As many of my readers probably know, Ancestry.com, the owner of Family Tree Maker software, announced two days ago that they would stop selling the software as of December 31, 2015, and would continue to support the software "at least through January 1, 2017."
I have been using Family Tree Maker for Mac since it became available in 2010. I stayed with a Windows computer that long (everyone else in my family had migrated to Macintosh computers by this time) because of Family Tree Maker. (I didn't want to deal with getting a Mac and have to use an extra software product to run the Windows program on a Mac.)
I was thrilled when Family Tree Maker for Mac became available and I even helped beta test the first version in August-September 2010. I upgraded to Family Tree Maker for Mac version 2 when it became available in late 2011, and FTMM3 when it became available in December 2013 (after helping to beta test that one, too).
I have been using Family Tree Maker since sometime in the early 1990s. Wikipedia has a table that shows the history of versions of Family Tree Maker, and I believe that I originally had a copy from Banner Blue, so that was a looong time ago!
After the initial shock of learning this news (and reading the hundreds, now thousands of comments on Ancestry's initial blog post), I read other bloggers input about this. A few calm and reasoned discussions can be found at the following blogs:
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter:Ancestry to Retire Family Tree Maker Software by Dick Eastman
The Legal Genealogist: Check out the Alternatives by Judy Russell
Genea-Musings: Ancestry.com Announces Retirement of Family Tree Maker Software by Randy Seaver
I also took the time to "hang out" with Dear Myrtle's Wacky Wednesday where the discussion topic was Life beyond Family Tree Maker.
For even more links to geneablogger reactions, see Heather Rojo's Nutfield Genealogy~Part 2 Without Family Tree Maker.
My thinking right now:
The software will be supported for at least another year and will continue to work beyond that date, though ultimately the Mac operating system will update to a point where FTMM3 won't work. I have time to thoroughly explore other software options and transfer my data via GEDCOM (a genealogy file format for transferring a genealogy database).
I know that many genealogists are fans of cloud-based family trees, but for various reasons, not the least of which you never know if a website is going to close, I prefer to keep my tree on my computer.
Most users seem to use the Windows version of the software; I use the Mac version and I am exploring what software I might use. Reviews of tons of genealogy software programs can be found at GenSoftReviews. As of now, I've found some basic information on the following programs that will work on the Mac without using additional emulator software to allow Windows programs to run:
RootsMagic is originally a Windows program, but has been adapted to run on a Mac. RootsMagic is currently on sale for $20 which includes “Getting the Most out of RootsMagic.” I have heard lots of great things about RootsMagic, but I'd love to hear more from Mac users.
Reunion is a Mac-only program that has been a favorite of Mac users for years. Its cost is $99 and I'm curious to explore why it's so much more expensive than the others.
Heredis is a program which is well known in Europe. It has a Windows version and a Mac version, which can be purchased from the Mac App store with an offer of 50% off till Sunday Jan 3 2016. The price is $24.99, so the regular price must be around $50.
MacFamilyTree is another Mac-only program which can be purchased via the Mac App store at a sales price of $24.99.
iFamily is a Mac-only program. However, the website notes that the purchase price for "iFamily for Leopard" is $29.95. Note that Leopard was the Mac Operating System from 2007-2009. That's not very encouraging.
All of these programs offer demo versions which I plan to try in the next few weeks or months. Right now, I'm thinking about RootsMagic or Reunion and wondering what makes the cost of Reunion worth it. If anyone wants to share their opinion in the comments, please do.