Um… this Family Tree Maker rollout is kind of surreal

Would my ancestor Ragnar sit patiently for such frustration?

Would my ancestor Ragnar sit patiently through such frustration?

This will only interest those among you who maintain family trees on Ancestry, and back them up with Family Tree Maker.

But among that small subset, I’m wondering how many are as uneasy as I am.

As y’all know, I’m a bit… obsessed… with genealogy these days. I’ve never been much of one for hobbies, but this one has taken over almost all my leisure time, when I’m not hanging out with grandchildren.

But while I’ve continued to add people to the tree at a good clip, I’ve been uneasy the last few weeks.

Several months ago, as my Ancestry tree grew by leaps and bounds, I wanted to have a hard backup in case something catastrophic happened out there in the cloud. So I asked for, and received (for my birthday, I think) a copy of Family Tree Maker, so that I could see my tree offline.

Once I had that, I got in the habit of syncing the two versions after each session working on the tree. This gave me peace of mind that all that work wouldn’t go for naught.

But the last time I was able to sync was March 26 at 9:15 p.m. That’s when FTM stopped allowing syncs to its old software, because it was releasing an update.

Fine. Except the update still hasn’t been released, more than five weeks later.

Does this make sense to anyone?

FTM puts out an update on how things are going — about once a week! (Here’s the latest, from Friday evening.) You’d think they’d be coming at a rate of several a day. But they seem to be a lot cooler about the situation than I am.

Anyone else in this fix? And does it bother you the way it does me?

I’ve continued to add people to my tree — 327 of them since my last synch. When will I be able to safeguard those the way I have the other 3,486?

(And yes, I could become one of the beta testers, but since they were having only 89 percent success in syncing back on April 14 — it’s better now, I believe — I hesitate to join in…)

Last synced more than a month ago...

Last synced more than a month ago…

8 thoughts on “Um… this Family Tree Maker rollout is kind of surreal

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Dang, the math just hit me — I’ve been so active since the last sync that now almost 10 percent of my tree is hanging out in the wind, unprotected…

    I can save a backup file to my hard drive, but without the new FTM, can I look at it? I suppose I should try…

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, maybe I was wrong to ask, “Would my ancestor Ragnar sit patiently through such frustration?”

    Based on his character development so far on the TV show (I’m in Season 2), he might have waited it out. King Horik would never be so patient, but Ragnar’s a strategic kind of guy. Of course, he might just be biding his time until he can take his full measure of revenge, but he could wait at least this long. In fact, he appears to be in waiting mode in the photo I chose.

    When he’s not in waiting mode, he looks more like this

  3. Claus2

    Amazing, people spend years tracing their family history, Brad can add 300 people in a weekend.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      First, it was a month. But yeah, it’s amazing what you can do now with all the vast genealogy databases on the web, such as Ancestry,, Wikitree, and Findagrave. And with the more prominent people, Wikipedia is a big help. When I’m on a roll, 100 people in a weekend is doable.

      I wouldn’t have had the patience or time for this before the internet…

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Dang, I was hoping this would draw some other genealogy geeks who could offer advice, or at least commiseration.

    Or someone who knows more about technology and can tell me whether there this is in any way a normal way of rolling out a new software version.

    For a moment, over on Twitter, I thought I had interested someone, because I got a “favorite” on the Tweet from the post.

    But then I saw it was one of those hot young women, or bots pretending to be hot young women, trying to lure me and my followers to a porn site, rather as the sirens tried to lure Ulysses and his men onto the rocks.

    Her most recent Tweet showed an R-rated picture of a portion of her anatomy, with the words, “Boys do you like my body?. Let’s talk here-” followed by a link. (Her question, of course, was rhetorical. I believe I can answer for the boys on this one.)

    I would do the usual thing and embed the Tweet, but I don’t want to see any of my crew lured onto the rocks. I want to get all you boys back home safe to Ithaca.

    In any case, I don’t think she was really interested in my family tree problem. Or in me, for that matter, despite her startling over-friendliness…

  5. Steve Coker

    I’ve installed the beta and have tried 5 times to sync with it. The sync has run 3-4 hours and fails with message that FTM appears to be offline. I have a fast cable connection which is always online. I’ve been building my tree a very long time and it has 103,548 people, 21,817 photos, and 234,457 records. Frustratingly waiting for sync to work for me.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I definitely sympathize. And I just don’t understand what’s going on.

      Why would a software company turn off the essential feature that their product is FOR for weeks and months while it works on the next version? It’s insane.

      On one level, it’s OK — I prefer working with the Ancestry version of my tree online. I’ve added 555 people since my last sync.

      But I DO like to have it backed up, which is what I got FTM for, and now a sixth of my tree is NOT backed up…

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