Family Tree Maker

Synchronizing your tree is easy!

Once you link trees between Ancestry and Family Tree Maker, the two trees can be synchronized so that changes made in either tree can be applied to the other tree automatically or manually.

Note: You cannot link two existing trees.

Getting started

You can upload your tree from Family Tree Maker to Ancestry by clicking Upload and Link to Ancestry from the Plan workspace.

Or if you already have a tree on Ancestry, you can download and link it to a new tree in Family Tree Maker by clicking Download from Ancestry on the New Tree tab in the Plan workspace.

Once linked, the Online Sharing panel in Family Tree Maker will display the synchronization status of the two trees.

Privacy and control

You are in complete control of your online tree at Ancestry. Before uploading your tree, you will have the option to make your tree public or private once online. Even after your tree is online, you can change its privacy settings and invite family and others to access your tree as you desire.

Information about living individuals is always protected
—Whether your tree is public or private, information about living individuals is only viewable by you and those you specifically invite to your online tree.

Notes are always treated as private online and can only be seen by you and others you invite with the role of editor.

Key benefits

Having your family tree on your desktop and having it linked to your online tree at Ancestry will expand your own access and your opportunities for sharing with others, enabling the following benefits:

Access and build your tree online, on your desktop, and from your iPhone or iPad.

Share your tree with family and others

Collaborate from your desktop with online users

Note: it is free for you and those you invite to access your online tree at Ancestry.

What Information is Synchronized?

The core data in your linked trees is synchronized in both directions. Some types of data that are unique to Ancestry Member Trees or Family Tree Maker, although not synchronized, can be used fully in their native system.

Core data that is synced Unique data that is not synced or transferred


  • Names
  • Facts (dates, places, descriptions)
  • Relationships


Person notes (only viewable by tree editors)


  • Sources
  • Citations
  • Repositories


  • Captions
  • Person media
  • Fact media
  • Citation media
  • Relationship media

Note: Media files are updated in the background after your tree data has finished syncing.

From Family Tree Maker

  • Source media
  • Media categories
  • Saved charts & reports
  • Short place names
  • GPS location coordinates
  • Citation notes
  • Ancestral File Numbers, Person IDs, and Relationship IDs
  • Tasks

From Ancestry

  • Comments
  • Military pages
  • DNA results
  • Photo tags
  • Media types and specific description data:
    • - Location
    • - Original uploader
    • - Transcription of text in document (when Document/Certificate type is selected)
    • - Name on headstone, Birth, Death, and Cemetery for Headstone type
Data that is transferred but not synced FTM data that is not viewable online but is transferred so it can be downloaded back into Family Tree Maker if needed


A story created on Ancestry will become an .htm file, which can be viewed in a Web browser, in Family Tree Maker. You can edit the text in a word-processing program.

Smart Stories

Smart Stories created in Family Tree Maker will become .rtf text files on Ancestry. The story cannot be viewed within your Ancestry tree but the file can be downloaded.


  • Research notes
  • Fact notes
  • Media notes
  • Relationship notes
  • Private data (facts, notes, media)

Source data from templates

Source information entered in template fields that are not available on Ancestry.