Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ancestry.com to Discontinue Family Tree Maker

Update: Ancestry.com just announced that software developers MacKiev have bought the rights to FTM and will continue to develop it, including a tree sync feature with Ancestry.com. MacKiev have been the FTM developers for Mac for years so acquiring it for Windows is a natural step for them. Additionally, Ancestry.com have made an arrangement with RootsMagic to allow integration with them, including a tree sync feature. This is even better news than I expected, because now users will have two options for syncing their Ancestry.com tree with desktop software, where previously FTM was the only option.

All is right in the genealogy world again!

Today, Ancestry.com announced their plans to stop creating and selling Family Tree Maker as of December 31, 2015. Tech support will continue until January 2017, and it sounds like it's at this point that TreeSync will be disabled as well.

I can not even begin to describe how upset I am by this. The loss of TreeSync means there is literally no way to mass download the Ancestry.com documents I've attached to my tree. The only method is to manually download each documents one by one, which is simply not possible with the size of my tree. The only other solution is to perpetually maintain my subscription (how convenient for Ancestry.com), because when canceling a subscription, you lose access to the original documents attach to your own tree. I find it totally unacceptable that I will not be able to access, download, and archive these documents I've paid a lot of money over the years to have access to, once I unsubscribe. Therefore, my only option is to download what I have with FTM's TreeSync before it's disabled, and then cancel my subscription and use other resources from then on.

This will mean my research will take a huge hit, of course. Ancestry.com is undeniably the biggest online resource, and cutting myself off from that will make my research much more difficult. But I really see no other way around it.

The least they could do is maintain and open up their API for the sync so that other programmers could create third party software that syncs with our Ancestry.com trees. But that will never happen, because that would mean users don't have to perpetually subscribe to access the documents attached to their own tree (as if they don't suck enough money out of us already). They won't even maintain the sync for their own product, let alone for a third party.

It's true that you can always download your gedcom from Ancestry.com and use all your data in a third party software for the more advanced data management options the online tree doesn't offer, but it will not contain any media or documents, which is the backbone of any properly researched tree.

Congratulations Ancestry.com, on this completely regressive decision. Genealogy is my biggest hobby and this is the most depressing genealogy news I've heard in... well... ever.