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Giving up on FTM for Mac

Giving up on FTM for Mac

Posted: 1306184872000
Classification: Query
I have just finished entering in my census information, which includes sources and media for each person in my family tree. This is the 3rd time that I have done this....

Between entering the 2nd and 3rd time, I was in contact with technical support at Ancestry. At that time it was determined that I should upload my tree to Ancestry and the files would be checked for any problems. A couple of corrupted files were found, and removed and then I downloaded the file back to my computer.

I began entering my census information for the 3rd time. All went well for awhile, and then the old problems started again. Losing media, and source information, not being able to keep the media in any sort of order, etc.

I contacted technical support again today to see if any update was going to be issued. (No family tree program should have this many problems!)

I was told that a NEW VERSION may be coming out, but nothing was known about an update.

It sounds as though Ancestry wants everyone who is having problems with FTM for MAC to BUY a new version to solve the problems....

At any rate, although I really like the format, etc., of FTM for Mac it is just not worth the time and trouble.

I appears obvious that Ancestry doesn't really care about this situation...

At any rate,I am going back to Reunion......

Re: Giving up on FTM for Mac

Posted: 1306291632000
Classification: Query
So sorry for your problems. I, too, love the FTMM interface, but I went back to Reunion a couple of months ago. Time wasted--money wasted--I definitely won't be buying any "new" versions of this application.

Re: Giving up on FTM for Mac

Posted: 1309253932000
Classification: Query
I currently use Reunion 9 for my MAC and Legacy on a PC, so I was interested in the FTMM package until I got to reading some of the comments here and on about the product. Is it really as bad as depicted by some of the reviewers? I would like the MAC version to enable me to download data from, but if it is as bad as folks seem to indicate, I think I may pass. Comments anyone?

Re: Giving up on FTM for Mac

Posted: 1309331000000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1309331121000
I remember hearing a while back someone from the Indian sub-continent saying "there is only one God, but He reveals Himself to different people in different ways". This could apply equally well to FTM for Mac.

I am an extensive user of FTM using the program for several hours each day. Because I include in my database a one-name study, I currently have around 105,000 people which is about 10% higher than than when the Mac version was released. I am currently using FTM2009 on Bootcamp partitions on my two Macs as I had to abandon FTM for Mac. FTM2009 (with Windows 7 64 bit) overcomes most of the problems I have experienced. FTM2010/2011 are, for me me, virtually unusable.

The first thing to say is that you do not need a version of FTM to download data from Ancestry. You need a browser and a subscription. What FTM allows you do do is to be "lazy" and merge it in by clicking.

One of the key components of the Mac version which enables it to run the .Net format is Mono. Many programmers regard the version used as having a serious memory management flaw. As your session goes along you are likely to experience the program grabbing more and more memory until it hits the 32bit memory limit. Note that for a program that can only run on 64 bit Macs, it is a 32 bit program. The extent of any problem will depend on the size of your file. My database will render a 4GB machine virtually incapable of running other than FTM and the operating system itself.

Problems I have experienced include the following:-

General speed problems. It takes some 4 minutes for the dialogue box for filtering to come up, I can't compact, I can't export a gedcom/file. Several other problems such as merging are tied up with the memory/file size.

I can't sort spouses.

There is a problem with places. It doesn't like US places which have a county which is also a place within that county such as Los Angeles.

Initially it couldn't import version 5.5.1 gedcoms. Although it will do so now, it will crash if the gedcom is not 5.5 or later.

Importing can delete the preferred parents/sposues signals.

That more or less sums up my experieces.

Others have reported problems with the conversion tool. This wouldn't affect you. You need to bear in mind that you would need to import by gedcom from Reunion or Legacy. You might need to carry out extensive work on any linked media, though not as much as moving the other way as FTM gedcoms do not include media links.

Several people have reported phantom children, thus a child might appear say five times, but only once in the index. Delete one and they all disppear.

Others have found multiple copies of media attached to facts and so on and so on.

Personally I would say that the Mac version is as flawed as the universally criticised FTM2008.

How you might find it is impossible to say. I have two suggestions if you really do want to try it and don't know someone who has it and would allow you to test drive it on their machine, wait until the new version comes out apparently at the end of the year and buy a pack that includes a bundled subscription that will cover or even exceed the cost of the program (as my copy did)

The big question for the next couple of weeks is will it run on OS Lion? I have already had an upgrade to one major branded program which otherwise wouldn't.


Re: Giving up on FTM for Mac

Posted: 1309340678000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Runion, May, Booth, Gillis, Buckner
Seems to be a pretty flawed program at best from all the comments I've seen on a number of respondents. Guess I will stay with Legacy running my 23,000 genealogy name file on my iMAC via Parallels. I also ran Fusion VM for a while but finally figured out the PArallels and am pretty happy with it. Sounds as though there is too much wrong with the FTMM for me. I tried the Bootcamp route, but got tired of having to restart the iMAC every time I wanted to use the Windows programs. I really wanted to try for the downloads in my subscription, but will find another way. Thanks for the frank discussion.


Re: Giving up on FTM for Mac

Posted: 1311507129000
Classification: Query
Its a shame that so many features can't be transferred from Legacy. I checked with Tech Support at FTMM and after some discussion, it appears that suffix data (Jr, Sr, I, II, III,etc) is not transferable. Also, photo data is lost in any transfer. In both cases you have to re-enter the data which is prohibitive when one has some 24,000 names in file. On another note, you can not register the FTMM with Ancestry,com for whatever reason, which was one feature I had hoped to utilize. I even uploaded the data to in the hopes I might be able to download into FTMM - alas, the downloaded data did not contain the suffix data nor the photo references. I had hoped to transfer my PC Legacy data to my iMAC and utilize FTMM, but it appears that too much 'workaround' is going to be needed. I am really disappointed that this was not noted anywhere in the forum data nor was the sales or technical staff aware of these drawbacks. I will keep my purchased program and hope that somewhere down the road that this will get fixed. Hopes dashed.....

Re: Giving up on FTM for Mac

Posted: 1311536860000
Classification: Query
"On another note, you can not register the FTMM with Ancestry,com for whatever reason"

What? Of course you can. I import data constantly and consistently from the ACOM on-line member tree program to FTMM. Works great and just fine.

Re: Giving up on FTM for Mac

Posted: 1311537339000
Classification: Query
I should probably know this, but can you explain "the ACOM on-line member tree program" to me?

Re: Giving up on FTM for Mac

Posted: 1311543194000
Classification: Query

On-line = web-based

Member Tree = Member Tree

Program = software application

The website,, (part of the Ancestry family of product) has a web-based genealogy software application. It's a basic gene program and is free to use. All that's required is registering for a free ACOM ( account.

You have an ACOM account, it's required to post on the boards. If you're accessing the boards from, you can use the same user name and password and log into the site. Click on the "Learning Center" tab, there you'll find (somewhat lame) videos that walk you though the Member Tree program.

The on-line member tree program is not a "lite" version of Ancestry's desk-top apps, FTM and FTMM. It stands alone and doesn't "sync" with the Ancestry's desk-top apps. However, it's interface makes the import of data (a tree and the media attached to it) from the ACOM on-line program to FTMM smooth and intact. You can also "update" an existing same named tree/file on FTMM by importing the tree from the on-line member tree program. Tree data import should always flow in one direction only, otherwise you're begging for a mess.

I choose to use the ACOM on-line member tree program to make my data accessible to others. I do all my primary work on the ACOM on-line member tree program. Periodically, I import the ACOM tree to FTMM. I use the bells and whistles of FTMM (running reports, breaking of branches, etc) that the ACOM on-line program doesn't do.

Core changes, such as adding profiles, changes of profile data, deleting profiles, are all done on the on-line program, then I import the tree and "update" the corresponding FTMM tree file. I always work in the same direction ACOM to FTMM.

This keeps my data relatively sync'd and insures my on-line data is completely backed-up off-line and on my desk-top.

I've used (Mac native) Reunion for over 10 years, and know it cold. I prefer it's interface to FTMM, but times are changing. I want to have my data on-line, I also (pay) subscribe to access the (world) research databases on This all works for me, and my issues with FTMM have been minimal. I truthfully haven't had problems with it, and I've tinkered with it plenty. I started off small working with FTMM. I keep (small size, but tricked out) test databases on all programs to tinker around with, this enables me to mess around and learn the program without the fear I'll be doing some damage I can't recover from.

I work slowly and methodically, research takes time, and the data entry follows the research lead.

Re: Giving up on FTM for Mac

Posted: 1311544593000
Classification: Query
I'm going "duh" at most of your excellent answer--I should have figured out the acronyms, at least. Retired 8th grade teacher, though, so it's impossible for me to be genuinely embarrassed. ;-)

Thank you for the detailed explanation. I was a computer teacher and I've been a dedicated geek since the early 1970's. I would love to use FTMM, if only for its reports which I find much more attractive Reunion. Plus I genuinely enjoy working with FTMM's interface.

Unfortunately, FTMM has consistently given me problems to the point that I can't trust it: reports with missing or incorrect information; unsorted children; unexpected crashes; corrupted databases. Tony and I (among many others) tried as hard as we could to make it work with no success.

It's hard to understand why FTMM operates well for some and not others--even taking so many different configurations into account. My computers are kept in tip-top shape; HDs aren't too full; I regularly clean out old files, run utilities, update all software, etc. So far I've removed FTMM preferences, uninstalled the app and its related files, started new trees from scratch--all multiple times on both MBP and the 27" iMac--and nothing seems to get rid of a myriad of problems.

When I buy a new app, I expect it to have growing pains. As much as anything, though, Ancestry has completely lost my respect for its initial false report that FTMM was built for Mac from the ground up, for its lack of accountability and for (I assume) only the one update.

My hat is off to all of you who can make FTMM work--I would love to be counted among you but time is too precious to spend any more of it on FTMM. ;-)
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