Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 to Sync With

Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 will include the ability to synchronize your tree with (a function called TreeSync). This news is according to the Program Manager for Family Tree Maker (FTM). He had more to say in answer to my question about the PC and Mac feature inequality:

We are very committed to the Macintosh platform and as you know, released an initial version based on FTM 2010 last year.

I can say that the new Mac release will include the following:

1. TreeSync–The ability to synchronize a tree in Family Tree Maker with one at
2. Performance and stability improvements
3. Other features:
   – Key features from the PC version of Family Tree Maker (TBD)
   – Macintosh-specific features related to the Mac OS that are not in the PC version

We will continue to evaluate features from the PC product to be included in future versions of the Mac product and we will continue to look at opportunities to leverage Mac-specific features and capabilities that are not in the PC version.

At this point we don’t know what other PC functions will be added in FTM for Mac 2. We have confirmation that the most important new feature, TreeSync, is included. That’s great news!

It’s also good news that there will be Mac specific features. This will help Family Tree Maker feel more like a Mac application1. I’m looking forward to the first beta release!2

I’m disappointed that there isn’t yet feature parity. And I’m going to continue to be patient because I see the long-term benefit of a complete version of Family Tree Maker on both PC and Mac. That’s the reason I’m supporting FTM; I’m more interested in a brighter future for genealogy on the Mac than ensuring that my admittedly subjective sense of fairness and desire for immediate gratification are appeased. How about you?

1. It already looks and feels more like a Mac application than Reunion for Mac.
2. I regret that I won’t be able to immediately tell you what’s in or out based on my beta program participation, but I’ll know. I’ll also know what’s out in this release.

Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 and 2012 Feature Inequality

I received a correction to the information in my recent article, “Will Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 Features Match Windows?” The Family Tree Maker 2012 Product Manager informed me that even though the features in the Mac version of FTM 2012 are not set, Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 will not include all the features in the PC version.

I have requested more information and will pass on what I can when I get answers.

Family Tree Maker 2012 Ship Date

Wondering about Family Tree Maker 2012 ship date? There hasn’t been a definitive statement from Ancestry yet. We’ll have to go on the timing announced with the pre-sale.

In August, Ancestry announced that the pre-sale would begin early in September and the Family Tree Maker ship date would be the end of the month. They made the timing for the pre-sale start. This is good news gives me confidence that FTM 2012 will ship by the end of September.

I will keep you updated as better information becomes available.

P.S. If you haven’t ordered, Click here to learn more and buy Family Tree Maker 2012–the pre-sale ends the 28th.

Will Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 Features Match Windows?

Since the Family Tree Maker 2012 pre-sale and release date announcement, I’ve been asked whether the Mac version will have all the same features as the Windows version. I asked that question of my contact at and quickly got the reply that all the features of the PC version will be in the Mac version [I have since recieved a retraction email from the Family Tree Maker Product Manager; please disregard the optimistic remainder of this post]. Feature parity is great news for Mac genealogists.

We made it through the awkward period of Family Tree Maker 2011 on the PC and 2010 on the Mac. We get a sort of double Christmas; we get all the enhancements from the 2011 and 2012 versions with only a four to six week delay. More importantly, it signals an intent to maintain equality between PC and Mac versions.

I’m all for this change. Mac genealogy needs some serious competition to move it forward.

Pre-sale of Family Tree Maker 2012

The pre-sale has begun. The Family Tree Maker 2012 release date is set. Ancestry is temporarily offering 40% off an upgrade or 20% off a full copy. That makes the upgrade price $23.99 and the full version $31.99. The sale ends September 28th. Click here to learn more and buy Family Tree Maker 2012.

Be sure to click the “Upgrade Info” link under the “Buy Now” button if you need the upgrade.

What else is new in Family Tree Maker 2012 besides the much anticipated TreeSync?

  • Blended family view — shows combined families, including stepfamilies and adoptees at a glance
  • Improved Smart Stories — give you new tools for adding and editing details
  • Chart personalization — lets you personalize charts by adding text and displaying generation labels such as parents, grandparents and great–grandparents
  • Index of individuals report — lists every individual in your tree, plus their birth, marriage and death dates
  • Customized fact sentences — let you change wording and choose what data is included in sentences that Family Tree Maker generates for certain reports and Smart Stories
  • Descendent charts between two people — make it easy to choose two individuals in your tree and create a descendant chart that shows their relationship

P.S. There is now a coupon code for Family Tree Maker 2012 that takes an additional %20 off the pre-sale price.

New in Family Tree Maker 2012

There’s a post on the FTM Beta Sync board by the FTM 2012 development lead. He lists the following as the new features in the upcoming Family Tree Maker 2012 release:

1. TreeSync - Ability to synchronize your tree between FTM and Ancestry.
2. Blended family view - Easily show all of the children for two spouses whether they
   are children of one or both of them.
3. Index of Individuals Report
4. Chart improvements
 - Show generation labels
 - Add text anywhere on a chart
 - Option to limit descendant chart to the direct line between two people
5. Report improvements
 - Custom fact sentences (used in genealogy reports & Smart Stories
 - Automatic Smart Story generation includes primary individual, spouse, and children
 - Research notes report changed to "Notes Report" with options to include
   other types of notes

With the exception of TreeSync, there’s nothing much there; that puts a lot of pressure on the synchronization feature!

Now that the pre-sale has started, you can click here to learn more and buy Family Tree Maker 2012.

Family Tree Maker 2012 Availability

Looking forward to getting your genealogy paws on Family Tree Maker 2012? I’ve got news for you!

It’s looking like the Family Tree Maker release date will be early next month and ship by the end of month. The Mac version is expected to follow by about 6 weeks.

I’ll keep you updated as I have more information and when I have the pre-order links for both the Windows and Mac versions of FTM 2012. I’m hoping to be able to pass on a great discount offer like last time.

While you wait, what features and changes are you most interested in?

Reunion for Mac CDs Discontinued Soon

I got the news yesterday from the company that handles order fulfillment for MacGenealogist CDs is discontinuing CDs on July 30th. These are the CDs containing higher resolution versions of most of the Reunion for Mac videos I published on

I’ve done some research and haven’t found any alternatives that would enable me maintain the low price. I want to keep these videos available because people have been helped greatly by having them handy, regardless of whether they have a fast Internet connection or not.

I’ve been racking my brain thinking of alternatives. Then it hit me! What I really need is to know how you want the hours of videos available if not on CD or DVD. Right now I’m leaning toward making them available for download as another benefit for Premium Members. That may be a fine idea, but I really want your opinion.

Also, this serves as your warning that if you want MacGenealogist CDs, buy them now.

P.S. Leave a comment with your ideas for how you would like these high quality videos delivered or available to you.

New U.S. History Perspective Event Sets for Reunion for Mac

Don, a member of the GenealogyTools community, mentioned to me that the North American history perspective event set available on the Reunion website hasn’t been updated in years. I took on the task of making an updated perspective event set available for you to use in Reunion for Mac.

Background on Perspective Events

Perspective events are a feature of the Mac genealogy software, Reunion for Mac. They are brief descriptions of historical events that provide context to your ancestor’s lives in timeline charts and ages lists. They consist of a textual description of the event and can include date and or place information.

Sets of perspective events may be saved in a file for later reuse or sharing. It’s simple to create your own perspective event sets for Reunion. An event set is a plain text file or RTF formatted file with each event on a separate line, date first, followed by a tab and the text of the event. The file’s extension is .pEvents. It must be located in your ~/Library/Application Support/Reunion/Perspective Events/ folder.

How I Updated the Perspective Event Set

I discovered Wikipedia has fairly complete timelines of historical events and they’re freely available under the Creative Commons license. I started with the 1970 to 1989 United States history timeline. I edited the entries for length, added more precise dates to some events, and added locations as appropriate. I removed some events too, but wanted to err on the side of including more rather than less. You can remove the ones you don’t want. I followed the same steps for the 1990 to present timeline.

These were each long lists relative to the existing North American History list because the latter only contains events of great national importance. I copied the events that I thought met this criteria into a copy of the North American History perspective event file.

How To Get the Perspective Event Sets

I put the three files (1970 to 1989, 1990 to present, and North American History) into an archive along with an updated copy of the Michigan History event set I published in 2008. Here’s the link to download the GenealogyTools Reunion for Mac Perspective Event Archive for your own use. Extract the files from the archive then copy the .pEvents files into the Perspective Events folder as described above.

You can easily load perspective event sets into a timeline chart or an load perspective events sets into an ages list. This makes adding multiple perspective events quick and easy.