Home > FTM 2017 > What’s Not Synced with FamilySync® in FTM 2017 and FTM 2019

What’s Not Synced with FamilySync® in FTM 2017 and FTM 2019

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 / 2019 and Ancestry. However, because Ancestry and Family Tree Maker trees are in different formats, there are some types of information that are unique to either Family Tree Maker or Ancestry and cannot be transferred between the two.

For this reason, it is important not to regard your Ancestry tree as a full backup of your FTM tree. As well, uploading and then downloading a tree is not the best way to transfer a tree to other computers. 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 full instructions on backing up your tree files, please click here.



Private Data

  • Private facts, notes, and media
  • Elements linked to private data


  • Source citations not linked to a fact
  • Source citation ratings
  • Source media
  • Links to different individuals within a single citation

Source Data from Templates

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


  • Media captions
  • Media categories
  • Audio media items
  • Video media items
  • Web page archives


  • Research notes
  • Fact notes
  • Media notes
  • Relationship notes
  • Reference notes


  • Short place names
  • GPS location coordinates


  • Shared facts of detached spouses
  • Ancestral File Numbers, Person IDs, and Relationship IDs


  • A story created on Ancestry will download in FTM as an .htm file, which can be viewed in a Web browser. You can edit the text in a word processing program.


Saved Charts,  Reports, and Books

Person Web Links

Color Coding



Military Pages

DNA Results

Photo Tags

Web Links

Media Types and 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



There are also some other differences that you should bear in mind when syncing:


Paragraph breaks disappear in Citation Detail text for Source Citation Information.  

Home Person

The home person is not changed on Ancestry.com during syncing with Family Tree Maker if this is the only fact that was changed.

Media Linked to a Relationship

Media linked to a relationship becomes linked to both individuals instead of the relationship.

Resolving Conflicts

The Resolve Conflicts dialog does not show a conflict if the "Preferred" choice for any item (fact, parents, spouse, etc.) has been changed both in Family Tree Maker and on Ancestry.

The Resolve Conflicts dialog does not show a conflict if information has been added both in Family Tree Maker and on Ancestry for:

  • Repositories
  • New person   
  • Pictures for the same person 

If a fact, source citation, or media item is unlinked or deleted on Ancestry or in FTM and then edited on another linked computer, it will disappear there after the next sync (exceptions: Source Repository and Source Title).

If an alternate fact about a person is deleted from the FTM tree and the corresponding preferred fact is then deleted from Ancestry (after being changed to an alternate fact), the person’s name is changed to <no name> after syncing.

A conflict in a parent-child relationship cannot be resolved by choosing the "Overwrite conflicts with FTM data" option.

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

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