Monday, December 14, 2015

Ancestry.com Announces Retirement of Family Tree Maker

Ancestry.com Family Tree Maker 2012Each year I take December off. Each year without fail Ancestry.com or FamilySearch makes a major announcement that needs to be covered. It’s like clockwork. I wonder if they do this because of the seasonal drop off in site usage?

Ancestry is discontinuing sales of its popular Family Tree Maker desktop tree management software. Ancestry will discontinue sales at the end of the month (31 December 2015). It will continue to support the software for one year (31 December 2016). That includes the ability to synch your New Ancestry online tree with your Family Tree Maker offline tree. “You will be able to use the software, exactly as you do now, including TreeSync, for at least the next year,” said Ancestry’s Kendall Hulet. Family Tree Maker will continue to function to some degree past that date.

Ancestry is exploring the possibility of letting other desktop tree software integrate with Ancestry.com Member Trees. This has been a major strength that FamilySearch has had over Ancestry. Ancestry is not looking to sell off Family Tree Maker to another company. They are just letting it die. They are looking at adding report functionality to Member Trees. Users will lose substantial report capability with Ancestry’s abandonment of Family Tree Maker.

The timing of the announcement is interesting. The days leading up to Christmas have the lowest usage rate of online genealogy websites. And the announcement was made just days before the shutdown of the Old Ancestry online tree user interface. (That happens tomorrow, by the way.)

Why should you care that Family Tree Maker is going away? How is that bad news? Why did I immediately go out to procure a copy? What do I think about the New Ancestry online tree interface? I’ll try to answer these questions and more in January when I return from my hiatus.

In the meantime, for more information:

13 comments:

  1. I am totally bummed about this announcement! I switched programs to Family Tree Maker, because I like the ability to work on my trees online through ancestry.com and then to sync my trees and be able to keep a copy of it on my hard drive. Are there any other programs that allow you the same ability to sync online and save on your hard drive?

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  2. Amazing! First they shut down MyFamily and don't provide download of photo comments; now they abandon Family Tree Maker, supposedly the #1 family-history software. I love ancestry.com as a research site, but I will never trust them again with any of my personal family history.

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  3. Have a look at MyHeritage, they have a similar system.

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  4. It's quite simple to me. I will continue to use Family Tree Maker for the foreseeable future. And when I can no longer sync it with Ancestry, I will remove my 3000+ well-documented family tree records from Ancestry.

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  5. Truthfully, this sounds like a financial thing, what with cutting support in a year, considering its been around for over twenty. Ancestry has always been about the bucks

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  6. Have a wonderful December! I'll be interested in hearing your comments about New Ancestry and the Family Tree Maker retirement in January,

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  7. Another reason to give Ancestry.com the heave ho! First was the disastrous changeover from old/classic Ancestry to "New" Ancestry. Btw, does someone over there have a serious obsession with brown? Now here comes the eventual abandonment of FTM. I really think that Ancestry has the wrong people in charge.

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  8. If you're looking for charts & reports after you switch over to Ancestry.com, check out Charting Companion (http://progenygenealogy.com/products/family-tree-charts.aspx)

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  9. What angers me MOST about the recent announcement to discontinue 2014 is the timing. I have been working on my tree for 15+ years and wanted to be sure I had it done before purchasing especially as the "link" hookup frightened me a bit.

    With their announcement giving us only a few weeks notice to discontinue the program I had some serious hoop jumping to go through as I did not know if I could fit my voluminous tree on my laptop---so I bought an external hard drive to make sure I had room, only to find out the documents are actually stored on my laptop anyway.

    I talked to 2 reps before doing this to make sure having the program on external would not be a problem...BOTH said it would be fine...well apparently it isn't...They have told me I cannot move the application to my laptop even with the disc that should be coming in the mail...

    NOW I know how big the files are and I DO have room on my laptop, but they are now telling me I cannot move it.

    The main reason I wanted to do this was so that when I pass I would have everything in ONE place that could be passed on to my niece and nephews for posterity...but now I find it doesn't work that way.

    I DO hope they get another company to work with them to take over this function as in downloading my tree I found the "stories" where I kept all the FHL info I have found and put in my tree in stories rather than print, scan and upload as photo's did not come over.

    I am going to have to spend the next year going through many of my files and doing what I was trying to avoid in the first place--printing and scanning all kinds of FHL info.

    I am GLAD I kept my 2005 version on my computer as I like the reports and functions in that old program better.

    I am VERY angry that they only gave us a few weeks to deal with this...I have read of people who had to buy bigger computers in order to be able to fit 2014 on their computers--so those with small computers either had to rush out and buy a new computer OR rush out as I did to buy an external hard drive--which backfired anyway..

    I am also angry that even though NEW ANCESTRY is till not functioning correctly and is still missing many good features from OLD they insisted on continuing with their "drop dead date" of the 15th to discontinue OLD...

    Ancestry is still "the best game in town" to find data BUT I do not care for the way they have given their customers the "bums rush" not even caring about what their customers wanted or needed.

    It has become very apparent to me that ancestry does not care about their customers needs and preferences...OLD was a much better format.

    I have found MANY glitches in NEW that they either have not corrected OR have no intention of correcting.

    The problem is they "know" they have got us--because they have more data than any other site I know of--and having worked on my tree for 15 + years, and it being quite large with documents, and people (since I go back to Pilgrims and have done 3 generations all along the way of my Pedigree) They KNOW people like me are not going anywhere anyway.

    I have NO doubt this was a purely financial decision. They spent a tons of money on NEW that they probably should not have spent to start with and I think forcing customers to buy 2014 and also reactivate accounts just to do that, they are going to bring in a fortune in the 4th quarter which will help pay for their bad decisions which have resulted in a lot of angry customers--who have NO choice but to "roll with the punches".

    And these have been punches--DEEP straight to the GUT punches.

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  10. Well update-the 2014 version I had on external hard drive TOTALLY died...within 30 minutes of using it..SO I jumped through some more hoops with customer svc and they sent me a link to instructions to get it all off my system so I can re-D/L on my hard drive BUT Those instructions did NOT get rid of all the document files that 2014 put on my HD on my laptop SO their instructions are ALSO incomplete...

    Luckily run Mozilla and was easily to find those 2 data files of documents ( I had 2 because we had to put a new file on 2014 since the first one did not load all the way)

    I am glad I asked hubby to let me look before we started ANOTHER install on my C drive...

    Ancestry.com leaves a LOT to be desired with customer service. I NEVER had to contact customer svc before THIS company took it over...

    You can call techs 3 x and get 3 different answers...

    I CANNOT WAIT until THIS company SELLS ancestry.com as services overall have gone totally downhill since THIS company has taken over...Premira used to listen to customers--you could count on cust svc to actually help you--

    NOW they just want to get you off the phone and won't walk you through anything unless you ASK them to--half the time the links they send you for info are either NOT for the issue you emailed or called them about...

    you can call 3 different cust svc techs and get 3 different answers.



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  11. ONE the other day was from an elderly lady I try to help---and I had to totally RE DO her online tree under my account as it was so messed up it mind boggled the computer system...she has ONE person as his father AND his son and the ancestry computer said HUH? We cannot do this.

    SO I made a tree under MY account getting her tree straight, and sent her a GEDCOM to get everyone squared away---BUT when I told her I had a LOT of newspaper articles on MY version of her tree she needed to copy--and I tried to tell her how to do it on the phone and she STILL did not understand...ancestry cust svc told her I should send her a GEDCOM and she would get the photos....sigh...ANY fool knows a GEDCON is NOT going to add photos' BUT she doesn't know enough to know that--I wrote her cust svc was VERY wrong and refused to send her a GEDCOM as we would have had to start over...

    THESE are the kind of fools we are dealing with----with cust svc---every now and then you will run into someone who DOES know what they are talking about but that is rare...

    I wrote HQ today--they need to do a better job of training ppl, and making sure they know what they are talking about---

    I have gotten to where I no longer do their 3 question survey as I found out that these are used in their performance evals---and TOO many times I have found out too late the link they sent me OR the info they gave me was totally wrong!

    So NOW the good techs suffer too as I cannot tell until I do what they say after accessing links they sent me whether they TRULY know what they are talking about or they were just blowing smoke.

    The ONLY way to make sure they are correct is to make them stay on the phone and walk you through...

    I have had several techs I was able to tell them more about their system than THEY knew----

    Sigh BUT I suspect these people are being paid by Production rather than quality and there is NO quality control about the answers they give...

    SO NOW when I get plugged into "3 quick questions" I hang up...unless they have actually walked me through a problem and I know they actually fixed it...

    Today after all these problems I wrote to HQ which you can do by writing customersolutions@ancestry.com and ask for it to be forward to Tim Sullivan.

    That is the ONLY way to get HQ to see the problems and lodge a complaint that will go anywhere...NOT that THEY care either...

    I cannot WAIT for this wall street firm who specializes in turning around companies and does not usually keep them more than 5 years to SELL ancestry.com.

    It USED to be a great company and they DO have the best databases...BUT they are LOUSY in customer service and from what we have seen this year they do not give 2 cents in regards to their customers.

    ANY company needs to make a profit--I don't even mind paying higher dues to get better service and a company who REALLY cares--but it has become SO obvious this company ONLY cares about profits, not about their customers.

    It may take a while but what has gone on this year WILL backfire...Not everyone on ancestry has as much info on their trees as I do and it won't take anything for them to move their accounts.

    Ancestry has DEEPLY eroded the faith of its customers...and they may not see it YET BUT if they do not change their ways it WILL bite them.

    SOMEBODY who gives a rip needs to buy this company--it has been going down hill ever since the current owners bought it...and small wonder...LOOK at Facebook for Hulet...he looks like he just got out of high school---I am sure he didn't but he sure is not a seasoned company exec and he is making bad decision after bad decision---

    HIS resume is not going to look too good once it is realized that HE took a GOOD company down the tubes...

    Let's hope there are enough dedicated ancestry.com members to get through this...or we may not have ancestry.com for too much longer...

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    1. Here's my 'bummer' with ancestry. I had my DNA checked. A couple of years later, my mom had her DNA checked, only because I needed to be a generation closer to the 2nd great grandmother whose Indian heritage might show the percentage that supports what was reported on my test. Okay, having explained that, I became aware that no reports were coming for "matches", so I tried to access via computer and discovered my mom's user & password weren't acceptable. I called ancestry.com to question this problem. I was told that her DNA report was attached to my DNA report since we were a match. Now, how do you like that stupid explanation?

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  12. I was a bit frothy-at-the-mouth after this pronouncement from Ancestry, but the following link has an interesting, and calming, take on this whole thing:

    http://www.tamurajones.net/LifeAfterNewFamilyTreeMaker.xhtml

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