The genealogical community was certainly rattled when Ancestry announced the imminent retirement of Family Tree Maker (FTM) in December 2015. Many people breathed a sigh of relief two months later when Ancestry shared:
Software MacKiev, with whom we have a long-standing relationship, is acquiring the Family Tree Maker software line as publisher for both Mac and Windows versions. Software MacKiev has been the developer of Family Tree Maker for Mac for more than six years and is thrilled at the opportunity to publish future versions of Family Tree Maker for Mac and Windows.
So then, what exactly IS the future of Family Tree Maker? I had the opportunity to explore this with Judy Wright, a volunteer and beta tester manning the Family Tree Maker booth at NGS, and asked her how Software MacKiev will ensure that the program remains solid for serious genealogists. Will they consider the needs of the genealogy community as the add (or, gasp, remove) features?
Software MacKiev, according to Ms. Wright, has taken their acquisition seriously.
- They are already investing in the future of FTM, and have doubled their design/programming team.
- Beta-testing for FTM’s Window’s application is underway. Ms. Wright is one of eight beta-testers, and related that the designers really consider the feedback the beta-testers provide. She encourages those that wish to participate in future beta-testing to sign up on the FTM site.
- Visibility is important to them, as well as the ability of getting feedback from users. Their booth at NGS is part of that visibility.
- Users of FTM are also encouraged to visit the Family Tree Maker FaceBook page where feedback, questions and comments may be voiced. Not only will developers see your comments, but the page is also monitored by Software MacKiev’s president, Jack Minsky, who has been at the helm of the company for the last 21 years.
It appears that Sofrtware MacKiev is committing the resources to ensure Family Tree Maker remains a solid genealogy application for current and future genealogists for years to come.