please and can I transfer data to another genealogy provider?

  19. I was told to use and enter the names and dates from FTM all over again! This is very discouraging and frustrating to have to do that as I am a senior citizen with failing eyesight… also extremely time-consuming! Any suggestions on how I can continue to build on my FTM tree and be able to print it out? Please HELP! Thanks!

  20. I was told to use and enter the names and dates from FTM all over again! This is very discouraging and frustrating to have to do that as I am a senior citizen with failing eyesight… also extremely time-consuming! Any suggestions on how I can continue to build on my FTM tree and be able to print it out? Please HELP! Thanks!

  21. SrI have uesd Family tree maker for 10 yrs and tried to down load 2017
    i am 78 yrs old How can i get a 2017 up date.

  22. I purchased the FTM 2014.1 version earlier this year. Now, there are no green leaves on any of my names and have no idea how this has benefitted m e! There is no telephone number given for FTM so that I can talk to someone on how to proceed! Could someone please respond on how this version has helped me? Of course, I can no longer use the FTM 2014 since I purchased this 2014.1 one. I do have a current subscription to but have no idea how all this syncs up anymore!

  23. You dont understand about syncing ! you only sync to your own tree , so you still choose who to add ! And secondly its free to have a tree on Ancestry , so many misconceptions being banded around !

  24. Not all of them – at least the RI Vital Records #215 isn’t there but I can use it with Archive Viewer.

  25. I believe Roots Magic will already sync with Ancestry, and it seems to do a smoother job than FTM ever did. With FTM I ended up with duplicates in both my home tree and the one on Ancestry and in some cases it added info to the wrong person. When RM first made the deal with FTM users they promised they would work on getting it to smoothly integrate with Ancestry, and they seem to have kept that promise. They also have a version that will run on flash drive.

    I thought FTM was a great program before Ancestry bought it. Ancestry seemed much more interested in just mining the data from FTM sources and synced trees than they ever were in customer service.

  26. Mine did not link automatically. Now I have to figure out how to get them linked without uploading them to Ancestry since they are already there.

  27. First of all, i don’t care if the software syncs with Ancestry or not. I do not have a family tree on Ancestry nor will I ever. I investigated the option and when Ancestry told me that if I put a tree up, then they own the copyright an I forego all my rights to the material -yes, I lose everything I researched, after paying them for the ability to research. We bought FTM 2014, It would never install on my laptop. I spent 4 hours on the phone with someone from Ancestry. The icon still shows up but it goes no where. While talking to the guy from Ancestry, I found out that if using FTM 2014, the data belongs to Ancestry. No one can tell me my hard work belongs to them. I do a lot of research in libraries, cemeteries, court houses, etc that have nothing to do with Ancestry but I do put that info in my FTM so I can print reports, etc. It will be interesting to see what the new company has in their agreement.

  28. I also have a number of CD’s that I haven’t been able to view. All well and good to say they’re on-line in Ancestry’s database, but if your membership isn’t active, too bad, can’t review.

    Will try out the Family Archive Viewer to see if I can access the information, to cross-reference to what I’ve already downloaded from Ancestry during an active membership period and what may still be useful.

  29. I’m still using Family Tree Maker 16. Bought 2011 when it came out to run on my new at the time Win 7 laptop as the laptop wouldn’t let me install FTM 16, kept saying the solution was to purchase the upgrade. 2011 was a piece of crap. Made my new laptop with 8Gb ram and 1Tb hard drive run like a slug; tried de- and re-installing several times over the years. Same slug result. Laptop works great without it. Funny thing is I bought a Win 7 desktop and upgraded to Win 10 last summer. FTM 16 mostly works on it, although I can’t print reports, create gedcom files and the newer names I’m adding (over 92,000) don’t always show up in the list. But if I find a family member that still shows up in the list, I can trace down to the new individuals. Wasn’t about to ruin my working database by installing the 2011 software on my PC.

    Don’t care about TreeSync. My Ancestry tree has less than 3000 names. I prefer to choose who to add. I also go back and forth with having a membership and am currently in a not active membership period. I do my own backups to my external hard drives and memory sticks.

    There’s no price listed for the upgrade. As far as I’m concerned, I spent good money and was royally ripped off with the piece of garbage FTM 2011 software (and there were plenty of other people complaining how bad it was on different websites). 1) What’s the price and 2) any chance to test it out to see if the new version actually works.

  30. Diana Covey Frymyer

    My biggest regret with FTM is the fact that I bought many CD’s to do research, ie, marriage records, death records, SS death index, etc…I’d be safe to say I bought nearly 30 or 40 of these & FTM doesn’t read them any more. What am I supposed to do to be able to read my ‘material’ again? Just let me say I’m highly irritated.

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