Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Shock Heard Around The World --- to Retire Family Tree Maker

What Did You Find?! Wednesday  

It started Tuesday shortly after 5 p.m E.T.

Many of us may have walked away from the computer or shut down to make/eat dinner or attend to life's other things. Or we may have been on the way home from work perhaps hoping to fit in some time for genealogy. For myself it wasn't until I returned home after volunteering at our favorite library that I heard the news via email from a cousin across the country and an MCGG member -- both emails sent at just about the same time. had announced just hours before that it was retiring its Family Tree Maker software.

Shocking! But considering the company's past actions it shouldn't be but none the less it is.

By about 11:30 p.m. E.T. over 3,600 comments were made to the blog post announcing the change and twelve hours later that number is pushing past 5,500 comments. The vast majority are negative about the news.'s FaceBook page made no mention of the announcement Tuesday night nor this morning although there are many visitor comments about it.

We've done various surveys at our Let's Talk...Genealogy discussion group meetings to get an idea of our attendees' skills, programs used, interests and other related issues. Family Tree Maker software was always the top program used AND the majority of those surveyed did not have their trees online. did not announce another software product to replace Family Tree Maker (FTM.) It appears that the company expects everyone to use its online tree "product."'s online tree product does not contain the same robust features as FTM and under the "New Ancestry" website environment (which becomes the only environment on December 15th) the online tree has been buggy with glitches and problems.

Why is doing this? My professional I.T./programmer/analyst/disaster recovery/internet security family member says it likely boils down to cost and that one platform is easier/less costly to maintain especially when experienced programmers are harder to find. There are a lot of opinions out there as to the company's reasonings.

MCGG members don't panic. Even though will not be selling Family Tree Maker downloads of FTM 2014 after Dec. 31, 2015, the company's customer service will support the software at least through January 1, 2017. (The company has not sold physical CDs of the software for at least several months.) Please also realize that your software will still work on your current operating system though a future OS update one day might cause problems. The question is whether the Tree Sync or FTM's Web Search (Record Merge) will continue working after Jan. 1, 2017.

So what does this mean? If you want to keep your genealogy on your computer at some point you are going to have to find another genealogy program. Yes, that means eventually there will likely be some transfer hiccups as data is moved between programs. No one is doing a happy dance over this one.

We've talked about various genealogy programs before at our meetings, we'll keep you informed about where you can find information about deciding on alternate programs and related matters. We'll also try to inform you here about posts and other articles on blogs and websites that we feel are important to understanding this situation and on making a decision for yourself about what to do.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!

No comments:

Post a Comment