Just when y'all didn't think things could get any worse at Ancestry.com .... yesterday they announced that they are going to discontinue support of Family Tree Maker. If any of you are using Family Tree Maker, I recommend you read the post on the Ancestry.com blog. Although they will continue to support the software through 1 Jan 2017, they will no longer sell it to new buyers starting this month. What this means to all of us who have been using the software for years is unclear at the moment. If you take the time to read through some of the 7,000 plus comments posted in response to this announcement - you will see that folks are NOT happy with this new development. The abandonment of FTM - so close on the heels of the launch of the "new and improved" Ancestry.com web format is making for a lot of very unhappy Ancestry subscribers. They didn't listen to their subscribers when they decided to change the web format - so I don't know if they are going to listen now.
Why do this? Well, they say that supporting a separate software package makes it difficult to keep the program up to date and functioning properly. An all-web-based program is the way to go. I think it is just another way to keep everyone paying for subscriptions in order to take advantage of the things FTM provided.
Whether or not FTM will still function as a stand-along program after it no longer syncs to Ancestry.com is still a question we don't have an answer to. Once a company stops supporting a piece of software, it will, eventually, stop working - probably not in the next year or so - but updates to operating systems and other Ancestry.com anomalies will take their toll over time. We also don't know what will replace the functions of FTM - if those functions will be replaced on the website. Why do I think this only means subscriptions will now cost more?
There are still a lot of unanswered questions. As we learn more, we will share that information with you. In the meantime, if you are a FTM user and have a lot of information stored on that program, we recommend you start thinking about what you are going to do with all that information. If and when we become aware of viable options, be assured we will let you know.
If you want to read what some other genealogists are saying about this:
- Geneamusings by Randy Seaver
- Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter actually offers some support for Ancestry's decision, talks about the disadvantages of using a stand-alone program, and outlines a number of very good alternatives
- Top Ten Family Tree Software Programs
- Altnernative.to lists alternatives to Family Tree Maker
Linda and Denise