Posted by Ancestry Team on September 29, 2011 in Family Tree Maker, News, Website announced the release of Family Tree Maker® 2012 today, an improved and expanded version of the world’s No. 1-selling family history software. With its new TreeSync™ capabilities, Family Tree Maker 2012 enables family history enthusiasts to sync their desktop family trees and their online trees at With TreeSync now you can access and update your tree wherever you are whether it’s through Family Tree Maker,, or using the Ancestry iPhone or iPad apps. And sharing your tree is easier than ever. Simply email invitations to family and friends and they can view your online tree or collaborate with you.

Other improvements in Family Tree Maker 2012 include:

  • Easy-to-understand combined family view. The family group view has a new “blended families” option that lets you display all of a couple’s children in one location, including step-children and adoptees. An icon next to a child’s name lets you see at a glance whether he or she is the child of the father, the mother, or both parents.
  • Simplified interface for new users. When you install Family Tree Maker 2012, the software detects whether you are upgrading from a previous version of Family Tree Maker (version 16 or earlier). If you are, Family Tree Maker will display a simplified user interface that looks more like the older versions of Family Tree Maker.
  • Improved Smart Stories. More content-generation and editing options help you create engaging stories about family members.
  • New and improved reports. The Notes Report has been enhanced so you can display person, research, relationship, or fact notes you’ve entered for individuals. A new Index of Individuals Report lists every individual in your tree and their birth, marriage, and death dates in an easy-to-understand format. In addition, you can customize the descriptive sentences used in genealogy reports and Smart Stories.
  • More chart options. The Descendant Chart has a new option that lets you show the relationship between two people you select. You can also display generation labels (such as parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents) in charts to highlight the relationship between the primary person in the chart and other family members. And you can now personalize charts by adding your own free-form text boxes.
  • New and updated Help and tutorials. Learn how to do more—like creating trees and using features—with new and improved tutorials accessible in the software and on

To learn more about the 2012 release, please visit the What’s New page on To purchase Family Tree Maker 2012, visit our store; the software is also available at Best Buy, Office Depot,, and other select retailers. For those of you interested in Family Tree Maker for Mac, a new version with TreeSync capability is slated to be released by the end of 2011.

In upcoming weeks I’ll be writing more about the new 2012 release. Be sure to come back to the blog to learn more about some of its new and exciting features.


  1. Larry Czarnik

    Congratulations! You guys work hard and deserve credit for what’s been done. And interesting, as sync seemed to be the last big “missing piece”.

    Keep up the good work, get Mac 2012 out and then – on with 2013! (What’s the big thing planned for 2013?)

    Best regards,
    2011SP30 04:30 Sydney Australia, SP29 14:30 US EDT

  2. Zac

    What has happened with FTM 2012 for Mac please?
    Is it not time they were developed in paralel with simultaneous launch?
    Is upgrade (at upgrade prices) going to be available in the App Store from the disc version?
    Has the place authority finally been sorted for the UK? Major cities missing from previous versions.
    Is full address supported?
    Is sync multi platform, web/iPad/iPhone/Mac/PC?
    Many thanks

  3. BobNY

    OK, Andy. We now have your belief [3], what you think you read somewhere [6] and what some blogger purports to be fact then retracts [7].

    Why don’t you just let Tana answer the questions and stop acting as if you were the resident expert on all things ACOM.

  4. Tana L. Pedersen

    #1 Glenda

    Family Tree Maker has a 90-day return policy. If you contact our Customer Service at 1-800-Ancestry, they can help you return your product and get the new 2012 version.

    #2 Beth
    I’m glad you’re excited to get the product. Most preorders have already shipped. You should be seeing your copy in the mail in the next week to two weeks.

    #5 Zac
    Family Tree Maker for Mac with TreeSync is currently in testing and is slated to be released before the end of the year. If you purchased Family Tree Maker for Mac last year and registered your product, you should get an email with an upgrade discount so keep checking your inbox. Also, TreeSync is multi-platform. Once you upload your Family Tree Maker tree to Ancestry, you can update it online, from your desktop software, or if you have an Ancestry mobile app, you can use it to update your tree too.

  5. Martha Basura

    I have a Desktop that runs Windows XP and a Laptop that runs Windows Vista. Will the new FTM 2012 “sync” with 2 different operating systems? I have a lot of trouble coordinating programs between the two systems.

  6. Patty Dwyer

    I have the 2011 Family Tree Maker Premium
    I really want the sync version, but is this new less expensive version going to have all the things that the premium 2011 has?

  7. Harris Atkins

    My “master” database is in PAF. I have uploaded several portions of the master on to in the form of several smaller trees. I have attached some files, e.g. census records to show locations, to the on-line trees and made a few other changes based on other public trees.
    I am considering buying FTM 2012 and moving my master database to it. I read the answers in FAQ and it sounds like I would need to discard the online trees and start over with a new on-line tree once it is created in FTM 2012. Is this correct?

  8. If you are planning to use your entire PAF database- then yes, that is correct.

    You will also be able to bring each of those smaller trees down from Ancestry into FTM2012 as new individual FTM trees if you so choose.

  9. Leah Froemsdorf

    I have preordered the FTM 2012 upgrade, and just realized that my current version is 2010 – is this going to be a problem for me? I think 2011 is the first version I’ve missed, and 2012 is the first one I’ve ordered as an upgrade, but times have been hard ….(fingers crossed)

  10. Tana L. Pedersen

    # 10 Martha
    2012 will run on both Vista and XP. However, if you choose to sync your desktop tree with an online tree, you can only sync with one computer. In other words, you’d have to use your desktop or laptop for your Family Tree Maker tree, you can’t use both.

    # 11 Patty
    2012 includes all the features of 2011 that you already have, plus TreeSync and the features listed above.

    # 13 Harris
    You don’t have to “discard” your online trees and start over. What you would do is download all your online trees into Family Tree Maker. Then if you want you can merge them together to make one large tree (or keep them separate). Then if you want to use the TreeSync feature, yes you would have to upload your trees again and you could choose to keep your original online trees or delete them.

    # 15 Leah
    No problem. You can upgrade directly from 2010 to 2012, you don’t have to upgrade to 2011 first. And your 2010 files will open in 2012 as you’d expect.

  11. Lynn


    Please let us know if Family Tree Maker 2012 provides the ability to order source citations attached to a specific person and/or across all individuals, in an order other than the date they were added to FTM (e.g., alphabetical by source title, custom, etc.)?

    For me, this is basic functionality associated with the management of electronic records. The way FTM 2011 handles source citations is the equivalent to having a filing cabinet and only having the ability to organize information based upon the date the information was placed into the filing cabinet – not according to the value placed upon the source citation, chronological order, alphabetic order, etc. For example, the source information does not tell as interesting of a story if the source citation order is 1900, 1840, 1880, 1860, 1910 census.

    I made a similiar inquiry for information through question official process. Unfortunately I received a reply that they could not answer the question, but they would forward the question to the development team. That was over two-weeks ago, so if you have any insights — it would be appreciated.

  12. Barb McCoy

    Will 2012 work any better with Windows 7? I keep getting script errors when I look at censuses. Also, I can’t print them. I think you should have software that works with the latest OS.

  13. David Mason

    More important to me than new features in FTM, is the numerous oustanding bugs from FTM 2011. Have these been fixed in FTM 2012?

  14. Winlee Re:#21

    Sitting around on a blog is *not* all I have to do. In actuality I’m far more active on Ancestry’s various message boards than I am on this blog. All of that is in addition to beta testing for three companies. I would hope thast everyone’s life is as full and rewarding for them as mine is for me.

  15. Heather

    I received the 2012 yesterday and it won’t load on my computer Windows XP, it says “Installing will take a few minutes – 30 minutes later I am still waiting. I have FTM 2011 that loaded ok. I can’t see anywhere on the box that it is not compatable for XP. I have loaded it on my laptop Windows Vista and after a few hiccups its ok (so far) but I would prefer a copy on my main computer. Any ideas please.

  16. Diana

    I have FTM2008 on a desk top. If I were to install the 2012 version to my lap top, would I be able to copy 2008 to a disc from my desk top and load onto my lap top into the 2012 version?

  17. Harold McClendon

    I have 2010 on my PC with an XP operating system and have ordered 2012. Just received an e-mail from Ancestry that my order has been shipped. Apparently there is a problem with a bonus disk but Ancestry says they will send a replacement disk in two weeks. Question with regard to the sync feature in 2012. I will install the new software on my PC and I would like to also install it on my laptop that also has an XP operating system. I don’t have a tree on Ancestry. Will the sync feature sync the data between the PC and the laptop? Also, is there an Ancestry app for the Droid phone?

  18. Pat Terrell

    Would it be possible for the program to add “USA” automatically after recognizing a state in America on any American resource document? Since this is a world wide data base, it would be wonderful to not have to add “USA” in three places each time a merge is done for each individual person.

  19. Pat Terrell

    My favorite Family Tree software was version 16 and it ran on Windows Xp on my older computer. My new computer would not support V16 so I was forced to go to FTM2011 and don’t really like it. So, I seldom use the FTM2011 and I typically save all my research online at Ancestry. (One feature I miss online is being able to run a descendant’s tree.) Now, if I buy FTM2012, will I be able to merge V16 and FTM2011? If I merge both, I’d prefer to select the V16 type of user interface. Will I be able to do that?? Also, when merging, will the FTM2012 merge my whole tree at once, or will it allow me to select what I want to merge?

  20. Pat Terrell

    One more question… I would like to upload my FTM data to Ancestry. My file has proven to be too large and I’ve not been able to do so. Uploading has always failed. Will it be possible to do so if I use FTM 2012?

  21. Michael Perry

    Been using Family Tree Maker since mid-90’s, with current version 2005 FTM. Purchased 2012 FTM preorder and am looking forward to using. Bought a new laptop 8mb ram,640 ghz…

    So I am enthusiastically awaiting its arrival

  22. Tana L. Pedersen

    #17 Lynn
    That’s a great question and I understand why you’d want to be able to view sources in a variety of ways. Could you explain a bit more what you’re looking for though? Do you mean ordering them in reports? In the actual interface? A little more info would help me answer your question better?

    #18 Barb
    The problem with the script errors when viewing censuses (and other databases with images) was actually an issue with the Ancestry website and it has been resolved.

    #20 David
    A considerable amount of time was spent this release fixing bugs from previous versions of the product.We hope you’ll find the product more stable and useable than ever.

    #23 Heather
    I’m sorry to hear you’re having installation issues. Please contact Customer Support at 1-800-ANCESTRY for help.

    #24 Diana
    It sounds like you’re wondering if you can open your 2008 tree into the new 2012 software. The answer to that would be yes.

    #25 Harold
    The sync feature works between one desktop (or laptop) and one online tree, so you cannot sync between a desktop and laptop version of your tree. Also, there are currently mobile apps only for the iPhone and iPad.

    #27 Pat
    That’s a great suggestion and I will pass it on. How I handle that is by simply clicking the Resolve All Place Names button to make sure the USA is added to my locations. Also, with FTM 2012, you can merge in both v16 and 2011 trees and yes, you can select which individuals you want to merge into the tree. While there is no specific v16 interface, we have included a simplified interface that looks more like v16 that you could use. And yes, larger trees are much easier to upload these days.

    #30 Michael
    Glad to hear it. I hope you enjoy the product.

  23. Diana

    Tana: Right now I have 2008 on a desk top. I want to install the 2012 onto my lap top. How can I get the information from the desk top into my lap top and into the 2012 version.

  24. Ancestry member

    Please…. If you have to add “USA” in records, make it an OPTION with a setting! I’m alwasys deleting “USA” or “United States” or “United States of America.” Uniformity is the key here.

  25. Version 2013?

    What is planned for Version 2013? There will always be another version to spend money on. How about a way to streamline the whole program? Or am I missing something here?

  26. Re #36

    Hopefully there won’t be a version FTM2013 and they will spend this year writing a true dual-purpose program that works for both online trees and off line desktops that will be mirror images of each other and will sync *everyting*.

    Otherwise, why bother with this crippled half this-half that nonsense.

  27. Virginia

    Was there any improvements to the place reports in FTM 2012? I would like to be able to run place reports that would give me the people that lived in a particular state, or County, or city during a certain time. Is that possible?

  28. miz_mdk

    Re #38: I second that emotion. I am new to FTM and am just investigating the Places function. I would really like to be able to see in a report and on a map all the people who are located in a particular place at a particular time. To me this is really critical information.

    A problem: The map is a current one, so places that you have entered according to the political divisions and names that existed at the time your ancestor was there may show incorrectly. As an example: I clicked on Hood River, Wasco, Oregon, USA. Hood River (town) was in Wasco County at the time of the record in question, but is now in Hood River (county). The map took me to Wasco (town) in Sherman County. Sherman County was also formed from Wasco County, but Wasco County took up a huge chunk of Oregon before it was carved up into the current counties, and Wasco (town) is nowhere near Hood River (town). And this is not nearly as complicated as some other areas, where not just counties but state or even country jurisdictions changed frequently. So this map is not going to be that useful for locating ancestors, except in comparison to historic maps. There are many such maps available online; there are also sites online that show the evolution of county boundaries in the US, at least.

    It seems to me it could be quite complex for a program to be able to show accurately where people were at a given time, as boundaries and jurisdictions changed so dynamically. There is software that claims to do this – I wonder how accurate they are. Tana, any comments on what the current capability of FTM is in this regard, and what might be planned for the future?

  29. Steve Smith

    While on the subject of places would it be possible to store a place with it’s component parts i.e. Country, State, County, City/Town/Village and also an address field? These together with the option to be able to sort and filter by them in the place view would be extremely useful.

    Would it also be possible allow the attachment of notes, media and sources to places, I have so many photos, historical maps and articles of places (towns/villages, houses, churches etc.) and nowhere to attach them.

  30. RW Johnson

    FYI When I synced the new FTM 2012 with, it wiped out all of my media on I am furious! I don’t know if the website has any kind of backup, but the media files are gone.

  31. David Sloan

    I understand they did not fix the calendar problem in the newest version. If you have more events than can fit in the squares, it truncates the rest of the events and does not print an addendum like older programs did. You think you have all the events, but you do not. Don’t rely on this for your birthday – anniversary card list.

  32. RW Johnson

    Also, after the tree sync, on the ancestry website ,everyone in my tree has the green “hint” leaf now like it has been completely reset, but the info (Census, Birth, marriage, etc) is still attached to the person in the tree. All those hours of work down the drain. Thanks very much for wasting my time.

  33. Thelma Martin

    I have just gotten and installed 2012. I am very disappointed in how slow it works and the way locations and sources are entered. I loved version 16. The first day it crashed 3 times. What do I do to fix this? Is the solution the same as for 2010 & 2011 FTM support?

  34. Paula

    I have an old version of Family Tree Maker, and I would like to update my tree. Can my information be moved from my old version to the new one? I have a lot of info that I would hate to lose…

  35. Rick Bisker

    I have FTM2010 and have uploaded my family tree to’s family tree. My FTM2010 family tree file consisted of about 14,500 individuals. Since then I have added over 500 individuals to my ancestry family tree since it was so easy to add people and of course I did not keep my FTM2010 family tree file up to date. When I get my FTM 2012, do I put my FTM2010 family file into the new FTM2012 and then go online to syc my tree with the online family tree? I have over 800 photos and documents on my ancestry family tree and I don’t want to loose them which are linked to the tree. Please help me understand how the treesync is going to work.

  36. Lynn


    Thank you for your reply and request for clarification!

    My desire to order source citations attached to a specific person, relates to viewing the sources when in the “Person” view (i.e., the sources listed on the right of the FTM screen) as well as when reviewing sources in Genealogy Reports.

    Simply, if I located numerous census source documents that supported that Jane Smith was my ancestor. When viewing the “People” view for Jane Smith, I would like to see the sources, shown on the right hand side of the screen in an order that is different then the order I added those source records within FTM. For example, if I first located the 1920 census record for Jane Smith, then later the 1880 and 1930 census — my desire would be to have those source records appear on the “People” view in the Fact/Source area on the right as well as in Sources portion of a Genealogy Report in the following order 1880, 1920, 1930.

    The source citation order could be person specific and/or be controlled universally across all individuals within the FTM file. For example, a master order could be determined across all source records for how they would appear in the “Person” view and Genealogy Reports, such as alphabetical. Something a little more advances would be ideal, such as a user defined order based upon options that are included with in Source section of FTM (e.g., user defined Source Groups order — such as Birth Certificate, Obituary Notice source records would appear before 1880 US Federal Census sources.)

  37. Sherri

    I can’t get it to install, I am running Vista and I have not had FTM before. It says can’t find APPDATA File?

  38. Richard Flagg

    I have been using FTM 2010. I have just gotten and installed 2012. I am very disappointed in how slow it works.
    This even is true when working offline as well as using sync.
    What do I do to fix this?
    I have contacted customer service and so far have no response.
    Perhaps if provided tools similar to FTM tools, sync would be easier.

  39. Don

    I just received FTM 2012. I haven’t installed it yet as I am cleaning up a few database errors in my current version (2010)prior to a full backup ahead of installing 2012. I’ve been looking at the Companion Guide and have a question about Tree Sync. I have living individuals in my laptop research who have specifically told me they do not want there information posted online. Is it possible to selectively exclude individuals from the sync process? Thank you in advance for any answers.

  40. Thelma Martin

    I’ve given up on 2012 and am returning it. I’m back to FTM 16 and am a “happy camper” again. I surely wish they would continue supporting this version for new operating systems for us who don’t want all the bells and whistles. My son, a computer programmer, calls these overblown programs ‘bloatware’.

  41. Becky

    I received my 2012 and at first all was well. Now when I try to sync I get an error msg: “The last sync failed. An error occurred while “Downloading data from Ancestry.” Please try again later.” I have been getting this message for days now. I sent an email to customer support, but no response yet. Another problem is when doing a search from FTM for Rootsweb the Google search comes up instead of Rootsweb.

  42. Ancestry member

    # 51 Thelma Martin:

    I LOVE it! Bloatware! Got to pass that one along to others. Goes right with all the various software programs I have purchased which never worked out for me, or became obsolete. I call that stuff “SHELFWARE.”


  43. BEE

    I keep checking out this blog and read everything that has been written about the “latest/greatest” FTM, and ponder the purchase every time the information shows up on my computer, but since I still have FTM 2009 and FTM 2010 still sitting in my computer unused and unusable, I agree with the above description “SHELFWARE”.
    Part of it was my own doing, since I never added anything beyond names, dates and documents available from ancestry or shared with others, so I saw no real advantage to having it, and after the purchase of a new computer got some error message when I tried to open it, I’ve just ignored it. I suppose I should just delete the whole business and be done with it, but haven’t taken that step – yet.
    I’m fairly certain I won’t spend anymore money on this type of thing. Good luck to those who like it, and find benefit using it.

  44. Jim Hermsen

    I too am among those who are disappointed in the new version of FTM. I used version 16 and love it. Bloatware is perfect description for this. I have a database of nearly 300,000 individuals. The index takes forever to come up, and when it does it is nearly impossible to see the birth date because the program tries to cram everything onto the same screen.

    The old program (16 and before) had trees, you just had to click on it and wait a moment. Now you must wait forever just to bring up your individual you are seeking because the fluffware wants to put everything on the screen. When I went to enter a death I found in an obituary, it took 20 minutes to enter all the information in the new version. Less than 5 minutes in the old.

    Comments about sources have been on target. Lots of problems with the order and in the older version, you could have sources assigned to name, or birth, or death, etc. Not all crammed into one place and not knowing what the source is a clarification for.

    Place names. What ever happened to the word County or Co. You must override the place name because it wants to “standarize things. When you have a Maricopa, AZ you are nor sure if you are talking about the county or the town (they town in not in the county by that name). This is common for many place names. And if you don’t know, it creates even more confusion.

    The view research journal feature in the old was great, you could order all your items in one place and print them out to take to the library for your research. Now it seems each research item is stored only with the individual.

    Obvious, FTM has become the amature software for person who collects limited information on small families, very small trees. It is designed for the “presentation” of information, not as a research tool to collect and archive information collected by a serious genealogist. Another word you could call this is showware.

    These are just a few reasons why I have gone back to version 16 with all the problems I have with it on a 64 bit operating system. It works better than the new version. I would hope the programmers would consider going back to 16, upgrading it to a 64 bit system and leave the fluff and bloat out so it does not display on every view that is selected.

  45. Thelma Martin

    Yea, and amen! It might work for small databases but I have 300,000+.
    Another word for over-hyped programs is vaporware.

  46. Richard Flagg




  47. I am considering moving from another Genealogy Program to FTM 2012 but have a concern on how to move existing pictures and documents to FTM. Is there a way to do that without having to move each one individually?

  48. peter mason

    For # 55 Jim Hermsen

    I am a great fan of FTM 16 but.

    You know you don’t have to allow the new FTM programs to display everything on screen, you can select to reduce – minimise certain areas of the screen so that other areas you only want to display take a larger portion of the screen.

  49. lisalirea

    I absolutely love the sync feature on the 2012 version! What a great time saver. Now I can review & update my tree without having to be on my personal computer all the time. I haven’t had a chance to check out all the other new features, but am excited to do so. Thanks for the sync function.

  50. Jeff Jahn

    Will all the problems people are having with receiving their copy of Family Tree Maker, I think Ancestry needs to fire their distributer of the software. This is crazy, people not getting their copy, people getting more then one copy. Its insane! Didnt get mine so their resenting again but sending the same way alas so have to wait over another week or more.

  51. CampbellJill

    I, too, have not received my copy of FTM 2012 [pre-ordered 9 Sep 2011]. Yes, I’ve called customer support, and like the rest was told . . . well, if it’s not there by Friday . . . . . Bad Form Ancestry. Jill

  52. Tana L. Pedersen

    For those of you who are having issues installing or using the software, please call 1-800-Ancestry to speak to a customer support person.

    #32 Diana
    In order to move your files, follow these steps:
    1) Save a backup of your 2008 tree on your desktop (File>Backup). Make sure you save the backup file to a CD, DVD, or flash drive.
    2) Install Family Tree Maker 2012 on your laptop.
    3) Insert the CD or flash drive into your laptop and drag the backup to the laptop hard drive.
    4) Open Family Tree Maker 2012. Open the backup file (File>Restore).

    #38 Virginia
    Although the Place report doesn’t do exactly what you’re looking for, you can create a custom report that can do this. Just use the Filter options available when you select a group of individuals.

    #45 Paula
    There is no need to lose your images or start over again. Follow the steps I gave to Diana above to move your files.

    #47 Lynn
    Thanks for the clarification. I can definitely see the usefulness of this type of source citing. While this isn’t available currently, it is something I will pass on.

    #50 Don
    Living individuals will not be shown in your online tree when you use TreeSync EXCEPT to those people you invite to view or edit your tree.

    #58 Gary
    Depending on which genealogy program you are using, Family Tree Maker will import your data and your images. Also, if your program supports a GEDCOM format that exports image links, Family Tree Maker will be able to read that and locate your images.

    #60 lisalirea
    I’m so glad you’re enjoying TreeSync!

  53. John M Scroggins

    I pre-ordered FTM 2012, but have not received it. When I follow the links to track my order under Ancestry Shop there is no information about shipping.

    Ancestry has my money, where’s my product?

  54. Bruce Bowman

    I just finished importing 16,000 entries from FTM 2006 into FTM 2012 – I have noticed one annoying problem regarding importing fact information.

    In FTM2006 each fact had 3 entry fields; Type, Date and Place or Description.
    In FTM2012, the Place or Description field is split into 2 separate fields.
    All FTM2006 information from this field is imported into the PLACE field; nothing into the DESCRIPTION field.
    Thus all of this descriptive information show in the PLACES list – it is VERY time consuming to have to correct each one of these FACT entries separately – there are 3000 places in my database!!

    I doubt that there is any way to correct these import errors, other than manually.

  55. Chris Harris


    I had been waiting quite a while for the “TreeSync feature of FTM 2012. I stopped using because I couldn’t keep my family trees in sync without manually entering information in both FTM and

    Of course with every enhancement there comes additional ideas for enhancement so her is one more:

    I would like to see a feature in Family Tree Maker that currently exist on I would like to have the ability to see at a glance all the “People with Hints”.

    This feature would be very beneficial for people with a large number of family members.

  56. Joyce Hoffman

    Comments 41 and 43 – I ran into a similar problem with a much earlier version of FTM and stopped using it. I was hopefull that this version would allow me to once again lug the laptop around to family events to add data but if the synch process deletes all the media online as mentioned in your post 41, then I don’t want to do that either.

Comments are closed.