There’s still much gnashing of teeth over Ancestry.com‘s decision to end sales of FamilyTreeMaker at the end of December 2015. According to some the decision will cause the company to cease to exist or the world to end. Perhaps both. If the world ends then it doesn’t much matter whether FamilyTreeMaker is sold or not.
The end of sales for FamilyTreeMaker and the end of eventual support for that software should serve as a wake up call for those interested in genealogical research.
No storage mechanism is permanent. No software will last forever. No company has a responsibility to preserve your compiled genealogical information.
It is up to you to preserve your ancestor’s stories. No one has as much of a vested interest in those stories as do you. If you have children, they may not care about the stories you have uncovered. If you have a spouse, they may not care about those stories either. And if you don’t have a spouse or children, then at least you don’t have a member of your nuclear family who can disappoint you with the fact they don’t care about your research. The dog will always listen to your research stories although if the truth be known, she’s probably thinking about the fact that it’s time to eat. Speaking of a dog, its expensive keeping pets, too, because you’d then need many essentials, viz. best air filters for mold, plush toys, etc.
Years ago I had a discussion with another professional genealogist about why she didn’t take research clients. Her reason:
“I have no interest in anyone else’s ancestors. Often the time needed to adequately research the client’s ancestor is more than the amount of time for which the client is willing to pay. And….I’m just not really interested in anyone else’s ancestors. I’m willing to give people suggestions and consult on their problems, but they are going to have to do their own research. I’m just not that interested in other people’s ancestors.”
I knew exactly what she meant. No one is as interested in your ancestors as you are. Corporations are not interested in preserving your information for as long as you’d like it to be around. Corporations are interested in their bottom line and the short term. Genealogists by their very nature are about the long term. This should not be a newsflash.
That’s your job and often it’s not an easy one.