Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 drops Family Tree Maker Software as of December 31, 2015

Now, before you get too irate over this announcement, you need to realize that if you are using a copy of Family Tree Maker it will not magically stop working on December 31, 2015 just because stops selling the program. I have to point out that there are still many people happily using Personal Ancestral File that FamilySearch stopped developing in 2002 and stopped supporting a couple of years ago. The announcement by Kendall Hulet, Senior Vice President of Product Management, is entitled "Ancestry to Retire Family Tree Maker Software." The announcement explains the process as follows:
Ancestry will continue to support current owners of Family Tree Maker at least through January 1, 2017. During this time, all features of the software, including TreeSync™, will continue to work, and Member Services will be available to assist with user questions. We will also address major software bugs that may occur, as well as compatibility updates. - See more at:
By the way, as of this morning when I wrote this post, the program was still for sale on and there is no indication, as yet, on the website that the program will be discontinued.

I would assume that those who try to buy the program will be told that it will not be sold after December 31, 2015? was swift to take advantage of the announcement and rightly so.

I have purchased both the Mac and Windows versions of Family Tree Maker and upgrades to both programs, but I have also purchased hundreds of other programs that have been discontinued, some with rather dramatic consequences in the past, so I am not really surprised when anyone software company makes such an announcement. Companies do make business decisions and's Ken Hulet cites "the declining desktop software market" as a justification for the move. 

I have been writing for sometime about the ascendancy of the mobile device market and the recent introduction of the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has illustrated this trend dramatically by outselling Apple's iPads for the first time. It is a telling point in the bio of Kendall Hulet attached to the announcement that he was instrumental in the "creation of the award winning Ancestry mobile app, which has been downloaded more than 12 million times." - See more at:

I would also point out that the Family Tree Maker software has been suffering from constant complaints and very low software reviews for some time. You might want to read the reviews posts on for Family Tree Maker. The current versions has only garnered 1.78 stars out of 5. While there, you can read the reviews for almost all of the other current and past genealogy software programs, including which is running at 4.32 stars presently. Perhaps the functionality of a program is more of a factor in continuing to sell it than declining software demand. Perhaps if had heeded the reviews and comments made about their program it would not have been the victim of declining software demand. has versions for both Windows and Macs. 

I must also point out that has their free Family Tree Builder software that syncs with the user's online family tree. Known as "the world's most popular family history application," Family Tree Builder is also available for Windows and the Mac operating systems. I should also point out that Family Tree Builder is running at a rating of 4.42 on  

The announcement has almost 5,000 comment so far this morning (note the date of this post please). Perhaps all these folks should have read the reviews before purchasing the program. 

Now, I recently wrote about an announcement made by where they are discontinuing two of their online features. I pointed out the transitory nature of computer storage and software. People often ask me which software programs I use. My answer is "all of them." For many years, I have tried to be independent of relying on any one method of backing up my data and any one program for maintaining my files. Maintaining the integrity of your genealogical data and preserving it is a major concern and a constant battle. 

I might point out that it is possible for those who are registered with LDS Accounts to can already move some of their data to the Family Tree, so it must be possible to provide this kind of service to others also. 


  1. I think a lot of the FTM users (like myself) are long-time diehards, not as many new folks purchasing the software. RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, and Family Historian all have offers up and help guides available to quickly move folks from one software to another.

    I'm intrigued by all three of these and intend to try them all before making a decision. After all, we have a year before this will really impact anything.

  2. I would beware of companies that immediately say they "will welcome" or "develop" a capability in order to attract user from a soon to be defunct program.

    When TMG died, other software developers wanted to get the abandoned TMG users. Legacy immediately said that they were developing the capability to import directly from TMG without having to use a GEDCOM. That was in September 2014. I just checked, and they never did it.

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