It’s been over two years (24 Oct 2011 on Amazon) since Ancestry.com released version 2 of Family Tree Maker (FTM) for Mac. Ancestry.com, and the developer of FTM for both Mac and Windows, Nova Development, spent most of 2013 improving the then-current versions rather than releasing a paid upgrade. I applaud them for their decision, given the many problems with version 2012, especially its TreeSync™ feature, which enabled changes made in FTM trees to be synced with their Ancestry.com counterparts and vice versa. Ancestry.com released the 2014 version of FTM on 10 Sep 2013, but Mac users had to wait a little longer. Like the new Windows version, version 3 for Mac includes enhancements and new features, including an improved TreeSync™, a new Family View, user interface updates, task simplification, and new and enhanced reports. In fact, with a few notable exceptions, the Mac and Windows versions have moved more closely together in terms of feature parity and even price. These improvements address most of the complaints I had in my review of version 2. This review updates my previous review, and I now can recommend FTM for Mac.
Family Tree Maker 2012 and Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 are once again available at a holiday discount. The sale is scheduled to go through December 12th, 2012. New copies are 25% off and upgrades are discounted 30%.
If you’re interested, but unsure if Family Tree Maker (FTM) is for you check out the buyers guides:
As previously announced, Ancestry is focused on enhancing and fixing the current versions so there will be no new major version this year.
The change log states the following:
- Dynamic family tree that shows more family members.
- See grandchildren, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews & cousins in your family tree.
- Ability to change your tree to display direct ancestors only.
- Purchase monthly memberships via In App Purchase.
- An updated look and feel that’s both beautiful and functional.
That seems like a good list for a 4.0 version! The dynamic family tree is pictured to the left. Handy buttons at the top enable you to switch on or off the direct ancestors only feature.
News came from Ancestry.com today that there won’t be a Family Tree Maker 2013. The firm is focused on enhancing the existing version. They’ve already released updates with the following enhancements (listed in their blog announcing the direction):
- Numerous enhancements to TreeSync so syncing your tree to Ancestry.com is faster and more reliable
- A new Family View Report that displays a person’s ancestors, spouse, and children together (similar to the Family View in the People workspace)
- A new Undocumented Facts Report that lists people’s facts that have no source documentation
- The ability to merge info from multiple versions of the same fact
- New source templates for the 1940 U.S. census and improved support for city directories
- Dozens of report enhancements including performance improvements and new options in the relationship chart, family group sheet, Individual Report, Notes Report, Data Errors Report, Outline Descendant Report, Media Item Report, photo albums, Media Usage Report, Documented Facts Report, and calendar
And more enhancements are promised.
The choices on the context menu that appears when you select Search the Web on a person button has been rearranged for efficiency. Search Favorites now appears at the top. You can also search custom groups of sites–a feature introduced in this release.
The preference pane for web search received an overhaul to support creation of custom groups as well as editing the same and the favorites group.
Finally, there’s a button on the Web Preferences pane that you can use to update search sites similarly to the way you can check for updates to the whole application.
I updated the original article on this topic, Using Reunion to Search the Web, and re-recorded the video.
Today I finished methodically testing which source and citation information reliably survives GEDCOM import and export. It’s not a pretty picture! A mere five of fourteen key GEDCOM tags are safe across the nine leading genealogy software packages I tested. Fortunately, the ones I previously identified as essential to source citations are among them.
Why You Should Care
The ability to move your family history data from one application to another is important. Even if you have no intention of changing software or sharing your research you ought to be concerned. It’s entirely possible that the person or people that inherit your research will choose a different package. They may load your data and probably won’t even know they lost anything in the transfer. Well, that fate needn’t be yours if you know where you can safely store information.
What You Can Do
This research is part of the work I’ve been doing to create the very first GenealogyTools ebook and video course: Practical Citation. After completing the course, you will be able to safely and confidently record sources, citations, and quality in your genealogy software without having to consult a book or quick sheet. Say “goodbye” to uncertainty about citation templates and formats.
 I tested Family Historian 5, Family Tree Maker 2012, Family Tree Maker for Mac 2, GEDitCOM II, Legacy 7.5, MacFamilyTree 6, Reunion 10, RootsMagic 5, and The Master Genealogist 7.
- Get precise coordinates in the geo code place window by moving the pin
- Find relationships between two people feature now shows multiple blood relationships if they exist
- Search favorites selection is now at the top of the list of resources when searching the web
- Additions to the web search resources: Ancestry.com.au, Ancestry.ca, FindMyPast.co.uk, GuildOfOneNameStudies
- Pressing the left or right arrow key in family view moves to the previous or next marked person
- Crash fixes
- Performance improvements
- Updates to the manual
Ancestry released an update to Family Tree Maker 2012 today. Here’s a rundown of what’s in it for you.
Of highest importance if you’re having problems synching your FTM file with your Ancestry member tree (AMT), is TreeSync stability improvements. Those come with performance improvements too according to the release notes.
The update include bug fixes and improvements in several areas:
- Added support for media, notes, and sources during file merges
- Improved handling of media during Web merges
- Bug fixes for tasks, media items, and window resizing issues (on computers running Windows 7)
You can order Reunion 10on Amazon.com now. Right now there are three sellers. Well, two really. The third has the ridiculous price of $184.50 plus $3.50 shipping!
As with version 9, Leister Productions sells through Amazon at the full retail price, plus $5.00 shipping, for a total of $104.00. Small Dog Electronics is currently offering it at a discount: $89.99, plus $6.99 shipping for a total of $96.98.
 For what it’s worth, Small Dog Electronics is a company I’ve purchased Mac gear through in the past.
I went looking for an update to Reunion 10 after experiencing repeated crashes when editing source detail fields in notes this morning. Fortunately, there’s a fix in for that problem and many others.
It would be an improvement if there were a visual clue that an update is available. It wouldn’t have to be a dialog that pops up upon launching the application. It could easily be an icon in the status bar.
There are many bug fixes and issues corrected in this maintenance release so it’s a must have. To do so, click Help -> Check for Updates… in the menu bar and click the link in the resulting dialog box if it finds an update.