Home > FTM 2017 > Comparing FTM and Ancestry Trees when using FamilySync

Comparing FTM and Ancestry Trees when using FamilySync

How do my Family Tree Maker and Ancestry trees compare when using FamilySync?

Most content in trees — including all core data, such as people's names, relationships, facts, sources, citations, repositories, and most types of media — is synced seamlessly between Family Tree Maker 2017 and Ancestry. However, because Ancestry and Family Tree Maker trees are in different formats, there are also a few differences you should be aware of.

There are some types of information that are unique to either Family Tree Maker or Ancestry and cannot be transferred between the two. To keep unique Family Tree Maker data safe, or to transfer it for use on another computer, we recommend making regular full (manual) backups of your tree. For more details, please click here for Windows, or click here for Mac.

This article discusses the following types of data:

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


Core data that is transferred and synced

The following data is transferred and synced, with any differences noted.

Person Names and Relationships

In general, most fact dates, names, places, and descriptions (including custom and alternate facts) are labeled the same in Family Tree Maker and trees on Ancestry. However, some facts may be labeled differently. For example, the fact labeled "Physical Description" in Family Tree Maker is simply labeled "Description" in trees on Ancestry.

Person, Fact, Citation and Relationship Media

  • The caption of a media item in Family Tree Maker is the same as the Picture name field on Ancestry.
  • Media items attached to relationships in Family Tree Maker are uploaded to Ancestry as personal media attached to each individual in the relationship.
  • Records you’ve found on Ancestry and merged into Family Tree Maker won’t be re-uploaded to Ancestry.
  • Documents in Family Tree Maker will be uploaded to an Ancestry tree only if they are in one of these formats: .pdf*, .doc, .docx, .txt, and .rtf.
  • Photos uploaded to Ancestry Member Trees cannot exceed 15MB, so any photo in your desktop tree that exceeds this size limit will be resized when it is copied to Ancestry — your original file will not be affected.  Images need to be in one of these formats: .bmp, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .tif.

*Note: PDF files uploaded to or downloaded from Ancestry Member Trees cannot exceed 20MB. 

Sources, Citations, and Repositories

Family Tree Maker and Ancestry handle source citations differently. Family Tree Maker allows a single citation to be linked to facts from multiple people, where the online tree system restricts a single citation to a single person. When a tree is uploaded from Family Tree Maker to Ancestry, the resulting tree on Ancestry will replicate citations that are shared with multiple people in Family Tree Maker so that each person has their own citation on Ancestry. If an Ancestry tree is downloaded as a new tree in Family Tree Maker, that citation replication will be in the resulting Family Tree Maker tree as well.

Smart Stories

Smart Stories created in Family Tree Maker will become .rtf text files in Ancestry. The story can’t be viewed within your Ancestry tree but the document can be downloaded. To read more about syncing Smart Stories between Family Tree Maker and Ancestry, please click here


Unique data that is not transferred or synced

The following unique data cannot be transferred or synced.

Data from Family Tree Maker not synced or uploaded to Ancestry:

  • All private data (facts, notes, media)
  • All types of notes except person notes (research, fact, relationship, media, and source citation notes)*
  • Audio and video media items
  • Media categories
  • Source media
  • Sources created in Family Tree Maker using source templates 
  • Person Web links
  • Saved charts, reports, and books
  • Short place names 
  • GPS location coordinates
  • Ancestral File Numbers, Person IDs, and Relationship IDs
  • Tasks
  • Color coding
  • Saved lists
  • Historical events 

*Note: Due to differences in the document formats used on Ancestry and in Family Tree Maker, the text formatting of person notes is lost during syncing.

Data from Ancestry not synced or downloaded to Family Tree Maker:

  • Comments
  • Military pages
  • DNA results 
  • Photo tags
  • Stories
  • Person web links
  • Media Types
  • Specific media 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
Couldn’t find the answer you needed? Click here for further assistance.