Documents,  Family Genealogies,  Helpful Information,  Location,  Records,  Sources,  Surnames,  Tips,  Tools’s Family Tree Maker 2012 leaves a lot to be desired.


I don’t mean to be fickle. My innate tendency to believe and trust sometimes can result in undesired consequences- such as in the case of my switch to Family Tree Maker 2012 from my beloved RootsMagic 6.

As I described in a previous post, I was dazzled by the ‘bells and whistles’ supposedly added or improved upon in FTM 2012. In previous releases of FTM, there was plenty of criticism to be found online including: program crashes, system crashes, database corruption, data loss and incompatibilities.

This newer version of FTM 2012 was heavily touted to have corrected all the known issues, so I downloaded and installed it, liking how it was working at first. My last few months working with the program, however, have been pure HELL!

The whole time I used FTM 2012, I was actively working full time hours using the ‘leaf hints’ feature, which I loved – and which was the main reason I switched.

After a week or two, I noticed I was unable to export the file to Gedcom successfully. I still expected this could be rectified and continued working with the software while researching my issues through the forums and technical support available online. One of the first recommendations I came across was to be sure to compact the database frequently, especially if the software crashed or closed unexpectedly.

Mark was helping me with researching the issues online and found references to others having the same problems and eventually being able to successfully export a gedcom after several attempts – so I kept trying, while at the same time continuing to compact the database.

break pencil

Nothing worked! Yesterday, I called it quits with Family Tree Maker 2012, and returned to RootsMagic 6. To do this though, since I had never been able to successfully export a gedcom in FTM 2012, I had to use a six month old RootsMagic file and subsequently I’ve had to write off all the work from those six months.

broken heartIt was heartbreaking!

This is the second time I’ve attempted to switch to Ancestry Family Tree over the years and the second (and last)  time I’ve been disappointed.

My advice?

If you want to feel confident about the security of your data, don’t use Ancestry Family Tree 2012. I feel so strongly about this that I have blacklisted all ads for this software from my sites as I wouldn’t want to lead someone else into the same frustrations and heartache.


GenSmarts Logo

GenSmarts screen.Why have I included Gensmarts when recommending RootsMagic 6?

Although I was dumping FTM 2012, I still loved the idea of the linked, intuitive search and hints and wanted to see if there was anything similar available elsewhere. I was so surprised to discover the program Gensmarts, which is perfectly compatible with RootsMagic 6 – at least so it says.

GenSmarts analyzes existing genealogy files and produces an extensive and precise list of research recommendations to both free and paid sites, databases, research and genealogy libraries, etc. Gedcoms are unnecessary as GenSmarts reads the data in your file directly.

Small symbols (or icons) beside each entry indicate at a glance whether the recommendation is to a free or paid resource, is a direct line ancestor, and whether the information sought fills missing data. In addition, as you work with the research recommendations, you can quickly and easily select icons to indicate the status, including whether the item was found or not found, whether you plan to search further, and whether the file can be ignored in future.

As with RootsMagic 6, GenSmarts uses a very simple but comprehensive interface with far more advanced functions and features than you’d expect.

In addition to RootsMagic 6, it is supposed to work with many other popular genealogy research and family tree progams. No matter which program you use, it would be well worth your while to check the list of compatible programs and if yours is on it, you really should check it out.

Yesterday, I purchased and downloaded Gensmarts and I’m thrilled. It may not be quite as ‘wired in’ to as the leaf hints in FTM 2012 are, but that’s more than made up for by the extensive list of other resources it searches and links.


A fifties' child, mom, wife, avid genealogy researcher, web contributor and author/owner of four blogs including Empty Nest Ancestry, Feathering the Empty Nest Nest, Top Web Blog Tips, Job Bully, and our extensive family genealogy database site at Blythe Genealogy.


  • Randy Seaver

    Did you try syncing the Ancestry tree down to FTM 2012, and then creating a GEDCOM in FTM 2012?

    did you try to download a GEDCOM from Ancestry to your computer (from the Tree Settings page in the Ancestry Member tree)?

    Both of those should work. I would hate to lose 6 months of work, and especially the attached media.

    I understand the frustration, and wrote quite a bit about it in late 2012. There are many issues still not rectified in FTM 2012.

    I use RootsMagic and upload a GEDCOM occasionally to a new Ancestry Member Tree to include my latest updates, then delete the previous tree. I don’t attach records to that tree from Ancestry, but I capture the images and attach them as Media in my RootsMagic file.

    • c blythe

      I was never able to successfully upload my data to the website either and since this wasn’t my main objective and I had my own database site, I didn’t care about that so much.

      This is the last time I will ever stray from RootsMagic – especially now that I’ve found GenSmarts. I’ve resigned myself to having to make up the six months work, but I am happy that using GenSmarts over time will make up enough time in other areas that the six months lost working with through FTM 2012 won’t matter so much.

      Thanks for trying to help.