Genealogy Wise

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I have just received an email that says Ancestry is to retire Family Tree Maker!!!

I can't believe it! What is the point of remaining with Ancestry if we can't preserve our research on our own PCs? After all the changes Ancestry has been making, if Ancestry expects me to trust my years of research solely to their on-line service then they have another think coming. What happens if so many people leave them now that they go out of business?

Now is the time to consider the alternatives - FindMyPast, Family Search Family Tree and Legacy immediately come to mind. Obviously FTM is not an option as lack of support and maintenance means it will have a very limited life.

What do others think?


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I am not too happy about this - There is also Rootsmagic.  Our local Genealogy Society often has work group for that software.

Actually this presents an opportunity to think seriously about preserving genealogy research long term. We are all going to pass on soon as all of our ancestors have and what options are there - none that I am aware of.

Obviously our PCs and hard drives have a very short life as do DVDs and the like. We cannot rely on our descendants to preserve our work as technology changes - very soon any current technology goes out of date. We can put stuff in the cloud but that also relies on someone maintaining ownership (and payments) and moving it as business disappear as Ancestry surely will. FamilySearch FamilyTree offers long term storage and the probability of longevity but research is vulnerable to change by other users who are not always careful about the effects of what they do.

I would be interested to know what others are thinking about research preservation for the long term - 500 years or more.


Absolutely love Family Tree Maker.  I do not have an Ancestry Home account.  I use Ancestry at my Public Library.  Ancestry cost way too much.  RootsMagic messed up my computer and I had to rebuild it, because of it.  I will only use Family Tree Maker.

I could not agree more. I am very unhappy about Ancestry's decision. I have used FTM since it was a Broderbund product and I have been very happy with each new version. I, too, will not put my tree online at Ancestry for the very reason that H. Girdley described. The bit of my tree that I did share has been bastardized by other "researchers"

I am curious however. Even if support will be discontinued the opportunity to continue using the software should exist. Could we simply continue on as we did in earlier versions and keep our trees on our iMacs (or PC's for the rest of you) and do our research online? Yes, it is very handy to check Ancestry and Rootsweb, etc. through FTM, but the functionality of the software should remain.

Someone on the Ancestry blog suggested that we all privatize our trees in protest. I would think that if Ancestry received enough outcry over this decision that they would reverse it. These "bright ideas" are often dreamed up by enthusiastic young bean-counters looking to save a buck and get a feather in their cap.

Just a thought .....

I've been looking into Legacy Family Tree software this evening. Is anyone familiar with it or had any experience with it?

Yes I was using Legacy 7.5 (the current version is 8.something) before Ancestry offered FTM with synchronised linking to an on-line tree. I switched because it allowed me to keep my data on my PC while also maintaining an on-line tree for research and sharing with others without the hassle of manually maintaining two trees.

I found Legacy to be very good if a little confusing for a newcomer. But FTM was very good also and the online tree synchronised with my off line one and the on line research facilities allowed me to make quite rapid progress. This despite some serious problems with synchronisation early on that created havoc several times. Ancestry support was very poor during this traumatic period.

I am now seriously considering going back to Legacy and the main reasons are the quality of support and because it links with FamilySearch FamilyTree.

I have been concerned for some time about preserving the years of work I have done so that it survives to help other researchers and family for many years to come. A lot of my source material is not available elsewhere and, unless I find a way for that to be preserved and kept visible and available, it is likely to disappear within a few decades on my demise. It seems to me that FamilyTree offers the best hope of preservation of research and source materials that there is, along with making it accessible to others. There is a danger that inexperienced researchers will disturb some of the work but there are built in tracking systems that would allow work destroyed to be reconstituted.

Genealogy research is such a time consuming process that it is important that we share the results of our work and are not distracted by the need to keep multiple data bases up to date. I do think we need to keep our work well protected off-line while making it visible and available on-line. That's why I chose to use the Ancestry process and why I think Ancestry's decision about FTM is a tragedy.

As far as I know the Legacy/FamilyTree option is now the only other one available. It has the added advantage of likely longevity. Which is in stark contrast to Ancestry's probable demise into a collection of unsourced rubbish.

I would be interested to know of any other system that offers a combination of on-line storage and research along with a comprehensive and synchronised off-line package.

Dang! Legacy is out - no Mac version.

As I understand it there is an application called something like Parallels that allows PC applications to run on Macs.

There is a good reason to move to Legacy or something else before support for FTM ends at the the end of 2016.

The only method of exporting data for use elsewhere is via a GEDCOM file. This often does not support transfer of images and that appears to be the case exporting from Ancestry on-line. However it appears that exporting from FTM does support images - see <href="" target="_blank">

It is likely that the transfer will be traumatic enough but at least it seems that images can be transferred - after a sync of course but only up to the end of 2016.

Also it occurs to me that, given the changes recently imposed on us all by Ancestry, despite considerable protest, there is one more thing they might do - remove the ability to export from That would complete the process of alienation of serious genealogists!



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