Status Updates for Family Tree Maker

One of the common misconceptions is that “no news is bad news.” That is not always true. In some cases, perhaps you simply haven’t heard the latest news.

In this case, the news concerns Software MacKiev, the company that acquired the rights to the popular Family Tree Maker software program from some months ago. I have read complaints in this newsletter’s comments section and elsewhere that Software McKiev has not met some of their promised delivery dates. In fact, there is some truth to that in a couple of cases but, more commonly, the “problem” is that the customer(s) simply didn’t know the latest status updates.

I spent time talking with representatives of Software McKiev this past week at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! show held in Birmingham, England. One fact I learned is that Software McKiev updates their own customer support page frequently, especially when there is news to share with customers.

If you want to learn the latest status information concerning Family Tree Maker, either for the Windows or Macintosh version, check out

I just looked at and I see updates made within the past 24 hours and on a Sunday, no less.

If you use Family Tree Maker, check the page at in order to obtain the latest status.


I have used FTM since the beginning and recently purchased 2014.1 for $29.95. A very fair price. Now, 2017 is in the works and because I purchased 2014.1, I’ll be getting 2017 for free. More than fair. So, McKiev is making sure users have a good product before the release. I like that. They also are making certain that the software works with the Ancestry site properly. Ancestry engineers are working with McKiev to correct any compatibility problems. Makes good sense. Meanwhile, my 2014.1 is working like a charm, but with no sync with Ancestry. No worries, I can wait. So why the complaints? It goes back to that old saying, “You can’t make everybody happy all the time.”

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    Yeah, and you probably think you will find a pony in a room full of dung!


    I am ready to print out book and guess abat it will not work. After spending hour with helk line and pro ing it was not me. They said oh yes that had been mentioned by others and the engineers would fix it in future updates. I have a 547 page bookthat i can not print. Since theirchat line is the inly help thet offer i might as well go back to . No help but works 2012


MacKiev is doing a good job of fixing issues before they launch FTM 2017. A month delay now will save them and all users a lot of grief. Many of the issues seem due to Ancestry which does not have a great history of good software engineering (ie no way to turn off forum alerts due to a long missing button). Pricing for the new version is also fair. People who bought in the last year get it free and others who have never paid anything to MacKiev got a $30 pre-release or $40 upgrade price. MacKiev should have a trial version for new users or forget their $70 list price.


    I am very disgusted with McKiev right now, I paid for two download version of Family Tree maker and one disc copy. That came to 97.00. I cannot get a version to let me get online. I have tried everything and sent email to them and waited for hours online and if anyone can help me i would appreciate any advice. When i go to log on it say your not connected to internet. I can log onto any other program and have even turned off Norton online. I have deleted Family tree and tried downloading again. Thanks for this forum.


Is there a notification email list that we can subscribe to so that can send out to notify those who already have their product? I’d like to receive notice about 2017 version being ready to upload when they go ahead with it.


I have complied with their request of proof of purchase 2 or 3 times. thought everything was fine then today when I opened FTM again the requested proof of purchase to update. Frankly, I am getting sick and tired of paying for updates or subscriptions prices constantly going up.


I have used previous versions of FTM (way back to the Brodenbund days), and have the most current version of the Mac version from MacKiev. I must say, although I miss a few of the features that I used to have on the old versions, I LOVE their customer service! They are very prompt in returning emails, and have helped me with an issue that I was having. I’ve been debating switching to RootsMagic, but as long as the service with MacKiev is good, I think I’ll wait….


I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with MacKiev. Last year it was months before a bug fix release was out, after being announced with a general timeframe. Now we were given an explicit release date, which passed 3 weeks ago. OK, yeay, they’re testing. But for me, a release date implies the testing has already happened, not that the release date is the very start of testing and it will be Someday when the release will actually happen. I work for a software company, and if I did that I would be fired.
The updates encourage people to sign up for updates, which I do every time, only to have to sign up again later. Why aren’t updates sent to the people who signed up for them? Why do I have to keep signing up? Also, we’re encouraged to sign up for the beta program, which I’ve done and got no response. Now yesterday’s update says we’ll get an email Monday to sign up for the beta test – which I’ve done already – and based on past history I wonder if I need to sign up for something in order to get an email Monday in order to sign up so I can be blown off again.


I’ve down loaded FTM 2017, connected to, but I am having difficulty starting up FTM 2017. I first get a message that FTM 2017 was closed incorrectly. I click “continue” then it begins, but get the message it has stopped working, close program. Last two days I’ve had to close my computer and do a restart to get it going, but this morning it won’t even do that. I’ve sent a number of requests for help to Mac, but have heard nothing. I tried to call, but was told the wait was too long, call later. Very disappointing.


Have used FTM for many years. 14.1 linked to Ancestry worked great. Installed FTM2017 and have had some linking problems to Ancestry. My research at this point has stalled. Next in compiling my book, which was no problem with 14.1, the FTM2017 version’s allows me to pick and choose I want to include in my book, i.e. charts, etc. but then the Index and Preview features will NOT function. It’s like someone didn’t flip a couple of switches in the program(?). Am stalled at that point also. Waiting for response from Tech Support.


Family Tree Maker 2017 (Mac) has many positive aspects, but unfortunately one of the most important, linking to Ancestry.Com is apparently non-functional. When I first converted things looked good. Everything seemed to work, but after a couple of weeks I got the message that FTM was unable to verify the sync link to Ancestry even though I was able to use FTM to search without problem. As it turns out, there seems to be no customer support from MacKiev as about a week has passed since I requested help. I suspect others have the same issue and perhaps their lack of a response is due to everyone working on a fix. Having used FTM for over 10 years I am beginning my search for a replacement.

I have the program on two Mac’s and both get the same message so it should not be an installation or OS issue. I suspect a server issue on their end and if they would at least indicate they know of a problem then I would feel better. I lost a couple of months of my Ancestry subscription waiting for the release which makes things worse. As a retired and experienced programmer/designer I know what it could be like on their end, but a little communication would go a long way.


    I purchased FTM 2017 and have 2 trees I have been working on in ancestry. I was able to sync one of my trees from ancestry but not the other. I receive the following message “Family Tree Maker was not able to receive information about your online tree from Ancestry.” I have been receiving this message for the past month, having tried on multiple occasions. I did an online chat with MacKiev on July 30 but they could not solve the problem. After being on with them for about 45 minutes I had to leave the session. It is at least good to know that others have the same problem. I agree that some communication from MacKiev would be helpful.


    I did eventually get a reply and what I consider a workaround via a chat session. There was no idea of why the FTM 2017 linkage had failed on both of my computers.

    To restore the link I had to download the Ancestry tree to one computer and then merge the trees (to avoid losing the non-synced data that was only in FTM). I plan to copy that new FTM tree to my other computer and do the same there.


    On my Mac, I’m getting the same “Family Tree Maker was not able to receive information about your online tree from Ancestry” error as Daphne. Was working fine for several weeks and suddenly it’s just dead. Given Daphne’s experience, I’m less than excited about trying to resolve it via chat. Noted Bruce’s workaround but don’t have another computer available to do the download/sync he mentioned. (Not sure why it requires a second computer; will try it from this one and see what happens, I guess.)


Like Bruce, Brent and Daphne, I have the same issue of FTM not being able to receive info… like them, I have been using FTM from the Broderbund days (I miss Broderbund support), like Daphne I have spent hours with online chat techs (I’ve had this issue at least 8 times) and have gone through the suggested procedures on several occasions. In fact, I had to school a couple techs on the procedure. Point is, they need to fix this issue. Here’s my latest message to them:
“Ongoing issue. I know how to fix it, but it is time-consuming and there has to be a better fix. I was a beta tester because of this issue.When I attempt to sync, I get the following message: “Family Tree Maker was not able to receive information about your online tree from Ancestry.” Followed by a canned suggestion of restarting FTM, making sure pc is connected to internet, etc.
I do the recommended procedures (taking several hours as I have a large tree) and I’m able to sync until I do a large number of new additions and/or media additions. 200 seems to be about the magic number.
Point is, I don’t always have the time to go through the procedures to correct it, just to have it happen over and over (probably 30 or 40 times since 2017 version).
I doubt if they get in a hurry to respond. I have purchased Roots Magic and am seriously considering dumping FTM for good despite the time and money invested in FTM. The frustration is simply not worth the effort anymore, especially with over 50,000 entries and no viable solution in sight.


FWIW, I finally ended up getting a refund for FTM a couple weeks ago. They couldn’t resolve my issue and didn’t seem particularly concerned about or interested in doing so. I let my Ancestry membership expire in December; this experience has really burned me on the whole genealogy thing


I too have this problem with FTM and: “Family Tree Maker was not able to receive information about your online tree from Ancestry.” And I’m not amused by the fact that others have the same problem and gives up. So I think I will do the same. Amzing that they cannot come up with a solution.


This is a horrible, horrible program. Glitchy, very badly designed, customer service reps don’t have a clue what they are doing and offer zero help other than “we’ll pass this along to our engineers.” Problem is, the engineers are the idiots who designed this terrible program in the first place. For example, if you manually enter some notes for your relative, let’s say his name is John, where would you expect to see those notes when you print out an ahnentafel report? Under John’s name? Oh, no, you’d be wrong. John’s notes are listed under his WIFE’s name! And here’s the kicker: if there is no wife listed (as OFTEN happens in trees; the males names are recorded and the females were ignored) then the males notes don’t appear at all! Poof, they are gone! Absolutely asinine. I don’t know if there’s another program that syncs with, but if there is, definitely try that one instead.


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