Recently, the genealogy world was rocked with the news that Ancestry would be parting with their “Family Tree Maker” (FTM) genealogy software. Thousands of FTM users have since made the switch to RootsMagic. But the question everyone has been asking has been, “Will any other software be able to search and share data with Ancestry?”
Yes, this is big news and we’re sure you have many questions about it.
- Does this mean that Ancestry bought RootsMagic?
No. RootsMagic is still the same independent software maker that we’ve always been. We’ve simply arranged to work with our friends at Ancestry to make this happen; just as we work with FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and other genealogy companies.
- Why are RootsMagic and Ancestry working together?
This really is a win-win for both companies and their users. RootsMagic users will have convenient access to Ancestry’s vast collections of trees and records, as well as synchronizing with private online trees. Former Family Tree Maker users will have a path forward, importing their original FTM files while using the Ancestry hints and trees that they’ve come to depend on.
- Will I have to buy a new version of RootsMagic to use these features?
If you are using the paid version of RootsMagic 7, these features will be included in a free update to that version. If you are using a version of RootsMagic older than 7, you will need to purchase an upgrade to 7 to use the features.
- When will these features be available?
As is to be expected with something this big, it will not happen overnight. Both Ancestry and RootsMagic are dedicating considerable time and resources to make this happen. We anticipate having these features available April 15, 2017 in an update to our RootsMagic 7 software.
- Are you the only other genealogy software working with Ancestry?
Besides Family Tree Maker, yes.
- What if I don’t want to upload my data to Ancestry?
Like all of our integrations with other companies, these features are completely optional. You’re free to use or ignore them as you like.
- Will I need an Ancestry subscription to use these features?
Use of Ancestry features will require an Ancestry account, even if only as a free Registered Guest. The features and records available to you will depend on your subscription level.
- Will I still be able to use RootsMagic to work with FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and other companies?
Of course. This will not affect any existing functionality in the RootsMagic software including sharing data with FamilySearch Family Tree and WebHints. In fact, these relationships give RootsMagic users the ability to access more records from more sources than any other software.
- I’m a Family Tree Maker user. Do I have to buy RootsMagic now?
We certainly wouldn’t mind if you did :) We invite you to look at RootsMagic and its features and, if you like what you see, you’re welcome to make the transition whenever you feel ready. You may be willing to wait until the new Ancestry features are available or you may wish to get started right away. Whenever that time comes, please visit www.rootsmagic.com/ftm for a special discount and instructions to help you make the change.
- Will the sharing work exactly like TreeSync in FTM?
Ancestry is working on a new API that both RootsMagic and FTM will be switching to ("API" is a fancy word for the system with which Ancestry can communicate with other products).
Ancestry will be discontinuing "TreeSync" on March 29, 2017, so sharing in both RootsMagic and FTM will be a bit different than the current "TreeSync". It will still allow you to share names, events, notes, sources, and even media between RootsMagic and Ancestry.
- What are these Ancestry features?
RootsMagic’s TreeShare for Ancestry will let you move data between your RootsMagic files on your computers and your personal Ancestry online trees. You can transfer people, events, notes, source citations, and even pictures between the two systems.
RootsMagic’s WebHints will automatically search Ancestry’s extensive collections of historical records from around the world. As possible matches are found, you may conveniently review them from within the software. RootsMagic then lets you add new information and media from matching records into your file.
- How will I connect my RootsMagic file with my Ancestry online tree?
At release, you’ll have two options: 1. Upload your RootsMagic file to a new Ancestry online tree, or 2: Download an existing Ancestry online tree into a new RootsMagic file.
- Can I connect multiple RootsMagic files to a single Ancestry online tree?
Yes. This means that you can use TreeShare from different computers working with the same Ancestry tree. In fact, we chose the name “TreeShare” to highlight an important side-effect of this. You can invite family members to edit and add to your Ancestry online tree. Each family member can then connect their RootsMagic data with the central tree to collaborate with one another. RootsMagic will also give you complete control over what information you share with each other.
- How will I keep my RootsMagic file and Ancestry online tree synchronized?
After the initial upload or download, everyone will be in sync between the RoothsMagic file and Ancestry tree. As changes are made to either RootsMagic or Ancestry, RootsMagic will let you know who and what has changed and will allow you to easily select what to move back and forth. Rather than force your RootsMagic file and Ancestry tree to always look exactly the same, you as a user will choose what to share. This is what allows two (or more) different people to be able to connect to the same tree without forcing each other’s data into the other’s file.
- Can I use TreeShare to backup my data to Ancestry?
The best backup strategy is to have multiple backup strategies. Saving your data to an Ancestry online tree is a great additional option for preserving your work. All the essential information including people, events, notes, sources, and media which are common to both systems are kept in an Ancestry online tree. However, RootsMagic-only data such as To-Do lists and Research Logs won’t make the journey.
- Will any of the Ancestry features be included in the free RootsMagic Essentials software?
Yes. RootsMagic Essentials is the free version of our software which has a limited set of features tailored towards beginners. RootsMagic Essentials will include the ability to upload your file to Ancestry, download an online tree from Ancestry, and search Ancestry’s collections for WebHints. More advanced users wishing to compare and transfer individual records between RootsMagic and Ancestry will want to use the full-featured RootsMagic software.
- I have multiple computers and operating systems. How many RootsMagic licenses do I need to buy?
Just one. Our software license is for the household, so you are welcome to install it on all of your own computers. You can even use RootsMagic To-Go and install to flash drives to take with you. The license covers both our Windows and MacOS versions.