Ancestry Blog » Michelle Pfister The official blog of Ancestry Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:19:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Family Tree Maker – Free Update for Version 2012 Tue, 31 Jan 2012 18:48:28 +0000 Michelle Pfister Read more]]> A free update for Family Tree Maker 2012 for Windows is now available. This update includes:

  1. Some important improvements for syncing source citations, relationships, and accepted & rejected hints.
  2. Resolution of some data issues that were causing sync to fail in some cases
  3. Sync stability and performance improvements.

How to get this free update? As a Family Tree Maker 2012 for Windows owner simply open your software program and the update will be ready for download. If you need help with the upgrade (version, technical help is available by email or by phone: 1-800-ANCESTRY.

While this update provides some helpful improvements, there is one issue it can’t resolve: TreeSync has been so popular that on occasion it has temporarily overwhelmed our online system! During these times, your tree data has been safe, but syncing has been unavailable for a short time. It is very important to us that this popular feature is working for you at all times and we are working very hard towards improving the system to accommodate the huge and growing interest in this feature. But, if you should run into a problem with syncing, please wait a few hours and try again. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

We’re excited to see so much interest in TreeSync, and we’re working hard to keep it available at all times of the day and night (whenever you want to use it). We hope you enjoy this free update.

Thank you for using Family Tree Maker 2012.

The Family Tree Maker Team

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Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 – Free Update Fri, 13 Jan 2012 00:06:58 +0000 Michelle Pfister Read more]]> An update for Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 is now available. This update resolves a number of reported issues from the community.

Fixes include:

•        Performance and stability improvements

•        Improvements to resolve sync errors

•        Improvements for handling downloaded media in synced trees

•        Syncing of accepted and rejected hints

•        Option to include/exclude Ancestry media in synced trees

This free update will be available the next time you open Family Tree Maker for Mac 2.

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Family Tree Maker Webinar June 16 Tue, 18 May 2010 00:09:32 +0000 Michelle Pfister Our webinar scheduled for May 19th has been rescheduled to June 16th. We would like to apologize for any inconvenience we’ve caused and also thank those of you who have already registered and submitted questions. We hope you’ll be able to join us in June.

We’ll provide more details in a couple of weeks.

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Family Tree Maker: 20-Year Anniversary! Sat, 12 Dec 2009 00:30:44 +0000 Michelle Pfister Read more]]> Hello Everyone,

We wanted to take a moment and announce something very exciting.

Family Tree Maker is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year!

Here is some of the history behind the program.

In 1989, the first edition of Family Tree Maker was released by Banner Blue Software. This program ran on DOS, and came on 3.5 and 5.25 floppy disks. Even then, though, the program was designed to help you gather, store, and then share your family history.

First Edition of Family Tree Maker - 1989

First Edition of Family Tree Maker - 1989

Banner Blue was acquired by Broderbund Software in the mid 1990s, after Banner Blue had released a second edition of Family Tree Maker. Broderbund continued to add new developments to Family Tree Maker as technology advanced, releasing a few more versions of the program.

Over the next few years, the Family Tree Maker program was owned by several different companies, but kept getting updated as the resources to build family trees and do family history research advanced with the growth of technology. It eventually came to rest with a company called, which released version 10 in about 2002. Soon after this, was purchased by MyFamily, which later was known as The Generations Network and is now

With the success of the program, which has been a major leader in the family tree building software industry since its beginning, MyFamily kept expanding the features of the program and releasing new versions. In 2006, version 16 was released. The program had expanded from a simple way to print family trees, to a powerful program that could include pictures, create a digital scrap book, and had the power to search the Internet for more information on your family tree.

However, Family Tree maker was still based on old computer programming, and would not be able to keep up with new releases of personal computer technology. We decided it was time for a major revamp of the program to keep it current with the latest updates in computer operating systems. While this wasn’t always a smooth road, we’ve learned a lot and feel we’ve come out with an even better product because of that learning process.

We’re doing our best to continue to integrate the new features and improvements you have suggested as Family Tree Maker users through the years.

Family Tree Maker 2010 - 20 years after the first release

Family Tree Maker 2010 - 20 yrs after first edition

In Family Tree Maker 2010, we have brought back the in-program book building feature, and updated the features of our “Extended Family Tree” chart based on feedback from “All-in-one chart users. (We’re planning a new post that will go over the finer details of these two charts soon.) In addition, we’ve added many new features based on the needs and suggestions of our users.

And so that brings us to this year, where we’re celebrating 20 years of Family Tree Maker growth, and looking forward to even more growth and improvement to come.

Keep your suggestions and comments coming!

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Family Tree Maker: Program Update Tue, 17 Nov 2009 23:46:34 +0000 Michelle Pfister Read more]]> Hello Everyone,

We are soon going to release a small program update to Family Tree Maker 2010, which will address some of the requests you’ve made here on the blog and in other forums.  Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Improved Relationship Calculator. Direct-line relationships now take precedence over less direct lines.
  2. Greater control over hinting. A new option lets you turn tree hints off, so you can get hints from records only. See the new check box in the Options dialog. Also, the program will stop hinting on trees owned by the logged in user, as well as not hinting records that have been downloaded with a tree from
  3. Improved data and formatting in a number of reports.
  4. Improved support for GEDCOM, PAF and Legacy import.
  5. Many other small changes throughout the program to help it run more smoothly.

We appreciate your feedback and suggestions. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us; they have helped us tremendously in preparing this update.

Please watch for the update in the next day or two. When it’s ready, a prompt will display in Family Tree Maker after you start the program. For those of you using Vista or Windows 7, make sure to right click on the Family Tree Maker 2010 shortcut and chose the “Run as Administrator” option to ensure you receive the notification. More detailed information regarding the patch, as well as links to download the patch directly, can be found at the following location starting tomorrow morning:


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Family Tree Maker: Webinar Recap Fri, 02 Oct 2009 19:03:10 +0000 Michelle Pfister Read more]]> Hello Everyone,

We want to thank you all for your questions and participation in the webinar for Family Tree Maker 2010. We had a great turnout, with about 2,000 of you participating live with us that night.

We answered as many questions as time permitted, and we’re sorry if we weren’t able to get to yours yet. But don’t worry, we’ve got a list of the questions asked during the webinar, and we’ll be posting here to answer what we can. Again, specific questions about errors or technical problems will be answered much more quickly if you email or give our customer support center a call.

We just wanted to briefly mention some of the more frequently asked questions here:

Q: Will the webinar be available for viewing at a later date?

A: Yes. We will have the archived webinar up on our site in a few days. When its available, you can find this webinar, and past webinars at The webinars can be found on both in the Help section and on under the Learning Center.

Q: What about phantom hints with the shaky leaves?

A: We are aware of this problem, and are working on getting things fixed. Right now the best thing is to be patient with us, or email for some help.

Q: There were lots of questions about functions in the program.

A: Many of those can be answered within the program itself, so you don’t have to wait for us to get back to you to get working on your family history. To get answers, go to the Help menu in Family Tree Maker, and there you will find the Training Tutorials and Online Help Center.

The tutorials are videos on your program that go over some of the basics of Family Tree Maker, and are great for visualizing what you want to do within the program.

The Online Help Center gives you access to the Getting Started Guide. This handy guide will help you begin your first Family Tree Maker project and master the program’s basic features. You can quickly navigate to the section you would like to see for the answers you are looking for.

Also in Online Help Center is a link to our free online database of Knowledge Base articles. These are often made up of answers excerpted from the Official Guide, and are updated often. These are a lot of the same answers Customer Support would provide–it’s the same set of information they work from when they’re answering your questions. By typing in a few key words of what you are looking for, such as “splitting trees” or “duplicate people,” a list of articles will display that you can browse through to find what you are looking for.

During the webinar, there were many more questions, and just to give you a heads up for what we’re working on to put in the blog post, keep your eye out for these new posts:

Book publishing

Source Citation

Transferring Files


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Family Tree Maker: Free Online Class Thu, 24 Sep 2009 19:55:23 +0000 Michelle Pfister Read more]]> Hello everyone,

We are looking forward to our free online class about Family Tree Maker 2010.  This “webinar” should help answer many of the questions you have about the new software.

To help us prepare, please ask your questions here. While we won’t be able to answer every question during the webinar, we’ll do our best. If you already entered a question in the preceding Family Tree Maker post about the online class (webinar), there’s no need to re-enter here. We’ll look at all the questions in preparation for the webinar.

When you want a question answered right away, a good place to start is the knowledgebase on under the Support menu. Just type in a few key words of your question, and click “Search.” For example, to learn how to register Family Tree Maker, type in the word “register” and click Search.  Several articles display that have similar words in them. When you see one that looks promising, click on it to see the detail.

For times when the knowledgebase doesn’t provide an answer, you can email customer support at You should receive a response in approximately 24 hours.

The webinar will provide a helpful overview and step-by-step instructions for using many of Family Tree Maker 2010′s new features. To attend the webinar, please register, and enter your genealogy record questions here. Thanks!

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Family Tree Maker: Webinar on Sept. 30th Wed, 09 Sep 2009 18:12:58 +0000 Michelle Pfister Read more]]> We have a free webinar scheduled for September 30th at 8:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time. In this webinar, you’ll see a demo of the new features in Family Tree Maker 2010. We know it can take time to learn all the details of a rich application like Family Tree Maker. This webinar will hopefully help.

To help us prepare, please enter your questions in the comments section. We’ll try to answer every question in either the webinar or in blog entries here. To keep us all on track, please limit your questions to those regarding functionality in Family Tree Maker 2010.

As always, you can see past webinars on These will be especially helpful to you if you’ve upgraded from Version 16 or earlier. To attend the upcoming webinar, register here.

Thanks for entering your questions about Family Tree Maker 2010 functionality — we’ll look forward to reading every one. Thanks!

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Family Tree Maker: Upgrading from previous versions Fri, 21 Aug 2009 19:20:22 +0000 Michelle Pfister Read more]]> We are often asked about the process of upgrading to Version 2010 from older versions of Family Tree Maker. If you’re upgrading, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

Q: Will FTM 2010 run on my computer?
A: Your computer must meet the minimum system requirements in order to run the program. A list of system requirements can be found here. By going to the Start menu and selecting the Help option, you can search for “About this computer” to find your system information and compare to the list on the Web site.

Q: Will FTM 2010 replace my old version?
A: No. Family Tree Maker 2010 will install as a completely separate program and will not affect your old program. If you do not want to keep your old version you will need to uninstall it.

Q: Do I need to install FTM 2009 before I can upgrade to FTM 2010?
A: No. Because FTM 2010 installs as a separate program you can upgrade to 2010 directly, without having to install any older software.

Q: Will FTM 2010 automatically open my files from the old version?
A: This depends on which version you’re upgrading from. If you’re upgrading from version 2008 or 2009, your old file names will appear in your list of trees. Then opening the files will convert them to the new format. If you’re upgrading from an older version (Version 16 or older) you will need to import your files into the new program. You can see instructions on how to upload your files from the older version, or how to import files from other programs to your new Family Tree Maker here.

Q: When I import my file will it get ALL of the data?
A: Family Tree Maker 2010 will import all of the data contained in the file you are importing. If you have multiple files in the old program to represent different families, you will have to import each one separately.

Q: I can’t find my files from the old version to import them. Where are they?
A: You can use either your old version’s Find file utility or use Windows Search to locate the files on your computer. These are detailed here.

Q: My old version is on a different computer. How can I transfer the file to my new computer?
A: By exporting your old files to an external drive, you can transfer your files from one computer to another. Detailed instructions for this can be found here.

Q: Do I need to keep my old version on the computer after upgrading?
A: No. Once you have imported your data files into FTM 2010 you can uninstall your old version, it is not required for FTM 2010 to operate. Removing your older version is optional, but doing so will leave more memory available for use on your computer. Even if you remove your old program, you can keep your old data files for safekeeping.

Q: I imported my files, but I don’t know where they are now. Where does FTM 2010 store the data files?
A: The default save location is in a Family Tree Maker folder in your Documents folder. Any imported files will be here unless you changed the File Location on the import screen. If your files are not in your Documents folder and you don’t remember if you changed the File Location or what you changed it to, you can use Windows Search to locate the files. The search tool can be found under the Start menu on your computer.

Q: How can I make FTM 2010 look like my old program?
A: Family Tree Maker 2010 is built on our new platform, which has many similarities to the older versions but looks quite different. The People workspace, Family tab is a combined Pedigree View and Family View from the old programs.

Q: I need help working in the new format. Are there any tutorials available?
A: There are Training Tutorials available in the Help menu and a Getting Started Guide available on our website to help you get started working in the new format. You can view the Getting Started Guide by clicking here.

I hope these answers help. If you’ve already made the transition to Family Tree Maker 2010, please offer your helpful questions and answers here. Thanks!

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Family Tree Maker: Pre-sell offer expired Fri, 21 Aug 2009 17:00:03 +0000 Michelle Pfister Read more]]> Thank you, everyone, for your input. I just want to make everyone aware that the pre-sell offer expired on August 18th at midnight. For loyal FTM customers, we will continue to look for special offers or upgrade pricing in the future.

To make sure you receive emails from us in the future , you can follow these steps:

  1. Register Family Tree Maker with your current email address
  2. Make sure you have selected the option to receive special offers from Ancestry (
  3. Insure that your email client is set to receive genealogy offers from

Offers differ depending on the country you are in. After making sure your email address is correct, you can watch for offers in your area.

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