As Family Tree Maker software nears the end of its product lifecycle, many may wonder how far past the “expiration date” they should use it. Here’s my take.
Ancestry.com recently announced that they will stop supporting Family Tree Maker, the popular desktop software that syncs with Ancestry.com trees online. Sales will end on December 31, 2015. Product support and major fixes for current users will end a year later. (Click here for full details.)
This means the clock is ticking for Family Tree Maker users to decide where to put their family trees. Or is it? Can you continue to use software after it’s officially “expired?” For how long? What risks do you take if you do?
Consider the “Best If Used By” dates we see on the food products we buy. There is currently still some life in this product, and will be for a year after they stop selling it. According to Ancestry, during 2016 “all features of the software, including TreeSync™, will continue to work, and Member Services will be available to assist with user questions. We will also address major software bugs that may occur, as well as compatibility updates.” So technically, the “Best if Used By” date is the end of 2016. But then what?
What Happens with Family Tree Maker after 2016?
The software will still function on your computer. But it won’t sync to your Ancestry online tree anymore, and there will be no upgrades to make it compatible with future computer hardware or software. So eventually, you’ll need to transfer everything out of Family Tree Maker software anyway to be able to keep up with evolving technology. That’s what happened to me with my first favorite genealogy software. When it was discontinued, I hung on to it for a long time, and honestly, I had no problem.
Eventually, however, the old software was no longer fully compatible with new operating systems and I had to upgrade. I took a risk in continuing to enter information into an obsolete system–and wouldn’t take it again in retrospect. When it finally did come time to transfer, I was gambling with whether my system had gotten so far behind the times that it would be too difficult or even impossible to transfer everything. (Think how much our data transfer technology has changed in recent years: from floppy disks, CD-ROMs, CDs and DVDs to flash drives and now cloud-based transfers.) And I also ran the risk that there might be license limitations to how many computers my old software could be loaded onto.
Our genealogy software contains thousands of pieces of linked pieces of data: names, dates, relationships, source citation information, digitized photos and documents and more. This is not something we could easily re-create and I for one would not want to have to redo all that research (or even just key it in). Even if GEDCOM files continue as a universal file type for genealogy software, the ability to export every piece of information exactly as you want it in GEDCOMs is not guaranteed. For example, consider that when you download a tree from Ancestry, according to their customer support pages,”Any pictures, charts, books, views, or similar items found in the original file will not be included in the [downloaded] GEDCOM. Vital information, notes, and sources are usually retained after conversion.”
Why continue to load your Family Tree Maker software with data you might not be able to fully retrieve when you want to?
If you’re a Family Tree Maker user, I’m not saying you should panic. You have time to do your homework and carefully consider the best next step for you. You could start using new family history software with a reliable cloud-based back-up service for your computer, so your files are fully protected. You could migrate to another cloud-and-software-sync model over at MyHeritage (their desktop software is free). Click here to read more about those options and see current offers by RootsMagic and MyHeritage.com for Family Tree Maker users.
Bottom line: “Best if Used By” usually indicates that the sooner you finish consuming a product and move on, the healthier and better your experience will be. That is an applicable analogy for Family Tree Maker users. Research your options and move on to another product so your family tree will continue to grow and be healthy!
More Gems for Family Tree Maker Users
Here at Genealogy Gems we care about you and your data. Here are more resources for you:
What Ancestry’s Retirement of Family Tree Maker Software Means for You
Best Genealogy Software: Which You Should Choose and Why
How to Download and Backup Your Ancestry Data
The newest genealogy records to hit the Internet are exciting because of the wide range subjects they cover. Peruse these carefully because there just may be a genealogy gem waiting just for you!
New and Updated Free Records from FamilySearch
The newest additions to the FamilySearch collections are global in their reach, and best of all they are free. Here’s the latest:
American Samoa, Vital Records, 1850-1972
2,874 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Argentina, Salta, Catholic Church Records, 1634-1972
98,907 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Brazil, Santa Catarina, Civil Registration, 1850-1999
4,072 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Manitoba Church Records, 1800-1959
58 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Chile, Catholic Church Records, 1710-1928
2,670 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Colombia, Bogotá, Burial Permits, 1960-1991
18,221 Added indexed records to an existing collection
England, Oxfordshire Parish Registers 1538-1904
826 New indexed records collection
England, Yorkshire Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1613-1887
960 New indexed records collection
England, Bedfordshire Parish Registers, 1538-1983
376,993 New indexed records collection
England, Devon Bishop’s Transcripts, 1558-1887
33,158 Added indexed records to an existing collection
England, Warwickshire, Parish Registers, 1535-1963
20,994 Added images to an existing collection
Finland, Tax Lists, 1809-1915
73,007 Added indexed records to an existing collection
France, Vienne, Census, 1876
20,638 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Peru, Cemetery Records, 1912-2013
565 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Peru, Huánuco, Civil Registration, 1889-1997
6,480 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Peru, Junín, Civil Registration, 1881-2005
365 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Peru, Prelature of Yauyos-Cañete-Huarochirí, Catholic Church Records, 1665-2018
680 New indexed records collection
Alabama Deaths, 1908-1974
697 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Alabama, County Birth Registers, 1881-1930
6,638 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Alabama, Friends of Magnolia Cemetery, Funeral Books, 1911-1965
6,606 Added indexed records to an existing collection
California, Lassen County, State Board of Health, Burial Permits, 1931-1988
800 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Georgia, County Delayed Birth and Death Records, 1870-1960
7687 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Hawaii, Board of Health, Marriage Record Indexes, 1909-1989
10,729 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Illinois, Stark County Circuit Court, Stark County Naturalization Records
560 New indexed records collection
Louisiana, New Orleans, Interment Registers, 1836-1972
12,755 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Louisiana, Orleans Parish, Birth Records, 1819-1906
30,826 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Mississippi, Adams County, Natchez Death Index, 1835-1905
168 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-1991
5,678 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Nebraska, Grand Army of the Republic, Burial Records, 1861-1948
364 Added indexed records to an existing collection
North Carolina, Wake County, Death Records, 1900-1909
2,537 Added indexed records to an existing collection
South Carolina, Charleston County, Charleston, Birth Registers, 1901-1926
601 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Tennessee, Board of Health, Shelby County, Memphis Death Records, 1848-1913
1,061 New indexed records collection
Texas, Harrison County Delayed Birth Records, 1860-1933
196 Added indexed records to an existing collection
United States, GenealogyBank Historical Newspaper Obituaries, 1815-2011
98,269 Added indexed records to an existing collection
United States, Iowa Naturalization Records, 1859-1990
55,114 New indexed records collection
United States, Louisiana, Passenger Departures from New Orleans, 1867-1871
5,123 New indexed records collection
United States Census (Slave Schedule), 1860
4,429,408 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Virginia, Slave Birth Index, 1853-1866
13,135 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Pilgrim’s Rest Cemetery, Interment Records, 1880-1979
300 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Wales, Anglesey, Parish Registers, 1538-1912
281,418 Added indexed records and images to an existing collection
The Latest from Ancestry.com
Obituaries are a staple of genealogical research. Here’s the latest from the folks at Ancestry:
“Ancestry® updated its collection of US obituaries by combing through millions of digital obituaries to key names, relationships and other facts so members can now easily search these records with just one click.
This initiative first announced at RootsTech uses new sophisticated artificial intelligence technology.
The new Newspapers.com Obituary Collection and the upgraded Ancestry U.S. Obituary Collection will expand Ancestry’s unparalleled historical record collections that enable people around the world to uncover their family history, spark their own journey of discovery and inspire meaningful conversations.
- Obituary collections include over 262 million worldwide obituaries and death announcements with almost 1 billionsearchable family members
- US Obituary Collection, 1930-Current search is the world’s largest, searchable digital archive, now includes 4x more searchable family members
- Newspapers.com Obituary Index includes facts from nearly 200 millionNewspapers.com obituaries
- Newspapers.com is the largest online newspaper archive, with over 525+ million pages of historical newspapers, including obituaries, from thousands of printed newspapers across the United States and beyond.
Members with an Ancestry All Access or Newspapers.com Basic subscription have a 1-click option to view the full obituary on Newspapers.com. Some images may require a Publisher Extra subscription as certain newspapers require additional licenses to view their content.”
Visit Ancestry here.
Visit Newspaper.com here.
Other Unique Collections Updated
From the State Archives of North Carolina blog comes a very interesting addition ton an existing Civil War digital collection:
A selection of 12 volumes from the Soldiers’ Home Association have been added to the Civil War digital collection. These volumes document the history of medical care for veterans and the elderly around the turn of the 19th century.”
“These volumes provide recorded information on veterans’ military service, illnesses or injuries that might not have been recorded elsewhere. Some volumes include patients’ requests for their burial and funeral wishes. The volumes included are listed below:
Roll Book, 1890-1911
Record of Inmates, 1896-1924
Record of Inmates, 1925-1936
Record of Clothing Issued, 1926-1934
Hospital Patients, 1908-1916
Hospital Register, 1911-1919
Hospital Register, 1925-1930
Hospital Night Orders, 1918-1919
Hospital Night Orders, 1919
Hospital Night Orders, 1924
Hospital Night Orders, 1928-1929″
New British Genealogy Records
Discover your Scouse ancestor’s address, occupation and who they were living with in 1801. Findmypast now offers over 13,000 new and exclusive early census records. Don’t miss the images because they provide additional information about your ancestor’s abode.
The 1801 census was the first official census to be carried out in Britain. It estimated the population of England and Wales to be 8.9 million, and that of Scotland to be 1.6 million.
The 1801 census comprised two parts:
- the first was related to the number of people, their occupations, and numbers of families and houses.
- The second was a collection of the numbers of baptisms, marriages and burials, thus providing an indication of the rate at which the population was increasing or decreasing.
Click the following link to search the collection: 1801 Lancashire, Liverpool Census
Over 75,000 new records covering 52 parishes across the Cornish peninsula are now available to search at Findmypast.
These transcripts reveal 5 key pieces of information:
- when your ancestor was buried
- where your ancestor was buried
- their age at death,
- and relatives’ names.
Click here to search the Cornwall Burials collection.
And finally, Findmypast has added 12,000 new records to their collection last week. The majority of these new additions cover Swanscombe municipal cemetery and will reveal where and when your ancestor was buried as well as the names of their spouse and father. Click here to search the Kent Burial records.
New Records Coming Soon
Recently announced on the University of Georgia website:
“Through a new partnership with Google, about 120,000 of the Libraries’ 4.5 million volumes will be digitized, allowing further access to literary, historic, scientific and reference books and journals through UGA’s library catalog as well as one of the largest digital book collections in the world.”
“In addition to more modern materials that will be available for preview online, other examples of volumes available in full text include shipping registers from as far back as 1764 and Atlanta city directories dating back to 1870.
The project also advances a longstanding effort to provide digital access to state and federal government publications, and free digital access will be available to works by Balzac, Sir Francis Bacon, Robert Louis Stevenson, Thomas Hardy and other historically significant authors, thanks to UGA Libraries.”
Read the full post here.
What Did You Discover this Week?
Did one of these new and updated digital genealogy collections deliver what you’ve been waiting for? Please share your discovering in the Comments below. And click here to subscribe to the free Genealogy Gems newsletter to receive all the latest in new and updated genealogy records for your family history.
Our review of new genealogy records online this week includes the 1939 Register for England and Wales; church records for Illinois and Kyiv, Ukraine; New York naturalizations and Mexican vital and church records. Which of these may name your family members?
ENGLAND AND WALES POPULATION REGISTER. The 1939 Register is now online at Findmypast, as we blogged about earlier this week. Click here to learn more about this crucial record set for those researching English and Welsh families.
FLASH SALE! Receive a 10% discount off 300 credits on Findmypast now through Friday 13thNovember 2015 at 11.59pm GMT using the code 1939REG10. Click the graphic below to have the discount automatically set up for you.
(When you use our links and graphics you are helping to support the free Genealogy Gems Podcast – thank you!!)
ILLINOIS CHURCH RECORDS. Ancestry has updated its collection of United Methodist Church records for 87 counties in central and southern Illinois. The collection now spans 1824-2009, bridging record gaps like the lack of government vital records in the past and privacy restrictions for more recent records. Click here to search for baptisms, marriages, deaths, family buy worm medication for cats migrations and more. These records are for congregations that are no longer in existence.
MEXICO. For October, Ancestry announced the addition of “more than 250 million Mexican birth, marriage, death, and church records—plus U.S. census, border crossing, and naturalization records.” click here to search Mexican records on Ancestry–through Monday, October 9, access to these collections is free.
NEW YORK NATURALIZATIONS. Ancestry’s collection of naturalization records for New York (1882-1944) have been updated. click here to search for immigrant ancestors who may have naturalized in New York, which welcomed millions of immigrants who may have done this paperwork during that time.
UKRAINE CHURCH RECORDS. You can new browse a new collection of Orthodox church records for the Diocese of Kyiv, Ukraine (1734-1920) on FamilySearch. These include duplicate records of baptisms/births, marriages, and burials/deaths created by church officials for civil authorities. Click here to view these records for free (sign-in may be required).
Please help spread the great news! Thank you for sharing these new genealogy records online with your genealogy societies, fellow researchers and family.
Simply copy and paste the URL for this page:
- into an email
- on your Facebook page
- on your society Facebook page
- on Pinterest
We are celebrating our 1000th Genealogy Gems blog post with a list of our Top 10 Posts. Share this post on Facebook and you could win an inspiring family history writing video!
I can hardly believe it. This month, the Genealogy Gems website will reach a milestone 1000 blog posts! Thank YOU for your emails, phone calls and comments at conferences. I often share your success stories and use your feedback to bring you more great content.
Below is a list of our most-read posts so far. Did you miss any? Keep reading to learn how to win a a great family history writing prize by sharing this post on Facebook!
Our Top 10 Blog Posts
1. Ancestry Up for Sale? By far the most-read post in 2015! We weren’t just talking about the sale rumor, but sharing advice on saving your Ancestry trees, sources and DNA, which everyone should do.
2. Best Genealogy Software: Which You Should Choose and Why. This is my spiel on why you should keep your master family tree on software at home–not on your favorite genealogy website. It includes my top picks for family tree software, including free options.
3. Four Fabulous Ways to Use the Library of Congress for Genealogy. A lot of you are interested in the Library of Congress’ online resources for digitized photos, newspapers and how-tos for archiving your family history. Read all about it!
4. Free Google Earth for Genealogy Class. The conference lectures I give on Google Earth for genealogy are so popular that I created a free video that everyone can watch from home. Click on the post, and you can watch the video, too.
5. AncestryDNA Review and Breaking News: Updates Launched. Our own DNA correspondent Diahan Southard penned this popular post on AncestryDNA’s ground-breaking integration of our genetics data and our genealogy trees.
6. Seven Free Google Searches Every Genealogist Should Use. Are you getting the most out of free Google search technologies? Scan this list and see what’s missing from your search strategies!
7. NEW! Try This Now! U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index. For U.S. researchers, this was the blockbuster database of summer 2015. Millions of parents’ names, birthplaces and more now beef up this go-to Social Security database–its’ far better than its sparse predecessor, the SSDI.
8. Confused by Your AncestryDNA Matches? Read This Post. Another hit from DNA expert Diahan Southard! A great explanation of how to use your New Ancestor Discoveries on AncestryDNA.
9. How are We Related? Use a Cousin Calculator. It’s a simple, easy online tool, shared in response to a listener’s question.
10. New AncestryDNA Common Matches Tool: Love it! Diahan reports on a fabulous online tool that pulls out shared genetic matches between two people at AncestryDNA.
Will you please share this post on your Facebook timeline to help me spread the word about the “gems” you can find on the Genealogy Gems blog?
Here’s a little extra incentive: Use the hashtag #genealogygems and SHARE THIS POST ON YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE BY FRIDAY (November 20, 2015), and you’ll be entered in a contest to win the Pain Free Family History Writing Project video course download. It’s presented by Gems Contributing Editor Sunny Morton and donated by our friends at Family Tree University. Of course you’re welcome to add any comments on your “shared” post, like which Genealogy Gems blog post has most inspired you or helped your research. That feedback helps us bring you more posts you’ll love.
Ready, set, SHARE! And thank YOU for helping me celebrate our 1000th blog post here at Genealogy Gems.