I just sent the following in an email to a GenealogyTools reader who asked me how to split a Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 (FTMM2) tree. This person had purchased the genealogy software, downloaded a 13,000 person tree from Ancestry.com, and found it too cumbersome to manage.
I’ve tried every which way to develop a method for cleanly splitting trees in FTMM2. After putting several hours into it I can say unequivocally, that it cannot be done. There are three principle problems:
1. The steps are many and complicated.
2. Collateral people remain in the file with no way to automatically detect and remove them.
3. The software is extremely unstable, crashing often—so much so that I do not recommend you use FTMM2 for any purpose.
My recommendation for moving forward is to do one of two things:
1. Buy Reunion 9 for Mac and load your Ancestry.com GEDCOM into it.
2. Buy Family Tree Maker 2012 (FTM 2012) and Windows 7, install them in a virtual PC on your Mac (I use VirtualBox), then download your Ancestry.com tree.
Which one is best for you depends on your willingness and ability to run Windows 7 on your Mac and your desire to keep your tree synchronized with Ancestry.com. If you absolutely must keep your tree in sync with Ancestry you’ll have to go with FTM 2012 on Windows. If not, go with Reunion 9.
I have read that Reunion will easily handle very large trees so there should be no need to split yours if you go with that option.
Prior to this exercise my experiences with FTMM2 have been limited to exploring features in preparation for reviewing the software (no longer necessary thanks to Keith who recently wrote a Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 review and agreed to publish it on GenealogyTools.com). Having invested several hours in using FTMM2 for what ought to be a routine genealogical task I have made up my mind about its fitness. My opinion is summed up in this excerpt from the email: “I do not recommend you use FTMM2 for any purpose.”