Tuesday, February 9, 2016

More Information About Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic Synchronization to Ancestry

I posted Bombshell News: Ancestry.com to Sync with RootsMagic AND Family Tree Maker on 2 February 2016, which left more questions than answers in my mind.  

The BIG question for many of us is "Will FTM and RootsMagic sync to an Ancestry Member Tree just like the current Family Tree Maker TreeSync feature?"  I want to explore this question a bit based on what the companies say on their websites and on conversations at RootsTech.

1)  Here is the Family Tree Maker page (http://www.mackiev.com/ftm/index.html) on the Software MacKiev website:

The page has a link to a Frequently Asked Questions (http://www.mackiev.com/familytreemaker/ftm3/faq.html) about the acquisition and MacKiev plans:

From the FAQ:

Note the words in the text above: "After January 1, 2017, while TreeSync will not be supported by Ancestry for the versions you have now, you will still be able to access your trees on Ancestry.com and keep your online tree consistent with one on FTM through new technologies being developed together by Software MacKiev and Ancestry."

So TreeSync as we know it now will no longer work.  Some other "new technology" will be used to access your Ancestry Member Tree and keep it consistent with your Family Tree Maker file.

According to persons who talked to Software MacKiev (I didn't) at RootsTech, Ancestry.com has not created or provided the API required (the "new technology") to interact with Family Tree Maker.

I encourage all Family Tree Maker users to read all of the FAQ questions and answers.

2)  The RootsMagic website has a "We're Turning Over a New Leaf" page (http://www.rootsmagic.com/Ancestry/default.aspx):

Further down this page is a "Questions" section with answers:

You have to click on each question to see the answer as I did above.  The two questions concerning RootsMagic synchronizing with Ancestry Member Tree are:

This indicates that "RootsMagic users will have convenient access to Ancestry's vast collections of trees and records, as well as synchronizing with private online trees."

Note that it doesn't say that RootsMagic will synchronize a RootsMagic user's tree to an Ancestry Member Tree as TreeSync does at present.   Discussions with RootsMagic personnel did not provide a clear definition of what would synchronize and how it would be done.  They did indicate that Ancestry.com has not provided the API to accomplish whatever synchronization will be implemented by the new technology.

The commitment for these changes is by the end of the year 2016.

As RootsMagic users know, RootsMagic currently synchronizes in formation for one person and individual events, sources, notes and discussions with matching persons in the FamilySearch Family Tree.  It also provides links to MyHeritage Record Matches and FamilySearch Record Hints, but those have to be entered into RootsMagic manually.

New interaction capabilities of Ancestry.com records with a RootsMagic tree may be similar to what Family Tree Maker users can perform now - from within the program, they can search for records for a person, and add Ancestry record events and sources into a person profile.

In addition, RootsMagic will be programmed to be able to read a native Family Tree Maker file and not have to go through a GEDCOM import from Family Tree Maker.

Look for RootsMagic Version 8 to incorporate all of these changes.

3)  So what does all of this mean?   I think a summary is:

*  The current TreeSync capability between an Ancestry Member Tree and a Family Tree Maker file will be retired after 1 January 2017.

*  Ancestry.com has not yet developed the API needed to implement the "new" synchronization with Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic.

*  It is probable that the synchronization between an AMT and the desktop programs will not be a complete synchronization of everything in the desktop program file.

*  The "new" synchronization may be similar to that between RootsMagic and FamilySearch Family Tree - one person, one event, one source, one note, etc. at a time.  Or perhaps matching one person, and all of their events, notes, media, sources, etc. at a time.

*  This is supposed to happen by 31 December 2016.

4)  Stay tuned!  

5)  UPDATE:  Tamura Jones interviewed the Software MacKiev President in New Family Tree Maker Future (posted 9 February 2016) - be sure to read it!


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Linda Stufflebean said...

Randy, I think you are right on target with this. I talked to the reps at RootsTech and my interpretation was that sync as we know it was ending and some new version of "sharing" I think was the word Software MacKiev used would be developed. I did not hear them use the word "sync" at all in the explanation.

Geolover said...

Randy, thanks for the factual survey of what the responsible software parties are actually saying.

This is a great antidote for so much wishful thinking out there.

PdxJackiMex said...

The lack of planning by Ancestry and Software MacKiev is unprofessional. Ancestry should not have announced its ending of support for FTM and the sync to ancestry.com until they had made arrangements with MacKiev to carry FTM forward. Many people, like me, have already left FTM and switched to another program, such as Roots Magic. I am so disgusted with Ancestry that I will not renew my subscription when it expires in four months. I am happy to use FamilySearch instead.

RootsMagic said...

The Ancestry support will be in a free update to RootsMagic 7. We've added that information and a couple other items to our information page at: http://rootsmagic.com/ancestry

Russ Worthington said...


I am not sure that "After January 1, 2017, while TreeSync will not be supported by Ancestry" means that it will stop working. Like many (most) software companies official "no longer supported" is a normal official statement when they end the life of a program.

I agree that the TreeSync™ feature that we know today, MAY not look like what we have today, based on "new technology" but the suggestion that it is going to stop working, may not be true.

IF there was a new API available today and companies were working with it, that might be a different story, but, to the best of my knowledge that API isn't published yet. Both Roots Magic and MacKiev.com with Family Tree Maker (PC and Mac) will have a fair amount of development and testing to be done in 10 months.

I am just not going to bank on the Sync feature to stop working 12/31/16. I AM expecting things to be different. Just not willing to say WHEN that will happen.

I am probably totally wrong on this, and have been told many times that I don't know what I am talking about, BUT, I see a lot of work to be done to get to 12/31/16.

Thanks for listening.


Unknown said...

Something to keep in mind....Ancestry has apps on Apple and Android (I presume). They download data locally as well as update my trees on the main site. This would be the 'new method of sharing' rather than the legacy 'bulk syncing' FTM currently uses. I presume there APIs for both platforms, and that Ancestry just needs to port this new method of sharing/update to the software platforms that RootsMagic and MacFTM are using.

If you're not using the apps, check them out - that's the future of FTM.

Geir A. Myrestrand said...

It clearly says that RootsMagic will sync with Ancestry trees on this RootsMagic blog entry.


Quoted portion:

What does this mean for you?

Search, Sync, Import

Search – RootsMagic will be the only software besides FTM to search Ancestry’s extensive collections of historical records from around the world and let you download those records into your own file.

Sync – RootsMagic will be the only software besides FTM to let you share data between your RootsMagic files on your computer with your personal Ancestry online trees. You’ll also be able to download people, events, and even pictures from Ancestry onto your computer through RootsMagic.

Import – RootsMagic will be able to directly import your Family Tree Maker files, without having to go through an intermediate GEDCOM file, giving you the cleanest, most complete transfer of your data. RootsMagic will also be able to download your online trees from Ancestry.