FTM Users: Move your files now or later?

Family TreeMaker (FTM) will no longer be sold after December 2015.  Support for FTM will end on December 31, 2016.

What does this mean for users of FTM?

In 2016, FTM users will see no change when they open up their FTM files.

In 2017, the FTM software will continue to function, but support for the product will cease. However, I believe the link to Ancestry.com will be turned off, and users will lose their ability to download and merge information, documents and source citations automatically.

At some point in the future, updates to user’s computer operating systems will degrade the functionality of FTM and force the user to buy new software from another manufacturer. The timing of the switch to a different lineage software should be considered carefully because of what the user may lose in the transfer of their files. FTM saves its files in a format that will not be compatible with most lineage software, and the transfer of family data has to be done using the GED format.  Users of FTM 2012 and FTM 2014 will be able to export their media files along with their tree information to the GEDCOM file, and the transfer will be relatively painless if all goes well. However users of older FTM versions will not be able to export the media data, and the most important part of your research has to be added manually to your new software.

Waiting may help this problem if apps can be developed to extract the media files from FTM 2011 (and older) versions. However, waiting too long may cause you to lose your work because your operating system updates may cause FTM to turn off and not allow you to save you files in a transferable format.

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