Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday Mailbox: Getting Your Stuff Off Ancestry.com

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Readers,

My article “Soon the New Ancestry Will be the Only Ancestry” drew lots of response. Thank you for sharing your feelings about and experiences with the New Ancestry.com. Most of you who don’t like the New Ancestry shared particular grievances; good job! Some of you chipped in with solutions to some of the problems expressed. There’s another advantage of being particular. Thank you!

Some of you seem pretty intent on leaving Ancestry. If you are serious about carrying through on the threat, the answer to Charmaine Ortega Getz’s question may be of use.

Dear Ancestry Insider,

I have only recently discovered this excellent blog and am slowly getting up to speed. I apologize if this question has been asked before: Is there a good way to remove information from one's own Tree on Ancestry to one's own computer?

Signed,
Charmaine Ortega Getz

Dear Charmaine,

A good way to copy information from Ancestry.com’s member trees is to purchase Family Tree Maker. You can download all your information, including document images of the database images attached to your tree.

I use FTM as a backup to my tree, should the unthinkable happen. I think it is something we should all do, where ever we keep our tree. (Now, I just need to track down my disks to reload it on my new computer. Or did I download it?)

Signed,
The Ancestry Insider

16 comments:

  1. How about downloading the GEDcom from the Tree Settings page and using it with the software of your choice - not necessarily Family Tree Maker. There's some good free software out there. Regardless there's no need to suggest there is only one alternative for software.

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    1. It's possible you might have to download images and other media separately. However, those leaving Ancestry in order to reduce costs might appreciate a free method.

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  2. Thank you for this information!

    I have read a lot of complaints about Family Tree Maker not syncing correctly or, worse, deleting desired parts of an Ancestry tree. Are these experiences a loud outlier or a legitimate concern?

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    1. I had lots of problems with syncing and eventually gave up on it. I think FTM is well worth the cost to "own your data", and it's a good idea to keep backups of everything. Redundancy with backups is a really good idea. I actually initially bought FTM solely for that reason, and it was easy to get all of my data down from ancestry to my local computer that way and keep everything associated properly.

      Honestly, I think uploading everything you have to ancestry means you probably don't have everything you could, because lots of wonderful repositories don't allow republication of their files (including but not limited to familysearch.org and genealogybank.com). At first I kept my trees private because of that issue, but even that is against their TOS if I allowed anyone to see the tree by inviting them. I finally decided to just stop syncing altogether. if you'd like to take a look at my way of keeping backups, you can find a description here: http://www.collectingcousins.com/family-history-data-protection/

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    2. My family trees on Ancestry.com have always synched perfectly with Family Tree Maker. I love the ability to work with either the online tree or the Family Tree Maker copy on my home computer.

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    3. Synching has been a hit or miss for me. By chance, I've used it both on Windows and Mac versions of Family Tree Maker, and I've had it work well, and I've had it fail. I've also had it create duplicate entries and wipe information on my local copy of data, for specific fields.

      I'd call it unpredictable at best. So I keep both a gedcom download from ancestry, as well as the FTM files.

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  3. With an older version of FTM, I tried downloading my tree. I got only names and BMD dates and some locations for those dates. No documents, and no photos I had attached to my tree. I tried with another tree and got only part of it. Haven't used it since.

    Do I need to purchase the new version of FTM in order to download the documents? Has anyone else had this type of problem?

    Dee

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  4. As my subscription re-news in October for ancestry.com, I will not renew. There are many reasons why, I use it for research and now they want to look like a cartoon page. As for the question above, I have spent the last two months printing all of the documents and family groups. I did this in case FTM didn't sync everything correctly. The best part of all of this is that I have organized my information and documents.

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  5. A word to the wise regarding the purchase of the 2014 edition of Family Tree Maker. The cheapest edition I found was through a company called Nova Development Corp., 15001 Meridian Parkway, Suite A, Riverside, CA 92518. The name of the item was "Family Tree Maker, Essentials" and the cost was $31.96 and included the disc and a one-month subscription to Ancestry.com. If you take a step back and look at the different pricing options that are available for the Family Tree Maker the bottom line is that you are paying for a monthly subscription to Ancestry.com. Period. The disc is thrown in for a couple of bucks. So the price I ended up paying reflected the cost of a one-month subscription...which I didn't want since I already subscribe to their site. But not for long if the new dog and pony show feature is actually offered. The 2014 program worked for me and was easy to use. I had been using the 2010 FTM edition and everything transferred onto the upgrade. I was very satisfied.

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    1. I buy FTM every 6 months from Amazon.co.uk - its basically to reduce my membership fees to Ancestry by just paying between £23 and £33 for a boxed FTM with 6 months free ancestry membership - have done this for a few years now and works for me

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  6. This is the thing about those gedcoms you create from within the online tree itself, Ancestry has you by the ying yang if you DON'T buy FamilyTreeMaker for exporting your online tree.

    If you use the export feature of the online trees, sure, you get a GEDCOM of your tree but that is all you get. You don't get any images that were attached to that tree. That means any personal images you loaded as well as any records images associated with the records you attached.

    And the other MAJOR downfall of the GEDCOMs from the online trees is that when it exports your reference citations, it will NOT export any URLs (Web links) that you attached to those references. So if you use a GEDCOM directly from an online tree, you have absolutely NO way to go back and find the exact web page where the record came from. You have to search for it all over again.

    In order to get ALL the information out of your online tree on Ancestry, you MUST have THEIR software. And the earlier or "Essential" versions of it aren't going to work either because those are going to rely on creating that "partial" GEDCOM directlyh from your online tree. In order to save all your images and your references, you need the 2012 or 2014 version that "sync" to your online tree. (And then hope & pray that everything syncs properly! Because sometimes it doesn't!)

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  8. FTM2014 quit updating my files over a year ago. Five calls to Ancestry before I finally got someone who actually addressed my problem. But it's still not resolved. Grrrrrrrrrrrr..

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  9. I disagree with purchasing Family Tree Maker. I have a very large tree on ancestry and tried to synch FTM with ancestry. It stopped working about a year ago. FTM blamed ancestry and ancestry blamed FTM. After 3 months of receiving the same useless pdf from FTM on how to fix the problem I gave up and found Legacy.com. I initially downloaded their free version but I liked it so much I bought it last November. It doesn't synch with ancestry but it has alot of features I am only beginning to use. You can even change the color scheme (which is my minor complaint about new ancestry)
    Now, once a month, I go to ancestry-family trees-manage tree-export (under manage your tree on the right side) and save the gedcom to my legacy folder. I have placed legacy in dropbox.com on my desktop so that I can access it anywhere if ancestry isn't working (which hasn't been a problem - I'm just old school and remember the days..) and I've got the info saved in the cloud as a backup in case my laptop dies. I feel alot more confident having the info in 3 places. I wish I could just give it to familysearch easily or wiki but it's too large and I don't have the time to go person by person and update. (I'm not opposed to people changing what I have but I would like somewhere where my version is until I had a chance to check the change and agreed with it!). I plan on staying with ancestry for now but I really dislike the new version. I've told them every time I found a glitch but I don't see it fixed. I click back and forth between new and old. It's not the adjustment change as I've lived through many of their changes - this new version is not user friendly.

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  10. I do not care for the new version of Ancestry, to me it's very confusing and certainly not user friendly, so I have decided to not renew my subscription. I now have Legacy as my go-to tree as well as having FTM, now to get all my photos, etc to transfer over, having a bit of a problem, but I'm working on it.

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