Tag Archives: Family Tree Maker

Family Tree Maker to Retire

The genealogy community is all a buzz due to the announcement two days ago by Ancestry.com that they would be retiring and no longer supporting their software program, Family Tree Maker.  As a FTM user, this news was very upsetting to me. I have spent many hours of my life building my family tree online with Ancestry.com, using FTM. You can view their announcement at their blog site, http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/12/08/ancestry-to-retire-family-tree-maker-software/.

Since the announcement, I have calmed down and the initial panic has worn off.  I have decided to sit this out for a while before I make any major changes to the way I do my genealogy work.  After all, we have until January of 2017.  I know other family tree software companies will use this time of panic to make sweet offers for the panicked masses of FTM users to switch to their products, which is tempting I admit. But for now, I will wait it out and see what else happens or comes about.

First though, I have to say to Ancestry.com that your timing on this deal is pretty crappy.  You won’t be offering FTM for sale after Dec 31, 2015 and you announced this on Dec 8, 2015.  Seventeen days before Christmas.  I’m sure most people, like myself, are already budgeted to the max.  I bought the program and downloaded it to my laptop, without ever getting the setup disk.  So of course I would like to now buy the disk so that if my laptop crashes, I can at least add the program back to a new computer.  That would be $79 I wasn’t expecting to spend with such short notice, right in the middle of the holiday season.  My children thank you.  They will now have to believe again in Santa Claus if they want their stocking filled up.

The reason I use the FTM program is because I need to print my work out, run reports, see cousin relations, etc. I also use the program, to catch errors, and make mass changes at once.  Here is an example of a report I always use when researching.  I keep this right in front of me when working on a line, this way I know all the players and dates for reference.

Me to John Floyd Ball

The main reason I will sit this out before switching to another software program is the tree sync feature that FTM offered with Ancestry.com.  I spend many hours working on my family tree.  Sometimes I work from Ancestry.com, and sometimes I work directly in the software, offline.  When I go back online, FTM automatically syncs my data from the software to my tree online.  That means, any changes I made on Ancestry.com is downloaded and updated to my software program, and any changes I made in the program is uploaded to Ancestry.com and my tree there is updated.  This means I do not have to do double the work, and my tree is exactly the same in both locations, online and offline.

At this point if I switch to another software program, any changes I make to my tree, will have to be manually made in two places.  In the program, and on my ancestry.com tree. In the past, before I used FTM tree sync, this meant I would get on a roll, working away on Ancestry.com and not even really remember what all I had changed, and then have to remember to make the same changes in the software program. Inevitably, this meant I would forget to make one or two of the changes and then my data is comprised and not correct, and doesn’t match in both places.

And yes, I know I can just do my work on Ancestry.com and then extract a gedcom, upload in my program and then they match.  I don’t want to go through that every time I make changes.  I want a program to sync with Ancestry.com.  Hopefully, one of the other programs will step up and make the sync with Ancestry.com a possibility, and if they do, that is who I will switch to.

The other major problem with them discontinuing the program, is all the reporting that the software program has, that Ancestry.com does not have.  I use these reports daily, in one way or another, and ancestry.com only offers reports that you have to pay to get.  I’m definitely not paying them to print out a copy of the work I have done myself. Never will that happen.  In fact, if they would just add the reporting abilities to their website, then I would be more than happy to do most of my work online on their website and then back up my tree to my computer any time I make changes.

This announcement two days once again fostered my fear of what will happen to my family tree when I am gone?  How do I keep my work up to date, all together, less confusing and easily accessible to my descendants or any family members that are interested? What if the one way I have decided to keep my information becomes obsolete and all my work is lost before another family member becomes interested?

I know for a fact, all this paper work I have lying around, will probably just get trashed when I am gone.  My kids are not going to look at all the data I have collected in these binders and boxes.  My hope was to get all this information, photos, maps, letters, diaries and etc, integrated into my tree, easily accessible on the computer and then maybe someone would be interested if it was all easily searchable and organized all together.  I know, I know, you are laughing at me right now.  No family historian ever really accomplishes this.  But I had planned to die trying.  LOL!

So, my new goal for 2016 will be to come up with a plan for all my work, and figure out the best way to save all this for future generations so that it doesn’t end up in the dump when I die, or better yet, die out with an obsolete computer program.

In a way, I guess this is a big thank you to Ancestry.com for waking me up enough to realize that my work will not survive solely in a computer program, with reports lying around in binders.

Saving pictures from Ancestry.com Trees

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Jane Thompson AKA Gordon

Name: Jane Thompson AKA Gordon
Arrested for: Thief
Arrested at: North Shields Police Station
Arrested on: 13th July 1904 Tyne and Wear Archives
ref: DX1388-1-35-Jane Thompson AKA Gordon
These images are a selection from an album of photographs of prisoners brought before the North Shields Police Court between 1902 and 1916 in the collection of Tyne & Wear Archives (TWA ref DX1388/1).  Image available on Flickr.

I thought it appropriate to start this post off with a vintage mug shot from 1904.  This poor lady, I have no idea if she was actually found guilty.   So if any of her descendants come across this picture, my apologies.

A distant cousin of mine recently confided in me that it had been brought to her attention that her pictures were being saved from her tree on ancestry.com to a certain person’s (thief) personal computer and then uploaded to that certain person’s (thief) ancestry.com tree as though the picture had generated from them(thief) in the first place.  She went to this certain person’s (thief) tree and counted no less that 96 of her pictures being done this way.

She (my cousin) wanted my opinion on how she should handle the situation and what I felt was the appropriate way to save photos.  It’s my opinion, if someone (my cousin) was kind enough to upload the picture in the first place to share, then the certain person (thief) that saved the picture to their computer, should have appropriately attached the original picture from her (cousin) tree to theirs (thief), and then saved it.  Leaving the link to the original picture.

I wonder if this certain person (thief) realizes that when you save a picture from someone’s tree – it tells them (my cousin).  Then when the certain person (thief) uploads the pictures to their tree, it sends the person that originally had the picture (my cousin) a shaky leaf, indicating a new picture has been found!  Really??  New?? Not so much…..

She emailed the certain person (thief), and got no response.  So she contacted Ancestry, and this was there response.

Thank you for your response. We appreciate your feedback and are committed to providing excellent customer service.
The following excerpt from our Community Guidelines within our Terms and Conditions is in reference to the agreement between the submitter of content and Ancestry.com
Important Note: Any information you post in our community is public and can be copied, modified and distributed by others. By submitting or posting content in our community, you expressly grant Ancestry.com Operations Inc. the rights set forth in the terms and conditions.”
We sincerely regret your frustration in this matter. Unfortunately, we have reviewed your request and have determined that this member has not violated our Terms and Conditions.  We will not intervene in this case. 

Shortly after this, the certain person (no longer a thief) did delete the pictures from their tree.

People, even though that is the policy of Ancestry, please be considerate of the source of the photos you are saving.  It’s ok to save them.  Just make sure if you are going to add them to your tree, give credit where credit is due.  You may be causing them to lose contact with another potential cousin.  Why not leave it on their tree, attach it to your tree, and then you both can have contact with the potential cousin.

Am I the only one that feels this way??  Please give me feedback on this, I would really like to hear some opinions on the matter.

In the meantime, after I get some health issues taken care of for my parents, I’m going to go back through my tree and make sure I have properly credited all my pictures to the person I scanned them from.  It’s possible as a newbie, I wasn’t so good at that.  I do know however, exactly who gave me what photo.  I kept very good records of that.  So many of the pictures I have, cousins let me scan and some are pictures I took, of pictures hanging on people’s walls, so I will know if those came from me, because no else has had access to those.  I’m curious to know if this has happened to any of my pictures.

Which brings another thought to mind, does anyone know how to properly Cite a scanned copy of a photo in Family Tree Maker??

Oh, and Jane Thompson aka Gordon, I am truly sorry to drag you into this matter.  I just thought it would be a really cool way to show people your awesome mug shot from over a hundred years ago, and I hope you weren’t found guilty and thrown in prison, and please note, I properly credited your picture.  Thank you, thank  you very much.


Family Tree Maker with the new Tree Sync Option

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I’m not all that happy with this upgrade to Family Tree Maker 2012.  There are many things I like about it, but the whole reason I paid for the upgrade was because I was very excited about having my Ancestry.com tree sync with the tree on my computer in my Family Tree Maker program.

More and more of my family has become involved with working on our lineage and I wanted all of our information to be on Ancestry.com so family members can keep up with progress, but have my tree in my computer, for reports and such.

Supposedly, I can sync my trees with Family Tree Maker 2012.  That doesn’t seem to be the case for me.

First problem that I encountered was I couldn’t sync the tree I already had on Ancestry.com to the tree I already had on Family Tree Maker.  You can only upload one and then sync it, or download your tree from Ancestry and sync it.

My dilemma with that was, I had about 350 more people on my Family Tree Maker program that I did on my Ancestry Tree.  Since I have spent many hours connecting my Ancestry tree to other family members, photo’s and other information, I didn’t want to lose those connection’s by uploading a new tree.

Thinking I had no choice, because I didn’t want to have to reenter all the people and their information, I downloaded my Ancestry.com tree and I merged it to my tree in Family Tree Maker.  Then I spent days cleaning up the mess that it caused.  Then I uploaded that tree to Ancestry, creating tree number two on my account just so I could sync my tree.

Nightmare number two commenced.  Pictures went everywhere, sources got linked to multiple people they didn’t belong to, so on and so on.  So, I started working on cleaning up that mess.  Then about day two, the tree stopped syncing.  After countless emails to Ancestry, their solution –  keep trying.

I gave up.  After three days.

Ancestry.com support says “Keep Trying”.  That’s what the program tells me as well.  That however, is not helping me one iota.

Not to be beaten by a program, I decided to download my original tree because I really didn’t want to lose those connections anyway,  and I spent another two days adding the 350 people who weren’t in this tree, and the syncing worked fine.

Until two days ago.  I got the error message again, and still today, it will not sync.  I’m not sure why I thought I could go to bed and it would work fine today, but it is what it is.

So, Ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker people, listen up!!  You better do something besides tell me to keep on trying, or I will discontinue the $30 a month I am currently sending you.  I’m not wasting any more of my life trying to make your program work.

Neither of the two trees I have spent the past week and a half working on will sync at all.

Am I the only one that is having this problem??  I would really like to hear from some other Family Tree Maker users.

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