11 December 2015

Cleaning house?!?! Soon to disappear Genealogy Tools and Services

Yesterday’s blog post was about changes to 23andMe where information previously available to genealogists appears to be not available in the newest incarnation of the site.

After I wrote that blog post, within the span of 1 minute, I checked a website (Godfrey Memorial Library Online (remote access option) which I have been a subscriber to for years, mostly for the newspaper access) and saw the notice at the top of this post where access to NewspaperArchive will no longer we available as 2016 starts.  I've always liked the ability to access that and 19th Century US Newspapers in one place and affordably.  Now my research into digitized newspaper archives will become more fragmented!

And, in case you haven't heard ... as I know this information was posted seemingly everywhere ... 

I received an email from Ancestry about discontinuing Family Tree Maker.  I have used Family Tree Maker for many years. I have found it a decent tool for my client projects where I just sometimes need to create a basic tree and keep some personal and research notes along the way.  It has suited that purpose admirably – easy to read reports and trees that I could share with my clients regarding their ancestors.  I really don’t have an interest in creating cloud based trees for these projects (and I definitely will not create Ancestry.com ones) and at least I have through the end of 2017 to come up with a new game plan ...

Ancestry is proud to have made a significant investment this year to bring valuable new content and records to the Ancestry site. In 2015, we’ve made 220 million searchable historical records from Mexico available, more than 170 million pages from the largest collection of U.S. will and probate records, among others. We’ve also introduced new features such as Ancestry Academy, and major advancements for AncestryDNA.

As we strive to provide our customers with the best experience possible, we are constantly evaluating our services and product offerings. True to this focus, we’ve taken a hard look at the declining desktop software market and the impact this has on being able to continue to provide new content, product enhancements and support that our users need. With that, we’ve made the tough decision to stop selling Family Tree Maker as of December 31, 2015.

We will continue to support existing Family Tree Maker owners at least through January 1, 2017. During this time, all features of the software, including TreeSync™ will continue to work. Our Member Services team will also remain available to assist with questions or issues you may have.

These changes are never easy. But by focusing our efforts, we can concentrate on continuing to build great products for our loyal Ancestry community.

You can find additional details about the retirement of Family Tree Maker on our 

In the wake of the above announcement RootsMagic is offering an "update discount for Family Tree Maker users" to purchase its software product. You must use the special link provided in the offer post to take advantage. Additionally, Family Historian 6 is also available at a discount.  There might be other options available at a discount so definitely do look around.

There are many other genealogy software alternatives if such is of interest to you. Here is a comparison page.

Most importantly, do remember that just because a piece of software is no longer supported, this does not mean that you cannot continue to use it.  If you like to synch your FTM to your online Ancestry.com tree, that capability will go away, as will any "following leaves" and related online interactive features and as far as maintaining a record of your ancestors with notes, images, etc -- none of that will be affected!  You can still add people and records to your tree and you will still be able to export that information to others. I still use the Microsoft 2003 suite of software products and they work pretty well given their age and for having not been supported for a long time!

It’s always hard to say “goodbye” to tools that one has used for a long time, and, on the other hand, change is inevitable.

I just figure that everyone must be doing some “cleaning house” as 2015 rolls to a close ...

Have you heard of any other changes/discontinuations that impact family historians?

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