Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ancestry's Family Tree Maker to be retired?

On December 5, 2015, Ancestry announced that it would be retiring its genealogy product, Family Tree Maker. They will continue to support the software until January 2017 so you have 1 year to get the most out of Ancestry and its connection with “hints”, if your tree is sync to Ancestry online. From what I read on forums and blogs, the news has been met with sadness and opposition. I, for one, use FTM for the last few years and enjoyed it greatly especially when the tree was sync to my Ancestry account and then accessed via the Ancestry mobile app. This feature provided readily access to my family tree and was very beneficial when chatting with people on the go. Rather than take up torches and chase Ancestry down, I will start to look for a new software replacement but intend on using FTM beyond its supported time frame as the program is designed to work offline anyways and will continue with current PC operating systems such as Windows 10. In ways, I am somewhat happy with the break from Ancestry. Too often, Ancestry is the viewed as the “end all, be all” in the world of genealogy. But the fact is, as many true researchers know, Ancestry has caused more issues than we care to mention. When an amateur family researchers say things such as “I took all of my information from Ancestry”, it simply makes me cringe! Did they obtain information from a poor researched tree which based its own research off data that it “found on some guy’s website”?
So for me, using FTM over the last few years was like paying the power bill for the local drug dealer. Ok, perhaps that analogy is a bit harsh. I will admit that through uploading my tree and using Ancestry’s “shaky leaf”, I have been able to clear up a few road blocks, saving some time in process.

In the end, I will miss FTM however that void will no doubt be filled by another family tree maker software. Its just ashamed that, once again as with respect to other Ancestry projects, we in the genealogy community are left with confusion and the feeling of mistrust. As I have said all along, Ancestry is not your small town archives or genealogy group. Its a large corporation trying to take and make a buck. What it will take is your research and a few of your dollars. For me, retiring Family Tree maker is more about retiring see ya!