No One Cares Like You. Let FTM Go and Get On With It

There’s still much gnashing of teeth over‘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.

But preservation?

That’s your job and often it’s not an easy one.

Get started.


11 thoughts on “No One Cares Like You. Let FTM Go and Get On With It

  1. If I have FTM software ON my computer, and am using it now….. as long as I keep the original installation disk, and continue to use the version that is now on my computer, can’t I keep using FTM???? even if they discontinue it?
    And if I should screw up the files I have, can’t I just re-install it, using the same disk I already HAVE< and keep my files going as before???????

    • Keep calm and backup, backup and backup your files. If you currently have a Windows 7 or 8 operating system, there is a good chance that your FTM software will be backwards compatible if you upgrade to Windows 10.

      However time, tide and and technology wait for no one. For example, I have over 100 vinyl LP records that I couldn’t play because my turntable broke way back in the last century. I replaced my favorite LPs with 8-track tapes; the 8-tracks with cassettes; the cassettes with CD’s and now have ripped the CD’s to MP3s. I’m just sayin!

  2. Holly Sorensen says:

    I never went to Family Tree Maker. I’ve actually been using Ancestry Family Tree, a program that Ancestry created and gave away for free many years ago. I like it, a lot! And I’ve gone through several operating systems since then, having no problems using it. Ancestry stopped supporting it when they took over Family Tree Maker.

    Having said that, I actually have 10 or more genealogy programs on my computer. I get them to try them out, or when a client wants to know which program to use. I let them decide for themselves which is more intuitive for them to use. With all of them being able to create and import .ged files, there is no reason to limit yourself to any one program. I will say that I do miss The Master Genealogist program, as it would accept all of the different genealogy formats, without needing to convert to a .ged.

  3. Finally! Someone who reminds us the world did not end. I have the software. I’ll use it until I can’t use it any more. I have a computer kid who can do magic things so even if I change operating systems, he will have an idea for me. Maybe keep one of my old computers just for programs that won’t run if/when I upgrade. I really liked the web sync but I guess I can learn to use another program that will do that or just not sync to any on line site. And like you, I can’t make anyone care about the fascinating stories I’ve discovered about my family.

  4. Never used FTM. For years had my information on PAF for which support ended years ago, because I was not actively working on my genealogy. When Ancestry came along, I signed on and built a tree there. But didn’t go to FTM. And after Ancestry bought FTM, that decided me that I would never go to FTM on the principle of all eggs in one basket. Went to Roots Magic, which I understand was created by people who worked for FTM. Very satisfied with Roots Magic. But as you say, nothing is permanent. I am under no illusions about that. I do belong to several FB sites of fellow genealogy addicts. They will listen to my stories, as long as I listen to theirs. At least I know if I’m up at 2am chasing a line I just stumbled onto, at least one of my FB friends is probably up at that hour, too.

    • And some of us are up at that hour approving comments to the blog. The important thing is that people stay aware that no software or site is going to solve all your preservation problems. In some ways I think the situation with FTM has been a good awakener for some.

  5. This is the 2nd time in the last 18 months that Ancestry has announced they are dropping major products (June 2014 MyCanvas, Y-DNA, mtDNA, and now FTM). This makes me question why do I want to invest any more money in any of their products or services since they are so willing to prune their offerings regardless of the value to genealogy research? They appear to be only interested in the near term business profitability.

  6. Given all the uproar over this announcement (well over 10k universally negative comments, considering the multiple thousand deleted by Ancestry on their site), I was curious about which software ‘you’ use and which platform you run on. Any info you’d care to share ?

    I’ve been looking for a reason to clean up my 25+ years of search results, especially in better documenting the sources, so now’s as good a time as any I guess to get working on that. In particular I’m interested in which packages do the best job of linking media to people (and sources to people) and having those linkages persist on import/export operations.

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