Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Death of Family Tree Maker! [GASP]

Anyone remotely involved in the genealogy world, surely heard the surprising(?) news that Ancestry would be discontinuing it's genealogy software- Family Tree Maker. This was, of course, upsetting news to the many who use & rely on this software. 

My personal response to this news was "Meh"... as I have never been a user it. As a pre-Internet genealogist, I've been adapting to the new technologies slowly as they've been introduced to our hobby.... unlike the thousands (or millions?) of genealogists who created an Ancestry account and "made a family tree".

In the 1990s, when I had a Mac [one day I will reinvest in one!], I used the software Reunion, which I absolutely LOVED. Even after I later got a Windows laptop... I kept my old desktop Mac because I still couldn't part with my Reunion genealogy.

Later, after that desktop became SO elderly, I downloaded the free version of Legacy. And while this program, in my opinion, greatly paled in comparison to Reunion... I learned to adapt.

Before deciding on Legacy, I did look closer at Family Tree Maker--- but I never really cared for the layout of the program-- friends of mine used it, though in the early days they just wanted the genealogy discs that came with it. Remember those old days, before the Internet boom, when you purchased these discs full of submitted genealogy... but I digress. 

After awhile, I decided to upgrade beyond the free Legacy... and I really do like the layout of the program and the various forms & reports it creates--- since I print out much of my genealogy (yes, I am a paper lover!).

Eventually, Family Tree Magazine sent me a free software-- Rootsmagic. Interested, I did load it onto my computer, but I decided that it wasn't for me. So I passed it on to a "newbie" and stuck with my Legacy.

As a genealogist that did not jump right on the Ancestry bandwagon, at least for a few years-- I did not have an online tree. In fact, I only really developed a tree on Ancestry about a year ago-- when I tested my DNA. I wanted my direct pedigree at least, to match up with possible "cousins". Personally, I used my Ancestry tree as a documentation filing system... where I can link sources to my relatives. I do not add other things to my tree (photos, scans, notes, etc). Which is just my way of doing things-- partly because I had many years of genealogy done, before Ancestry came to be.

So I've never 'synced' my genealogy software with my Ancestry tree... and I do understand what a disappointment it is to not have that option in the future. [However, it does sound like Ancestry is working towards allowing other software to capabilities to do so at a later time].

Even though FTM is being slowly phased out... there are other software options out there-- and a decent amount of time to research just which one will serve your genealogy needs best.

So take a deep breath. Relax. This will be OK. Do some research & see what you like-- there are free downloads available to try & play around with. Read reviews & articles.

I found recent blog posts from The Clue Wagon & Legal Genealogist, to be informative & funny (Thanks Kerry!

If you haven't read them yet, you should (though, I suspect if you read this small time blogger, you surely follow those Superstars!)

And of course Ancestry did release a couple of posts about this decision, and that is the best source for information regarding the process as it is expected to unfold and you can read them here- Ancestry Blogs

Good Luck in your quests! Feel free to share you own reviews of software here.

1 comment:

  1. I have never been impressed with any of the FTM versions developed by Ancestry. They all seemed to be created by people who were programmers, not genealogists. I have been using FTM v.11 since 2001. Its simple. It works. I am open to new programs and may use this point to use the next year to look for a new program.

    ALL OF THAT SAID, I think that Ancestry has done a real number on genealogy as a hobby. They have taken it from a hobby/business of study, linking and facts, and converted it into a point, click and shoot kind of hobby. People look stuff up, click it, and save it to a tree without understanding the record or the research or the methodology. ANd you see it in courthouses when they have reached the end of the low hanging fruit and have to go into the dockets and records - they cannot handle it.

    As for Ancestry, what they desperately need is a crisis communication team. From the outside, looking in, looking out, they have no idea what they are dealing with.