Ancestry’s software for family history – Family Tree Maker – is being discontinued. It will no longer be sold after the end of the year and no longer supported by the end of 2016. This has caused an uproar in the genealogy community and posts include complaints as well as alternatives like RootsMagic or Legacy Family Tree.
One response in particular caught my attention. Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers created a post called, “Blame the Millennials: The End of Family Tree Maker Genealogy Software”. To sum up the post, he discusses how millennials have changed the “purchase” economy to a “subscription” economy – thus being part of the reason Ancestry is discontinuing Family Tree Maker.
I don’t think Thomas is particularly torn up about the demise of Family Tree Maker. He can recognize that this is a part of the evolution of genealogy. He’s looking forward to what comes next. I share this sentiment.
Blaming the millennials?
It is my strong belief (and I realize, as a millennial, I’m bias) that we should be THANKING the millennials!
- Family Tree Maker’s TreeSync function was notorious for having bugs that lost sources or disconnected relationships
- Any software on your computer is subject to a hard drive crash and thus all of your data would be lost
- Any software on your computer cannot be accessed by the public if you want to share your tree
- Even if your hard drive did not crash – if you died you would have to have a loved one secure & preserve your data
- Lastly, convenience – get your tree off your computer and online now!
That last point is not referring to “shared trees” or any subscription service. Of course, I’m promoting webtrees. This is free software that, instead of loading on a computer, gets loaded onto a website address.
- Totally customization of privacy that can be specific to the record or event level – default is living people are private
- Access anywhere with internet – including mobile
- Allowing others to participate by providing a username/password – administrator can review before approving changes
So yes, let’s thank the millennials. They’ve provided some movement in the field of family history and in the future we will be growing out of desktop software and into the “cloud” where our data can be backed up by multiple servers in the world & shared easily with family members. All the benefits of a “shared tree” with all the benefits of desktop software. You’re welcome.