Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ancestry Family Tree

Ancestry.com Dendrology 101: Ancestry Family Tree

In December 2001 Ancestry.com introduced Ancestry Family Tree (AFT), a free desktop family tree management program. By its appearance, I would guess that AFT, like FamilySearch Personal Ancestry File (PAF), is a derivative of Ancestral Quest. According to one website, the filename was AncestryFamilyTree.exe, it was version 9.0.5.0 and it was released on 30 November 1999. I assume then, that AFT was a special version of Ancestral Quest 9.0 with extensions for Ancestry.com. AFT could upload to Online Family Tree (OFT) and Ancestry World Tree (AWT). And It could download data from AWT.

Ancestry Family Tree
Ancestry Family Tree

After Ancestry.com's parent company, the Generations Network (TGN) acquired Family Tree Maker (FTM), it dropped AFT in favor of a free version of FTM. Later, TGN eliminated its free version of FTM. A quick Google search uncovers many web pages that still have links to download AFT. These links end up on the FTM website, but on a 404, page-not-found page. Ancestry.com's product management team doesn't utilize product specifications like the ones I saw working with Hewlett Packard early in my professional career. As a result, product details such as this one are easily forgotten. I suggest that Ancestry.com redirect http://aft.ancestry.com to its latest free tree offering, Ancestry Member Trees. But I digress...

It bears repeating that AFT and FTM are Windows programs that run on your local computer. All the other family trees I've covered are online. To learn a little bit more about AFT, view this demo.

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