Who is the Software MacKiev Company?

mackiev_main_logoAncestry.com’s announcement today that the company is selling the Family Tree Maker software business to Software MacKiev has created a few questions. For instance, who is Software MacKiev? A quick Google search produces several answers.

NOTE: The second part of today’s announcement states that RootsMagic will also be able to synchronize data with Ancestry.com’s online family trees by the end of the year. However, that apparently does not affect the sale of Family Tree Maker, both Windows and Macintosh versions, to Software MacKiev.

Software MacKiev has its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. Specifically, it has offices at 30 Union Wharf on Boston’s waterfront in the historic North End. However, Wikipedia notes that Software MacKiev has its main workshop in Kiev, Ukraine. The company is best known for developing software for Macintosh systems which apparently explains the letters “Mac” in the company name: Software MacKiev.

Today’s announcement from Ancestry, Inc. suggests that Software MacKiev was the company that developed Family Tree Maker for Macintosh, probably under contract for Ancestry. The announcement simply says, “Software MacKiev has been the developer of Family Tree Maker for Mac for more than six years and is thrilled at the opportunity to publish future versions of Family Tree Maker for Mac and Windows.”

Software MacKiev also does produce software programs for Windows and for mobile devices. The company’s web site at http://www.mackiev.com lists Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, PrintShop for Mac, Kid Pix 3D, and some other titles.

It is interesting to note that the same web page also says, “See you this week at RootsTech” in Booth # 123. I think I will pay them a visit.

You can find the Software MacKiev web site at http://www.mackiev.com but a lot more information about the company can be found on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_MacKiev.

52 Comments

    I care; don’t really want to have any links to companies in that part of the world – we are talking about ‘family history’ data here including people who are alive.

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I for one care, I have used WFT since it was started and have a tremendous about of information, some of which would not transfer to another program via *.ged. This has, however, started me thinking what should I do so as to make the information good for a 100 years.

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You can get a bit more about the company by clicking the “In Memoriam” link at the bottom of the Software MacKiev pages. It leads to a memorial page for Merton D. Minsky, 1928-2011, Chairman of the Board of Software MacKiev. So looking up Mr.Minsky on Google leads to some interesting information. He was president of King Leather Products. After retiring in 2006 from the footware industry, he served as chairman of Software MacKiev, which was founded by his son, Jack Minsky. Looking up Jack Minsky, you can find that he’s been President of MacKiev since 1995 (21 years). There’s a YouTube video of Jack Minsky being interviewed about their 3D weather product here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuN_oLZ7kF4

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Interesting that they are selling version 2 of FTM, whereas the most current version that Ancestry has been selling was version 3.

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    My understanding was that no one was now selling FTM3 except the Apple App Store from which it now appears to have disappeared also

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Addressing “Who Cares” Question: does MacKiev care about the Windows version of FTM? Nothing on their website indicates any emphasis will be put on the Windows version, however, it is realized they may need time to work on any new FTM Windows updates/versions.
I did not sign up for their emails as they did not indicate whether or not they sell email addresses to other companies. Besides if/when they publish a marvelous – fantastic – does everything I want – version of FTM for Windows, the news will surely reach me. S

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Lesley K. Cafarelli February 3, 2016 at 10:20 am

Ancestry really missed the boat by announcing that FTM would no longer be supported or produced weeks before announcing that it will be continued and how. In the meantime, many of us have been looking at alternatives and even switched over to something else. Bad management and marketing, Ancestry.

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Yes, please go to the booth at the Roots Tech event!! I am very skeptical of the way that Ancestry.com handled this. This is synergism that can be very dangerous and regretfull. FTM people purchased other programs, in particular, Rootsmagic, only to find out they did not need to do this and wasted their money. But my big issues is that there will be connections that will allow Ancestry.com to access our software unless we change the default that allows this, according to announcements (in the fine print) by Rootsmagic yesterday that says we will have a choice to allow or not. I think I am going to keep doing my own research as I have done for 40 years, and also access Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org directly and privately, without notices, lightbulbs, or interaction that give some new unknown and unproven companies and processes permission to interface together. They can, and will, share my work between them in the future, and then charge others access. I am tired of this down hill process. Back to my private world. No one needs to do my work for me. This set up is for people who have nothing and nothing to lose and want to be able to click a button and have instant genealogy. Call me experienced.

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I have FTM for my Mac and my PC and I can tell you they are VERY different programs. The PC program is good, as so many users can attest to (although not as good as Legacy or RootsMagic, IMHO). However, the Mac program is absolutely NOT of the same quality as the PC version. I tried it and tried it and was most dissatisfied. I finally gave up and deleted it from my Mac so that may say something about mackiev. I’m hoping that Ancestry will allow the oldest genealogy software program, Legacy (written in 1995 and consistently updated), to sync with it along with RootsMagic (originally Family Origins; RootsMagic 1.0 was released in 2003 and consistently updated) so that people have a choice of two programs which appear to have the best likelihood of surviving long-term.

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    I just received the notice that a new and improved version of FTM2014.1 was available. After and hour or so going through all their different verbage, I finally downloaded (FamilyTreeMaker2014us.exe). After trying to execute this file (Windows 10), I received (unspecified error). After going through the “Report Problems” process several times (trying to be as specific as I could), I gave up. The product is a piece of garbage. I have been using FMT since it came out and I really like the features but when they try to improve it they mess up things that use to work. I can not even find out how to get to the chat room.

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Edward H Fields, Jr February 8, 2016 at 8:25 pm

Yet another company that outsources its labor thereby depriving US workers a living.
Everything about this FTM situation reeks.

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Alice (Bliss) Hostetter March 13, 2016 at 8:07 pm

I have Family Tree Maker 2014. How do I sign up to receive the free update?

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    The MacKiev FTM FAQ still says:
    “Q: I already own FTM 2014 or FTM Mac 3. Do I need to purchase this new version?
    “A: No. There will be a free update available at some point soon. Please sign up for our mailing list to be notified when it’s available at http://www.mackiev.com/ftm.”
    The mailing list signup page is here:
    http://www.mackiev.com/familytreemaker/ftm3/ftm_signup.html
    I’ve been signed up since early March but have yet heard nothing about when the free upgrade from FTM 2014 to FTM 2014.1 (the MacKiev version) will be available.

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I have owned FTM since Broderbund published it back in the 1990’s. Of course, it is a much different product today. My primary reason for using it is the mapping capabilities, (and it’s connection to Ancestry.com). Are there other genealogy software products that have the geographic mapping features that FTM 2014 has? If so, I would consider switching, or adding it to my portfolio, so to speak.

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    —> Are there other genealogy software products that have the geographic mapping features that FTM 2014 has?

    Many genealogy programs include mapping capabilities and several of them are superior to the maps found in Family Tree Maker. You might check out: RootsMagic (and especially Family Atlas which is produced by the same company that produces RootsMagic), Heredis (available for both Windows and Macintosh), Family Historian, and Family Tree Builder.

    You also probably want to look at AniMap at http://goldbug.com/animap/

    For Macintosh, check out the maps in Reunion, MacFamilyTree, and Heredis.

    Linux users will find mapping capabilities in the GRAMPS genealogy software.

    A web-based genealogy mapping product that works on Window, Macintosh, Linux, Android, Apple iOS, and probably all other operating systems can be found at https://rootsmapper.com/

    Finally, probably the most sophisticated and powerful family tree mapping product of all is Map My Family Tree produced by Progeny Genealogy. It is a Windows program that accepts data from all the more popular genealogy programs. If you are serious about mapping your ancestors’ lives, look at https://progenygenealogy.com/products/family-maps.aspx

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So I recently upgraded from FTM 2014 (Ancestry Version) to FTM 2014.1 (MacKiev Version). Pretty disappointed right now with MacKiev. The new version of their software won’t let me access my Ancestry.com account. Worse yet their support website says it’s a known issue and their workaround doesn’t work. Not sure what they were thinking — this is a key reason most of by the software and for it to not work is worrisome.

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I have found that there is no concern for the customer from MacKiev. I have had problems for months and all I can get from them is an emailed list of things to try. Most of them would take a Computer Tech to do. Then after weeks and emails and try this you are still sitting dead in the water waiting on some one that cares to try to help with the problem. Just thought I would add my 2 cents worth to the caring MacKiev group that going to save family history for the public that cares.

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    Agree to that 100%. I’ve had trouble merging and not a peep of a response from them. Anyone have a phone number to call?

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    I agree with you Roy. There is no customer support….no number to ring if you have a problem. If you had a problem with FTM the phone number was very easy to find for Ancestry.com and the support person would send a very good step by step email on how to resolve the problem. WAKE UP Mackiev think about your customers….

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New update newsletter from MacKiev. Now they are saying that owners of the Mac FTM-3 version won’t get a free upgrade to the new version, but rather to a tweaked version of FTM-3. To quote the newsletter:

“Free Update for current editions.
We are hard at work finalizing a free update for which we have focused on stability and performance. Note that for FTM 2014 and Mac 3 users this is not an upgrade to a new edition, but rather an update patch, which is why it will be free for you. ”

This is not what I thought was going to happen based on what they’d been saying previously. This will be an upgrade to a version that is on a phase-out track. Back to my search for a replacement.

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What a piece of lousy software. The worst program (formerly) on my machine. 2005 and earlier versions worked better (on XP originally) … and they weren’t all that spectacular either. i7, 16G RAM, Win 7.

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Just say no. Don’t replace FTM 2014 with the free FTM 2014.1 upgrade. I’ve had nothing but problems with the sync to Ancestry.com.. And when it doesn’t work you are flat out of luck. After upgrading, I got an error message during the first sync. After an hour chatting online with a MacKiev support tech, he couldn’t fix it and then he committed the two cardinal sins: he told me I was on my own, and he refused to let me download and reinstall my original 2014 version to continue using it until they get the bugs out of MacKiev FTM 2014.1. So just say NO to upgrading.

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    I have just endured the same problem with the free upgrade. I cannot sync, and receive no help from MacKiev support tech with this problem. Have spent far too much time and effort to make this work. Don’t take the upgrade.

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I have been testing Family Tree Maker 2014.1 (Versions 22.0.1.1501 and 22.0.1.501 on 64-bit and 32-bit computers, respectively) from Software MacKiev and have found no major issues. The only minor difficulty I’ve had was that the latest version failed to install on my 32-bit computer, where I had previously installed Version 20.0.1.474, until I first manually removed the previous version. Otherwise, the operation of FTM 2014.1 has been identical to Ancestry.com’s last version of FTM 2014 (Version 20.0.0.1410). I have worked with subset copies of my main Ancestry.com tree, as well as with a full copy containing nearly 8,700 individuals and 6.15 GB of media items in 7,180 files. Changes made in the on-line tree transfer normally to the FTM 2014.1 tree and vice-versa via TreeSync.

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I chatted on line on 1/23/17 about the program abending when trying to sync with ancestory when it was trying to access by media file. Also tried to generate a GEDCON file and got the same results. They asked for a crash log and sent the same day. It is now1/30/17 and no feedback. Feedback was to occur in 2 to 3 days, Great Customer service, HA HA.

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MacKiev has been promising a free update for FTM 2014 for so long, it must be embarassing for them. The last breathless announcement from them was back in January when they were rolling out the update and would have it in our hands by end January. Here it is mid February and nothing is in sight. Fortunately I’ve been using another major software package for the past year and really don’t need FTM any longer, but it would sure be nice to see what they’ve done with it.

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I am aware of all of this Mr. Eastman, but without them issuing you an invitation via an email to you, how do you get the update. I’ve followed the bouncing ball and I still have not received my invite and yes I’m registered with them. As I said in my earlier email, thank goodness for alternate software.

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Mr Flanagan,
I posted a detailed message on 6 Jan 2017 under another thread on this blog site mentioned by Mr Eastman (https://blog.eogn.com/2017/01/02/a-free-update-to-family-tree-maker-is-now-available/) about how I got the free MacKiev version of FTM for Windows (FTM 2014.1) based on having previously (years ago) having registered my Ancestry version (FTM 2014) with Ancestry. I’ll recap part of that post here (quoting instructions I got directly from MacKiev):

***
HOW TO GET A COPY OF FTM
Where you go depends on which Family Tree Maker edition you currently have:
• Users of FTM 2014 and Mac 3 – Free updates are available in our new Update Center [http://www.mackiev.com/techsupport/ftm/update_center/check_registration.html]. These offer added security, faster performance and greater stability among many other improvements, and are recommended for all those who have already updated to FTM 2014.1 or Mac 3.1 too.
• Users of older FTM editions – No matter how old your copy of FTM is, or whether it’s on Windows or Mac, you can download an upgrade for a discounted price. Click here [http://www.mackiev.com/offers/ftm/upgrade_promo_us.html?s=1] to take advantage of this limited-time offer.
• New users – If you’ve never owned Family Tree Maker, you can download a full edition for $69.95 at http://www.familytreemaker.com (click the Store button). On startup you’ll be offered a 14-Day free trial membership to Ancestry.com to start on building your family history.
***

After reaching the MacKiev Update Center [http://www.mackiev.com/techsupport/ftm/update_center/check_registration.html] and entering the six items requested to verify my previous registration with Ancestry, I was able to immediately download FTM 2014.1 from MacKiev. Since then, I have been able to install and test the new program to my satisfaction, including uploading a copy of my FTM 2014 local tree to a new Ancestry tree via FTM 2014.1 and synchronizing the new Ancestry tree with the FTM 2014.1 local tree via TreeSync.

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I am finding it very hard to actually contact Mackiev. Evidently I was entitled to a free update, but was told that I did not qualify. I sent my money, but then was informed that I did qualify. I wish to have my money returned

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I’m concerned about using software created by a Ukrainian company, based on current events. Do you have any connections who can dispel that concern? Much obliged.

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    —> Do you have any connections who can dispel that concern?

    Yes. Software MacKiev headquarters are in Boston, Massachusetts. That includes the CEO and most of the senior managers. The company is subject to US laws.

    Many of their programmers work in the Software MacKiev office in Kiev, Ukraine.

    I spent some time today talking with several of the senior managers of the company at the “Who Do You Think You Are? Live!” show in Birmingham, England. The company is obviously firmly committed to producing quality software. In fact, one promised release was delayed for a while simply because the managers of the company did not feel it was ready for release. They didn’t want to place buggy software into the hands of their customers. They deliberately delayed the release until they were happy with it.

    One of the managers whom I have known for years when he worked at other genealogy companies confided to me that he really enjoys working at Software MacKiev because of the company’s professional attitude towards quality.

    Is everything perfect? I seriously doubt it. A new company took over code written by someone else that reportedly had multiple software problems. The employees had to get up to speed quickly on someone else’s code and then figure out how to improve it and, in many cases, stabilize it. That is not a simple task that can be accomplished quickly. However, based on my conversations with people on MacKiev’s staff that I have known for years, I do have a good feeling that the end result will be significantly better than what has been shipping in recent years.

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Not withstanding the problems of taking over code from another company, the launch of the MacKiev 2017 has been an abysmal failure. We are 9 days past the launch date and have received updates that sound like there are substantial scaling up problems. I wish I were as optimistic as you, but my experience with MacKiev v. 2014.1 has not been good. I have had 2 support tickets open for 3 weeks and no one will return my requests for assistance. I think I know why – they have thrown every available body at this launch. This does not bode well for the future.

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    —> Not withstanding the problems of taking over code from another company, the launch of the MacKiev 2017 has been an abysmal failure.

    See https://support.mackiev.com/ for all the latest status information about Family Tree Maker, both the Windows and Macintosh versions. That page is updated frequently.

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I found this blog (and this thread) this morning via a Google search after downloading and installing the FTM 2014.1 (MacKiev version) software. I’ve signed up for the MacKiev newsletter re the release of FTM 2017 but have not been receiving any updates via email. However, I have been monitoring the newsletter by accessing it “manually” [at https://support.mackiev.com/498640-RELEASE-OF-FTM-2017%5D.
Like others, I’m a bit nervous about this transition (especially given the shaky political/military situation in the Ukraine). It doesn’t help that MacKiev’s newsletter seems to be a series of empty promises and time-buying/ “tap dancing” PR announcements (e.g., see the one from just yesterday, 4/13/2017). The more they promise and demur, the harder it is to believe in them.

Also, I’m fuzzy about the business relationship between Ancestry.com and MacKiev/ FTM. My understanding had been that Ancestry.com has owned and operated FTM for the past few years and had developed a nicely integrated package whereby customers could effortlessly (and without any extra cost) sync up and upload their resident genealogy data to Ancestry.com’s database in “the cloud”. This worked flawlessly me for my two rather large (3k+ person databases) for several years. However, it now appears that FTM — the standalone product– has been spun off to a US/ Ukrainian company and that MacKiev and Ancestry.com may no longer be “on the same page” in terms of the syncing arrangement. My guess is that they’re going to end up working it out in the near future ( at least on a temporary basis) but that sooner rather than later Ancestry.com’s going to want to be paid for the syncing feature. That’s too bad because it’s been my impression that Ancestry.com already profits from its right to use the genealogical data that gets uploaded by FTM users. I’ve also learned that the promised “upgrade” to FTM 2017 is not free: unless you paid to load the MavKiev 2014.1 software you’ll have to pay $29.95 to get the FTM 2017 program. And of course you won’t be able to sync to Ancestry.com until you have FTM 2017 ( whenever that becomes available. So I’m now expecting that at some point I’ll have to pay
both MacKiev and Ancestry.com if I want to keep syncing. I hope I’m wrong about that but that’s the way it looks to me at present. and I have no idea how good a program the FTM 2017 will be.

This is making me seriously consider shopping for another program/ system, but I’ve been using FTM so long I’m clueless as to whether there’s a better product and service out there. Is anyone aware of a product/system that is universally recognized to be superior to FTM (and Ancestry.com)?

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    —> Also, I’m fuzzy about the business relationship between Ancestry.com and MacKiev/ FTM.

    Software MacKiev purchased all rights to Family Tree Maker. Ancestry.com is not involved any more except as consultants to Software MacKiev. All support and all updates are now provided by Software MacKiev.

    —> Is anyone aware of a product/system that is universally recognized to be superior to FTM (and Ancestry.com)?

    Beauty (and superiority) is in the eye of the beholder. However, there are a number of genealogy programs for both Windows and Macintosh that are considered to be as good as, or better than, Family Tree Maker. The problem is that the people who use RootsMagic will usually say that RootsMagic is the best genealogy program. The people who use Legacy Family Tree will usually say that Legacy Family Tree is the best genealogy program. The people who use Reunion will usually say that Reunion is the best genealogy program. The people who use Family Historian will usually say that Family Historian is the best genealogy program.

    I am not aware of any consensus amongst the majority of genealogists as to which program qualifies for the title of “the best.” There certainly are several very good ones to choose from, however.

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I stupidly paid the 39.95$ preorder fee and as we know they have not delivered the product. Its beginning to feel like a very sophisticated scam. Keep a close eye on your credit cards – who knows who they have onsold that information to. Ancestry can take partial responsibility for this; it sold out its loyal customers to some dodgy company and now I can’t have any faith in using the product or know that my data is secure and safe.

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My computer crashed and I need the 2014 disk that I need to update my 2014 program. I found the box but not the program.

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    —> My computer crashed and I need the 2014 disk that I need to update my 2014 program.

    If you are having a technical problem, please start here: http://support.familytreemaker.com.

    They can help with most any problem. I do know they are swamped these days with requests so don’t be surprised if you do not get a response for 2 or 3 days.

    I do not know the answer to your exact question. However, I do know if you purchase a brand-new copy of the latest version of FamilyTree Maker and install it, that new version will read all your older Family Tree Maker files directly without any need to re-input all the information again manually. That may or may not be an option you want to investigate.

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Gloria Jean Robinson June 3, 2017 at 1:02 pm

I have Family Tree Maker 2014.1 on my computer and I am needing to look at pictures and documents that suppose to be there on one of the many trees that I have on Ancestry. Why am I NOT having access to the pictures and documents to this tree? I had NO problem with Family Tree Maker 2014. I don’t have the pictures or document for family members to look at and see how I got the information into my tree. There is going to be a reunion on July 15th and I am needing this information for the family to look at and I don’t have it. I need to have this access right away.

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Gloria Jean Robinson June 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Me again. I tried again to get the information on the pictures and documents onto my computer and the program is telling me that I need Family Tree Maker 2017 on the computer. This is stupid because I should have access to it. That is what was said that I should be able to do everything that I was able to do before WELL I CAN’T. Need this asap.

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Gloria Jean Robinson June 3, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Oh, by the way I want to mention that besides the free download that you sent me on Family Tree Maker 2014.1 because I already had Family Tree Maker 2014 on my computer. I accidently went and bought Family Tree Maker 2014.1 for $29.95 plus with the upgrade to 2017 through fastspring.com without realizing that I already had it on my computer and I requested my money back from them since I already have it on my computer with the free upgrade for Family Tree Maker 2017 which I didn’t realized was one in the same. So if I don’t receive my money back I will be filing a dispute with Paypal on the matter.

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Gloria, if you need the pictures asap then simply go to your tree on Ancestry, open the Media Gallery, select the picture you want to download, right click, and then select “save image as” and select a place on your computer to save the picture and click OK. You can repeat this for each picture you want to download.

Later, you should use MacKiev chat to sort out your FTM problems.

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FTM user since it was from Banner Blue and Bruderbund around 1990. Pre-ordered the MacKiev 2017 version. Waited through the last minute delay. Jumped on the possibility to join “pre-flight 2.0” or whatever the heck they called it. Was SO UNDERWHELMED. You could only “beta test” for 48 hours. Only one feature I liked and that was color coding. Everything else was the same or worse. And these endless delays (“We are 98% there”, “We’re 98.5% there”, “We’re almost there, trust us”, “We are 99.928536621% there.” It’s just ridiculous. The search “feature” and merging is just as bad as it’s always been, a stupid and poorly functioning embedded browser window with half-assed merge capabilities. So sad that after using this product for 27 years, I’m bailing. Trust me. I wanted it to be even a bit better so I had a reason to stay. Color coding just couldn’t surpass all of the other garbage.

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This morning, July 17th, I was working on my MacKiev 2014.1 Family Tree Maker using links to Ancestry.com. Suddenly Ancestry stopped working and FTM said “no internet connection”. My internet was working. What it meant was that the link to Ancestry was suddenly stopped – as it turned out forever in 2017. All the FTM and Ancestry literature said services would be provided through all of 2017. LOL. FTM released its final version on July 15 but failed to notify me that I needed to download and update to FTM2017 by this morning at 10:00 am pdt. Apparently I was suppose to check their blog page or their Facebook page to be made aware of this. What a joke! They have been saying that the Treesync feature is being replaced by Familysync. What they failed to say is that the hint leaves would no longer work if you do not upload your tree to Ancestry. I have spent 4 hours on chat (70 in queue
) twice to first learn what happen and two to download the new version.
Then you have to read their disingenuous excuses on the FAQ’s. It’s all my fault. I don’t know who owns the company but FTM is headed the way of WordPerfect, WordStar, Lotus 123, and all other software that fell into the pit of generalist software collectors who want to live off the residue.

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I’ve been in the Chat Support cue for close to 1 hour 15 minutes, it started at a backlog of 53 clients awaiting support. I made it all the way to # 1, and it’s been saying “Online Representative will be with you shortly” FOR THE LAST 16 MINUTES. This is insane! Not support telephone number, no one responds via e-mail, and there’s no one responding to online chat. Hmm, this seems like a great business model….c’mon people either get your act together or join the unemployed…

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