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 synchronize with Ancestry the same way that Family Tree Maker did?”
Today, we finally have an answer to that question- “Yes!” We’re pleased to announce that we will be working with Ancestry to bring these features to RootsMagic in the near future.
What does this mean for you?
- 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.
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 many of these features available later this year 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 But seriously, Ancestry has stated that current versions of Family Tree Maker will work with their services through 2016. So you don’t have to make the switch immediately.
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 sync 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).
The API is still in development, buy syncing in both RootsMagic and FTM will likely 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.
Please visit www.rootsmagic.com/ancestry for more information.
We’re just one short week away from the largest genealogy event in the world: RootsTech! It’s being held Thursday, February 4 through Saturday, February 6, 2016 at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve been a part of it since the beginning and this year is no exception.
Don’t miss the free expo hall with the largest gathering of genealogy products and services in the country. Be sure to visit the RootsMagic booth (#635, next to the Cyber Cafe) to meet the RootsMagic staff, ask questions, and get special discounts on RootsMagic products.
Expo Hall hours (subject to change) are:
- Thursday, February 4, 2016, 10 am – 6 pm
- Friday, February 5, 2016, 10 am – 7 pm
- Saturday, February 6, 2016, 10 am – 5 pm
And while you’re there, stop off at the Cyber Cafe conveniently located right next to us and help yourself to wireless Internet access, recharging stations for electronic devices, and refreshing beverages!
RootsMagic Buttons and Prize Patrol
We always like to have a little fun at RootsTech and this year, we are excited to introduce our new RootsMagic Buttons and the return of the RootsMagic Prize Patrol.
Here’s how it works:
- Stop by the RootsMagic booth (#635) in the Expo Hall and pick up your free RootsMagic button.
- Wear the button someplace visible on your person.
- Throughout the RootsTech conference, the RootsMagic Prize Patrol will be hanging out in a random spot. The first person they see wearing a RootsMagic button wins a prize!
Prizes include RootsMagic software, bags, books, flash drives, Amazon gift cards, and more! So make your first stop at RootsTech the RootsMagic booth (#635), pick up your button, and wear it with pride. You could win some pretty cool stuff!
Welcome to 2016! With the new year, we in the RootsMagic underground labs like to take a little break and reflect on all that has happened this past year. It’s been an eventful year for us full of loss and growth. Join us for this look back at what has happened in the RootsMagic world during 2015.
Loss in the RootsMagic Family
2015 started out on a sad note. Gordon Dixon Booth passed away on Tuesday, January 13, 2015. Gordon is the father of Michael Booth, our vice-president, and a valued member of the RootsMagic family. He was passionate about family history, loved talking to people about our software, and was one of our best salespersons! He also became a popular presenter at conferences teaching classes on British research, photography, and personal histories. You can learn more about Gordon and his contributions in this tribute article.
Conferences and Classes
In 2015, we attended many genealogical events. The first and the biggest was RootsTech. At RootsTech, we introduced badge ribbons and gave away prizes through our Prize Patrol.
We also attended conferences across the country where we taught classes, answered questions, and met face-to-face with fellow users.
User Groups and Magic Guides
We know that one of the reasons our loyal users love RootsMagic so much is that no other genealogy software provides the level of support and training that we do. Over the past four years, we have pioneered the use of “webinars“, tutorial videos, and weekly tip articles.
Different people learn in different ways. We’ve had many requests for written tutorials in addition to our videos. In 2015, we’ve added free “Magic Guides” to our many sources of support. Magic Guides are free, downloadable and printable handouts that cover a variety of topics.
In 2015, we also created an online RootsMagic User Group and a Personal Historian User Group on Facebook. These groups are where you can connect with other RootsMagic users to ask questions, share ideas, and discuss how to use the software.
Since their creation, over 7000 people have joined these groups, and they have taken on lives of their own where users support each other.
One of the biggest stories in the technology world was Microsoft’s release of Windows 10. Since it was a free update to most users of Windows 7 or higher, many people took the leap and upgraded. With some planning and testing on our part, all our products were prepared for Windows 10 on its day of release. In spite of a last-minute change on Microsoft’s part that caused a few headaches, the upgrade went smoothly for most of our customers. No small feat considering the size and scope of the changes in Windows 10.
RootsMagic and Personal Historian for Mac
In 2014, we announced “MacBridge”, an add-on purchase that allowed you to run RootsMagic on your Mac without Windows. In 2015, we did away with the separate purchase and consolidated it into “RootsMagic 7 for Mac“. So now, one purchase of RootsMagic lets you run it on either Windows or Mac, no additional purchases or licenses required. Even our free “RootsMagic Essentials” is now available for Mac.
But we didn’t stop there. We also released “Personal Historian 2 for Mac“. Just like RootsMagic, one purchase of Personal Historian covers both Windows and Mac operating systems, as well as the free “Personal Historian Essentials”.
Personal Historian Book
On November 24, we released the long-awaited companion book to our Personal Historian software. For years, we have been asked if there was a printed book to go along with our personal history writing software. We were excited to be finally able to say, “yes.” We’re especially pleased to see how well you all have received the book and how it is helping our you get the most out of the software.
Don’t forget, for a very limited time, the book is still available at the discounted price of only $7.95 (plus shipping). That’s nearly half-off its regular price of $14.95. Simply visit our website and add it to your cart to receive the discount.
A New Home for Family Tree Maker® Users
On December 8, Ancestry.com announced that they would be retiring their “Family Tree Maker®” (FTM) genealogy software. RootsMagic immediately welcomed Family Tree Maker users with a special upgrade offer as well as videos and written tutorials on how to make the transition. We’ve even released updates to RootsMagic to better support FTM’s unique GEDCOM files to make the transition ever smoother.
Since then, thousands of Family Tree Maker users have made the switch to RootsMagic. And the feedback has been tremendous.
“Every day I am finding new features in this software that makes me grateful Ancestry made their announcement that drove us all to seek alternatives to FTM. Have you even SEEN what DataClean can do? And here I was thinking I would have to manually fix all these things record by record…..and I didn’t even know about the website feature….feels like Christmas around here!” – Anni
“So far, in 1 weeks time, I have to say, Better service. Being with FTM since the 90’s, I NEVER remember users indicating an issue, and then an update to fix those issues being put out there in a matter of about 5 days.class than actually after gathering the issues. THATS service! I also don’t remember putting any kind of post, forums included, and having the top guys in the company reply usually in less than a couple hours That’s even Better service!” – Danielle
If you’re a Family Tree Maker refugee and still haven’t made the switch, be sure to take advantage of our special upgrade offer for FTM users.
With the end of each year come awards. We’re pleased to have won the GeneAward for “Best Genealogy Product of 2015″ for the 7th year in a row. As the reviewer put it,
“I hate to say that RootsMagic is still the overall best genealogy application. I hate to say that, because I’d like to see some other vendors close the gap and give them some serious competition.”
UPDATE: We’ve also received the “Top Rated Genealogy Software” award from GenSoftReviews Users’ Choice Awards. This award is also one that we’ve received for the 7th year in a row. This award is based on reviews submitted by actual users of genealogy software. The glowing reviews on the page speak for themselves.
I know we say this every year, but we mean it when we say that none of this would have been possible without you and your support. We are grateful for the wonderful feedback, enthusiasm, and encouragement that we receive from our community. We hope that our work is deserving of your trust and support. 2015 has been an amazing year for us thanks to you, and we’re working hard to make 2016 even better!