Ancestry.com

Online Family Tree Announcement

Posted by Kenny Freestone on December 19, 2007 in Family Trees

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12/21/2007 Note: We’ve had many questions come up in the comments section of this post. To help address these and other questions you may have, I’ve posted answers to these questions, as well as a list of known issues. –Kenny
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12/26/2007 Note: I’ve created a follow-up post to address many of the additional questions and concerns you have raised. Also, if you find a bug with the system, please send me an email (kfreestone at tgn.com).
Thanks for all the feedback.–Kenny
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Since 1999, our Online Family Tree system has helped almost 2 million people build family trees, upload GEDCOM files and add their trees to Ancestry World Tree. We’ve maintained this system for some time, but the it’s finally become outdated and will soon be replaced with the Ancestry Member Tree system introduced in July 2006. We realize this is a bitter disappointment for some of you who have worked in our Online Family Tree system for years. This is an important step for us that lets us focus all our ability on creating one great system for everyone to use. At nearly 8 years old, Online Family Tree is an ancient product (in internet years anyway), and we feel it is important to move everyone to the new system while this one is still running. If we prolonged this, it would be much more difficult to do this while the OFT system is on life-support.

What does this mean for you?

For those that have a file in the old Online Family Tree system, you’ll be able to access your tree in that system through about March 2008. Between now and then you can easily transition your family tree file to the Ancestry Member Tree system and get used to it before the Online Family Tree system expires.

We know how much time and energy you’ve put into your tree and we’ve done our best to make sure you don’t lose a bit of it as you change systems. There are basically two phases to this transition period for Online Family Tree:

Phase 1 — Trial and transition.

Between now and March 2008 you can move your family tree file to the Ancestry Member Tree system and get familiar with it. Your file in the old Online Family Tree system will remain intact so you can double-check everything. However, once you’ve transitioned your tree to the Ancestry Member Tree system, any new information added or edits made will not be reflected in your Online Family Tree file. Do nothing during this timeframe and nothing will change in your Online Family Tree file. If you make changes to your Online Family Tree file after you’ve transitioned to Ancestry Member Trees, you’ll have the option to send the updated file to the new system once again.

Phase 2 — Tree expiration.

At the end of March 2008 we’ll send you another reminder to transition your tree. At this point, your tree will no longer be accessible in the Online Family Tree system, but the file itself WILL remain on our servers and in the system for as long as we can maintain it. When you come to view your Online Family Tree file, you’ll see only a link to move your family tree file to the Ancestry Member Tree system.

After March 2008 we plan to remove the old feature set surrounding your file. This means that all Online Family Tree files previously submitted to Ancestry World Tree will remain there permanently, unless you take steps to remove it.

About Ancestry Member Trees

The Ancestry Member Tree system will give you most of the same features as the Online Family Tree system. That includes integrated record search, the ability to invite family members to edit and contribute, GEDCOM import and export and much more. The Ancestry Member Tree system will also offer many new and exciting features.

Below is a comparison chart to show which features from the Online Family Tree system are available in the Ancestry Member Trees system:

feature comparison

We believe you will find much to enjoy about Ancestry Member Trees, and we hope to continue to add features and make you excited about the product.
Already more than 3 million people have created trees using the Ancestry Member Tree system, and we’ve been amazed at the genealogy work that has been done:

  • 4.2 million family trees created
  • 378 million names added
  • 937,000 family members invited
  • 48 million Ancestry Hints™ accepted
  • 4 million photos uploaded

435 comments

Comments
1 Beth GubbinsDecember 19, 2007 at 3:47 pm

Will this continue to be a free feature? Or will everyone have to have a paid membership to use this?

2 Linda MullenDecember 19, 2007 at 3:58 pm

will the family file show up on RootsWeb World Connect Project database?

3 xanderDecember 19, 2007 at 5:55 pm

Now will you please make a similar announcement about OneWorldTree, and retire that infected dinosaur?

4 Carole GrantDecember 19, 2007 at 11:10 pm

I have already submitted a tree to the new tree system, which is PRIVATE, and will never be made public because I upload my documents to it, which I will not share. I absolutely HATE the new tree system. HATE IT HATE IT. Once they retire the Online Family Tree, I am removing everything from Ancestry.com and working strictly from home, on my Rootsweb progam.

5 Carole GrantDecember 19, 2007 at 11:47 pm

I deleted my online family tree and it is gone. Ancestry doesn’t even give you the choice to put it back on if a person has changed their mind. How clever of them.

Will your tree show up on Rootsweb? I doubt it.

The new tree system is not viewer friendly, not is it as easy to enter information. It is a constant click-click-click to get to the correct person, or lineage. Too many pages, too much confusion, too many event pages, relationships etc. That is not simple, but confusing. The search name engine is defective, and doesn’t always work, nor does it always find the name, even though you know that name is there. Such as your own name. I put my name in and the search engine couldn’t find it. What is the excuse there?

Also, consider this: family researchers are uploading documents (birth, death, marriage etc) headstone photos and other pictures to their trees which strictly benefits Ancestry; there is nothing to prevent them from harvesting all this hardcore documented research that we are paying for, and putting it in their databanks to be made available to the paying public sometime in the future. No matter how we are assured this information remains in our trees, Ancestry still has their disclaimer and submittal agreement that we must agree to before submitting our documents and photos.

I am indeed bitter about all of this.

..and I also agree with Xander about the ONEWORLDTREE being an infected dinosaur. Kill it quickly.

6 Jean CrowlDecember 20, 2007 at 3:23 am

While this news is a bit disconcerting, I realize that a year on the internet is a long time, let alone eight years. I actually came on because I went to merge information on a person in my tree tonight and Love, Love, Love the new Merge page (Once I figured out how to use it) This is GREAT! Thanks so much for this great addition!

7 MarianneDecember 20, 2007 at 4:21 am

How will this change effect the family trees that I have on my “MyFamily.com” site ?

8 Leonard NolandDecember 20, 2007 at 6:15 am

Thanks Kenny for the updates.

Our family LOVES the online Ancestry Member Trees. We have over 100 people collaborating on several of our trees. There are multiple editors in each and we find the trees very easy to use once we get used to them. Of course we are always looking for enhancements to make them better. That is why I agree that Ancestry should concentrate on ONE tree system, the member trees, and retire the OLD system OFT. Regarding ONEWORLDTREE, isn’t is an indexing system, or view into all the trees submitted? WE love it, and it lets us get an overall view of all the trees an individual may be in, and then makes it easy for us to view each of the trees included. Keep up the great work on the trees. Looking forward to more enhancements regarding descendant reports, and other things from the other blogs here on this site. Our family is addicted to the online trees, many many comments from family, how the look every day and some many times a day to see the new photos, stories, comments added. It is exciting and we all love sharing our photos, documents, stories with our other family members who are members of the online tree. Thanks to ancestry for all the great work they have been doing. Things are getting better and better. Thanks

9 Linda BrownDecember 20, 2007 at 6:41 am

Although I have begun to use the new Ancestry Member Trees I am not happy with the extreme changes. Someone with basic computer skills, would find it very hard adjusting to new ways of searching and saving. The new system is just not as friendly to those who are not computer savy. I find myself having to click too often to return back to the person I am working on which takes a lot more time than the old program. I also really miss the one of the Tree Views: (Family Story) which was a very good feature on the old Online Family Tree and should be added to Ancester Member Trees. It makes things a whole lot clearer when you can read the family story at one glance. I have to add that I really enjoy the ability to add pictures, stories, and audio. I hope that Ancestry Member Trees will be a free feature for all users to enjoy not just paid subscribers.

10 Betty TartasDecember 20, 2007 at 7:28 am

I just uploaded one of my larger family trees and portions of it are MISSING. Also missing are my copious documentation notes and census notes that I have been working on for YEARS. I had used Ancestry.com as my primary online family tree, and had recommended the website to others, but will now reconsider. While I think it is nice that the new trees will allow folks to upload photos, etc., I think it is apalling that we as customers are being forced into a situation that will require hours & hours of more work to re-establish what we have done so far. I DON’T THINK IT’S WORTH IT. My subscription is up in June. I may not be back.

11 Kim OstermyerDecember 20, 2007 at 8:20 am

I feel that Ancestry is right about this. It’s time to move on and up with what’s out there in terms of online sites. While it may seem a bit unfriendly to some users (always a learning curve and always room for tweaking), I find it fairly sleek for the most part. I think that people who are using Ancestry to its full potential (research, sharing, making connections), it makes considerable sense to offer so many of the things serious seekers use in their programs at home.

I question users who think that Ancestry.com has ill intentions about the services they offer. Look at it this way–why would Ancestry use research that people have put on their site for gain? How could that ever be feasible or remotely useful? “According to Joe Smith’s family tree, Edelbert Smith is buried just off Main Street, Anywhere, USA”–so what’s the source of that when it comes down to compiling notes? Do you admit that you got the information in a similar fashion as hearsay? It would be along the lines of using a random Gedcom as an actual source instead of a research note to look into at a later date! It also means the information is still not valid until you’ve verified it yourself or know that person is a credible researcher–but it still is not a source to brag about or to take seriously. Within the paradigm of a good, source, information placed on the Internet is suspect. While I enjoy using all of Ancestry, I take everything on here with a grain of salt.

We live in a Renaissance in terms of genealogy. I hope that Ancestry is aware that it is leading this community into a new era of possibilities. Not that I wish to grandstand, but we should be thankful that Ancestry even exists. Or the Internet for that matter. I’m 28 years old and remember when the “Information Superhighway” was advertised when I in eighth grade. Bless those souls of old who had to write letters by hand and hope that some kind soul across the country or globe would actually do a lookup.

I’m a bit confused by a previous poster had searching difficulties. I messed around a bit with the tool and found it excellent. I typed in my name and there I was. I also tried finding other people. The “smart” search is great. I typed in William and everyone with the name William appeared under the box so I could scroll down to the one I was looking for and go to said person.

My one suggestion would be to cleanup the rough edges with the “Add Event” section. It seems to be lacking a note section, which would seem to help those who are committed to putting their research online.

12 CathyDecember 20, 2007 at 8:28 am

The same thing happened to me. I uploaded almost 5,000 names to the new tree system, and whole families were missing, or were placed in the wrong place, relationships to the wrong family. This was years of work down the tubes. The notes section is still there, but you have to click several times to find the notes box. These notes are important to anyone who may be researching the same family, and someone who is new to the tree system won’t know to click on Edit Person, and then look for relationships or notes. There are too many clicks, and too many boxes.

The new tree system eliminates all the original viewing choices which helped in building the tree. Now, with all the clicks, different pages to read and the confusing boxes, this is lost.

Sure, there is a benefit to having several family members being able to access and add to a family tree at one time, but I for one don’t want anyone else editing the information that I take so much time documenting and putting in. I have a family member will will argue any date you present to them, even if you push the birth or death cetificate under their nose. This person would take it upon themselves to change or delete person they don’t want in the tree.

Another example is my son who doesn’t want any reference to his wife’s first family in my tree. His wife has children from her first marriage, therefore her first husband is a necessary addition. My son has already in the past, deleted all the first spouse family information that I put in my tree, and I had to remove him from editing anything.

Do you people want to take the chance of having this happen to all your hard work?

Unless Ancestry.com removes all the clicks, the amount of page views (relationships, relationship events etc) and places the notes page on the front of the person view, I am removing my tree completely and I will not renew my subscription this fall. The new tree system is just too unwieldy to manage. Too many clicks to get back to the right person.

I despise it.

Where is the abiilty to print out information from another person’s tree, such as was afforded to the public in the past? It’s gone.

The ability to view all information regarding the family member’s history, ie. census, who was living in the family during that census year, what their occupation was, who was living near them, and the NOTES, is gone. This was a huge beneficial factor in the old online tree system.

No, I am removing my tree and will search for another online site to put it on.

Goodbye Ancestry.

13 LINDA RAYE THOMPSONDecember 20, 2007 at 9:19 am

HELP! I have tried over and over to transfer my tree to the new site – MOST of my tree is missing!!! That’s over 6 years of work – please help correct the problem OR leave where it is – I go too deep/ far with my branches to lose anyone now! Linda T.

14 Rob SteinerDecember 20, 2007 at 9:35 am

I migrated my Online family Tree to the Family tree site but while all the names I have in the OFT are acessable the tree itself haws not constructed itself in the same form as the OFT. Only two generations are in the new family tree. Where are all the rest of the names?

Rob

15 Kenny FreestoneDecember 20, 2007 at 10:05 am

I notice multiple comments where your tree does not appear the same in the new system.

Please send me an email so we can look into this and get this right for you.

kfreestone at tgn.com

–Kenny Freestone
Ancestry.com Product Manager

16 Jean CrowlDecember 20, 2007 at 10:55 am

I am confused. I am sorry, but the more that I read this the more I think that I might already be using the new system. What is the difference? Is the web site address different from the old to the new system? It may be that I won’t have to move my data at all, but how do I know which system I am using? It may be that I started under the new system or I would already know the difference? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

17 Phyllis CressDecember 20, 2007 at 1:29 pm

I was ready to transfer my Online Family Tree to the new member tree website but after reading all the negative comments on the blog I am very hesitant to do so. Sounds as if to many mistakes have been made in the transition, to much hard work and time involved in accumulating all ones research and much of it lost in that transition. I for one also would appreciate the Family notes view being restored. If this new member tree is so complicated and requires to many repetitive clicks and moves to reach the info one is looking for; how can this possibley be a good move? I would appreciate an answer from Ancestry.com as to whether all the complaints registered are going to be rectified? Thank you.

18 Janet AlfordDecember 20, 2007 at 3:02 pm

I am hearing a lot of talk about this new member tree system but so far have not been able to find it to get a look at what you are demanding we move to. I would like to at least see it and see if I can move around in it. you know experamint with it a bit. At this point it sounds a bit scarry. You are asking me to dump all of my years of work into something I have not even seen. I am not one that likes to buy something sight unseen. And some people have said you can’t even print out any information that I find. I do print out every thing that is my way to have a document and a way to locate a source. I have been working on several trees all of them conected to mine. I just got done haveing some one deleat all of my genealogy and (Ancestry says they can’t find it ) I have been in the proces of puting it back togather. I am not real happy about the posability of all my work getting lost again or scrambled from what i am reading. I am beginning to wonder if that money I have been paying Ancestry isn’t just throwing it away and perhaps I should find another use for it.

19 Rchard PetersDecember 20, 2007 at 4:59 pm

I have been working on my famliy tree on Ancestry for years now. I have over 62,000 on my tree. I’m terrified that I will lose it all when I transfer over to the new system. I wish they would retire OneWorldTree and well as Private Trees. I enjoy having others view my tree and send additions and corrections. I’m not really
computer savvy either. I would rather keep things as is.

20 SueDecember 20, 2007 at 5:55 pm

AWT is more useful to me than the member trees, and is because of the time/trouble it takes to find what you are looking for in the new format. Again, you would think that someone out there would have noticed this in beta testing. (You DO beta test, don’t you?).
The editing issue isn’t a biggie, I don’t let other folks touch my data, and I think that functionality is still there.
Basically, Ancestry needs to beta test the ideas — from the new site to the cache issue earlier this year, and now the trees. If you would test it with real users before putting out and saying “Tough if you don’t like it”, I think you could get a better acceptance. And maybe learn something? I hope.

21 Dixie HoldenDecember 20, 2007 at 8:59 pm

I have enjoyed Ancestry World Tree because of the ease in up-dating my family tree. I would hate to think that all my work would not be viewed by everyone connected to my family or that it might be lost. From the comments that I have read I do not think anyone is pleased about your deccision to change.

22 Dixie HoldenDecember 20, 2007 at 9:02 pm

I have enjoyed Ancestry World Tree because of the ease in up-dating my family tree. I would hate to think that all my work would not be viewed by everyone connected to my family or that it might be lost. From the comments that I have read I do not think anyone is pleased about your deccision to change.

23 Nancy GerbinoDecember 20, 2007 at 10:11 pm

Losing the “Family Story” portion in your new settup is the loss of the key ingrediant. Also, while you can click on a pedigree it lacks the ability to creat a list of descendants. I can’t say that i will add all my hard found documents and photos for obviou8s reasons (the benefit to the corporation) but will give this new idea a fling. BUT WHAT I AM MOST WORRIED ABOUT…ARE YOU STILL SUPPORTING ROOTS ? AND, WILL THAT FEATURE CONTINUE AS IT IS ?

24 Gary S. CollinsDecember 20, 2007 at 11:03 pm

This message is in response to an “Online Family Tree Announcement” on or about December 19, 2007 by “kfreestone” (identified elsewhere as “Kenny Freestone, product manager at Ancestry.com over online family tree tools, especially the relatively new Member Trees on Ancestry”).

Ancestry.Com recently decided to terminate its long-standing service “Online Family Trees” (OFT). OFT is to be “frozen in stone” as of the end of March 2008, with then existing files continuing to be accessible but without permitting further changes to the files. Such an abrupt elimination of a valuable resource for genealogical study has come without opportunity for input from the many users of OFT, of which I am one.

Ancestry.com is encouraging current owners of OFT files to transfer them to new “Ancestry Member Files” (AMF) with different protocols. Beware! In order to make a comparison between AMF and OFT files, I uploaded my family GEDCOM file to AMF. Here is a major deficiency in AMF noticed immediately. Under OFT, as under Rootweb and AWT web access, notes are immediately visible when one accesses the entry of an individual in the file. However, in AMF files, “research notes” (same as “notes” in GEDCOM files), are visible ONLY to the “owner” or to designated “editors” of the file (I quote: “Research notes can only be viewed by the owner and by those invited to the tree as an “Editor”.”).

THIS IS COMPLETELY ANTITHETICAL TO THE IDEA OF RESEARCH NOTES! It means that my file cannot communicate information about an individual to a general researcher beyond bare statements of parents, children, dates and places. What about an individual’s life history?? Profession?? Accomplishments?? Property owned?? Physical description?? Attributes?? Substance of wills?? Descriptions by others?? Links to other information?? Etc., etc. A lot is embodied in research notes. This is totally intolerable! I want my research notes to be readily visible to anyone viewing my ancestry file! Unlike AMF files, OFT and Rootsweb files currently display all notes. An AMF file might pass for a neophyte who has a few entries and posts a few photos, but is totally inadequate for any kind of serious genealogical research. I protest elimination of OFT files in the strongest terms, and encourage others who have similar objections to make their voices known now!

You may wonder if I have a “work around”. The answer is a little complicated. Over the past five years, I developed web pages of documents or photos with links to individuals in my own OFT file. The problem is that links on the document and photo pages have to have FIXED links (URL’s) in the ancestry file in order to make correct references. When I uploaded GEDCOMs to OFT, individual identification numbers (“ID”) have been kept the same as in the original GEDCOM over many years. Recently, I purchased a copy of Family Tree Maker FROM Ancsstry.com. I thought I might be able to upload a GEDCOM with ID’s kept the same as in the GEDCOM. Very sadly, I was informed by FTM personnel of the impossibility.

If I can find a decent GEDCOM editing utility that can preserve ID numbers, then I will be happy and can avoid most of the OFT/AMF dislocations. I will be very grateful for advice about a decent GEDCOM file editor that preserves ID numbers: please let me know!

For reference,

My main page with genealogical links is http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~garyscottcollins/.
My photos page is http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~garyscottcollins/.
My documents page is http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~garyscottcollins/
The document and photo pages include links to cited individuals in the ancestry file http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/~garyscottcollins/.

Sincerely,

Gary S. Collins

25 Kathie AdairDecember 21, 2007 at 1:34 am

I had every Census for every ancestor typed in my notes section…now they are gone……where do the notes section fit into this?
I don’t like this new system. It is too impersonal. And to merge into other trees……you don’t know if those trees are factual or not..some people just copy other people’s trees.

26 Deborah WentworthDecember 21, 2007 at 2:12 am

Please do not take away OFT. I have spent six years researching my family lines. I keep going back to it even thought I have updated my trees several times to the new system. I prefer the old system that indicates records and likelihood of matches with the star system. Much easier to begin a new limb. Also, I lost years of entering children, aunts, uncles, and cousins that were in OTF and did not transfer to the new system. I agree with the difficulty of entering notes, references, and documentation. If you can simplify the new system to be as easy as the old system, as others are also saying, then give us 6 months to make our changes. I am a PhD and familiar with computer programs so if I have troubles, I KNOW others are having difficulty as well. I also feel long time loyalty should be rewarded and prices discounted. Perhaps a 5 year sign up plan?? Just remember those of us who have been with you for ages. And another difficulty, I have automatic log-in on my computer. I shouldn’t have to change my password if I forget it. I have tried to show others at work how neat your system is, but I can’t if I don’t have my password with me without changing it. I don’t like that inconvenience. Can you pole your users about new directions, suggestions or feedback and not have draconion announcements?? That would be good business practice.

27 Deborah WentworthDecember 21, 2007 at 2:16 am

One more thing, can someone please tell me how to do an anaftel in the new system. I can’t figure that out. I don’t like the merge system either, because I can’t verify another person’s research. Thanks.

28 Florence JohnsonDecember 21, 2007 at 7:16 am

I just transfer my on line tree to the new setup member tree and I do not like it. It is too complicated for me and all my tree information was not complete. I hate going back and trying to put the families back where they belong.

I only the know the basics of computer and the on line tree was very simple and easy to use.

Most of the inquires I receive come from researchers who saw my tree on Rootsweb with which you share your ancestry trees.

Please reconsider this move. I really don’t like it.

29 Betty TartasDecember 21, 2007 at 10:27 am

RE my previous post: Well. Gee. I finally found all my notes & documentation on the family trees uploaded into the new system; they weren’t missing, just BURIED in a little spot called “research notes”. It took me quite a while to find them. And interestingly, only the owner can view the research notes. How helpful is that? You can invite someone to view the research notes as an “editor”, but I never let anyone else edit my research. Oh by the way, I am a teacher with a MA degree, with lots of computer experience, and if I’m having this much difficulty with the new system, you can imagine how it’s going to impact others with less experience. And I am REALLY ticked off that whole chunks of my family trees just disappeared when I transferred them. Luckily the info still exists on Rootsweb.com Worldfamilytree–but for how long???
Smooth move, Ancestry.com !!

30 SERIOUS GENEALOGISTDecember 21, 2007 at 12:46 pm

Kudos to Mr. Gary S. Collins! Thank you for your excellent comments!

To begin with:
Anyone who posts here that they are outraged and claim it is inconceivable that Ancestry would not “harvest” our hard found, hard earned, paid for documents such as birth and death records, lives in a dream world. Ancestry is in the business of harvesting vital records.

Anyone who posts here claiming they have no problems whatsoever with hints, uploading, using the name search engine, causes me to roll my eyes in disbelief because the majority of people who have tried to use the new family tree system have had nothing but problems. How do I know this? Because in my nearly 10 years of genealogical research, I have established a broad range of contacts and communicate with them on a regular basis. Out of 100 people, 98 do not like the new tree system, have had problems, and will not use it.

The new family tree system has so many flaws in it that I silently scream in despair. In course of a telephone conversation with technical support at Ancestry.com, the technician disclosed and admitted to me that the “new and improved” (LOL) tree system provides Ancestry with an easier, simplified way to index all the records that are entered on their website. My thought is that this may simplify things for Ancestry support, but it complicates many things for us as the submitter.

Last evening, after deleting my public online tree from Ancestry in anger, I uploaded my tree to the http://www.rootsweb.com website, which is still running the old format. I don’t know how long my tree will remain there since Rootsweb and Ancestry are interlinked, but at least for now I can work in the old format.

If Ancestry locks the Rootsweb submissions as they plan to do to the OFT at Ancestry, there will be no other recourse for us but to work on our private tree programs at home and not submit anything online to Ancestry.com. I use Rootsmagic here at home, and love it. I work three different family trees at the same time. The format is similar to the OFT at Ancestry, with a few minor changes, and is not difficult to learn to use.

All my family notes on the new tree format are hidden, and my notes are absolutely crucial to researchers. They include additional information with respect to family relationships, where a missing member of the family may be, a detailed explanation on how to differentiate between identical family names within the same family because so many people accept names as face value and put the wrong person with the wrong family.

My census entries are completely gone along with other important “miscellaneous” events that I had included. My notes contain complete families, their names, ages, where they can be found at a particular time, how many people are in the family, who is living with whom and how many children born, how many living. These notes afford a researcher the opportunity to immediately see who is who and who is where, and also confirms my name and date entries.

I believe that Ancestry attempts to compensate for this loss of records by allowing us to automatically attach a census and other record to a particular name by the way of “hints”, but Ancestry’s “hints” don’t always work! Countless times Ancestry misses the census, or other document and their excuse is “Gadzooks! Is everyone on Ancestry.com at the same time!? blah blah blah” and nothing comes up at all. Ancestry’s “hints” miss the obvious, and also miss the non-obvious, the misspellings and the inverted names, which we as the researcher, have to re-do a document search and attach it to the name. This doesn’t always work either, because I’ll do a name search to bring the record up, and the name search engine does not always find my name, and the program slows up. What is their excuse for this? Too many people on Ancestry at the same time? In addition, automatically attaching a “hint” census to a particular name in your tree keeps the census under Ancestry’s control. It stays on Ancestry and not in your computer or in your paper files. But here we are, taking the time to attach all these documents to our family trees, and what will happen when the day comes that Ancestry has decided this is no longer productive to them, and changes or re-arranges the format to remove these “hint” documents from our trees.

The ability to merge names and dates from other people’s trees is a horrendous feature. Too many people do not bother to do their own work and copy other trees. These same people do not confirm anything they have entered, and their trees are WRONG! I’ve made mistakes within my own tree, and have watched in horror and amusement as people who have relations within my family copy everything that I have entered verbatim, errors and all. When I correct my error, the people who have copied my work leave the errors in their tree because they are not always aware that I have corrected my entry. Despite the fact that I have had a disclaimer on my tree stating copy at your own risk, this tree contains errors, — they copy my work regardless.

This new tree system is for people who are not necessarily computer savvy, think genealogical is a fun game and don’t view it seriously, and for those who want to publicize their entire family photo albums. Believe me I know it. I have a family relative who has submitted almost every picture from her photo album in the last 20 years. Who wants to see a picture of her changing her baby’s diaper or her with her kids at the bowling alley? Phooey!

I propose finding another genealogical site with a similar format to the original OFT format, and submit your tree there. You can still use Ancestry.com for your research; just don’t use Ancestry.com for your tree submissions.

There are plenty of other genealogical websites out there who are not affiliated with Ancestry.com. I plan to use them.

31 Warren CushingDecember 21, 2007 at 1:37 pm

I have had very little success with the new Member Trees. I downloaded all of my OFT files and uploaded them to Member Trees. I waited for 3 months, but NONE of them ever appeared online, so I deleted them. Ancestry told me that it can take up to 30 days for the transfer to take effect. Hmmm.

I followed the same procedure as before and now 2 of my numerous gedcoms have actually appeared online (Whoopie!). Curiously I am receiving numerous ‘helpful hints’ from Ancestry stating that new members have been added to my gedcoms. Strangely though the gedcoms still do not appear online. Very useful tool…NOT!

There does not seem to be a way to replace an existing Public Member Tree by uploading an updated gedcom. I presume that you must delete the old one and enter new one instead. Extremely work intensive as it involves reposting biographies, photos and research notes.

And I completely detest how the Research Notes are hidden from view! All my research is contained in the OFT Notes and I WANT THEM VIEWABLE when I am doing my research. I don’t want to click to see if there are any Notes (most of the time there is not) so that just wastes time and effort. Most of my OFT Notes are Biographies anyway and that is where i want them to go. How do I get this to work?

Also it would be useful if Research Notes had an icon to notify us if there are any available.

I notice that online errors are entering the “See full list of individuals” tab. The first page and a half of individuals in my gedcom are blanks. I entered 25,598 individuals from the OFT but the counter indicates 25,721 in the Member Tree. The other smaller gedcom that has appeared on line has 33 OFT individuals, but Member Trees says 36. I checked those links and it appears that they are all individuals that have not been added to the file yet. That could cause problems later on, don’t you think?

Member Trees has made it much more difficult to research online. If you find someone that you might be looking for, you have to contact the owner of the file first, not knowing when or if they will respond. Meanwhile you are left twiddling your thumbs. Not very user friendly.

Hopefully you have some answers to these problems. I knew that there would be many glitches in this process which is why I started early to see what the results would be. Can’t say that I am totally overwhelmed with happiness about the improvements, because I am not. Although I am mildly attracted to the new Member Trees, I still prefer the ease of function and layout of the Online Family Trees much more. I will be sad to see it go.

32 SERIOUS GENEALOGISTDecember 21, 2007 at 1:41 pm

oops I have a correction to my previous post. When I referred to OFT as a tree, I meant Online World Tree, not the OneWorldTree which is horrible and no better than the new new family tree whatever it’s called. I can’t keep the tree names straight because there HAVE BEEN SO MANY OF THEM IN SUCH A SHORT TIME. DUH. When I talk about Online World Tree, that really means the Ancestry World Tree that we all use and loved.

Sorry bout that.

33 ReneeTSDecember 21, 2007 at 2:49 pm

What happened to my “Notes”?!!!!!!

34 Gary S. CollinsDecember 21, 2007 at 9:59 pm

(1) Thank you for your very kind comments, SERIOUS GENEALOGIST.

(2) As, among others, ReneeTS wrote: “What happened to my “notes”?!!!!!” The answer is that, using the AMT interface, they are “gone with the wind”—inaccessible to any general person examining your ancestry file.

(2) Ancestry.com has gotten too big for its britches. The near-monopoly that it has in the genealogical service industry is leading to hubris. Chopping off a significant research tool, Online Family Tree (OFT), while promoting the “dumbed down” Ancestry Member Trees (AMT) will send any person with serious interests in genealogy elsewhere. A classic example of killing the goose that laid the golden eggs.

(3) Has Kenny Freestone, described as “product manager at Ancestry.com over online family tree tools, especially the relatively new Member Trees on Ancestry”, ever had experience using OFT?? Does he have any credentials in genealogical research?? Are the products of his personal research anywhere on the web where they can be viewed?? I would like to examine them.

Sincerely,

Gary S. Collins

35 KathyDecember 22, 2007 at 2:08 am

I’m an editor on someone’s tree.

I wouldn’t use hubris to describe this move. Try arrogance.

My own tree is in a My Family site & I’ll lose that shortly, as they are eliminating allowing people to have offline trees there.

As to whether they are doing this to get their hands on people’s research, stop & think about it. No more offline trees, even if people are paying for it.

I have found many errors in their free files & thought, Gee, maybe I could get some pin money for logging & submitting corrections for errors to be corrected. I started looking. Guess where the information comes from? Look on the site. If you send them a file & they give you some free time, your file goes into the pay section. If you donate the file & don’t take free time, it’s in the free access section. It’s not done by professionals.

This is nothing other than arrogance. Files that I used to access for free on Olive Tree are now no longer free.

If they wanted to make the tree better, they would add a linking capability, for those of us who have cross-marriages of families & leave the family story & descendant view alone. This is for their benefit.

36 Howard PellDecember 22, 2007 at 6:27 am

If this was a contest to see who could upset most customers in the shortest space of time, Ancestry would surely have won it by a mile.
My transferred trees – featuring several thousand individuals researched over several years – now have multiple missing connections which it appears I now have to repair manually, and of course all the notes I’ve added (which if nothing else one might have imagined could have been transferred to the new “Stories” feature) appear to have vanished into the ether. So Ancestry, do you really think that “progress” equate with “dumbing down”?

37 Richard ParkerDecember 22, 2007 at 12:50 pm

I’m a simple person who is not computer savy. However, I do believe in COMMON SENSE. From the comments I have read, Ancestery.com seems to have lost aLL COMMON LOGICAL. It seems to me if you are going to change from one format to another format, that some serious thought shold have been given to the best way to go. This is only my opinion but the best way would have been to develope a program design, where you, Ancestry.com, moved all the files to the new program. It would appear that you would have had a lot less headaches and angry people. It seems from the comments, so much of one’s information isn’t going to be available to other researchers. So why move?

Richard Parker

38 SueDecember 22, 2007 at 3:11 pm

Google Mr. Freestone. You will find nothing but social site garbage and job titles. If you query “Freestone, genealogy”, Ancestry.com doesn’t appear in the first 5 pages. (I didn’t look any further after that).

So he is “connected” on-line with his peers and job-related stuff, but he appears to have NO genealogy creds. He is not a member of APG nor does he have BCG accreditation.

Mr. Freestone, where are you? Who do you answer to? Why are you not addressing the concerns that come up here?

39 Linda MechamDecember 22, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Has it ever occurred to anyone that sometimes things are better off left alone. I don’t care for the new one either. I certainly hope you are not going to remove anything from Rootsweb. I don’t think the new version is as user friendly, either

40 PatDecember 22, 2007 at 11:06 pm

Where will the “notes” that we currently have in our trees appear in the new format? I just migrated my tree and don’t see them anywhere.

41 Gary S. CollinsDecember 22, 2007 at 11:46 pm

Posted by Kenny Freestone on http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/19/Online-Family-Tree-Announcement:

“*****************************************************************
12/21/2007 Note: We’ve had many questions come up in the comments section of this post. To help address these and other questions you may have, I’ve posted answers to these questions, as well as a list of known issues. –Kenny *****************************************************************”

I examined the two, new day-old links by Mr. Freestone above to learn more about the rationale for summary termination of OFT in favor of AMT.

From the new link “Online Family Tree FAQs”, originated December 21, 2007

“In the last 8 years the Online Family Tree system has aged–gracefully, but is now unquestionably old and ready for retirement.”

This is GOBBLEDYGOOK. At the programming level, it is impossible for a system such as OFT to “age”, whether “gracefully” or otherwise. The claim that OFT is “unquestionably old and ready for retirement” is provided without explanation. What Bee-Ess!

“We have two key principal motives for transitioning everyone from the Online Family Tree system to the new Ancestry Member Tree system:”

“First, we are concerned about the long-term stability of the product, and are anxious to get everyone and their files situated on the newer platform and technology that we can maintain and support. The product is eight year old, which is a very long time in internet years, and we are not comfortable that the system is capable of living much longer.”

Kenny Freestone, please define your concerns (or those of your employer, ancestry.com), about the “long-term stability of the product”. If you are claiming that Ancestry.com is incapable of maintaining and supporting OFT, please detail exactly why!

“Second, we believe the new Ancestry Member Tree system is a far superior experience, and believe you will find much to appreciate about it. We want to focus all our available resources on this one system, and make it the best it can be.”

What is the basis for your belief? I think that a fair-minded observer will conclude from an examination of opinions on http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/19/Online-Family-Tree-Announcement that, if it is intended to be a vehicle for serious genealogical research, the hyped AMT system is a joke.

“What is the Ancestry Member Tree system?
The Ancestry Member Tree system is a great tool for:
• Building your family tree
• Backing up your family tree online (if you use Family Tree Maker, PAF, etc.)
• Uploading a copy of your family tree for others to search
• Finding more information about your ancestors in historical records and other family trees with the help of Ancestry Hints™
• Seeking out other members researching branches of your family tree
• Preserving online photographs and stories about your ancestors
• Preparing a family history book for publishing
• And much more”
The OFT system has been a great system for the important items in the list: building a family tree, backing it up, uploading a family tree, finding information in historical records, and seeking others (not necessarily “members”) researching branches of a family tree. All that is missed is indirect linking of photos. Preparation of a family history book is fluff, as is “and much more”.

“Why is the Online Family Tree system going away?
After eight years of service, the Online Family Tree system has become outdated to the point that we can no longer maintain it. So we’re helping you transition your family tree file to our Ancestry Member Tree system before the Online Family Tree system is no longer available.”

This is BEE-ESS. Ancestry.com has provided no indication as to why the OFT system is “outdated to the point that we can no longer maintain it.” Does Ancestry.com need to hire better programmers??

“Do others have to pay to search my Ancestry Member Tree file?

Yes. While building and viewing your Ancestry Member Tree file is free for you and your invited family guests, others who want to search your tree must have a paid subscription in order to do so. Important note: Even paid members must ask your permission before viewing details in your tree.”

WHOA!! THIS IS THE REAL BOTTOM LINE. UNLIKE FOR FILES ON ROOTSWEB.COM AND SIMILAR PLACES, ANYBODY WILL HAVE TO PAY TO SEE YOUR TREE. AND EVENTHEN, THEY WILL BE UNABLE TO SEE YOUR RESEARCH NOTES!

“Who can I contact to make comments about this change?
Again, we’ve put a tremendous amount of energy into helping you make a smooth transition from your Online Family Tree to an Ancestry Member Tree. If we’ve missed something or you have other feedback to share, make a comment on our blog post or if you prefer, send me an email: kfreestone at tgn.com.”

Yucch! I encourage concerned readers to comment, preferably on the blog post so that all can see! This is a very sad day for web-based genealogical research.

Sincerely,

Gary S. Collins

42 Robert LeFevreDecember 23, 2007 at 6:20 pm

Well , So you have planted a few of your friends to post kudos for your folly , ( Mr. Freestone ) go back to where you came from . You obviously do not know the tremendous research work , The thousands of hours , That your paying clients have spent to build up your inventory , So that you can tell them , We dont need you anymore .By not allowing the people that have payed you , You are stealing .
The least that you should do ; Is to transfer all the files to your new plan . Think about the clients , Not yourself . Go back where you came from .

43 Gary S. CollinsDecember 24, 2007 at 1:56 am

I encourage prospective users of “Ancestry Member Trees” to make a detailed comparison between an ancestry file prepared according to the older “Online Family Tree” (OFT) and an exactly new “Ancestry Member Tree” (AMT) formats. The ancestry file is one that I developed over five years using OFT, transferring it regularly in GEDCOM format from OFT to “Rootsweb.com” for public presentation.

(1) My “Rootsweb” (OFT) entry can be viewed in two views:

The first, closest in format to that of the AMT archive viewed below, is at
http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=PED&db=garyscottcollins&id=I112549570&style=TABLE

The second view shows a much more extensive pedigree than is capable to show in AMT:
http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=PED&db=garyscottcollins&id=I112549570&style=TEXT

(2) My entry in the new “Ancestry Member Trees” archive is at http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/pedigree.aspx?tid=4779848&pg=0, which shows several generations of ancestors. Please click on entries for individuals; you will find extensive notes about individuals.

I encourage readers to make a fair comparison:

(a) Click on a few of the individual entries in the “Rootsweb” format (Links (1) above.) You will find extensive notes that I entered for individuals.

(b) Then check on entries for the same individuals in the “Ancestry Member Tree” format (entry (2) above). You will find “zero, zip, nada, aucune” notes because I have not specifically designated you as an “editor” of my file (no offense intended). Even if you had been blessed to be designated as a file editor, you would have to click through a link to examine “research notes” in a tiny text box. Astonishingly, even then, you would be unable to even print out the entire contents of the “research notes” since only the portion of notes visible in the tiny text box are printed.

This is outrage enough to the small number of designated “editors” of ancestry files because they cannot access the complete contents of “research notes” without having to write them down long hand! Ancestry.com gives half a hoot for editors, and no hoot at all for anybody else!

It is a much deeper outrage for everyone who wishes to access research notes of someone who posts them on the web. To whom do research notes belong?? To the researchers who write and submit them or to Ancestry.com?? Ancestry.com thinks they belong to it. Ancestry.com has grown too big for its britches and seriously needs to have its sails trimmed.

In summary, OFT was, and remains, a great instrument for genealogical research and AMT will be a big “Poof”.

44 KathyDecember 24, 2007 at 3:34 pm

Gary, I couldn’t agree more.

The person whose tree I am an editor for made the switch & Surprise!!!!!! large chunks are missing, & no notes.

Just to illustrate the difference, in case anyone from Ancestry still can’t figure it out. I noticed that you have Jonas Cattell. I have some information on him that you aren’t showing. I’ll email you about that.

Of course, on the “new & improved” tree, I wouldn’t have a clue if you had any notes or no notes.

45 Pam WagonerDecember 24, 2007 at 4:40 pm

Moving to a new system! It’s not that I’m against change, but the current trees are flawed and my expectation is that the new one will be too. One World Tree is a travesty and a prime example of genealogy gone bad. My current Ancestry tree hasn’t uploaded for more than a year and is sorely out-of-date, even though it appears to go through the process when I request it. The only thing that updates is the date. Makes me wonder if there’s a character limitation since I put all my sourcing in the notes section.

46 KennethDecember 24, 2007 at 9:52 pm

i think this new site,and new way of doing thing is the wrost thing ,that you could have came up with.After years of hard workand then i have to upload to the new tree,your site lost over half my peole.All that time and diggin wasted,just because you wanted something new,that not as good as what you have now

47 Gary S. CollinsDecember 24, 2007 at 11:38 pm

This is a correction to my recent Comment 44. Recall that I invited a comparison between my rootsweb.com ancestry file, identical in appearance to a public Online Family Tree (OFT) file, with my new Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) file created from the OFT file.

1. My apology to all who tried to access my AMT file. You couldn’t, because I had not made it public. The fact is that I won’t make it public out of concerns that I will not have complete control over how information in the file is used. If you did have access to the AMT file, rest assured that you would have been unable to see ANY of the extensive notes in my rootsweb.com file.

2. Under item (2) in Comment 44, correct the statement “click on entries for individuals, you will find extensive notes about individuals” to read “click on entries for individuals, you will find NO notes about individuals.”

Sorry for those errors.

A final comment regarding owners of OFT files who have reportedly lost large chunks of their information when they were “moved over” to AMT. A safe way to migrate your file from OFT to AMT is to first download the OFT file as a GEDCOM to your local computer. Then, if you wish to, upload it to AMT. There is no need to use AMT’s system to transfer your file and then delete the OFT file. Just go to the usual “Export GEDCOM” icon on the OFT screen, which looks like a printed page.

48 Melvin C WoodDecember 25, 2007 at 7:00 am

I started a family tree yesterday I am not a computer person. a page started and it said do not stop or come out of it. It ran all day yesterday all night last night so i stopped it. please tell me what was going on

49 C_KesperDecember 26, 2007 at 8:21 am

If the new structure will remain open for free use like before – I think, it’s really good due to all these features, but if I have to pay for the exclusivity … that wouldn’t be a good idea.
Think of all the people, who are interested in their family history, but can’t afford so much money. And it IS a lot of money, which you’re asking of paying members !

50 Warren CushingDecember 26, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Okay, now I am mildly peeved. Public Member Trees are NOT REALLY PUBLIC!

This is actually the first Q&A in their FAQ on uploading trees:
“If you choose the Public Tree setting, other Ancestry members will be able to view your tree and, if they find common ancestors, merge specific lines into their own family trees.”

So public to them means an Ancestry subscriber. If you are a member of the general public, you don’t count.

Most of my inquiries, about 30 per week, come from my Rootsweb mirror of my OFT. On the other hand, I am lucky if I get 2 or 3 inquiries a MONTH from the Ancestry connection service and its Member Trees system.

Obviously the more accessible the data is, the more people are likely to use it. Furthermore about a half dozen of my family members signed up as paying Ancestry members because of this feature. Rootsweb obviously generates more traffic than Ancestry because of the ease of use.

Methinks that PUBLIC MEMBER TREES should be just that…PUBLIC!

51 Robert PikeDecember 26, 2007 at 9:20 pm

I tried to move my tree from the Online Family Tree to the Ancestry Member Tree area. I ended up making a new tree with no content. This whole thing scares me. There must be things I don’t understand about this. I have invested a lot into my family tree and don’t want to loose any of it. What can I do?

52 James E. Harley, Jr.December 27, 2007 at 4:44 am

I have tried transferring my on-line family tree several times, but I keep getting an error message (try again), but it does’nt seem to be working properly. I cannot transfer my information as you are requesting.

53 Mary ChristmasDecember 27, 2007 at 10:28 am

Does this include removal of ancestry world tree and the one world tree?

54 JimDecember 27, 2007 at 3:13 pm

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to access Ancestry files in the last few weeks, get a page stall-out, and nothing comes up. I have cable broadband, so computer resources are not a problem.

I attribute this to the new tree system, and all the uploading of all the photos.

Not only is the new AWT horrible to use, but it is a monster just straining to break out and crash their systems.

Six of my genealogy friends have already pulled their trees from Ancestry, and more are waiting in the ranks. I hear nothing but complaints.

Ancestry, do you know what you have done?

55 Gary S. CollinsDecember 28, 2007 at 2:07 am

I’m happy that Kenny Freestone had a Merry Christmas. But I didn’t, with all the uncertainties associated with ancestry.com’s impending, irrational termination of one of its greatest assets: Online Family Tree (OFT).

I PROTEST THAT THE MANAGEMENT OF ANCESTRY.COM HAS SET UP MULTIPLE “BLOG” SITES THAT SEEM INTENDED TO DIFFUSE THE MANY, VARIOUS COMPLAINTS THAT HAVE ARISEN OUT OF ITS “DICTAT” TO FORCE USERS TO CONVERT USEFUL “ONLINE FAMILY TREE” (OFT) FILES INTO LAME “ANCESTRY MEMBER TREE” (AMT) FILES. INTERESTED PERSONS HAVE TO CONSULT (AT LEAST) THE FOLLOWING FOUR SITES TO KEEP ABREAST OF IMPORTANT BLOGGED INFORMATION. THIS APPEARS TO REPRESENT A MODERN VERSION OF THE STRATEGY TO “DIVIDE AND CONQUER”.

(1) http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/online-family-tree-faqs/
(2) http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/19/online-family-tree-announcement
(3) http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/known-issues-with-online-family-tree-transition/
(4) http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/26/more-questions-and-answers-about-the-online-family-tree-transition/

As reported by Kenny Freestone, touted “manager” of this “forced” transfer of files from OFT to AMT, about 30% of persons trying to transfer OFT files automatically to AMT files using ancestry.com routines experienced catastrophic, personal losses of information, described by Kenny as a “bug”. Kenny’s comment to make them feel better was: “We’ve just recently been able to replicate this issue, and identify what causes it to occur. It is an unusual thing, but not as rare as we would hope. Our thanks to those who have sent us information to help us reproduce the issue.” In my opinion, those who have experienced an “unusual thing” should complain mightly. Some have already. If you have had problems, make them known!!

Where I come from, a 30% software failure for users who have lost data collected over years would have heads rolling!! So, Kenny, whose heads have rolled so far?? Who should pay the price for lost ancestral data collected over years??

I have personally subscribed for information from ancestry.com over the past 3 or 4 years. However, as a matter of principle, I will instantly cancel any and all subscriptions to ancestry.com on the date that OFT is rendered inoperative. I urge others to make similar statements. I am sure that I will not be alone.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

56 Joyce B.December 28, 2007 at 7:20 am

Cancelling a subscription to Ancestry is not counterproductive to research.

What is effective is removing all of our family information from their website.

The main draw for Ancestry.com is their FREE family tree system, which is their LOSS LEADER.

Many people don’t purchase outside programs and take advantage of the convenience that Ancestry.com offers by allowing people to publish their family information on Ancestry servers. This in turn causes the submitter to “want more” and they then subscribe to Ancestry.com’s services.

People who remove their family trees from Ancestry’s website create a problem. The FREE draw-in is gone.

I heartily suggest that people who are not happy with the new AMT system, which includes me, to REMOVE THEIR FAMILY TREE. Do not give Ancestry your information.

Send the message. I already have. I have removed my tree from their website and do not regret my action in the slightest.

REMOVE YOUR TREE!

57 Kenny FreestoneDecember 28, 2007 at 9:26 am

Gary, You misunderstand the nature of the bug.

No data is lost permanently because the migration does not change the OFT file. So if there is a bug in the migration, the resulting file will be incomplete, but the original is unchanged. When the bug is fixed, a new migration can be made from the original file.

–Kenny Freestone

58 Warren CushingDecember 28, 2007 at 3:34 pm

I tried editing one of my OFTs today. AS A RESULT, ALL OF MY OFTs HAVE DISAPPEARED!!!

What’s up with that?

59 Mary KellyDecember 28, 2007 at 4:46 pm

I am concerned that now ancestry is limiting family tree compilation to members only and not everyone can afford their fees. I have had many contacts from the free content and am very upset that they are now limiting access. Are they now getting too big for their britches? Have they forgotten what their goal was?

60 Nancy SelfDecember 28, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Dear Mr. Freestone:

I am an experienced genealogist, and have been working on my family tree for over 10 years. I work on my tree every day, travel to states to research and have pored through every dusty cubbyhole possible to get information. I document, confirm, reconfirm, and re-document for accuracy. I attend genealogy conventions and meetings, belong to countless societies, and have a broad range of contacts with whom I chat with on a regular basis. Not too many of my contacts are pleased with the new Ancestry Member Tree but you would not know this, because these people don’t feel it necessary to share their thoughts, they just stop using Ancestry’s resources.

I work on my tree here at home on a home program, and also used the original online tree system at ancestry.com. The online tree is for the purpose of reaching out to other researchers and extended family members, to be able to fill in missing puzzle pieces, find lost branches and tear down brick walls. This is an especially important sector of genealogy. I have since removed my online tree and no longer share my information with Ancestry.com.

The ability to reach out to other members will be lost to everyone when you revert completely to the new tree system in March.

Yes, I am aware that paid members will be able to view certain information, but that information will be limited because features that were previously public have now been eliminated or made “private.” What this will eventually do is drive the people who submit information to Ancestry.com over to Rootsweb so that their tree is again 100% public.

Ancestry will become a magnificent loser in more ways than one.

Stopgap.

You “simplified” a system that was already simplified and user friendly. Names were displayed in family, pedigree or descendant views, however a person wanted to view or work on their tree. Ancestry has now instituted a “main” page with overlarge fonts, a time-line that has limits and range deficiencies, and a view that is frustrating and amateurish. An entire page is wasted to largesse.

Click on the family member’s name, click on the edit profile, click on the events tab, click on the options tab, click out, click back in, click out, click out again, click on the child’s name, click on the tab to enter information, click out, click out on the parent’s name. Ooops wrong parent, click out, click on the correct parent, click on another child, click on the parent, click on the grandparent, click on another sibling, click out, click on the grandparent. Oh my god I’m LOST! Go back to Home Person, and start all over again. click click where is my information? why are there two events pages? What are these options? Those aren’t options that I am looking for, these are useless! Oh my god I am LOST again!! This is simplified and user friendly? ! I can’t stand it and neither can anyone else.

Where is the printer friendly page?
We all like to print out what we submit. We like to print out other people’s pages for our files as a comparison factor.

The merge feature is a monster rearing it’s head. I won’t give my sister editing abilities in my tree because she is inexperienced, and thinks all a person has to do is take someone else’s information and merge it into our tree. I told her to start her own tree and she now has people in it that I’ve never heard of. This is professionalism?

Ancestry.com is promoting substandard genealogy work. Instead, Ancestry should be standing back at arm’s length and not become directly involved in placing names in people’s trees. This could be a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen. I have already heard the whispers.

You want to give people the ability to upload documents and pictures, that is fine, however, give them the original view features that were friendly and helpful. The new Ancestry tree isn’t even like the Family Tree Maker program, of which I am hearing nothing complaints about. I just got an email this morning from a subscriber who bought the FTM2008 and they hate it, and are going back to the old program they are using.

Change is not necessarily good.

The missing Notes is also a problem. Your have posted an excuse that the notes section in the old tree was never intended to be public, which is ridiculous. Then why have it on the tree in the first place? What do you think people used it for – to draw pictures? The Notes section is invaluable, and has obituaries, explanations, and other important relevant information that researchers need to see. This is not for the STORIES or COMMENTS sections. Those sections are buried at the bottom of your over-large page anyway, and people most often don’t even know they are down there, — AND, it’s another click or two if you do find them.

You can possibly reach a happy medium if you reinstate the view and print features of the old tree, reinstate the notes and consolidate some of the extra pages that are absolutely worthless.

There is no reason why “facts and events, relationship events, relationships” should have tabbed separately. This is confusing, redundant and unnecessary. They all mean the same thing, and should be consolidated onto one page, along with Research Notes. Notes in full on a page, not hidden under Edit Profile. Then there is more redundancy and confusion. On each page is Add New Life Event, and then countless More Options. What happened to the simplified entry system that was on the original online tree? Add a census, add a birth, add a marriage, add a census, add a burial. It was easy, friendly and simple. Instead, we are told we must accept a complicated, confusing mess called the New Ancestry Member Tree.

I have run out of words for now. I am sure I will think of more at another time. Right now I am going over to my sister’s house and watch her upload about 700 digital photos to her New and Improved, Simplified Ancestry Member Tree. Linda thinks having an online photo album is wonderful.

As always, with warmest regards,

Nancy

cc: ancestry blog

61 Rchard PetersDecember 28, 2007 at 7:40 pm

Gary,
Why are you doing this? It is obvious that most of us do not want a new system. I think I wil cancel my subscription and let my family tree go into oblivion, limbo or wherever everyone else’s trees are going.
PLEASE don’t try to fix something that works so VERY WELL for most of us.

62 VICKI HANNDecember 28, 2007 at 8:43 pm

I AM CONCERNED BECAUSE I HAVE A MAC COMP AND DO NOT HAVE A GEDCOM SET UP. THE LDS CHURCH ARE UPGRADING THEIR SITE HOW CAN I SAVE WHAT I HAVE PUT INTO WHAT I HAVE. THANK YOU VICKI HANN (GABBYHANN)

63 James RalstonDecember 28, 2007 at 9:08 pm

Is there any method to get a simple answer from you people? It seems that no one can give courtesy to answer anything. ALL I WANT TO KNOW IS HOW AND WHEN YOU PEOPLE ARE GOING TO FIX THIS COMPLETE JUNK 2008 FTM program, as promised with patches. I would really feel good if I knew that someone in management had the guts to fire some of the incompetence you have working for you, before, we the customers, cause you to go broke from all of our cancellations. Obviously, no one knows how serious the problems are and also that there seems to be no management running this circus, who has an kahoonas to take over and cure it. Your lack of giving the customer what was promised is going to be you downfall.

64 Pat BozemanDecember 29, 2007 at 8:58 am

I’ve been trying to transfer my two Online Family Tree files which, now, have been running — without results — for a full 12 hours. Isn’t that a bit much, even allowing for heavy transfer traffic?

65 Lysbeth WaltmanDecember 29, 2007 at 11:06 am

Another descendant recently contacted me and wrote “Thank you for all the hard work. I never new any of my grandfathers family and only knew his name.” And now my notes will not be visible to the public?

My notes contain information from church records, Civil War pension application records, historical books and historical maps with property ownership shown, Ortssippenbucher, LDS microfilm records, and cemetery records. My notes do not contain anecdotal information. I have documented more detail than is easily entered into reference footnotes. Much of this information was obtained from obscure references, some not easily available without a trip to Pittsburgh or Washington DC or without hiring a researcher. My notes tell other researchers what is available and exactly where (often with page numbers) to locate the information. And now this information will be hidden from public view?

Anyone at Ancestry.com who could make this decision does not know what the public appreciates. Multiple descendants have contacted me to thank me for the information in my notes.

66 KathyDecember 30, 2007 at 1:13 am

Mr. Freestone,

How many minutes have you spent doing genealogy?

Did it occur to you that every genealogy program on the market has a notes section? Do you think that’s for the grocery list?

After the person whose OFT tree I edit migrated his tree & it was mangled in the process we can no longer work on the old tree.

Do you think that this is good customer service to say oh well it’s only a 30% failure rate? You put up a faulty product & told people to use it.

My tree will not be made public for personal reasons. It is offline in a PAID My Family site. Many people check my tree, but it will be lost when you migrate the site. LOTS of people have offline trees in PAID My Family sites but we will all lose those trees when the sites are migrated. Does that sound like good customer service?

I was going to get a paid My Family site, but now I will not.

I know a great many excellent researchers in Europe who pulled trees from Rootsweb when Ancestry decided to include those trees in One World Tree, & guess what? They refuse to subscribe to Ancestry because they were offended by that decision.

Your “new & improved” tree is faulty and the merge causes disasterous results. Obviously, Ancestry doesn’t care about disgruntled customers or potential customers. Ancestry SHOULD be attempting to fix the problem that you have created & should fix the problem for every single person who has had their tree mangled by your decision to implement something that was faulty.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

67 Kenneth WebbDecember 30, 2007 at 11:05 am

Kathy the people of Ancestry does not care about you,me nor anyone else. So what it some of ypur notes are lost forever,you really don’t think they care do you. This all has to do with something greenand eveyone wants. They will find a way to fix things were the notes canbe but in if you can remember them,but the fix is going to cost more money.
Ancestry tricked everyone into putting thier tree’s in for free,with
no word of a future charge,which now we have. I have one thought we are the one who put the tree’s on for them,we did the diggin and the work,and they want money. Here an Ideal I have why don’t we all just delete our tree out of ancestry and else where,then let’s see what they have to sell.It will be nothing because they need our tree’s, I work 10 years on mine and I’m will to delete it in a second if ,I can get more people to join in on this. I put my info into them to give out free not to make someone pay for it.If I knew this was coming I would have never add one name to my tree. I
just wanted to thank Ancestry for doing us this way.We relly needed this ,we have a lot of brickwall’s as it is and here you add another. I guesss from the tone of this you know I’m not going to pay,and not to sure my tree’s going to stay either. Thank you so very much Ancestry all my hours of work and years of time put in this just so i have to pay to see. Thier a lot of people who can’t pay this fee is it fair to them, I can but I will not.

68 Lysbeth WaltmanDecember 30, 2007 at 11:40 am

Ancestry is changing. Perhaps this should not be surprising — search Google for the 17 Oct 2007 Reuters release ‘Ancestry.com parent company sold for $300 million’ [yes -- your users can do all kinds of research].

I renewed my membership in Ancestry a couple months ago for a lot of money, and I view these changes in my subsciption as bait-and-switch.

Of course, things do not remain unchanged forever, and we recognize that the new system has some good potential. However, the capacity to upload 500 photos at a time is not genealogy. This sounds like you are leaving your genealogy researchers behind and are now trying to compete with MySpace.

We expect your family tree services to continue to provide: public notes, descendant lists and registers, and ahnentafels.

69 JimDecember 30, 2007 at 12:08 pm

I agree. The photograph situation is out of control. Last evening, as a test, I did a name search in the photo section for one particular uncommon name, and 17 pages of photos came up for a single last name. Of those 17 pages, I found one photo that was repeatedly posted approximately 15 times. That photo appeared on 15 of the 17 pages. I counted.

A good portion of the photos were everyday photos of a man in different places, doing different things… a new car, with his dogs, on vacation at the beach, so on and so forth. Other photos were also modern day photos showing people at family celebrations, with their grandchildren. Many of these photos were repeated over several times because they had been uploaded and attached to multiple names. The submitters are obviously proud of their photos, but not everyone wants to look at 25 pictures of their family vacation in 1955. This is not genealogy but it is an internet photo album.

I don’t think this was what Ancestry had in mind when they gave their customers the option to upload photos, but you can’t tell me they didn’t expect it.

Now the question is how to control it.

All these photos are clogging up the system, and any one with common sense will tell you that all these documents and photos, along with the bugs associated with the “new and improved tree” are slowing down the website.

Does anyone here know that FamilySearch.org is at the National Archives in Washington DC and are frantically digitizing ALL the books and records on file there, which include ALL military records and pension records?

Familysearch is also at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne Indiana, Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library and FamilySearch Family History Library in Salt Lake City, digitizing records. They are adding these histories to the internet on a DAILY BASIS

70 JimDecember 30, 2007 at 12:15 pm

Hit submit by accident. Will finish:

When complete, these records will be the most comprehensive collection of city and county histories on the web and access will be FREE at http://www.familyhistoryarchive.byu.edu.

The digital history will target over 100,000 published family histories and thousands of local histories that are rich in names as well as biographical and genealogical data.

Once digitized, the collections will have an “every word” search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date or other field across the collection. The search results are then linked to high quality digital images of the original publication.

This is all in connection with the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. They are joining with others to provide FREE services to archives and other records custodians. This program expands FamilySearch’s previously announced decision to digitize and provide online access to copyrighted microfilm preserved int he Granite Mountain Records Vault. The program also allows FamilySearch and archives to team with genealogy websites to provided unprecendented access to microfilm in the vault. The combined results ensure a flood of new record indexes and images online at http://www.familysearch.org and affiliated websites.

THIS SERVICE AND THESE IMAGES WILL BE FREE.

71 garyscottcollinsDecember 30, 2007 at 5:17 pm

THE TIME HAS COME FOR ANCESTRY.COM TO REVERSE ITS ILL-ADVISED DECISION TO TERMINATE ONLINE FAMILY TREE (OFT) IN FAVOR OF THE LAME ANCESTRY MEMBER TREE (AMT).

Let me not try to repeat all the things that are right with OFT and wrong with AMT. Principal is loss of access in AMT to all ‘notes’ for public viewers. OFT has been and is a tremendous research tool for persons with serious genealogical interest. The format for displaying GEDCOM files by OFT, as well as by Rootsweb.com, presents all information that any person with a SERIOUS interest in genealogy wants in the form of NOTES. Other information such as photos and other links can already be attached to OFT or Rootsweb files (see, for example, the page for my grandfather at http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=garyscottcollins&id=I112549564). Like Rootsweb.com files, public OFT files are completely public and super fast because the basic displays are text-oriented. AMT is a display-intensive ‘scrapbook’ for photos that is slow as a ‘dog’ because of its irrelevant fancy boxes and silhouettes of ‘fathers’ and ‘mothers’.

No person with a serious interest in genealogy will use AMT! Many, many people currently use OFT.

WE CALL ON ANCESTRY.COM TO REVERSE ITS MIND-BOGGLING DECISION TO KILL OFT. ANCESTRY.COM AND TO PERSONS HAVING A SERIOUS GENEALOGICAL INTEREST WILL SUFFER MAJOR HARM BY THIS ‘DUMBING DOWN’ OF SOFTWARE BY ANCESTRY.COM.

This message has been posted on the following four ‘blog’ sites:

http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/19/Online-Family-Tree-Announcement http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/online-family-tree-faqs/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/known-issues-with-online-family-tree-transition/
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/26/more-questions-and-answers-about-the-online-family-tree-transition/
.

72 garyscottcollinsDecember 30, 2007 at 10:53 pm

I recently have posted several messages to the four ‘blog’ sites known (listed below) that are concerned with possible termination of Online Family Tree (OFT) by Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com customers (as well as central management personnel at Ancestry.com) deserve to be able to read comments by customers who use or have used OFT. The vast majority of those have, to date, expressed very major reservations about the proposed “replacement” of OFT by Ancestry member Tree (AMT).
Several recent, multiple postings of my own have been briefly posted with the ominous message “YOUR COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION”, after which they were quickly deleted. While I can understand rationales under which some comments posted to Ancestry.com might be considered off-target for a particular ‘blog’ and, and therefore might be a source for moderation, such moderation has never been previously announced. Obviously, such “moderation” can be a facile substitute for “censorship”.
Therefore:
1. READERS need to be aware that such unpublicized “moderation” exists now! They need to search broadly on the Internet to find “unmoderated” comments that are not biased by “moderators”, who in this instance can be confidently assumed to be part of Ancestry.com’s promotional relations department.
2. ANCESTRY.COM: Which of your ‘blog’ sites are moderated and unmoderated??
The four ‘blog’ sites concerned with proposed termination of Online Family Tree are:
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/19/Online-Family-Tree-Announcement http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/online-family-tree-faqs/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/known-issues-with-online-family-tree-transition/
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/26/more-questions-and-answers-about-the-online-family-tree-transition/

73 JimDecember 30, 2007 at 11:42 pm

I thought there were posts missing. Posts that I read yesterday are gone today.

Ah, the fickle mind of the Ancestry blog moderator. First they want to hear from their customers and now they don’t.

I think that the point has been made to Ancestry that there are far more people beyond the estimated 4% that are unhappy with the new tree system.

I think it’s been brought to tech support’s attention that the new tree is boggled with bugs.

I certainly hope they know that the photo situation is appalling.

They know (but won’t admit it) that approximately 85% of the new tree users don’t like it that certain useful features from the old tree system are missing, or hidden, and that the customer no longer has a choice in views beyond individual and pedigree (which is useless if you ask me, but that’s my personal preference).

The board is now being moderated because they are tired of reading the same thing over and over.

Sorry, but that’s the way it is.

I am just as unhappy as you are, but I have already taken action. My tree has been removed from their site.

74 David R. WilliamsDecember 31, 2007 at 8:27 pm

If Ancestry makes this change, I’ll make a change by deleting my tree from the system.

“Contribute to the Ancestry World Tree
Everyone benefits from sharing research and collaborating with others who may be researching the same lines. As more data is added, the Ancestry World Tree becomes more valuable to everyone. We need your contribution to make the Ancestry World Tree grow.

When you submit your family tree you help the Ancestry World Tree grow rapidly. Your file will remain your own. Only you can change, update or remove your work from the tree and Ancestry.com pledges never to charge anyone to search the Ancestry World Tree or to view your work on Ancestry.com. ”

What they are doing violates the “pledge” that they made on their web-site.

75 LeslieDecember 31, 2007 at 10:54 pm

Right now, as of this time tonite, all the trees on the old family online tree system are gone.

An error message comes up “database does not exist or has not been configured.”

This has been for the last hour.

Where are all the trees?

76 Susan RichardsonJanuary 1, 2008 at 3:51 pm

I have tried several times to move my Family Tree to the new system and I keep getting a message saying there is an error. What do I do now?

77 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 1, 2008 at 9:24 pm

About Leslie’s comment 74:

There appears now to be a serious bug in the search software on Ancestry.com that Leslie experienced. I did some tests.

I have an ancestry file on Rootsweb.com, my only public file. For example, the correct link to that file for an Edward Ernest Davis, born Australia in 1899, is: http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=garyscottcollins&id=I112549666.

However, when I carry out a search on Ancestry.com for the same individual, the search result comes up with the link http://awt.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=garyscottcollins&id=I112549666.

That is, the domain “awt.ancestry” has been mistakenly substituted for the correct domain “worldconnect.rootsweb”.

This problem does not appear to be related to OFT issues, but is a major bug really should to be fixed right away.

78 Judy HawmanJanuary 1, 2008 at 11:12 pm

Your new formate is not an improvement. It is confusing and hard to work with.
The One World Tree was a disaster. I predict this will be a disaster too.

79 Debby SmithJanuary 2, 2008 at 10:38 am

I absolutely hate this new version.

Why would you take something so user friendly and turn it into a nightmare.

You have no idea how much I hate ancestory.com now.

80 Debby SmithJanuary 2, 2008 at 10:57 am

I prefer the tree view…and adding information…all the notes i had have not been transferred over to the new system. All that work for nothing….? How dare you.
YOu have no consideration at all for your memebers.

Plus, when I added family memeber I could see how many other trees out there had the same or simular information that I could use to compare to or to add to my tree.

That’s not available anymore…or if so it so well hidden and difficult to find that it’s not worth my time…..

You have ruined a great thing…I hope you’re proud of yourselves.

81 Sandra PadgettJanuary 2, 2008 at 3:00 pm

What is it with the comment box, you cant even get into a previous comment to make an addition or correction. I will permenantly delete my family tree information also.

[...] Freestone has posted more information on the Ancestry blog, and since the original post has added answers to some common questions and concerns posted by [...]

83 JackieJanuary 2, 2008 at 10:00 pm

I missed something because I can’t find the instructions on how to transition my tree Help!
Also I just found this blog…I am glad I did or I would really be lost. Can you tell me where to look in order to make the transition.

84 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 2, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Another undesirable feature of Ancestry Member Tree files has to do with “Comments” that anyone (with a subscription to Ancestry.com) can attach to your file. If I understand correctly, the owner of the file has no way to remove an offending or inane comment.

For example, consider the AMT entry at http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/person.aspx?pid=-2080215766&tid=460767. Below the “male” icon is a link to “Add Comment”. I added a “test comment”, after which the link changed to “Comments (1)”. I expect that the owner of the file will be unable to remove it. My test comment is benign, but not so for all such comments. Do owners of AMT files really wish to see any person with an ancestry.com subscription (naturally!) allowed to permanent mark or deface their files with comments of arbitrary content?? I surely don’t. My own ancestry file on WorldConnect was peppered for about a year with Post’ems from someone who disagreed with a large numbers of my entries. I didn’t want my ancestry file to be a billboard for her crazy views.

The “Post’em” system of World Connect allows either the poster or the owner of the file to delete a Post’em. It is a fine system. AMT should behave similarly!

(P.S., I will be happy to delete my test comment upon request by the owner.)


(01.03.08 note from Kenny: Tree owners can delete comments added to their tree by other users, and also report abusive behavior if the comment is inappropriate. The comments feature functions similar in this respect to the Post’em feature on WorldConnect –Kenny)

85 Wanda McDonoughJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:17 am

I must agree with most of the comments here, unless the old tree format is reserected or saved from extinction, I too will remove all my info and cancel my subscription. I have been a member since the very begining of Ancestry and have many many years worth of research on my trees. I have been dissatified with many things in the last few years but kept hoping things would get better.
I also did not wish to throw away all that time I had spent putting the information on line. Not to mention all those fees.
Who decided the old way was bad? and why did they think so?
When can we expect answers to these blogs?

86 DaveJanuary 3, 2008 at 9:32 am

Gary, that tree is not there. Perhaps the owner removed their tree?

87 chris caraherJanuary 3, 2008 at 10:16 am

I do not like the new format! It takes forever to do anything, that I stopped adding anything.

If one, though, has added info to an already existing database (as I did) in the past week, it doesn’t appear. In fact, the connection to the RootsWeb is gone!! My databases come up “does not exist,” is not configured.” So much for attempting to share my research.
Guess I go push that big red “X”!!!

88 A E GaddyJanuary 3, 2008 at 2:54 pm

I have added much genealogy to my “Gaddy Tree” in Ancestry.com . It has been great as it is. I may be too old to use a new system. Much $$$ has been invested by me in the current system. I thought it would go forever. What should I do ?
Archie Eugene Gaddy

89 Dawn BreretonJanuary 3, 2008 at 4:06 pm

I have just been in tears after reading some of the comments on here……I have been researching my tree for years….luckily I have a back up……the information is on Genes too…..a more basic version of the ancestry one.

I dont want other people meddling with my tree unless I invite them to do so.

The other issue is that a certain individual in America has a website in my family name and most Americans with the name share a certain ‘Sir’ (lived in England in the 1600′s) which is clearly not true in my case and I only live a few miles from his pile!! Also most of the Hints of the communal tree are incorrect in my case!!

Another one is with my personal name and the issue of fraud…I do not want any Tom Dick or Harry looking at my Tree and Personal bits on there…Identity fraud.

Ashamed of you Mr Freestone…….Ancestry isnt free and you have left me stone cold!!

Enjoy ruining so many peoples years of research..I will be asking my comp guy to come in and copy mine and check out your comments.I am not a computer expert…..and hopefully he can copy it for me and make it private for the changeover…until I can work out where to move it to. I only found about it today……when someone told me about it…..so how many people will lose their trees altogether?? who have no idea that this is happening!!

I really wish I hadnt rejoined…in December and to think ….a 70 year old chap is the happiest in the world because his son has just bought him 12 months membership for Christmas….I have no idea how to apologise to him!!
…….as I recommended your site.

90 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 4, 2008 at 12:47 am

Re my comment 85, I stand corrected by Kenny Freestone: Apparently, the owner of an AMT can delete offending comments that have been attached to his/her ancestry tree.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

91 Melvin DavisJanuary 4, 2008 at 12:42 pm

I was verry shocked to loose my home page and all the documents i have input and was tricked i believe into deleting my home page under the pretext of updating everything i worked over 20 yrs for was lost to my family I wish i knew how to start a class action law Suit to stop this. I don’t mind Buying a new subscription or whatever when something better comes along however their is nothing better about this it stinks Mel davis

(01.07.08 note from Kenny: Mel, the home page you refer to is from the Online Family Tree Maker product, not the Online Family Tree product. Sorry there is so much confusion about this. I’ll ask my FTM colleagues to help look into this. –Kenny)

92 DaveJanuary 4, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Kenny Freestone, you said no one will lose their work even though it looks like their work is gone. Where is Mel Davis’ tree? Can you guarantee that every single person who has lost years and years of work, who relied upon ancestry.com as their only backup source, will get their work back.

Unless you can do this, unless you can restore all the lost work, all the lost trees, Ancestry.com has a serious legal problem looming.

It’s time to surface and start posting more of your empty-air promises and reassure your paying customers.

Your continued silence is thundering.


(01.04.08 note from Kenny: Hi Dave, we have NO known cases of data being permanently lost in any transition for any user. I have contacted those who report missing data by email or phone to understand what the problem or confusion is. If anyone feels they have lost data, please let me know by sending an e-mail to me (kfreestone at tgn.com) with the OFT tree name, your Ancestry user name, and a detailed description of the problem.

We absolutely realize that holding your many years worth of research in our system is a sacred trust, and are fully committed to preserving your data safely and securely. –Kenny)

93 Susan FrankJanuary 5, 2008 at 5:57 am

Can you please move all the information now in Research Notes to the Story field? I put that information there to be seen and they way you have it now it is hidden. To transfer the info for each individual in my tree one by one would take forever.

94 Jim FlaniganJanuary 5, 2008 at 12:33 pm

What do I have to do,so I will
not lose any of my information
That is on file in the Family
Tree program.

95 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 6, 2008 at 3:36 am

Online Family Tree (OFT) is (or has been to date) an outstanding resource from ancestry.com for researching ancestry files. I had the idea to suggest an opportunity to publicize its features to those who hadn’t tried it out. To prepare for this, I “uploaded” a GEDCOM file to OFT this night using the still existing upload page at http://www.ancestry.com/oft/Upload.asp. However, the uploaded file was completely defective. Since I had separately and successfully updated previously existing OFT files in the same period, it appears that ancestry.com is sabotaging new entries. (Kenny Freestone, can you confirm or deny such sabotage, in your role as mouthpiece for Ancestry.com??)

Ancestry.com touts the advantages of the Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) over Online Family Tree (OFT). It should be noted that display options of OFT files are exactly the same as those of ancestry file at rootsweb.com. What are the pros and cons of the OFT and AMT systems??

1. OFT is a free system, with publicized results publicly available. AMT is a subscriber system, requiring ~$100-200 annual subscription fees to ancestry.com for access. Nobody will see your AMT file if they don’t pony up ~$100-200 each year.

2, OFT provides copious research notes by the writer of an ancestry file. AMT makes such research note unavailable–even if you are a subscriber!

3. OFT provides an option to view a table of descendants, a very powerful way to examine an ancestry file. AMT has no such option.

4. OFT has a fast text-oriented interface while AMT has an interface dogged by having to provide vacuous, generic, graphical images of “father” and “mother”.

5. AMT allows file owners to attach photos and other media to their files. While this can also be done by OFT, in the AMT system, other members can “grab” and keep your photos or other media and attach them to their own files. While I have not investigated it closely, it appears that other members can “attach” parts or all of other ancestry files to their own. Who wants imbeciles stapling their own file information to their own??

6. No person with a serious interest in genealogy would ever have anything to do with AMT. It’s a total loser!

If it ain’t free (1), if there are no notes (2), if there is no option for a table of descendants (3), if it’s slow as a dog (4), and if others can instantly paper clip your findings as their own (5), then I think it’s a total loser.

Let me reiterate that, on the day that OFT goes defunct (if it hasn’t gone so already, see above), I will cancel, once and for evermore, my subscription to Ancestry.com.

From a previously loyal subscriber over 3-4 years, and an imminent unsubscriber,

Gary Collins

96 Sam GibsonJanuary 6, 2008 at 10:58 am

The Ancestry World Tree is where many newcomers to genealogy research got their first start, it’s where I got mine. Taking this away may discourage new researchers. it’s a simple tool, but a valuable one. The simple things in life are usually the best. Advances in technology may not be better in the long run. I’ve posted all my Families to be shared in a simple way, this new system seems to complicate further for those familiar with such systems. As a teacher, it makes my job a bit more difficult to explain to people just getting started.

97 Doreen YaxleyJanuary 6, 2008 at 1:36 pm

I uploaded my tree today to the new tree system and find that all my photos are gone and all but 7 of my family ancestry is missing. How can I put it back to the original ancestry. HELP HELP HELP

98 ScottJanuary 6, 2008 at 5:37 pm

I wish there was a little more clarification here as to where these files are located. I have tree’s all over the place and can’t remember where ‘Ancestry Member Trees’ are vs. ‘Online Family Tree’. On Ancestry.com I see OneWorldTree, Public Member Trees, Personal Member Trees, Ancestry World Trees, but I don’t see ‘Ancestry Member Trees”…and where is Online Family Tree? Is that on Rootsweb or MyFamily? I’m completely lost.

99 DaisyJanuary 6, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Comment Number:
99 Written by: Scott
Posted on: January 6, 2008 at 5:37 pm
I wish there was a little more clarification here as to where these files are located. I have tree’s all over the place and can’t remember where ‘Ancestry Member Trees’ are vs. ‘Online Family Tree’. On Ancestry.com I see OneWorldTree, Public Member Trees, Personal Member Trees, Ancestry World Trees, but I don’t see ‘Ancestry Member Trees”…and where is Online Family Tree? Is that on Rootsweb or MyFamily? I’m completely lost.

REPLY:
1. Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) is the brand new tree that ancestry is forcing subscribers to use.

2. Online Family Tree (OFT)or Ancestry World Tree (AWT) is the original family tree that we have been using on Ancestry.com for 7 years.

3. OneWorldTree is the 2nd “new and improved” tree that ancestry presented about 2001 or so, and is a failed miserable dinosaur that takes random information from people’s trees and mismatches it all together.

4. Personal Member Tree is the new “new and improved Ancestry Member Tree” (AWT) that has been made private by the owner of the tree. I believe this can also apply to any tree submitted to a website that was not submitted to be made public on the internet. Ancestry.com offers this with the old tree (OFT) and I think WorldConnect does too.

5. Public Member Trees is a tree that has been made public on the internet for anyone to view. See number 4 above for full description.

6. The trees submitted to Rootsweb and MyFamily.com are WorldConnect Trees.

Someone earlier posted and confused the Ancestry Member Tree with the Ancestry World Tree. The grievance was against the new AMT and not the World Tree. Too many tree names are confusing.

In a nutshell, this is the tree system simplified:

BAD TREES:
OneWorldTree D-
New Ancestry Member Tree whether it is private or public F-

GOOD TREES:
Online Family Tree AKA Ancestry World Tree A+ Excellent
Rootsweb WorldConnect B+ – only because you can post it for free, it is fully viewable to the public, and the public can see your notes. You cannot work on the tree on the internet. Instead, you must work on your tree at home on a genealogy program and then upload it to the Rootsweb site.

MyFamily.com is going to a pay system now, aren’t they? You have to buy your page on there website, and the tree is only viewable to people who are invited to see it? Or am I confused?

100 DaisyJanuary 6, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Oops. Follow-up correction.

#4 has Ancestry Member Tree (AWT). It should be Ancestry Member Tree (AMT).

Here I made that same error other people are making.

AMT AMT AMT AMT AMT AMT

Bad me.

101 Frances RussellJanuary 6, 2008 at 11:41 pm

After reading the comments here, I don’t feel so bad about my attitude toward the Ancestry site. I have been using it for a bit over a year.

I agree with those who complained about how many clicks and maneuvers are required to go back to where I began. I also am really ticked that I pay for membership, but often get a “wainting for Ancestry.com” message when I try to access it. And yes, the GADZOOKS comment makes me angry. Ancestry offers free access at certain times of the year to encourage people to join so that we will have even more problems with access. To those of us who already pay are insignificant.

I am new to genealogy, but want to have good documentation and sourcing. I am somewhat physically limited and cannot travel to libraries and state records offices to research. I have however made some good contacts through Ancestry with people who are also working on some of the same lines that I am. This has been a very productive week for me in that respect.

When I come across a census record that has information about my families. I copy it to my computer–the handwritten version, because the transcribed version is often so off that it is not recognizable. I often will copy a transcribed version to my word processer and print it off so I can enter the data into my FMT database.

I have done a great deal of work in the past year and few months and I intend to keep what I find on my own computer. I subscribe to Mozy for an offsite backup of my PC files.

I do think the automatic search feature is helpful, but often flawed because of the misinterpretations of names by the transcriptionists.

Only recently, I submitted corrections to numerous records that I accidentally found.

I don’t know how many more years I have to be able to work on my families, and I want to have good information to pass on to my children. I will begin searching for other genealogy sites. I like the idea of being able to see other’s trees and also agree that public trees should be just that.

I also agree with the comments about the inaccuracy of the OWT and others that show an accumulation of information with no sourcing. Sometimes, however, I will take what I find and search for records and at times have found documents.

102 jerrycwestmJanuary 8, 2008 at 8:47 am

After uploading one of my family trees, many content to the new public are missing, and why do people have to be a paided members to see the new public tree.

103 Nancy EvansJanuary 8, 2008 at 2:12 pm

I have an OFT which also shows up on Rootsweb. I painstakingly build my tree one name at a time (didn’t download a GEDCOM), a different tree for each branch of the family, just so I could have control over what was on the internet. Once the changeover is made, will it still appear on rootsweb or will it be deleted? If it still does show up there, how will I be able to edit or delete it?

I put my tree on line because I was hoping to use it to contact other researchers in my line. But, if I change over to the new program, I will probably make it private (and I bet a lot of others will too!) which seems to defeat the purpose of going on-line. Why make it private? Because, once on your new program I will most likely add photos and documents. I really don’t want just anyone downloading photos of my family and doing who knows what with them!

I think you are making a BIG mistake.

104 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 8, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Hi Nancy,

In response to your comment (# 104), the file will remain available on Rootsweb. It will not be deleted. After the changeover, OFT will no longer be an option to edit this file, so you’ll want to download the file as a GEDCOM and use the product of your choice to make the edits and resubmit via Rootsweb’s WorldConnect interface.

The personal option in the new Ancestry Member Tree system perhaps will be a good option for you since you can have all your tree information and photos out of the public viewing space, but the basic name info for any person in the personal tree files is indexed in our search tool so others can see that a person is in your tree, and contact you to get more information. They can’t see your tree without your permission.

In both the personal and the public tree systems we do our best to filter out individuals we believe to be living, so that those names are not indexed in our search system.

–Kenny Freestone
Ancestry.com Product Manager

105 Nancy EvansJanuary 8, 2008 at 6:32 pm

Kenny,

In reply to your answer #105, are you saying that if I do not delete my tree before March 2008, I will never be able to delete it from Rootsweb? If I download, edit, and resubmit, will it appear as a second tree with a newly created Username and Password? If not, what would be my Username and Password (my Ancestry.com one)?

Do I need to download from Rootsweb now, delete my on-line tree, and resubmit to Rootsweb in order to be able to delete at a future date?

Also, I never got notification from you telling me that this changeover was happening. Seems like you should be sending out more detailed instructions to your subscribers.

106 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 8, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Re comments 104-106 by Nancy Evans and Kenny Freestone:

Possibly, there is confusion in the question Nancy raised and the response.

Nancy might mean that she has made her OFT file public, with entries that have in the past appeared both in AWT or Rootsweb searches. If she has not actually transferred her GEDCOM over from OFT to Rootsweb (by downloading from OFT and then uploading to Rootsweb.com), will she lose her file on March 1?? Or would she still be able to download a GEDCOM from a “frozen” OFT file after March 1??

This issue needs to be clarified.

107 jerrycwestmJanuary 8, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Everyone could open the on-line Family World Tree with a user name and pass word, with the Public Tree one has to be a paid member. As I understand Ancestry have gave us and now Ancestry is taken away, “not fair” I guess there is know free lunch at the end of the line.

108 BonnieJanuary 9, 2008 at 12:13 am

I thought I was the only one who does not like the new format in Family Tree 2008. You can’t put the correct multiple children with the correct multiple marriages. My trees are on the Ancestor.com site, listed as available to the pubic, and even I can’t get into them to download info in my new 2008 tree. What on earth made anyone think that this new format would be “easier” to use. The only thing good about it is that it allows dates for BC. It also holds more names and gives the relationship. I don’t want to go back to my previous version, but if I want to get the right children with the right parents, I will have to. I tried to put the children in age order, and it wouldn’t work. I am very disappointed with this version. I have used Family Tree Maker for over 15 years, but I am afraid I will now have to find another program.

109 Shelby PriceJanuary 9, 2008 at 1:41 am

Where are the notes? All I can say is my membership will not be renewed. This is about the biggest piece of crapola I have seen yet. When I come to add something, I don’t want to have to spend half the night click click clicking. This is not user friendly at all!!

110 bobwscottJanuary 9, 2008 at 7:49 am

The more I work with this system the worse I think it is.

I opened up one tree and I see one of my ancestors who died in 1826 and one of the most prominent things on the page is that there haven’t been any photos.

This should not be one of the first things I see. I want to see families with as complete information as is possible in a snapshote-births, dates, marriages, in one view, not to have to dig for them.

Plus, if there’s a tree, view, it should show more generations.

That’s what we are all looking for, I think. We want to see if somebody else who is researching a family has extended the family back more generations than we have. And I want to see proof, which is not this cumbersome sourcing system.

This is like a piece of middleware that’s been put between the users and the date. Instead of getting family history, we are getting a graphical programming interface on the first screen of any family tree.

I liked the comment about the person who called OneWorldTree an infected dinosaur. Not only does the system not work, by Ancestry really has no business picking the most likely candidates for our ancestors. You have no clue whether the information posted is correct or not.

As far as I can see, the files the only person who can see the files I’ve submitted is me. If this system isn’t better, I’m going to start removing my trees.

111 Debra McIntoshJanuary 9, 2008 at 2:23 pm

After years of research, I had so many papers and so many names I was getting confused. I decided to input my tree directly into ancestry.com. People often asked me how I updated my tree so often! I was and am delighted with the system. It helped me get organized and get better results than I ever hoped. After six years and over 18,000 entries to my tree I was shocked to learn the system was “being retired”. I switched over my tree and I have given it an honest chance. Unfortunately, I am very disappointed in the new system. There are less views, not more. It is like looking at your tree with blinder on. The new system requires going through a couple of screens to for example, to add a marriage date or find a list of siblings. It is also more difficult to get from my tree to the documents like the census records.

It seems this new system is designed for people who want to produce a polished looking end product complete with visuals and stories. I am more interested in WORKING on my tree (as I know it will never be finished.)

An extremely irritating feature is to send me e-mails to tell me that ancestry has updated or added to my tree when it is fact MY WORK.

There are no shortcuts to compiling a family tree. Half of the fun is the journey or the research. To pick bits and pieces of other trees just because they have the same name and similar dates does not mean it is the same person. The trees at ancestry are not verified, in fact sometimes I wish someone would help me verify my own tree. To borrow a phrase from athletics, you have to feel the burn or no pain no gain!

Family research is work albeit enjoyable and totally satisfying. Ancestry cannot do that work for us, they can merely provide the tools to help us in our work. It is misleading to think otherwise.

I sincerely hope ancestry reconsiders their decision to retire their wonderful old system.

112 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 9, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Let me try to respond to comments 106 and 107. I apologize in advance for how confusing this may be…and Gary I think you are right that there might be some confusion, so I’ll start with a little background to give context.

OFT has an option to submit the file to Ancestry World Tree (AWT). When this happens, OFT is (and remains) the only control interface for that submission to AWT. To remove the file from AWT, you have to go to the OFT interface and remove the file from there.

Files submitted in this manner appear in the AWT search system, AND ALSO in the WorldConnect system on rootsweb. While these files appear on Rootsweb, they are controlled through the OFT interface, and cannot be removed using the WorldConnect interface.

(The same can be said in reverse for files submitted to WorldConnect using the Rootsweb interface–these files also appear in AWT, but do not appear in the OFT control, and can’t be removed from WorldConnect via OFT.)

So, after the March (which can have some flexibility) deadline the interface to edit files using OFT will be retired. The interface to export OFT files to GEDCOM and to move a copy of the file to Ancestry Member Trees will remain active. To us it makes sense to continue to allow users to remove the file from AWT, so our plan is to keep that option in place. Note that if you delete your OFT file, it is also removed from AWT (if it was submitted to AWT).

So to respond to the specific questions:

–You can only delete a file via Rootsweb that was submitted via Rootsweb.
–Your Ancestry username and password should work on Rootsweb also.
–You can check out the WorldConnect project at http://wc.rootsweb.com/
–There is no need to delete your Online Family Tree file. It is fine to do so, but make sure you have a copy first.
–You will be able to remove the OFT file from AWT (WorldConnect) after the OFT program retires.
–Email Notification about the OFT retirement is coming, probably in a week or two. We decided to hold off on that email while we addressed the known issues that came up.

Finally, to re-clarify and respond to comment 107 from Gary, you will still be able to export/download a GEDCOM file from your OFT file after the March date.

–Kenny

113 Kathryn McCorkleJanuary 9, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Over the years I have used Ancestry for my geneaology software for two major reasons: 1 I have a Mac and don’t like their program printouts and 2 I love the way the family story of the online trees print out! I have made dozens of family history books with it. To do it, I’ve typed up biographies and stories in the big note box and it looks great. Now, NONE of what I’ve written there gets transferred to the new system. “Use the story section’? I now need to copy and paste my original stories, paste on a word document, then get into the new trees and copy and paste it from the doc to the trees. So far, I have lost so much of my compositions trying to transfer. I HATE IT I HATE IT I HATE IT, too!

114 Dean GutheryJanuary 9, 2008 at 7:31 pm

I like many things about Ancestry.com but how can a correction be made when I find inaccurate information, especially on my own family? (dates, names, places etc.)

115 holly danaJanuary 9, 2008 at 9:23 pm

I invited family members to view my tree, but in order for them to view it they must submit a credit card even if they have a free 14 day subscription. I understand that in order to research information here that would be a requirement, it is a business afterall, but as a guest they should not feel pressured to have to do so. I pay for the full subscription and up to this point I had been satisfied with the services but Ancestry is being just greedy at this point. OFT was free for guest, AWT is not free at all and in order for the guest to view it they must submit 100-200 a year after 14 days. I am totally embarrassed that I sent out an invite to family members to view my tree not knowing that ancestry would be hitting them up for money that I told them it was free. Word of mouth can work in both ways for any business and I will be warning all on how ancestry is running theirs now. And this doesnt even cover how I feel about the new system.

116 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 9, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Re comment 115 by Holly Dana:

Dear Kenny Freestone,

Is it true that persons invited to view an Ancestry Member Tree (“AMT”; this is what holly meant instead of “AWT”) will need to pay a subscription fee?

Perhaps I was under the misimpression that invited guests could see for free. Which is it??

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

117 Mary GreenJanuary 9, 2008 at 10:34 pm

I starting building my family tree in 2001. I lost it in early 2007. How ? I have yet to figure that one out. It almost destroyed my desire to even do more research but I did my mourning and crying and started another one. I am now up to about 9200 names and have thousands more to go. The amazing thing is I get messages from others who ask me questions about people from my lost tree. I ask them where they found this information and come to find out–my old tree is still on Ancestry but you can’t view it unless you have a paid subscription.
Now I don’t think I have to tell anyone how much I’d give to have my old tree back but I really feel like I have already paid dearly for it. My back from sitting, my fingers because I don’t type that fast and the eye strain is beyond words.
Your “new and improved” trees maybe a wonderful system . I haven’t tried it yet. I spent so much of my time and effort building my “old and easy” tree that I’ve never had the time to learn about GedComs and how they work. So I will be taking a break and figure it out. I’ll get my new tree saved and wait to see how things work out. I wish everyone good luck with this.

118 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 10, 2008 at 12:24 am

Dear Readers,
Looking for other blogs concerned with the proposed changeover from OFT to AMT, I happened across the blog Online Family Trees (OFT) at Ancestry Transitioning at http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle/?p=2165.
I entered the message copied below, but the message was not registered. Possibly there is another explanation, but I fear that the message has been censored. I encourage other readers to try to copy and submit the message within quotes below to the blog site given above. It is important that concerns raised about termination of OFT get wider distribution. Thank you.

Gary Collins

“Researchers concerned about the replacement proposed by Ancestry.com for the Online Family Tree (OFT) web interface for ancestry files by the Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) interface should consult extensive additional comments on four interrelated Ancestry.com blogs at

http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/19/Online-Family-Tree-Announcement http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/online-family-tree-faqs/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/known-issues-with-online-family-tree-transition/
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/26/more-questions-and-answers-about-the-online-family-tree-transition/
Sincerely,
Gary Collins”

119 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 10, 2008 at 10:04 am

In response to Mary’s comment 117, Mary, please send me a URL that might identify this file and I’ll see if I can dig it up for you. If you don’t have a URL, send me some name or something that might be unique. Let’s see if we can find it. You should not have to pay for your file. My email is kfreestone at tgn.com

best,

Kenny

120 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 10, 2008 at 10:08 am

In response to comments 115 and 116, Invited guests to the Ancestry Member Tree system do NOT have to pay to view and participate in your tree.

They do need to accept the invite that comes via email so our system can recognize them as an invited guest.

–Kenny

121 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 10, 2008 at 10:12 am

In response to comment 113 from Kathryn–We’ve been wondering what is the best option for people in your situation. Would you appreciate an automatic tool that converts your notes to stories?
We do plan to create additional options for all notes, so you can allow anyone to see the notes.
In addition to allowing everyone to see notes, we also are looking at how to make them more obvious and visible.

–Kenny

122 LysbethJanuary 10, 2008 at 12:08 pm

RE: the subject of public notes
Kenny, whatever options are offered in the new system, I need one that displays my notes in the public domain automatically because I am not going to copy over hundreds of notes one by one. Also, the software needs to do this at the time of display because I do not want to import my trees from the old Online system to the new Member system again from scratch (if you update the software to function only at the time of conversion from the old system to the new system) because I have already updated the trees in the new Member system with too much new information.

123 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 10, 2008 at 4:58 pm

RE: comment 122

Hi Lysbeth,

For sure. We’re looking at changing the notes settings to default notes to be public in all new trees. Because the current notes are labeled private, we wouldn’t automatically change them for all users, but we would have a place where you can quickly change who can see all the notes–so you won’t have start over with a new import.

–Kenny

124 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 11, 2008 at 1:18 am

A correction to my comment 118.

Juliana Smith, Editor of the Ancestry Weekly Journal and monitor of the blog at http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle/?p=2165, checked and informed me that the message I posted was not registered because it had gone into a “spam” folder. Apparently, this was triggered by listing URL’s for the four blogs in a row.

Juliana reposted my message on her own and I retract the suggestion of censorship that I had made.

Thanks, Juliana.

125 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 12, 2008 at 12:50 am

This message is a follow-up to message 115 by Holly Dana, and responses 116 by myself and 120 by Kenny Freestone.

AN EXPERIMENTAL TEST OF ACCESS TO ANCESTRY MEMBER TREE FILES

Anyone can set up an Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) file for free by going to the page http://www.ancestry.com. Then click on the “Start your family tree” icon after entering some data in the windows for “your first name” and “your last name”, etc. You can also find a way to upload a GEDCOM file to quickly create a large tree. I did this several weeks ago, and have, myself, complete access to the file since I am its ‘owner’ or ‘originator’. The file is at the URL http://trees.ancestry.com/fhs/home.aspx?tid=4779848. For various reasons of privacy, I decided to not make my AMT file public although you can (possibly) see it at http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/~garyscottcollins/ .

Once you have originated an AMT file, you are told that you can invite family members or other persons to view the file as a ‘guest’ or even to give them permission to ‘edit’ the file. I thought I read somewhere that ‘invitees’ could view the file ‘for free’—that is, whether or not they had a subscription to Ancestry.com. However, this is not at all true—at least if your file has not been made public. In that case, an aspiring ‘invitee’ is brought to a cheery screen reporting that “We’re giving you a FREE 14-day trial on Ancestry.com”, but can only gain access only by coughing up a credit-card number. Thus, to see non-public AMT files, invitees must pony up a credit card number. ONLY THE FILE ORIGINATOR HAS FREE ACCESS TO HIS/HER FILE. Someone else will have to test access for an AMT file that has been made public.

The tutorial page for AMT trees at http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/tutorial.aspx proudly touts:
“New roles for Invited Guests
This brand new feature offers you great collaboration options for working with your family members together on your family tree. You can now allow others to edit your tree, to add photos and stories, and more. When you invite others, you can select a role (i.e., guest, contributor, editor) for each person. Now the people you invite can help contribute to creating a rich family history with photos, stories, and more.”
This is grotesque. Consider a person who sets up a private file but then invites a group of family members to view the file. He/she will be highly embarrassed when family members report back that they were queried to pony up credit card numbers. Shame, shame!! Ancestry.com needs to spell out much more clearly the rules for free and paid access. The FAQ available at http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/tutorial.aspx is totally inadequate.
Keep in mind that I have been a subscriber to the US Deluxe Membership at Ancestry.com for several years, costing ~$200 per year. But, as you can see, that counts for diddleysquat in regard to access to any AMT files I might have. You won’t catch me spreading invitations to view my private AMT file!

Sincerely,

Gary S. Collins

126 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 12, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Dear Kenny,

In the original “Online Family Tree Announcement” of December 19, 2007, at http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/19/online-family-tree-announcement/, you state that

“We [Ancestry.com] have maintained this system for some time, but it’s finally become outdated…”, and “At nearly 8 years old, Online Family Tree is an ancient product (in internet years anyway)…”

More recently, on one of the OFT-related blog pages, you state that:

“There are many reasons for this decision, but the most compelling (in my mind) is keeping the data stored in the OFT system safe and usable. Were the OFT system to have a catastrophic failure we would have an awful awful time restoring the system. It runs fine now, but because of its advanced age it is scary to think of the effort it would take to bring it back from the dead. It is an unacceptable risk for us to take with your data. We essentially chose to re-write the system.”

Some comments:

(1) While I doubt it, there might be problems sustaining a massive database over many years. There are many duplicated and “orphaned” trial OFT trees that were never removed by forgetful owners. There are undoubtedly also OFT trees written by deceased persons who would wish their trees to continue to be available for use by others. How will Ancestry.com handle the problem of such files that were reasonably expected to remain public—just like Rootsweb.com files??

I post my public ancestry file on Rootsweb.com because Ancestry.com has made a commitment to maintain Rootsweb.com, including its GEDCOM files and Freepages. One cannot count on next-of-kin to understand issues of internet access and preservation of archival data files over long periods of time. I hope/expect that my file should survive for many, many years after I die. Some method for sustaining on-line ancestry files at no cost is essential to preserve ancestry files of researchers who pass away.

(2) If one believes Kenny’s quote above, the most compelling reason to terminate OFT is fear of some kind of catastrophic failure. This is complete nonsense! Unless your programming staff is incompetent, the OFT database (just like the Rootsweb GEDCOM database) should be massively backed up, at least once per day. I will look for a correction to this statement by Kenny, but it should be informed and technically detailed. Is Rootsweb also in danger of some catastrophic failure?? What about the AMT database?? Kenny, please explain.

(3) Current users of OFT are given only the option of transferring their files into the lame “AMT” system or taking their files elsewhere. At the risk of repetition, the AMT system has the following major deficiencies:

• No notes
• No descendancy view
• Automated “merging” of new people onto your tree without any control on your part.
• A hefty subscription fee requirement, ~$200 per year, for anyone to see your tree

At least for me, the AMT system is useless on account of the deficiencies listed above.

(4) I strongly recommend that Ancestry.com change its mind and maintain the existing OFT system while promoting its AMT system. If Ancestry.com thinks that AMT is such a superior product, then people will naturally move over to it. Why can’t the OFT and AMT continue to coexist, as they have over the past year or so??

(5) All readers should be very concerned that, sometime in the future, Ancestry.com will to pull the plug on Rootweb.com. Will Rootsweb.com continue to be supported in the long-term by Ancestry.com??

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

cc: http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle/?p=2165

127 sharonJanuary 12, 2008 at 5:49 pm

I wish the family tree had an ancestry option (a pedigree in reverse). Also, I would like to be able to show 6 or 7 generations at one time which could fit on 8×14″ paper.

128 Sharon RoachJanuary 13, 2008 at 1:54 am

When something works, don’t fix it just for innovation’s sake. All I want is the basics they way they were.

129 LysbethJanuary 13, 2008 at 11:52 am

After the immediate issues with converting to Ancestry Member Trees have been resolved, I have a few complaints about the search engine on Public Member Trees.

First, the year of birth needs to be bracketed as it is on Ancestry World Tree with year ranges of 1, 2, 5, 10, or 20 years because searching without limiting the timeperiod of birth produces too long a list, and searching on a single year at a time is far too tedious. This search engine is a step backwards from Ancestry World Tree.

Second, automatically filling in the surname of the father to be exactly the same surname is not as helpful as you might expect. Often the surname was Americanized, and the spelling of the older generation was not exactly the same. Also, there were many cases in which the surname was that of the mother. If one does not make an effort to notice this automatic feature and delete the name of the father in the search engine display, then some trees are not located — I see this happening with my own trees.

130 LysbethJanuary 13, 2008 at 12:24 pm

More about the Public Member Trees search engine:
I realize that the Public Member Trees search engine does offer the option of turning off ‘exact matches only’. And, turning off that feature does produce an interesting list.

However, that option produced a longer list with my tree listed farther down the list. If I run on ‘exact matches only’, then my tree is one of just 5 — if I remove the surname that is automatically filled in for the father (otherwise my tree is not displayed because the surname of the father is spelled as it was in German records).

I really miss the feature of the search engine on Ancestry World Trees where I could control the length of the list by entering a range on the date of birth. And, the default of entering the same surname for the father misses family trees without the researcher being aware of the problem. One should not start the search by introducing that default restriction.

131 Arlene McManusJanuary 13, 2008 at 3:07 pm

I read all the “Reader Comments” but why don’t you answer the questions?

132 Nancy EvansJanuary 13, 2008 at 11:09 pm

Okay, I hate to admit it, but I have transferred a couple of my trees over to try out the new system, and I am beginning to like it! I especially like how easy it is to save a source document to the tree, and it is automatically added to my timeline. Also like the way the timeline gives the age of the person at the time of the event. My question. I now have an Ancestry subscription. If I do not renew my subscription, will I still be able to go to my tree and pull up the views of the census records (and other source documents)that I have saved? Are visitors to my tree able to see the source document views if they are not subscribers?

133 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 14, 2008 at 12:05 am

In response to message 132 by Nancy Evans (see also related messages 115 by Holly Evans and 125 by muyself):

Dear Nancy,

If the Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) is “private”, then nobody can see the tree except the creator (see my message 125 in which I tested that out.)

If the AMT is “public”, then (according to message 115 and a private communication from Holly Evans later, still nobody can see the tree except the creator…

…that is, unless they cough up the ~$200 annual subscription fee to Ancestry.com.

But don’t believe me–check for yourself! You can set up a new mail account, for example at gmail.com, and see if it is possible to access your member tree from that account. And then report back what you find to this blog! Many people will want to know.

A secondary question is who can access records that have been attached from Ancestry.com’s databases. If you are able to access your file, can you also access the records?? Please let us know.

Sincerely,

Gary S. Collins

134 Barb PrickelJanuary 14, 2008 at 8:05 am

I made a choice with Ancestry.com online family tree eight years ago when I started my genealogy work. The basic reasons were ease of use and sharing data with the world.

I know Ancestry.com profitted greatly from the data, but now Ancestry.com wants to offer a tool that has so many bells & whistles who really needs all of that internet glamour for data.

I am sorry to say my enthusiasm with Ancestry.com has greatly diminished. We gave you free data for many years and sorry to say that you can’t support us any longer in a less technical software. Thank you.

135 Jeffrey HughesJanuary 14, 2008 at 11:09 am

When will the folks running Ancestry.com FILIALLY fix the Merge feature? I get the same message every time I search Ancestry.com for a Family tree to merge with my tree.

I started complaining about this back in October of last year. I was told it would be a minimum of a few day before it was fixed. “Mr. Fixit” must have quit.
The comment in Family Tree Maker says:

“DATA NOT AVAILABLE
Family Tree Maker cannot merge information from this record collection.
We are working on a solution. Please check back at a later time.”

I really don’t relish the idea of merging 5500 record into my tree my hand.

Light a fire under the We Group!!!!

136 Neyda ColonJanuary 15, 2008 at 8:11 am

I do not like the new system AT ALL. Change does not always mean it is for the better! In this case you have made the system difficult for those which are young or a new to the computer.
I do not know how much longer I will choose to stay with my membership. The extreme changes are not worth it.

137 LeonardJanuary 15, 2008 at 2:32 pm

In response to message 132 by Nancy Evans

Hello Nancy,

Visitors (free members) of our trees are able to view the source documents including images that are attached to the people in the tree (Historical Document – links).

138 LeonardJanuary 15, 2008 at 3:14 pm

In response to message 132 by Nancy Evans

Regarding your question:
“If I do not renew my subscription, will I still be able to go to my tree and pull up the views of the census records (and other source documents)that I have saved?”

Testing results:

I created a new tree using a free account. I invited my pay account to the tree. The pay account user added historical records.

The free account user is able to view the historical records including images.

I then removed the Pay Account user from the tree.

The Free account owner of the tree CANNOT view the historical records anymore.

The free account owner of the tree then invited the pay account user back to the tree as a guest only.

The Free account owner of the tree can view the historical records again.

139 LeonardJanuary 15, 2008 at 3:31 pm

In response to message 133 by Gary Collins.

I completed a new test today:

I invited a new email user to the tree.
I received the email inviting me to the tree.
I clicked on the link in the email:
“Come check it out”
I was then presented with a screen:
“Visit this Tree with a Free Account”
I entered:
First Name:
Last Name:
Email:
using the new gmail account I created for this test.

I then clicked the link “Visit Tree”
and the tree immediately displayed, logged on with my new free account created for this test, with the message at the top “Thanks for registering with Ancestry.com” Please note your login information below. Or change it to something that’s easier to remember. It displayed my new free Username: and random password. I then clicked the link to change the password to something I can remember.

Note I believe changes have been made in the last week to streamline this, as previously a “Subscribe to trial membership” was always presented to the free members at this time with no way to click from that screen into the tree. I told the users to cancel that screen, and then go back to the email and click the link, “Come check it out” or go to http://www.ancestry.com/myancestry to access the tree.

After this change it is less confusing, and I admit that previously it seemed the free user felt like they had to subscribe right then to the free 14 day trial. They had to cancel the screen and it was not clear at all what to do next!

It seems clear now after the changes that I believe they made concerning this “Trial Offer” being offered to all free members when they signed up for the free account. The free 14 day trial is now NO longer being offered when they click “Visit Tree” like it was a week or two ago.

Thanks ancestry.com for fixing this!

140 LeonardJanuary 15, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Another interesting discovery today.

I created a NEW tree as a FREE ancestry.com user

This tree was a “personal tree”.

I was presented hints to the public trees, individuals and photos.

I was able to merge into the free tree using the free account individuals from the public tree, including photos from the public tree.

Did ancestry.com make changes that make the PUBLIC trees FREE for even non paying members? This will make the non paying members very happy!

I was NOT able to view or merge the historical records like census. As I would expect a member would have to be paying to continue to add those historical records to the tree.

141 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 15, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Responding to comment 126, there is (in our view) some inaccuracy in the complaints listed by Gary.

1. “No notes” The AMT system does support notes, and the OFT migration to AMT preserves those notes. The issue is that these are not currently made public to anyone who sees the tree, and they are not so easy to find. We hope to have this issue fixed in the AMT system soon.

2. “No descendancy view” This is almost accurate, but we do have a way to view in our “family view” up to 3 generations of descendants. This view however does (in some cases) exclude some descendants, and is insufficient for most situations where you’d want a good outline descendant report. We hope to be able to add that type of report also soon.

3. “Automated “merging” of new people onto your tree without any control on your part.” The merging is not automated, and you have great control over what info enters your tree. If you don’t like the hint, don’t accept it. If you like portions of the hint, accept just those portions.

4. “A hefty subscription fee requirement, ~$200 per year, for anyone to see your tree” Not entirely true, since those you invite can see your tree with a free account.

I’m not saying the AMT system is without faults–we know we can improve it significantly and we will do that.

Also the comment asks if our systems are backed up, and if the data is secure. Yes they are–including the OFT system. The data is backed up safely. There is a difference however between having the data recovered, and having a system in place to interact with that data. The OFT data isn’t in danger, it is the system that lets you interact with that data that is at risk.

–Kenny

142 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 15, 2008 at 5:57 pm

In response to comment 132 (which Leonard followed up on).

Thanks Leonard for sharing your test results.

Just wanted to share how the program is designed and should be working today (which my tests show it is).

–If your subscription expires, you still have access to your AMT file (to edit, export, etc.), but not to view records you have attached.

–If your subscription downgrades (from World Deluxe to U.S. Deluxe) you still have access to all records you have attached.

–Visitors to the tree can see records attached to the tree so long as the tree owner (or someone else) invited to that tree has a subscription.

Also there was confusion about whether invited guests are required to subscribe. Let me reiterate this is not the case. Invited guests can view the tree with a free guest registration.

–Kenny

143 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 15, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Response to comment 117 from Mary.

For those who like happy endings, We were able to locate Mary’s tree and get it back (complete with 20,000 names) to her.

–Kenny

144 Mary GreenJanuary 15, 2008 at 10:16 pm

I want to post a very heartfelt thank you to Mr Kenny Freestone for finding my lost tree. Just knowing those 6 years didn’t go down the drain has made a smile come back to my face. I appreciate you so much.
Now ,I’ve looked at the new AMTrees and it certainly is different. I’m afraid its gonna take me a while to get use to it. I do have a couple of questions–please.

1 Will the AMT’s show up on Rootsweb –in Roots format ?

2 Can we download a AMTree ?

3 When I get my new trees saved to a GedCom–do I delete or remove my trees at OFT ?

4 Do my trees have to be moved to AMT before or on March 8 or can I do it anytime I want to ?

Again THANK YOU

145 Kathleen SchwartzmanJanuary 15, 2008 at 11:31 pm

I totaly agree with Carole Grant, December 19, 2007 where she says:

“The new tree system is not viewer friendly, not is it as easy to enter information. It is a constant click-click-click to get to the correct person, or lineage. Too many pages, too much confusion, too many event pages, relationships etc. That is not simple, but confusing. The search name engine is defective, and doesn’t always work, nor does it always find the name, even though you know that name is there. Such as your own name. I put my name in and the search engine couldn’t find it. What is the excuse there?”

On the new system, I wasted so much time searching for matches that don’t show up. Where’s the soundex? The search features need work! Names and photos don’t show up as they should.

The wonderful AWT Ahnentafel and Register tab pages that would scroll down many generations isn’t to be found! I loved it! You could analyse and compare so well side by side with two open internet pages.

And there are way more entries on AWT than there are on the new system.

The new system is too cumbersome and doesn’t read easily. Also, instead of so many little columns and boxes in format, you should consider how to allow as much descriptive text as possible in the body of the person’s story so it can all be read and printed on a single page. I’ve printed out some things from the new tree and it is a waste of paper – it’s mostly blank. Many people in my family need paper family histories because they don’t have spare computer time or need a written record.

I think you should keep OFT/ AWT alive much longer. That way you can have at least two good tree systems one for text and one for graphics.

I do like the merge and collaboration features however I don’t think it’s fair to copy someone else’s photos. I am very nervous about this change.

146 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 16, 2008 at 1:52 am

This is a follow-up to my message 126, taking into account messages 139 and 140 by Leonard and messages 140 and 141 by Kenny Freestone of Ancestry.com.

ABOUT ANCESTRY MEMBER TREE:

Apparently from Leonard’s and Kenny’s messages, Ancestry.com made changes to the Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) service that now allow at least some views of member trees by “invited guests”. That is an improvement insofar as it did not previously appear that invited guests could see anything at all. If one wishes to allow the public to view his/her AMT tree, this has to be considered an improvement. But I’m starting to get totally confused about the issue of who has to pay, and I’m too busy to retest AMT site access. It would be very useful for Ancestry.com to very clearly spell out all issues of access in the tutorial.

In Message 141, Kenny Freestone, of Ancestry.com, states that my message 126 had “(in their view) some inaccuracies”. I recommend that readers refer back to message 126. I think there is much more truth in the message than inaccuracy!

ABOUT CATASTROPHIC LOSS OF ANCESTRY FILES:

Re my comment 1 in message 126: Kenny acknowledges in message 141 that there is no significant probability of data loss by the OFT, Ancestry or Rootbases databases. THAT IS GREAT NEWS!! But furthermore, to quote:

“Also the comment [by Gary Collins] asks if our systems are backed up, and if the data is secure. Yes they are–including the OFT system. The data is backed up safely. There is a difference however between having the data recovered, and having a system in place to interact with that data. The OFT data isn’t in danger, it is the system that lets you interact with that data that is at risk.”

Kenny, will you please provide a DETAILED description of the problem that Ancestry.com foresees? What is the technical nature of the problem?? You don’t have to address us like a bunch of idiots.

ABOUT THE SUPERIORITY OF ONLINE FAMILY TREES (OFT) AGAINST ANCESTRY MEMBER TREES (AMT):

Advantages of OFT over AMT:

• Ten-generation descendancy views, as against only 2-3.
• About ten-generation pedigree views in OFT (limit in AMT believed to be much lower)
• Notes immediately visible to all visitors in OFT, as against the inability of most anybody to see AMT notes.
• Immediate “hints” using OFT giving direction to information in other ancestry files and to historical records in or out of Ancestry.com. (Have not evaluated value of hints available in AMT).
• No subscription fee required of the “owner” and no fee ever required of a public viewer in OFT. AMT may require public viewers to have an expensive subscription.
• OFT is a tremendous, speedy and powerful research tool, while AMT is a graphically intensive, slow-as-a-dog, research-compromised tool more suitable for composing a scrapbook of ancestors going back a few generations than an ancestry file.

The bottom line for Ancestry.com appears to be solely the financial bottom line. Ancestry.com is killing a superior research tool that they originated and that I expect has cost them very little over the past 5-10 years that it has been in existence. They propose to replace OFT with the crippled AMT service. Anyone who is a serious student of their ancestry will never use AMT as a research tool! I await to stand corrected by a serious genealogist!

P.S. My message 126 was copied also to the blog “Online Family Trees (OFT) at Ancestry Transitioning” managed by Juliana Smith over three days ago, but has not been posted up until now. I followed up that post with an email to Juliana to let her know about it and to look for it in her spam if she didn’t find it (a problem she had in the past). I await hearing from her. Perhaps she has been out of the office for the past few days.

cc: http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle/?p=2165

147 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 16, 2008 at 2:55 am

Dear Kenny Freestone,

Perhaps incorrectly, I think of Ancestry.com as being a very large organization, with very many individuals experienced in and practicing in research on their own ancestries. I would be most grateful if employees of Ancestry.com who have significant websites both on OFT and WMT (perhaps in transition) would offer comments comparing the effigacies of OFT and AMT. Supposing that they want to move, why??

What about astronomy students?

148 LeonardJanuary 16, 2008 at 8:24 am

Followup In response to message 132 by Nancy Evans and message 138 by Leonard

“The Free account owner of the tree CANNOT view the historical records anymore” if there are no paying members of the tree, that is the Original Record and Graphic, cannot be viewed on ancestry.com anymore.

But the source citations are there and these are automatically created when you attach a historical record to the individual. Here is an example of a source citation for the 1930 census:

On the individuals page:
Click: View all source citations (5)
“This is on the bottom left of the screen”
Click the one for the 1930 Name:

Source
Name: 1930 United States Federal Census
Repository: Ancestry.com

Citation
Detail: Year: 1930; Census Place: Bird, Conway, Arkansas; Roll: 69; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 3; Image: 622.0.
Date:
Notes: http://search.ancestry.myfamily.com/cgi-bin/sse.dl
l?db=1930usfedcen&h=86132582&ti=5519&indiv=try
Actual text: Name: Leonard Noland
Birth Date: abt 1916
Birth Place:
Residence Date: 1930
Residence Place: Bird, Conway, Arkansas
Web address: http://search.ancestry.myfamily.com/cgi-bin/sse.dl
l?db=1930usfedcen&h=86132582&ti=5519&indiv=try

And these source citations are exported to the GEDCOM and fully available on Rootsweb if you upload there.

149 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 16, 2008 at 9:17 am

In response to 144 from Mary.

“1. Will the AMT’s show up on Rootsweb –in Roots format?” No. AMT files have no relationship with the Rootsweb WorldConnect project. You can manually add your AMT file to the Rootsweb project by downloading a GEDCOM and then uploading that file to Rootsweb.

“2. Can we download a AMTree?” Yes. On the “My Ancestry” page there is a link to “manage tree” from that link you can export your file to GEDCOM and download it.

“3. When I get my new trees saved to a GedCom–do I delete or remove my trees at OFT?” Only if you want to. We hope to maintain the option to export GEDCOM from old OFT files for a long time (as long as the system keeps working). There is no need to go out and delete the file unless you are absolutely certain you have no further need of it.

“4. Do my trees have to be moved to AMT before or on March 8 or can I do it anytime I want to?” OFT files can be moved before or after the March time frame (which is flexible). After the March time frame, the OFT system will no longer accommodate viewing or editing your OFT file, but you’ll still be able to move the file to the AMT system and export it to GEDCOM.

–Kenny

150 jemhayJanuary 16, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Quote Kenny Freestone “In response to comments 115 and 116, Invited guests to the Ancestry Member Tree system do NOT have to pay to view and participate in your tree.

They do need to accept the invite that comes via email so our system can recognize them as an invited guest.

–Kenny” End Quote….

Regarding the above – this is simply not true!

I just put it to the test and and invited myself via an alternate email address.

I could not find my way to the tree I was “invited” to come and see, without selecting a payment option – either pay per view or subscription!

How embarrassing to think that I may have sent out this ‘invite’ to family only to have them asked for money! What’s more, I am familiar with the site, yet found the way that invitees are ‘met’, extremely frustrating and confusing! If I had received this from someone, I would simply ‘bin’ it and not bother!

151 KathannonJanuary 16, 2008 at 8:46 pm

After moving my tree to Member Trees, I am now missing the one person’s lines I have been researching for years – even “the one person” is now MISSING!!!! ARGHHH! I don’t even have the heart to see what else is missing. I have been a member for many years and just this past year I discontinued updates to my personal database and started using only the Ancestry trees because I like feature that includes source document links. Sheesh, I hope that was not a BIG mistake. I sure hope Support will come to the rescue and this can be fixed. I’ll try not to be depressed thinking about all of the hours (months – years) that have been dedicated until I hear from them. They have always been so good to me in the past – Keeping the Faith

152 Margaret DierolfJanuary 16, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Error on William Greenberry Paxton states that he married Ida Webster. His brother James Dalton married Ida Webster. Person’s tree spelled name Greenburg. His father was Greenberry Paxton not Paxson who married Eliza Hartley

153 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 17, 2008 at 11:21 am

In response to comment 150.

It sounds like jemhay and others are seeing something we do not see here. We’ll research it and find a fix.

This is absolutely not how the system should be working.

–Kenny

154 LysbethJanuary 17, 2008 at 1:01 pm

RE: message 153 responding to #150:

Does inviting a relative to view the tree for free become active immediately? Is it possible that inviting a new name to view a tree for free does not become active until Ancestry updates the tree into the public domain? I would guess that it might not — because changing the status of one of my trees to public does not become active until Ancestry does an update of the system, which as Kenny explained in an email response to me last week, is not yet happening at the expected frequency because of system work at this time.

Even if the invitation to view a tree becomes active immediately, perhaps the invited person cannot find the tree for the same reason that I cannot locate my own trees when I search in Public Member trees until Ancestry runs the Public Member Index?

Paying members of Ancestry can only locate a tree if it has been indexed into the Public Member Trees public Index. I checked my own trees today, and I see that Ancestry has not run the public update again since last week [yes my trees did become public after the update last week]. Therefore, this might possibly explain why more than one blog posting has complained about problems? Is it possible that testing by Ancestry system personnel bypasses the public index update that our trees require?

I am suggesting this comment here because others may also want to understand the relationship of public access to personal access. I had sent email to Kenny last week instead of posting here on the blog, but now I believe that the information should have been posted here instead. What I have seen is:
1. changes that I make in the information in my trees become visible quickly to others, but only if the tree can be accessed and
2. others can reach the tree only if it has been updated into the Public Member Trees Index
3. the Public Member Trees Index will be updated 2-3 times a week
4. but this index is not currently being updated this frequently because Ancestry programmers are working on system changes
5. the old Online System actually operated the same way: that is, new names that I entered into one of my own trees could not be located in the Ancestry World Trees Index for a few days, even though the new information was visible within 24 hours of updating my tree — if the tree was accessed through an individual name that had previously been listed in the public Index.

Kenny responded to me in email 8 Jan with this message: “Normally it takes a couple of days to see your file indexed and made available in our search system. We kick off this process about 2 – 3 times a week, usually. Our last index of these files was the 28th of December, and since then we’ve paused for the holiday break and some system maintenance. We today kicked off another index process, and I expect this to finish sometime tomorrow night. Our apologies for this extra long wait time.” Since then, I have seen the update run last week, but not since then.

155 LysbethJanuary 17, 2008 at 1:15 pm

My previous posting may have somewhat confused the length of time to update the Index for Ancestry World Trees versus the length of time to update the Index on Rootsweb for Ancestry World Trees automatically copied over to Rootsweb, but the general concepts are the same.

The point is that we cannot access our Ancestry Member Trees (even if we have selected the ‘public’ option for our trees) through a search on Public Member Trees unless Ancestry has updated the Public Member Trees Index. And, that is currently happening only once a week or less frequently.

This is true for me as a paying member of Ancestry, and I would guess that it may also be true for someone invited to view a tree. Unless the trees in question were submitted more than a week ago, it may be possible that someone invited to view a tree cannot find the tree until Ancestry runs their Index update again.

156 LysbethJanuary 17, 2008 at 2:26 pm

RE: posting #153

I just invited my spouse to view one of my trees and tested the Ancestry system and found:

1. when I was not logged into our account and searched on ‘Personal Member Trees’, that tree was not located
However:
2. when I was not logged into our account and searched on ‘Personal Member Trees’, for a name (from another of my trees) that appears more commonly in trees posted by others on Ancestry, then a long list popped up
But:
3. neither my tree nor my cousin’s tree for that person was on the list
And:
4. when I was logged into our account on Ancestry, the first tree is indexed in Public Member Trees
5. when I was not logged in and searched on ‘Public Member Trees’, the tree was also located, but
6. the page popped up asking me for a trial subscription. I did not attempt to continue beyond that page because I do not want to create further problems to clear up.

I would assume that someone who is invited to a tree should be accessing that tree through ‘Personal Member Trees’, not through ‘Public Member Trees’ because the tree may not even be submitted to the public domain.

I would suggest that the Index for Personal Member Trees has not been updated since December when I know that my cousin posted his tree there. His tree does show up on ‘Public Member Trees’ so I am betting that the Index for Public has run more recently than the Index for Personal trees.

I also suspect that if someone who has been invited were to search on Personal Member Trees and find the tree correctly indexed there (after an update of the Index for Personal trees has run), then the page to sign up for a Trial subscription to Ancestry probably would not appear. Just my guess, but so far the evidence points in this direction.

157 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 17, 2008 at 2:36 pm

In response to comment 150 and others…

OK, I believe I see now what is going on here. We’ve built into the invitation system a security feature that prevents the invitation from being accepted more than once. This is so you don’t get surprised that 10 other strangers are invited to your tree all from the same invitation.

What seems to be happening (let me know if it is not the case for you) is those that are seeing the “14 day free trial” message are those who are trying to be invited to a tree using an invitation that has already been accepted once. If you instead use the tools within the AMT system to send a new invitation, and only use that invitation once, it works as designed.

It seems that one thing we could do to prevent this confusion is intercepting the person who is piggy-backing on the accepted invitation, and let them know what is going on instead of offering the 14 day free trial. We’ll add this to our bug list.

Thanks

–Kenny

158 LysbethJanuary 17, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Ok, I invited our daughter to one of my trees and entered Ancestry as instructed through the email invitation that she received. And, the 14 day trial membership page popped up — just as others have complained.

Kenny responded to me that the issues of updating the Member Trees Indexes are not likely to be the problem in this case, and I agree.

159 LysbethJanuary 17, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Ok, after a few emails and two phone calls with Kenny, I have seen the Ancestry system to invite others to view family trees work — and with no invitation to a trial subscription being offered at all.

1. I invited our daughter to one of my trees, then
2. I accessed Ancestry through the email message to our daughter from Ancestry to accept that family tree, but then connecting with using the same password that Ancestry had sent her in email after my failed attempt earlier today, which was still recognized by Ancestry.
3. I clicked on ‘My Ancestry’ on the banner at the top of the page, and that family tree was listed.
4. I had to repeat the process for the second family tree, and then both trees were listed for her on her invitational account at Ancestry.
5. I just tried again to log in as our daughter directly from the Ancestry home webpage without going through the email message sent to her and failed, but Kenny suggested that some of these testing problems may result from our attempts to test the system using multiple accounts from a single computer. I will have to check this from her computer later.

Kenny noted that this system has been in place and working for over a year. At this point the system seems to be working. Any one disagree?

160 LysbethJanuary 17, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Ok. I logged into our daughter’s invitational account on Ancestry through her computer (instead of mine) — and both trees that I invited her to visit were listed under ‘My Ancestry’ on the top banner. The entire process worked without ever being offered a Trial Subscription or requesting a credit card, and the trees were listed. It worked just fine.

However, in summary, an invited guest must first access Ancestry through the email message that the invited guest receives from Ancestry and receive a password through that process before attempting to login directly on the Ancestry website.

It does appear to be working, and Kenny has suggested that our tests may have failed because our using different accounts on Ancestry from a single computer on our end may have introduced confusion.

161 melodie marionJanuary 17, 2008 at 7:48 pm

I have been a family tree maker user for many years. I submitted a tree years ago when it was all Genealogy.com I haven’t seen it for years. I guess it never transfered when ancetry took over. I’d gotten away from things but my sister used this every day not only for our side of the family but husband’s as well & she is truly concerned about what will happen. All the negative responses to this tree member why would you start a program that “John Q Public” has totaly rejected it. It’s just like FTM2008 That sure didn’t work I ordered my copy for the upgrade received it after 8/24/07
& what did I get “A beta Copy” I sugest that you listen to your consumers & rethink this & charging people to look at the trees. Does the Ancestry CEO need more vacation money or a new office? I think Ancestry has lost it mind.

162 LysbethJanuary 17, 2008 at 11:46 pm

I do not like transferring to a new system either, but I may have some sympathy for Ancestry’s need to retire the old system (the software system, not the database). Been there, done that before I retired.

I worked at a research laboratory where I managed a large data base on a 20-year old project, and I also had to make decisions about when to transfer the software to a newer computer system because the old workstation (less than a decade old at the time) was failing too frequently and was considered a security risk, but a new similar model was no longer on the market. However, transferring software code to a new computer system is often not trivial.

Programmers writing software for older systems often worked very hard to fit it into a smaller computer than the huge systems available today and to also get maximum performance out of a smaller system. My best friend at work was assigned to transfer old code to a new system, and I recall her comment one day: “I bet the guys who wrote this program stayed up late at night reading the back of the computer manual and laughing that we would never figure out these obscure commands.”

The point is that old software code sometimes used some very computer model dependant commands, and transferring it to another newer computer model (especially if the original computer company is no longer selling the same type of computer) is so tedious that it is better to start over with a new system. This may also be necessary because the number of family trees and the number of users on Ancestry is probably outgrowing the capacity of the old system.

So we as users have to adapt to transferring our family trees to a new system. However, that does not mean that we do not still require specific tools (notes prominently displayed for all to view, longer descendants lists, ahnentafels, pages that print well with lots of information on a single page). And, we need to communicate to Ancestry what our priorities are so that the new system meets our requirements, and not just those of users who want to post a lot of photographs.

Because for many of us, preserving the trees that we post on Ancestry is not just about our research — it is about “giving back” to future genealogy researchers. My spouse and I each were able to trace a great-grandparent after hitting a brick wall because someone else posted information for our ancestor’s sibling that provided clues not otherwise easily accessible to us.

So we need to change to the new system, but we also hope that Ancestry continues to be responsive to our priorities because the new system at this point is too flashy and is not sufficiently information intensive. We would prefer to see the new system communicate and print more genealogy information more efficiently.

163 LysbethJanuary 18, 2008 at 11:17 am

To continue my last posting now that it is no longer 2 am in my time zone…

To fellow Ancestry users: I would like to repeat that we may have to accept that Ancestry may need to retire an old computer, and that moving the old software to the new computer may be more efficiently accomplished by starting over with new software instead of transferring the old software code. Yes, of course Ancestry could recreate a new system that looks just like the old one, which many of us who actually do genealogy research instead of posting a large number of photos would prefer, but it is not likely that a new system will look just like the old one because styles of webpages have changed in the past decade. However, we do need to argue for options to better display and print more genealogical information in the new system which is currently inadequate.

To Ancestry I would like to say: there is valuable data in those old family trees, and many of the users who submitted them are not all still active in genealogy and available to update them. My spouse has just traced another ancestral line based on a family tree submitted to Ancestry World Trees using information from family bibles and letters not available to him. Of course this type of information needs to be confirmed, but it points to states where wills may have been probated that we did not expect to search because we were not aware that his ancestor had moved from Indiana to Louisiana in the 1820′s because his daughter had remained and married in Indiana. This is just one example.

Our concern is that as time moves on, we become farther and farther removed from the generation that has kept these family bibles and letters. If Ancestry changes systems every decade and does not maintain the old family tree database, then much of this old information may eventually be lost forever if a few descendants do not protect and share it. My great-grandparents marriage certificate in Pennsylvania was listed in his Civil War pension folder at NARA as ‘destroyed by rats’ in the late 1800′s, and old family records still face many dangers in private homes from fire and water damage today.

Let’s guard the information that we still have in our custody. It is not just about keeping past promises to those may no longer be paying Ancestry fees — it is about fulfilling your role as archivists. Kenny has acknowledged this responsibility at Ancestry, but we do not see enough resources being dedicated to it. We are still concerned about the long term status of trees on Ancestry World Tree and would like more details about Ancestry’s plans to maintain the old database.

164 Kathleen HenryJanuary 18, 2008 at 12:06 pm

I see so many are talking about loosing the information on the Ancestry.com. Does this also mean loss of information on My Family.com will be lost if I don’t transfer my information?

I was under the impression that my information was going to be transferred by My Family.com automatically.

What am I to do? Thank you for any information

165 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 18, 2008 at 12:38 pm

In response to comment 164…

Hi Kathleen,

Sorry to have caused any panic, but let me reassure you there is absolutely no need to be concerned about your information being lost.

We will not delete anyone’s information. We will not lose your information.

What this is about is turning off the editing and viewing capability for the old Online Family Tree product. This will happen in the next few months.

Your file in the old Online Family Tree system will remain there. You’ll be able to export it, move it to our new system (Ancestry Member Trees), or remove it yourself from our system.

There have been a few complaints of lost data. When we look into these, in every case, there is no actual data loss. There have been problems with data getting transferred into the new system, but the original data is always maintained because we do not remove or modify the original file in the process.

If anyone has concerns about their data being lost, please contact me (kfreestone at tgn.com) and we’ll straighten it out.

Now, MyFamily.com also makes use of the old Online Family Tree system. You may have noticed they are working on a new “MyFamily.com 2.0″ version, which makes use of the new Ancestry Member Tree system. The MyFamily.com team will assist you in transitioning to the new platform and system, and will likewise not lose your information.

So, at this stage there is no need to do anything with your Online Family Tree file that appears on your MyFamily.com account. When the time comes to transfer to the new MyFamily.com system, we’ll help you.

–Kenny

166 LysbethJanuary 19, 2008 at 3:43 pm

I see that Ancestry has now updated the Index to the Public Member Trees — thanks.

I would argue that the search engine for Public Member Trees should stop automatically filling in the surname of the father to be the same spelling as the name of the individual for another reason: Patronymic Naming.

Patronymic naming was common in some parts of Europe prior to 1800. To quote Wikipedia: “In many areas patronymics predate the use of family names. They, along with the less common matronymics, are still used in Iceland, where few people have surnames. For example, the son and daughter of Pétur Marteinsson would have different last names – Pétursson (for his son) and Pétursdóttir (for his daughter).”

When the Public Member Trees search engine automatically fills in the name of the father to be identical to the name of the individual, then an exact search of the PMT Index will fail to identify these entries. Of course, a search with ‘exact matches only’ turned off will include the tree, but normal use of the search engine does not often go beyond ‘exact matches only’.

An exact match should locate an entry for an individual even if the name of the father was different due to Patronymic Naming, Americanization of the surname, or an illegitimate birth. An ‘exact matches only’ search should allow the user to enter the name of the father if the user considers that useful, but not automatically enter the surname for the father. In the current configuration, the user must remember to check if the surname of the father has been automatically entered and delete it if necessary.

That is not the best default for the search engine because the user also may not be aware that the surname of the father differed in any way. Adding new features to the Member Tree system may require some time, but turning off the automatic entering the surname of the father by the search engine should not require much programming effort or time.

167 LysbethJanuary 19, 2008 at 5:31 pm

I am concerned that, when the search engine on Public Member Trees automatically fills in the same surname spelling for the father, the list of exact matches that is returned will miss family trees that are most complete and most accurate. Historically, the spelling of the surname of the father may differ due to Americanization of the surname, an illegitimate birth, or Patronymic naming conventions.

The user may not know that the surname of the father differed and will not realize that the returned list of family trees matching the individual is not complete and may actually not list the best trees submitted to Public Member Trees. The user is then not likely to expand the list by repeating a search with ‘exact matches only’ turned off, and the user will miss the family trees listing the father and will see only those trees that do not list the father and his ancestry.

Was this an ill-conceived attempt by Ancestry to assist the user? Or a chauvinistic/social/political statement on how children should be named, at odds with a currently popular convention of naming children with a hyphenated combination of both paternal and maternal surnames?

168 Nancy EvansJanuary 19, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Kenny,
Since I added some of my trees to the new member tree system, I have started getting emails from Ancestry.com as shown below:

Nancy,

Our family tree (So and So) is growing.

2 people have been added:
Jane So and So
Jacob So and so (Apr 6, 1800- Mar 22, 1879)

Check out all the new updates or add your own memories

When I click on the link provided, it just takes me back to my own information in my member tree. What is the purpose of these emails?

Would also like to mention, in case others haven’t tried it, I have been having fun creating tree charts with the publishing feature. Haven’t actually bought one yet, although the proofs print out nicely.

169 Gordon KEITH SinclairJanuary 19, 2008 at 9:47 pm

I have only been an Ancestry member about a year , I have invested alot of hours and effort , more than 6000 names , 600 plus photographs have been enterd . Am I about to loose all this effort , not to mention the World membership I purchased on top of it all ? Shocked and disappointed . Keith

170 Shirley E. KeeslerJanuary 20, 2008 at 6:30 am

I am so very disappointed to find that after putting my tree on line, it was not viewable in the old format. The AHNENTAFEL view gave me a wonderful outline of a family when I knew just one name. It helps a person decide if the information in a tree might connect and apply to ones research. All I do now is CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK to gather good information. WHAT IS YOUR OBJECTIVE IN ELIMINATING THIS FEATURE. Thanks for condering my GREAT…GREAT…..GREAT DISAPPOINT CONCERNING THIS LOSS OF A GREAT FORMAT.

171 Jim ShumakerJanuary 20, 2008 at 10:16 am

I went from OFT to AMT and lost all of my pictures and comments. So deleted my AMT so I got pictures and comments back by staying with OFT. What’s going on with that? Don’t I get to convert all my pictures and comments when going to AMT?

Thanks, I think, Jim

172 CherylJanuary 21, 2008 at 12:46 am

As an Ancestry subscriber since about 2000, I have about 20 small trees containing vital family information that I wanted to share.

In 2006 I paid Ancestry an additional $20 to subscribe to One World Tree because I saw something tempting online – Ancestry had information available on two different people that I was interested in. When I accessed that info I found out that it was information that I had entered in two different trees on completely different families. In one case I had paid a private genealogist $900 to do the research for me in the city. A half hour after charging $20 to my credit card, I saw my own research in One World Tree.

The next renewal I became “grandfathered”. They called me and said things were changing and if I wanted to add on anything new I would have to take the Deluxe U.S. Records Collection and I could never go back to what I had. I found the cost prohibitive. I said how I had paid $20 extra to see my own research and the fact that through One World Tree I found that someone had a tree online with the full names of me, my daughter and my young grandson and that I had been trying to get it removed. The caller consulted a supervisor and my renewal price went down since the following week they would no longer be charging for One World Tree. I would now get it for free and they said they probably wouldn’t be adding anything more to it.

A long story and many months I have tried to get names of living family removed from One World Tree, but tonight I found my young grandson’s full name came up on the search results page in One World Tree. 10/2006 they removed the tree that someone uploaded and said it would all go away when One World Tree updated. It didn’t go away by 2/2007 and many more e-mails and calls – was referred to My Family as being the main office and they should be able to help – more calls and e-mails. The tree had once said “Living” with a surname but when it went into One World Tree full names appeared. Last time I tried to find it it seemed to be gone, but now again it is there. Now when I click on my grandson’s name on the search results page a blank page comes up but there is a link to 2 user submitted trees. The same thing appears for his parents. And from those trees they can be traced back to me and further. The tree that was supposedly removed is now back as two “personal” trees. Yes, please, please, please tell us you are killing One World Tree. It might be the only way to get rid of these names once and for all.

173 Joan AldersonJanuary 21, 2008 at 2:47 am

I have just learned about your planned changeover. As a paid up member, I resent that you didn’t have the courtesy to send a timely notification to my e-mail so that I would be aware of your timetable for making this change. After reading the many comments made from other users of your program, I do not plan to make this change. I have been trying to decide whether to continue with the “world subscription” when my subscription ends next month or just to continue with the “U.S.” subscription. The decision has become very easy. If you go ahead with your planned changeover, I will not renew my subscription at all and will remove all of my information from your site! Even with the faults of your old system, it has been valuable to me, and it appears that the faults of the new system are much greater. Also, I would be afraid I will lose some of my hard come-by information in the change over!

174 Kent ForrestJanuary 21, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Having been a computer user since the first Apple II I can say from experience that you always want to have multiple backups of important data.

I keep all my entries BOTH at Ancestry.com AND on my Mac Laptop in a genealogical program called Reunion 9.06. I have multiple editors at my site but I don’t always agree with their interpretation of entries. My final acceptable data rests at home (DVD’s) and is backup to a number of remote locations.

I realize that this requires multiple entries but I believe it is worth the time. There is always some information that you just might not want to share or disturb other people.

175 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 22, 2008 at 1:19 am

This message concerns message 126 by Gary S. Collins on the blog http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/19/online-family-tree-announcement/. The new message was copied over a week ago, on January 12, 2008, to Juliana Smith’s blog entitled “Online Family Trees (OFT) at Ancestry Transitioning”. Tonight, the last posted entry on Juliana’s blog dates from January 11, eleven days ago before the present date is January 22. Ten days having lapsed, I fear that Juliana might have been the victim of foul play!

Ancestry.com: Please check on the whereabouts and safety of Juliana Smith! All of us should be worried about her!

Thank you,

Gary S. Collins

Cc: I am copying to several other relevant blogs in this emergency situation.

176 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 22, 2008 at 12:19 pm

In response to comment 168…

Nancy, the emails are to help invited family members stay up-to-date with work going on by others in the tree.

When you don’t have any people invited I agree it leaves you wondering what they are for. We’ve got this on our list.

–Kenny

177 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 22, 2008 at 12:24 pm

In response to comment 169…

Hi Keith,

Sorry to cause any alarm. You are not about to lose your work.

Because you mention photographs I’m guessing you are already using the new Ancestry Member Tree system. To know for sure, check out our FAQ post: (http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/online-family-tree-faqs/) and see which screen shot matches what you see when building your family tree.

In either case, rest assured that your data will not be lost. Moving from the old system to the new does not remove your information from the old–it just makes a copy of it in the new system.

Hope this helps.

–Kenny

178 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 22, 2008 at 12:25 pm

In response to comment 170…

Hi Shirley,

We have on our list a project to create an Ahnentafel report, which should help with this.

–Kenny

179 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 22, 2008 at 12:27 pm

In response to comment 171…

Hi Jim,

I think you may be in the same boat as Keith.

Because you mention pictures and comments I’m guessing you are already using the new Ancestry Member Tree system. To know for sure, check out our FAQ post: (http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/online-family-tree-faqs/) and see which screen shot matches what you see when building your family tree.

In either case, rest assured that your data will not be lost. Moving from the old system to the new does not remove your information from the old–it just makes a copy of it in the new system.

Hope this helps. Let me know if I’m interpreting this wrong.

–Kenny

180 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 22, 2008 at 12:30 pm

In response to comment 172…

Hi Cheryl,

Please send me an email, and we’ll try to get this situation fixed for you.

kfreestone at tgn.com

–Kenny

181 Warren CushingJanuary 22, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Bug Report.

I have uploaded from the OFT my Genealogy of the Cushing Family 2007 on 12/21/2007 and Genealogy of the Cushing Family 2008 on 1/20/2008 to the new AMT. I chose the Home Person to be Matthew Cushing born 1588 in each case.

I was going to delete the 2007 version when the 2008 version appeared online after verifying its contents.

However I have noticed when logged in and accessing my “treelist”, I found that the 2007 version displays George M Cushing b: 1853 as the starting point upon clicking on View Tree. The 2008 version displays Charles H Philpot as the starting point.

Is this normal?

182 Warren CushingJanuary 22, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Also noteworthy…

Comments added to my gedcoms will be lost when I update them with new information, because I have to upload a new file and then remove the old one which has the Comments. So Comments and photos are useless to me without a merge feature like the OFT has with AWT.

183 LisaJanuary 22, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Response to comment #181 by Warren

Yes this is normal. It takes you to the last viewed person in the tree. That is the one you last personally viewed. You can see who this person is by viewing on the right side of the home page, under “People in this tree” “last viewed:”

This is a wonderful feature as it takes us back to the last person we were viewing or working on last. And when you are that persons page and then click “Family Tree” it takes you to that person’s – the last person viewed – “Family Tree”

If you want to go to the “Home Person” click the link “Home Person” on the top left just under the name of the tree.

184 LisaJanuary 22, 2008 at 6:00 pm

In response to comment 168…

Nancy,
You can turn off the emails if you don’t want them.
go to:
http://www.ancestry.com
My Ancestry
My Alerts
Under “Family Tree Alerts”
next to the tree you want to change the alerts for
click “Change Delivery Options”
and then change the option for
“New Content and Hints” to off.
You can select for each tree how often or if you want to receive the “New Content” emails. Our family looks forward to these everyday. I haven’t actually ever turned them off to see if they quit coming, but that is how it is supposed to work according to the settings I see here.

185 John BernhardtJanuary 23, 2008 at 6:41 am

I used the “notes” section in OFT to record stories and document sources. I have more than 11,000 individuals with notes. Many of the notes are quite lengthy. So, I have the following problems with the new arrangement in AMT to locate this data in the “Research Notes” section.
1) The “Research Notes” section is not printer friendly. There is no way to print out the notes to be continuous–if they are over 16 lines long–even though there is huge page space available.
2) The “Research notes” are set out separate from all other data on the individual. I would love to have the opportunity to have the Research notes included with other pertinent Vital Information, Facts and Relationship data on the individual–and be able to be printed out in a print friendly fashion. Kenny, in your #121 you suggested the possibility of an automatic tool to convert “Research Notes” to “Stories” as a possible solution to a problem similar to that which I have identified. Would this address my above concerns? Also, you might want to consider providing an option to retitle “Stories” to something like “Stories & Notes”.

186 Thomas L WiltonJanuary 23, 2008 at 6:49 am

This comment is in support of my son-in-law, Stephen D Lombardi (Stevebardi@lycos.com) who lacks the time to do the massive amount of work to transfer files. Actually the research (a great deal of it @ NEHGS,Boston)has been done primarily by me (more than 95% of what has been submitted) on behalf of my daughter and Steve. (I live w/ them in retirement) The issue is access to all the work submitted after March. Your listing of the new format cuts off the display of files (perhaps 20% of it) beyond A through Sa. Sa to Z is not displayed, yet no warning was posted that you would limit access. I certainly hope that you will not demand a limit on accepting work already in the old system. Please correct the “defect.” Many thanks.

187 John BernhardtJanuary 23, 2008 at 7:05 am

When with OFT, the guests that I identified were desigated to view only–and not to add to or change the data. When I converted to AMT, they automatically became contributors–and able to change the data. I found out– and changed them to view only. However, I see that now they can’t read the “Research Notes”. I would like you to consider an option to allow guests to read and print all data, but not to have change authority.

188 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 23, 2008 at 9:31 am

In response to comment 186…

Hi Thomas, Please send me the username for the account you are using, and I’ll look into your question.

–Kenny

189 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 24, 2008 at 12:27 am

Re message 185 by John Bernhardt:

This appears to be a major–maybe fatal–problem with the new Ancestry Member Tree system (AMT) that did not exist with the older Online Family Tree (OFT). According to John’s report, “guests” of OFT files could view the complete contents of files—including complete notes and also for living individuals—but could not modify the files, whereas with AMT files, one only has the limited choice to be designated as a “contributor” to the file, who can edit or change the contents at will, or as a “general public” viewer who cannot modify your file and will never see contents of your research notes. I have never seen a clear description by Ancestry.com of requirements for an individual to observe any parts of a specified AMT file, and what additional requirements are required to observe “research notes”.

Kenny, can you clarify this issue??

Best,

Gary Collins

190 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 24, 2008 at 1:11 am

A further comment about message 185 by John Bernhardt and response 189 by myself:

Perhaps some readers don’t understand what “research notes” are. I will use my own ancestry file as an example to give a representation of what one can accomplish with research notes. Here are three illustations:

http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=garyscottcollins&id=I112549570 gives my personal page, from which you can navigate to my near relatives.

http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=PED&db=garyscottcollins&id=I112549570 gives my pedigree file through about 10 generations. (You can’t do that using AMT!)

http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=DESC&db=garyscottcollins&id=I112549580 gives the descendancy from my great-great-great-grandfather, Dr. Richard Collins, immigrant from Ireland to the US in about 1765, through about 10 generations. (You can’t do that using AMT!)

Research notes are integral to family history, without which one would have at best only a pallid recitation of birth and death dates. AMT ignores “research notes” in favor of something they newly invented that they call “family stories”. That doesn’t cut the mustard! There is no standard for such a new form of “notes”. Ancestry.com is confusing old, well established constructs with new wishy-washy constructs that offer no demonstrable benefit. .

My personal opinion is that AMT has nothing at all to offer over the useful OFT service. Sadly, Ancestry.com plans to pull the plug on OFT within the next 1-2 months. Words that come to my mind are Shame!, and Idiocy!

Gary Collins

191 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 24, 2008 at 9:26 am

In response to comment 189…

Hi Gary,

There are a couple of things that might go into viewing all or portions of a file.

The major distinctions are the “public” and “personal” settings, which are covered on the site when starting a new file, as well as on this FAQ post: http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/online-family-tree-faqs/.

Research Notes are currently only viewable by the tree owner and those invited as editors. (This info appears within the tree system in the notes section). We plan to change this shortly to include the option to have notes always be available.

Information about people we think are living is hidden and not part of our search system. People invited to the tree can see living people if the owner gives them that permission. Without permission to see living information, all information about that person (including facts, events, notes, names, dates, places, stories, photos, etc.) is hidden from view.

Also, in response to comment 190, you mention that “AMT ignores “research notes” in favor of something they newly invented that they call “family stories”.”

I think to say the system ignores research notes is not quite accurate, since the product supports research notes.

We introduced a distinction between research notes and stories that is designed to encourage people to tell family stories and get them recorded before they are lost. We added the ability for anyone to add a comment to a story (also a person or photo) to add their own information about the story.

Many prefer to use “research notes” for that purpose, which is fine. We continue to support that and plan to make additional improvements to make it more convenient, similar to OFT.

–Kenny

192 Warren CushingJanuary 24, 2008 at 10:25 am

Response to comment #183 by Lisa

Thank you for explaining that to me. Although it is a good feature for novices, it does present difficulties for my research.

I have numerous gedcoms that I am slowly attaching together. Therefore I prefer that they all open on the Home Person so I can tell which gedcom I am using. Nothing as frustrating as updating the wrong gedcom!

When the changeover is complete I will be breaking up a number of gedcoms that I have consolidated into approximately 100 separate gedcoms. I think this will work better in the new system. Irregardless I still prefer the OFT to the AMT. It is much easier to use.

193 Richard PetersJanuary 24, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Reading so many negative comments about this new Ancestry Member Tree is really discouraging. I haven’t changed over yet to the new system and am afraid to do so. I’m afraid of losing everything I have worked so hard for. I will never understand why Ancestry.com is doing this. My membership is up in February and I seriously doubt if I will renew.

renew.

194 John L. ElliottJanuary 25, 2008 at 6:26 am

I have tried (unsuccessfully) to move my Online Family Tree into the new “improved” (ha ha ha ha) program.
I have only 1445 people in my tree and 92 photos. When it is moved, I end up with 1216 people and no photos. Ancestry simply wiped out 229 people and 92 photos – they went to never-never land. So much for the “improved” system.
My membership is up in March anyway and it won’t be renewed unless Ancestry decides to keep the Online Family Tree.

195 PatrickJanuary 25, 2008 at 7:08 am

First, a question:
is there a way to easily “link” 2 or more family trees? For example, my “Alexander” and “Stewart” families are related. However, I seem to have to re-enter data on the “Stewart” tree that I’ve already entered to my “Alexander” tree.

Second, a comment:
Although I like the “search” feature that AMT provides with the exception of the “hints” concerning trees/data entered by others. So many, many people seem to want to fill in the blanks on their trees that they copy erroneous or questionable information. These folks don’t want to take the time/energy to do their own research and to document it.

I understand that some people may like seeing the work of others. But, I suggest removing these trees as a possible “hint” and make them available as a separate “click”.

Thanks very much.

196 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 25, 2008 at 10:05 am

In response to comment 194…

Hi John,

I suspect you may be already using the newer system because you mention having 92 photos in your file. The old OFT system does not support photos, so perhaps you have no need to migrate?

–Kenny

197 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 25, 2008 at 10:10 am

In response to comment 195…

Patrick,

There is no way to merge or link multiple AMT files. This is a fairly common request is on our list.

–Kenny

198 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 25, 2008 at 10:29 am

In response to comment 193…

Hi Richard,

I understand your concern–this blog has its share of negative comments. But I can assure you that outside of this blog there are hundreds of thousands of people using the AMT system and are very happy with it.

Why not give it a try? There is nothing to lose because the process does not modify or remove your original OFT file–just makes a copy of it.

Also if there are things in the AMT system you’d like changed, do let me know.

–Kenny

199 Carole GrantJanuary 25, 2008 at 11:59 am

In response to comment 198 from Kenny Freestone:

“I understand your concern–this blog has its share of negative comments. But I can assure you that outside of this blog there are hundreds of thousands of people using the AMT system and are very happy with it.”

Kenny, I believe you are misleading the readers of this blog and unless you can back up this statement with verifiable documentation, I just can’t believe there are “hundreds of thousands” of people who are very happy with AMT.

Many of the users of the new AMT system are using it because it is the only tool available to them at this time. This does not mean the user is happy.

A great majority of the users of the new AMT system are novices who have just started their trees within the last year, and are not familiar with anything other than your new tree. They don’t know any better and this does not mean they are all happy.

People uploading or transferring their trees to the new AMT does not proclaim happiness.

You cannot deny that many users of the new AMT system have uploaded their trees and then abandoned them in frustration.

You cannot deny that users have uploaded trees as test trees, only to delete them out of Ancestry’s system.

I agree that you may have several thousand users who are pleased with the new AMT tree; most likely because of the ability to upload photos in quantity, and the cutsie graphics. You also have the multitude of users who are overjoyed with the ability to take another researcher’s work and merge it into their own trees without having to do any work on their own. These same people don’t need “notes” or verification of fact because they are only interested in filling their tree out as fast as possible. (This in itself appalls me.) I also feel there are several thousand users who are not pleased with the new AMT tree for the same reasons.

For my own reasons I resubmitted the tree that I had removed from Ancestry’s AMT system as a test tree. However, I am removing this tree again in the near future. Having the tree on your system does not benefit me in any way since I work on a home program and do not update the AMT tree. I just wanted to see how many people working on the same family lines would contact me. I have had a few bites, but nothing spectacular. All the people who have contacted me are people just starting out and who want me to give them my information. I have always enjoyed sharing my information and getting information in return is not important to me until I began to experience multiple demands for information and subsequent abuse of my source people (the people who do me favors and provide me my documentation without red tape). Asking and giving is one thing, demanding and abuse is discouraging, disappointing and a turn-off. But this really has nothing to do with the AMT system and I digress…..

There will always be new researchers and new customers for Ancestry. It does none of us any good to continue to complain about the new tree, because Ancestry is determined to shut down the OFT no matter what. We, the paying public, will be forced to adjust and accept the change. We can make suggestions, and it is Ancestry’s option to listen or turn a deaf ear and a blind eye.

If you don’t like the AMT, don’t use it. It’s that simple.
Due to the multiple negative features of the new system, I will not use it.

Canceling subscriptions to Ancestry.com defeats the purpose of research and Ancestry realizes these are empty threats. If a researcher cancels their subscription because they don’t like the AMT tree, then that person will no longer have access to census reports, immigration information, birth and death records etc. But we can stop using the tree system. No one should be forced to use the AMT. There are better alternatives out there. Buy an outside program and use it at home. If you want to share your tree, upload it at Rootsweb.com, where it will be displayed in a professional and viewer friendly manner. You will be able to print out each page for your records in the same way the old Ancestry OFT system offered it. Ancestry doesn’t care what you do as long as you pay your monthly or annual subscription fee.

Ancestry, please don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

200 Diane TortorellaJanuary 26, 2008 at 10:25 am

I have 3 different family trees. Only one tree gave me the option to switch over. Will all 3 be transferred over to the new system through that one tree? I don’t want to lose anything.

201 Thom KimeJanuary 26, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Kenny Freestone – Reported Bugs

You started another blog entitled “More questions and answers about the Online Family Tree Transition” which actually has a more recent date than this blog, yet you don’t appear to be reading or responding to any of the concerns there.

I posted 3 bug reports there that I sincerely believe (I know for fact) require attention and correction. I was specific and can reproduce each one, so they aren’t just the vague and whimsical rantings of a madman. Please go and read them!

• Incorrect handling of surname titles such as Jr., Sr., I, II, III and Esq. etc.
• Incorrect handling of the Marriage event notes.
• Incorrect handling of the Military Service event.

Each of these 3 items is resultant from incorrect implementations of the GEDCOM Standard within AMT. Also, AMT and FMT are not fully compatible with each other regarding these 3 items.

For the sake of brevity, I ask again that you read and address your other blog as well, or at least post a message there saying that you’ll only be responding here!

202 Alice Mc GownJanuary 26, 2008 at 4:23 pm

I am afraid to transfer my Family Tree beca

203 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 27, 2008 at 2:46 am

Re message 199 by Carol Grant:

Dear Carol,

Thank you very much for your message 199. I support your attitude towards Ancestry.com’s sad and inexplicable decision to terminate the Online Family Tree (OFT) service.

You copied message 199 also as message 76 of the blog http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/26/more-questions-and-answers-about-the-online-family-tree-transition/. I’m sorry that you were slammed by Mr/Mrs “Blog Guidelines” of Ancestry.com, who posted message #77 on that blog, which I quote:

#77 Written by: Blog Guidelines
Posted on: January 25, 2008 at 3:07 pm
#76!
Please read “Ancestry.com blog Terms of Use and Guidelines” which prohibits multi-blog posting.
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/index.php/terms/

Frankly, I think Mr/Mrs “Blog Guidelines” should have had more courtesy than to address you curtly as “#76!”. Previously, I posted messages to the four “OFT termination and issues” blogs to ensure that interested persons would not miss the messages but never received a reprimand from Mr/Mrs “Blog Guidelines”. Maybe I was just lucky.

Kenny Freestone has given an impression about “satisfaction” with the new Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) service that I think one should doubt. I would assert that all “serious” past users of the Online Family Tree (OFT) service think that AMT is useless. Consider the newly updated introductory text on the “blog” page at http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/19/Online-Family-Tree-Announcement coming from Kenny Freestone and Ancestry.com Corporation. A new “trial and transition” phase has been announced to take place between now and March 2008 that will hopefully lead to greater accolades for AMT. The presentation is less of substance than of “public relations”.

Consider the new large chart comparing features offered by OFT and AMT. I would call the attention of readers to the following:

1. Under OFT, many useful hints for additional information about individuals are offered from the rootsweb and ancestry.com databases and from records available at Ancestry.com. These are ignored, perhaps because they are not specifically identified as trademarked “Ancestry Hints TM”. The comparison is simply deceptive! (You don’t have to believe me; find out for yourself! Go to http://www.ancestry.com/oft/ (it is still there), upload a GEDCOM file and see all the hints/links for yourself .)

2. While one can “attach” a wide range of media (photos, audio and video files, and other records) directly to an individual AMT file, one can do the same with an OFT, Rootsweb or Worldconnect ancestry file. The difference is that, for an AMT file, the file and attached media will be invisible to any “John Q. Public“ who is not a dues-paying subscriber to ancestry.com.

How can one attach photos or other media to OFT, Rootsweb or Worldconnect files?? I have done this for my Rootsweb ancestry file. For example see my entry at http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=garyscottcollins&id=I112549570 and check entries for my immediate ancestors for links to photos and documents. My target photos and documents are hosted on Rootsweb Freepages. Freepages, support by Ancestry.com via previous agreement, are genuinely free. I think this works great!

Consider the alternative. Once you have spent a lot of effort constructing a large AMT file, with media attachments, there is no way to download and maintain the whole thing. The media will simply be “cut loose” if you try to extract a GEDCOM from your AMT file. So, you may feel trapped into “hanging on” with a deficient, subscriber-based service. [Kenny, please correct if this is in error.]

3. I am not sure what “Merge info from saved records” means, but I would certainly not anything merged into my ancestry file without my explicit prior approval. Inadvertent merging can wreck an ancestry file.

4. “Ability for other researchers to leave comments” is mistakenly suggested to exist with AMT and not OFT. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Under OFT, any interested reader can either (a) contact the owner of an ancestry file directly using the provided email address, or (b) post a “Postem”, a kind of visible “stickey” attached to the page of an individual entry in an ancestry file with additional information. But “Postem’s” have always been completely distinct from the file itself, and can be deleted by the file’s owner if he/she so wishes.

So, Carol, I strongly support your message, but have to disagree on one point. I don’t believe that anybody has to maintain subscriptions to Ancestry.com in order to further “research”. I think the decision that Ancestry.com has taken to promote AMT while killing off OFT deserves a response from experienced researchers. Look for alternative information sources. Here are two that I think should be examined:

(1) Heritage.com (http://www.heritagequestonline.com/) has subscriptions at many local libraries, where it can be accessed online at home for free; check it out. There are many census records and also searchable books unavailable at Ancestry.com. If not at your library, it may be worth a personal subscription. Or ask your library to subscribe.

(2) Footnote.com (http://www.footnote.com/) is a new archive that is currently amassing new records from the National Archives at a phenomenal rate. Check it out. At $60/year the subscription fee is much cheaper than the $200/year that Ancestry.com charges. Undoubtedly, other new archives will be coming on line.

As I have written, I will drop my subscription to Ancestry.com on the day that I learn that OFT has actually been terminated. Maybe I will come back later on, but I doubt it. I wish that ancestry.com could reconsider termination of OFT, but it appears that a corporate decision has been made that there is more bucks to be made hosting a genealogical scrapbook site than providing services for individuals with a well-developed interest in genealogical studies.

Again, thank you very much for your message, Carol. No apologies were necessary at all.

Best,

Gary Collins

204 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 27, 2008 at 3:24 am

Re message 203 that I just submitted:

Mr/Mrs “Blog Guidelines” appears to have struck again!

Readers should check which URL’s in my previous message 203 had links automatically generated for them and which did not. Here is a list of URL’s copied from message 203:

http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/26/more-questions-and-answers-about-the-online-family-tree-transition/
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/index.php/terms/
http://www.ancestry.com/oft/
http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=garyscottcollins&id=I112549570
http://www.heritagequestonline.com/
http://www.footnote.com/

Look at the above list. I expect that you will find that last two URL’s are not linked (no place to click to go anywhere). Thus, Ancestry.com’s blogs refuse to provide links for URL’s that are not “their own”. I think this is shameful. Ancestry.com should not represents its ‘blogs’ as fora for free discourse. It just ain’t so!

For the individual, the work-around is to cut-and-paste the URL into a browser address window and click. Please do so for the links to HeritageQuest and Footnote given above at the bottom. They are viable alternatives to Ancestry.com as information resources.

Cheers,

Gary Collins

205 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 27, 2008 at 3:35 am

Re messages 203 and 204:

Whoa! The URL’s for HeritageQuest and Footnote appearing in message 204 were shown with good links and were fine. So one has to look deeper for conditions for generation of URL’s.

For example, why did the text in message 203 “http://www.footnote.com/” not generate a link while the exact same text in message 204 did??

I guess one has to ask Mr/Mrs “Blog Guidelines” for an answer: Under what conditions does a text string generate or not generate a linked URL?? It is not obvious.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

206 Barbara HarrisonJanuary 27, 2008 at 8:39 am

I have spent 12 months researching and compiling my family tree which has approx. 200 persons.I have added lots of details to each person and find that after transferring it to the new system, as instructed by Ancestry, not by choice, only 7 people have tranferred!
There are no details shown from census records etc. and relationships OF THE 7 are not correct!
What is the point of paying subscription charges and spending hundreds of hours building a tree when it is just wiped clean?
We don’t even have any choice in the matter!
I don’t have the time to start from scratch building my tree again.
How can I save it?
Can I transfer it to any other site or onto a CD?
You state that we can move the “file” to the new system – I took that to mean the complete file, not just 7 names.

207 Carole GrantJanuary 27, 2008 at 10:28 am

Gary,

Thank you for your support.

Never fear, my apology on the other blog was wry. I knew I was being singled out and attacked. My post obviously struck nerves and Mr/Ms Blog Guidelines was warning me and others that if you don’t have anything nice to say about AMT, don’t say anything at all. Their error was drawing attention to my post. If they had ignored it, the post would have been absorbed into all the other posts, once read and then forgotten.

I am aware of Heritagequest. I can also access the website through my local library’s online database. My library also offers access to the archived newspaper database.

Thank you for the link to Footnotes. Godfrey Memorial Library also offers a broad source of research that can be accessed online. http://www.godfrey.org

I was recently sent information from the Illinois Genealogical Society that let their members know Familysearch.org has people in every state digitizing vital records, military records and other documentation that will be made available to the public at no charge.

While some people will cancel their subscriptions because of AMT, I still believe that many people will not cancel their subscriptions because Ancestry has the largest compilation of documentation at this time, which makes research simple and easy. I am confident that some people also piggyback Ancestry.com on top of the other resource websites available to them such as their local library and Heritagequest. I do.

But to keep on subject, as per blog terms and guidelines, I still stand by what I wrote.

No one should be forced to use AMT.
If you don’t like AMT, don’t use it.
I will not use AMT.
The most effective statement to Ancestry.com is refusal to submit your tree to the AMT system.

208 Thom KimeJanuary 27, 2008 at 11:18 am

KENNY, “Cause of Death” event field not properly labeled in AMT.

The Cause of Death field, which appears at the end of the Death event in AMT, is labeled only as “Description” which is confusing and incorrect.

Internally (in its gedcom file) the Cause of Death field appears to import to and export from, AMT and retail programs correctly and has the correct label.

However, because it is not visably labeled as “Cause of Death” in AMT the user is likely to use this field incorrectly and certainly has no way of knowing that this is actually AMT’s COD field.

Also, when the user downloads a gedcom from AMT into their local program, they will not know to look in their program’s “Cause of Death” event field to find this information.

Please change this field’s label from “Description” to “Cause of Death” in AMT so we will know what this field really is.

209 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 28, 2008 at 11:23 am

In response to comment 200…

Hi Diane,

Perhaps of the 3 trees you have, 1 you are the owner of, and the other 2 you are invited to?

Only the tree owner is able to initiate the move, so perhaps this explains the difference.

–Kenny

210 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 28, 2008 at 11:43 am

In response to comment 201…

Hi Thom,

Please understand that I do read all the comments on the various blogs, and the bugs you report are noted.

–Kenny

211 Thom KimeJanuary 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Reply to Kenny, #210

In the end, I really do want AMT to be the best of the best.

I just wanted to be certain that everyones attempts to help make it that way were not in vein.

Works for me!

212 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 28, 2008 at 7:43 pm

I noticed that the entry page for OFT at http://www.ancestry.com/oft/main.asp now suggests that a transition period of “several months” is now envisioned by Ancestry.com.

That is good news. It will be even better if Ancestry.com works hard to freely convince OFT users of the supposed advantages of AMT.

Anyway, I modestly pleased ane encourage Ancestry.com to continue to rethink the whole idea of axing OFT.

Gary Collins

213 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 29, 2008 at 9:20 am

In response to comment 206…

Hi Barbara,

I’ve had a look at your account to see what is happening.

The research you have been doing the last 12 months has been in the new AMT system.

You do have an OFT file, but it hasn’t been modified since October 2005–this is the file with 7 names in it.

You have no need to migrate. I apologize for the confusion.

–Kenny

214 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 30, 2008 at 1:50 am

Dear All,

The new issue of Rootsweb Review contains a link to a survey described as follows:

Survey for The Generations Network, Inc.
The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of Ancestry.com, RootsWeb.com, and Ancestry Publishing, is working on a new project and gathering some information from the family history community before they begin development. Please take a minute and complete the following survey: http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?p=WEB227CM37VXUA.

Whatever your views, I encourage readers to reply to the survey with candid responses, as I already have. The survey raises the idea that Ancestry.com might pay people to publish their ancestry stories and photos. My personal view is that such a system can only lead to a lower level of discourse over the Internet. Do readers know any people who carry out research on their families to make a quick buck?? I don’t think I want to have anything to do with such people. I’m happy to communicate my findings for free (and that’s my biggest complaint about Ancestry Member Trees).

Best,

Gary Collins

215 Thom Kime, WEB-G-COMJanuary 30, 2008 at 9:49 am

NEW IDEA; WEB-G-COM

You have probably already guessed what this suggestion is about.

This is an idea to squelch the single biggest complaint at ANY genealogy service that offers online trees and custom web pages to go with them.

“I uploaded all my stuff and have attached files, pictures and sources from my service, but when I download my GEDCOM, I don’t get all my stuff back and often don’t get the stuff I’ve paid for and attached to my tree. I also can’t reproduce my online tree website on my PC or in my genealogy program.

Sound familiar? Enter WEB-G-COM. A natural Online extension of what your genealogy program already does (or can do) for you.

Your home genealogy program can generate a family genealogy website for you. Right? Well, your online genealogy program should ALSO be able to CLONE your online website into a downloadable website, a WEB-G-COM, that you can display on your PC or upload to your personal web space or website independent of the genealogy service where you designed it. It would carry with it, everything you have paid for or contributed yourself!

It would NOT be a genealogy program that allows continued edits. A GEDCOM doesn’t do that and neither would a WEB-G-COM. It’s a web based alternate version of a GEDCOM that just happens to be displayable as a website.

I believe that a format such as this will, by demand, become the future of online genealogy. We are all tired of making really cool genealogy websites that we can’t take with us. We pay for it so we deserve to take what we have designed, in full!

Currently, if we don’t maintain a subscription to the service, we loose all that work. That’s just not right. We already paid for it and poured our hearts into it. It’s ours and we want to take it with us.

How cool would it be to take your laptop to your next family reunion and show everyone the really cool site you designed. A huge portion of my older relatives still don’t have computers and never will. This is a way for them to see it too.

I would like to see TGN (Ancestry.com) take the lead and set the standard in this regard. If you would too then say so. If you think this is idealistic folly and hoopla, then say so. Be heard. If TGN did this, then anyone else would instantly be a quantum leap behind them.

I know for fact that it’s do-able. It’s desirable, it can be done, it should be done and we deserve to have it!

Thom Kime
Clan Curator for the Kime Family Archive and Genealogical Project. (KFAP).

216 CherylJanuary 31, 2008 at 11:44 am

I have 20 small OFTs that I put on to help other people with information some of which only I might have for one reason for another. I plan to leave these trees where they are and not transition them to the new trees. I discovered a small error and I fixed it. It has been 3 days and the corrected version isn’t online yet. I’m wondering how soon it will update.

217 CherylJanuary 31, 2008 at 11:58 am

Now the tree has updated as of Jan. 28, but the corrections I made aren’t there. I will make the correction again and see what happens.

218 CherylFebruary 1, 2008 at 8:08 pm

The tree updated as of 1/31/08, but the correction does not appear. I made it again and will see what happens.

219 Diane TortorellaFebruary 2, 2008 at 2:52 pm

I am sole owner of all 3 family trees. I did the research and put it all together.
So, how do I transfer all of them over to the new system?

220 JUDY ADAMSFebruary 2, 2008 at 4:50 pm

I have one word that i feel sums up your member trees; i would use two but as the first is worse than the second i would not get away with it.

******* CRAP

YES THATS RIGHT

who in their right mind needs to see the name of the tree in the first position .. conclusion crap

when you enter a surname and an area i would expect to have all the aaron’s right through to zeberdy’s grouped together. that is alphabetically but oh no they are all over the place; a william might precead a brian which if you are lucky might precead a daniel but you are more likly to get a zac. the same happens when you put in a first name and an area or evren a parish ownly…searching facility conclusion crap

AND JUST WHERE HAS ALL MY NOTES WHICH HOLD ALL MY REFRENCES GONE. I HAVE SPENT 8 YEARS WRITING THEM ONLY FOR YOU TO HIDE THEM ….YES YOU GUEST IT MY CONCLUSION CRAP

NOW THE ONE WORLD TREE
the above two words are repeated about 10,000 times. why well below is a pice that i have had to add to regually to trees on the comment option. the worthless bit of junk which forms one world tree should be removed as a mater of priority

I have been researching the Westbrook’s of hampshire england for about 8 years and have been a member of ancestry for almost as long. The moment that I joined ancestry I made my tree public. This included allowing ancestry to include my tree on the ONE WORLD TREE as soon as it was launched. The ONE WORLD TREE I have found does not live up to expectations. The aim was to make searching for relatives far easier. Unfortunately the program has what I see as a major flaw. it came to my notice after just a short time that what the program actually dose was to GATHER information from a loaded tree and look for a match, but instead of reporting the POSSIBLE match’s, as the GENES REUNITED site does, the ONE WORLD TREE in fact amalgamated the possible matches with the tree. That is the program takes the info from two or more trees and then amalgamates them into one tree. The problem is ONE WORLD TREE takes the entry for an individual from a submitted tree then what looks to be the same individual from another tree and then declare them to be the same. The trouble is if ANYONE of the normal criteria…e.g. birth death… entries are missing or are approximately the same the program assumes that the owner of the tree does not know the information therefore if the program found by the ONE WORLD TREE has an entry in the missing field the ONE WORLD tree decides to use the found tree information as the correct missing data. I first become aware of this before the full census were available with a different relative of mine I had all but the birth/death date added both of which I left blank (I never do this now). The info I had was his christening and marriage both of which was in England. I also had the info for the 1901 census which was placed in the notes as is my norm which still showed the person as in England. it then came to my attention by shear luck that ONE WORLD TREE had found a second entry which had a birth date on, that was prior to the christening date I had entered for my relative. The only corresponding data between my relative and that relative was the exact same NAME. As the second had a death date too the ONE WORLD TREE amalgamated the entry from the second tree with my relatives. The relative ancestors (my ancestors) were wiping out…That is the relatives parents were removed…and the found match’s info was added instead (the second trees ancestors). A yellow triangle was placed by my relative showing that I had inputted other info which the ONE WORLD TREE had deemed wrong. I had suddenly gained relatives which were nothing to do with my tree and the correct ones no longer showed as correct. All this was despite the fact that the match that ONE WORLD TREE found was an individual that had been born, wed and died in the USA (mine you remember was England) so that by the time that the ONE WORLD TREE had finished it concluded that my relative was born in the USA a few years before he was christened in England he was married in England then just a couple of months later married in the USA had a son in England and a son in USA in the same year then died in the USA before 1901 (remember I had him in my notes in the census). That was it as far as anyone on the net knew when they looked at my tree the info that ONE WORLD TREE had concluded was the correct info is what they saw. In other words a completely wrong third entry was created. With a little bit of investigation I was able to see what had happened and made sure that the next time that the ONE WORLD TREE was updated the two entries were once more checked and the program would determining the two entries as just that two different people and the third entry effectively removed simply by adding England in the description for the birth and death. I also started using christening and burial dates with a * added before to the appropriate empty birth / death places when possible if the dates are unknown, a practise I continue to day. There you have the reason I have written this. Because the ONE WORLD TREE has this flaw when it checked the Thomas Westbrook entry I submitted in my tree and found that I had only an approximate date of birth and no parents when it found a person that seemed to be a possible match with Thomas Westbrook which had parents it amalgamated the tree onto my trees Thomas Westbrook. And once again it did not matter that they were born and lived in different continents. This time I was unable to do anything about it as ONE WORLD TREE no longer updates. This has caused the amalgamated trees to appear on the ONE WORLD TREE even today (the wrong third entry). And this has caused a number of people to ADOPT the info that ONE WORLD TREE has created and worse still ACCEPT it as CORRECT. As it was me that painstakingly spent 8 years researching the Westbrook’s of hampshire england it is very disappointing to me to find that many people now believe that Thomas Westbrook of hampshire england parents were a JAMES AND DIANE of the USA. Also disappointing is the fact that the information gleaned from ONE WORLD TREE has now been past around as fact amongst those who have had cause to research a Thomas Westbrook both here on ancestry and other sites including genes reunited. With a little bit of checking on ONE WORLD TREE you will be able to find the second Thomas Westbrook of usa who was born lived and died in the USA with James and Diane as his parents. FOR THE RECORD……………. THOMAS WESTBROOK OF HAMPSHIRE ENGLAND WAS NOT the son of James or Diane. He NEVER went to or come from or had any connection to the USA. TO DATE NO PERSON has located Thomas Westbrook of hampshire englands christening or parentage. Conclusion The info that shows that James and Diane were Thomas Westbrook of hampshire england parents is a figment of the FLAWED software program which forms ONE WORLD TREE. Therefore any info taken from ONE WORLD TREE should be treated with caution and you should be aware that it could be an amalgamation of info by ONE WORLD TREE and therefore have the potential to be wrong. I have done my best to inform people of this incorrect info that ONE WORLD TREE has produced through what I see as flawed software. I ask you the reader to take what I have said into consideration when you decide about adding James and Diane as Thomas Westbrook of hampshire england parents and if like me you feel what I said is right then inform others But most of all beware when you use info from ONE WORLD TREE this is a warning. my tree can be found here on ancestry look for the lable WANDERING BRITAIN (with date eg dec 06) where all data which apears for the hampshire england westbrooks has been checked in parish records

MY LAST WORDS ARE
LEAVE WORLD TREES ALONE
LEAVE WORLD TREES ALONE
LEAVE WORLD TREES ALONE
LEAVE WORLD TREES ALONE
LEAVE WORLD TREES ALONE

(INTO INFINITY)

221 Thomas L WiltonFebruary 2, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Re: comment #186 Still no answer. The owner name was provided in the first message(Stevebardi@lycos.com) Sa to Z files do not appear after Sa..rah records. How will these transferred files be accessed after March? You have an artificial limit on the list of files displayed for the new format. I hope you’re working on this problem.

222 MarthaFebruary 2, 2008 at 7:15 pm

I want to use your site to publish my family trees, so I am hurrying as fast as I can to get all my information online. However, I don’t think that I can have it completed by March. Will there be some leeway to this date? I am a World Deluxe Member, if that means anything.

223 JUDY ADAMSFebruary 3, 2008 at 8:08 am

in reply to comment 222
hi martha
dont worry if you are building your tree in the ANCESTRY MEMBER TREES(AMT) and not the old ONLINE TREE (OLT) program you are ok. i expect you are a reasonble new subscriber if so dear old ancestry would not have aloud you to use the old OLT BUT MADE YOU use the new AMT anyway.

i surgest that you go to RootsWeb and use your Ancestry log in to sign in then save your tree(s) there where the world connect tree (called oline tree here on ancestry) still accepts uploading of trees and the site is free for all to see and you have the option to make the tree public or private. this version is far more freindly than the new AMT that ancestry say is better than that but see my comment and others re our opinion.
I HAVE MOVED ALL MY TREES TO RootsWeb AND ONLY SUBMIT A BACK UP VERSION NOW ON ANCESTRY BECAUSE OF ITS UNFRIENDLY FORMAT. because of this i now construct my tree using the free PERSONAL ANCESTRAL FILE (PAF) available from familysearch website. and each time i decide it is time to update the tree held on ancestry i export a ged then load it into ancestry so despencing with what i concider unfreindly nature of the software used by ancestry. of course this means i dont have to be online to work on my tree either.

may i surgest that you set up a free TRIBALPAGES site and keep a copy there also you can keep it for your own use or make it public and invite others to see your work. Another to use is Gencircles where you can make your tree available to others but do not have the option to hide.

hope this helps

judy (another user of ancestry)

224 CherylFebruary 3, 2008 at 5:44 pm

I have corrected an error on one of my OFTs three times. I find that it updates with a new date, but the error that I corrected does not save to my tree. I don’t want to transition my OFTs to the new trees as they are too busy with their head silhouettes, etc. I do want to leave correct information in my trees for as long as they remain. For the present time I have added a post-it with the correct information.

225 Carole GrantFebruary 3, 2008 at 10:37 pm

Cheryl, If I remember correctly, this subject came up before in one of these blogs, and Ancestry.com is no longer updating the OFT information on their servers, even if you hit the little symbol to submit your updates.

While you can change the information directly on the OFT, the correction will not be updated in Ancestry’s system and will not show up on your online tree.

Until Ancestry shuts the entire OFT system down, you can make corrections or changes in your tree, export your tree into a gedcom file and then submit it through Rootsweb.com. It will take about a day or so for the tree to show up the first time you submit it, but your corrections will be there.

The downside of that is I don’t know how long it will be before Ancestry puts a block on our Rootsweb.com trees from showing up on the Ancestry.com site but I will guess it will be a couple of months.

Did we ever get an answer to that question? Will the Rootsweb trees eventually be blocked from the Ancestry website?

226 Thom KimeFebruary 5, 2008 at 10:19 am

KENNY – AMT Progress

At one point I thought I saw AMT issues being listed and what was repaired or being worked on. While I won’t list them here I can say that the majority of items I’ve seen posted remain unchanged or unrepaired in AMT.

That begs the questions:

“What is currently being worked on to resolve known/reported AMT issues?”

“Is it necessary to re-upload gedcom files in order for changes to become effective?”

Thom

227 Thomas Gerwyn WilliamsFebruary 5, 2008 at 4:51 pm

I am 82 years of age and a novice at this business, I decided that I would like to give as much information to my family about their ancestors as I possibly can. I have spent a lot of time and amoney on my family tree and would hate now to lose all or any part of it to someone who thinks that the one they think of is better. what I have seen and have been reading about the new system bothers me. I believe that the ancestry programe I have is very good, and firmly believe in the old addage; If it is not broken don’t try to repair it.
It seems to me that you are doing your level best to make things as difficult as possible for your loyal members. LEAVE IT ALONE.Please.

228 Gary S. CollinsFebruary 6, 2008 at 1:47 am

A MODEST PROPOSAL:

I love Online Family Tree (OFT) and hate that ancestry.com intends to terminate OFT in favor of the new Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) system. Let me try to present my position from a fresh perspective.

Using OFT, one is provided “leads” to possibly relevant information for individuals in your file, either in other ancestry files or in “records” at ancestry.com. One can quickly examine these “leads”, assess whether they are relevant and, if so, incorporate elements in notes of existing entries in your file or in entries for new individuals that you create based on the information. Remember that an OFT file has the same format as a worldconnection.com or rootsweb.com file—an efficient, speedy, text-based format offering immediate notes for an individual and deep ancestry and decendancy views.

Using AMT, one is provided with “leafs” to possibly relevant information for individuals in your file, either in other ancestry files or in “records” at ancestry.com. It is a great feature that “record” leads in AMT are much more extensive, including, for example, direct links to images of census pages that (maybe) contain information relevant to individuals in your file. However, one is stuck working within the crippled framework of AMT files, with invisible notes. You may attach proprietary images to your file from ancestry.com, but they will only be visible to those who pay a ~$200 subscription fee per year.

But it is not necessary (or even useful) to attach the original images to your file. With a subscription to ancestry.com, you can examine the images anytime, census or otherwise, and copy what is relevant into your notes. Do you really want people who view your ancestry file to have to figure out why you attached particular records to it? That is what I think you should do. In my opinion authors of ancestry files should indicate what they believe to be true. Put your opinions in notes in an OFT or rootweb.com format file and post them for all to see.

The “leads” for OFT files I find exceptionally useful. The “leafs” for AMT files are potentially much more useful because of their broader scope, but, again, I have no interest in developing an ancestry file with AMT due to its fatally crippling limitations.

While I have not checked if it is correct, I read in the past day or so that ancestry.com is no longer updating public display of OFT files, although it is continuing to allow OFT file owners to make internal changes to their files. If so, Shame! The original date announced when ancestry.com would terminate OFT was sometime in March. Today is only February 6.

May I propose to ancestry.com a “compromise” solution to placate customers who have used OFT in the past and wish strongly to continue to use OFT in the future. Continue OFT in its present form, allow old or new users to develop files on it, enjoy the benefits of online ancestry-file editing and use of “leads”, allow download of GEDCOM files, but suppress public file display. (By “customers” above, I did not mean to suggest that OFT users had to pay directly to build their files, but that many or most of them have been stimulated to take out ancestry.com subscriptions in order to gain access to useful information.)

Then, encourage others, not including myself, to set up and develop ancestry files under the AMT system.

Sincerely,

Gary S. Collins

Cc: Juliana Smith has a blog at http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle/?p=2165, entitled “Online Family Trees (OFT) at Ancestry Transitioning”. However, her ancestry.com blog has experienced zero activity since January 11. A copy of message #126 from this blog to her blog on January 12, more than three weeks ago, has not been posted although it is entirely relevant to “OFT at Ancestry Transitionsing”. Having received no message explaining why my message might have been rejected, I am led to conclude that either my message is being censored (without notice of any reason) or that some calamity may have befallen Juliana. Kenny, I will be grateful if you check!
Might I have written anything remiss?? I encourage readers to check back to message #126 on this blog, http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/19/Online-Family-Tree-Announcement, to see for themselves.

229 CherylFebruary 6, 2008 at 10:59 am

Carole Grant thanks for your comments in post #225. Since I tried to correct and update my tree three times I think you are correct.

I have subscribed to Ancestry since about 2000. I would have thought that they would have let us know what they were planning to do directly to our e-mail address like they do when we are due to renew our membership. We would have had more time to decide what to do.

I thought that what I put on Rootsweb and Ancestry would be available to others and my family when I’m gone. I would not have spent so much of my time trying to help others by entering info I had when I saw others who needed it. I put a lot of effort into it.

Of the 20 small trees I have, I think only one was loaded as a GED com because I once had a frustrating experience trying to load that GED com so after that I just entered the info directly into Ancestry’s system. I also have most of the info on my own FTM program. I’m wondering if you entered the info in Ancestry’s system if there is still a GED com you can download to a disk.

I’m also wondering whether the post-it note with a correction that I added to my tree after I tried unsuccessfully to make a correction 3 times will stay with the tree after the March date when Ancestry said they will remove other functions surrounding our OFT trees.

230 judy adamsFebruary 6, 2008 at 2:26 pm

well where do i begin this time

as i said on the 3rd i removed all my OL TREES and reposted them at RootsWeb and within 36 hours (it was nearer 18) the OLT files which i removed via ancestry were deleted and the new world connect versions were posted. i wish i could say the same about AMT. AT THE SAME TIME I deleted my BACK UP public version of my tree (theres no way i am going to build a tree in it see my previous coment) and up loaded a version WHICH CORRECTS A MAJOR MISTAKE. almost 72 hours have past and my deleted file is still being shown but of course if any one hits on an entry from that version they get a dead link. so why am i writing this

BECAUSE MY NEW VERSION HAS NOT APPEARED ON LINE EVEN 72 HOURS LATER THATS WHY (yes i have checked my setting on the tree and have checked both the private and public tree listings)

ANCESTRY IF YOU REALLY WANT PEOPLE TO ACCEPT THE AmT CRAP YOU CALL PROGRESS LISTEN TO US AND SORT YOURSELVES OUT.

231 judy adamsFebruary 7, 2008 at 10:17 am

well another day has gone by and still the old tree index is up and you guess it the new tree still does not show. in the OLT hhe old file i deleted and the new file i up loaded whould have been actioned by now . ANOTHER REASON WHY olt SHOULD REMAIN and you should GET RID OF THE amt.

232 Warren CushingFebruary 8, 2008 at 9:05 am

judy

The dead link issue is one that I have brought up before as is the delay in indexing new uploads.

First, I have been informed by an Ancestry techie that the uploads to Ancestry may take up to a month due to all the changes they are currently making to the new Member Trees program. I uploaded a number of files throughout January to test the system, but they were not properly indexed until January 28th.

Therein lies the rub. If you happen to delete one of your Member Trees, it apparently happens almost immediately. However the index to the deleted file remains active until Ancestry updates its files (ie. up to a month or so) thus creating a dead link.

This has caused innumerable problems for members trying to access my data. They invariably hit on the dead link. Nice. Very nice. Then I get the complaints which I pass onto Ancestry which so far has not responded.

In all cases I have uploaded a new file to replace the old file, but the index shows my original post first, thus creating pandemonium. Truthfully there is no fix for this problem until Ancestry creates a overwrite old gedcom feature into the Member Tree program like it has with the AWT and Rootsweb. Don’t hold your breath on that one though.

233 judy adamsFebruary 8, 2008 at 9:27 am

i have just visited my GENCIRCLE site where i needed to up date my tree for the new version. oh what a diffrence. when i decide to do so there i DONT have to delet my old file all is required is to hit the update button then brows for the file. the only rule is that you name it exactly the same as the original file they even remind you what it was called. the gencircles program then check the two files and update where nessacery but it RETAINS all the posts that might have been left and once thats done within 24 hours their smart matches are reported. but more importantly the file IS searchable AMOST right away by anyone.

as for ancestry YOU GUEST IT I AM STILL WAITING. ONLY GOES TO PROVE WHAT A CRAP SYSTEM amt IS.

234 judy adamsFebruary 10, 2008 at 9:28 am

WELL AS TO MY UPDATED GED

A LITTLE PROGRESS THERE

THE OLD INDEX ON AMT HAS BEEN REMOVED NOW. IT ONLY TOOK A WEEK FOR ANCESTRY TO DO SO. THIS IS SOMTHING THEY USE TO DO WITHIN 48 HOURS ON THE OLD OLT SYSTEM

BUT YOU GUESSED IT MY NEWLY UPLOADED GED IS STILL MISSING

MEANING THAT MY WORK REMAINS UNSEARCHABLE MORE THAN A WEEK LATER HERE ON ANCESTRY.

THIS IS POOR CUSTERMER CARE FROM A MULTI-NATIONAL COMPANY. IF ANCESTRY REALLY WANT TO REMAIN RESPECTED IN GENEALOGY CIRCLES AND HOLD ON TO THE TOP SPOT THEY REALLY SHOULD SORT OUT THIRE ABILITY TO PROVIDE THE SERVICE THAT WE ONCE RECIEVED AND STILL EXPECT BECAUSE WE CERTAINLY DONT RECIEVE IT NOW .

JUDY

235 Gary S. CollinsFebruary 11, 2008 at 1:22 am

Problem downloading GEDCOM files from Online Family Tree (OFT):

Dear Kenny Freestone,

I have been using OFT regularly over more than five years and have never had a problem downloading my OFT file to my PC as a GEDCOM file in hundreds of times. However, tonight, after repeated trials, the downloaded file is the same as the previous one and not updated with new information entered into the file.

When I request OFT to assemble a GEDCOM file, the elapsed time is the same as in the past (about 2 minutes for a 2 MB GEDCOM file). However, when I then execute a download, it is completed in only a second or two, instead of 1-2 minutes, as though I had not made a change to the file.

Kenny, can you check if ancestry.com has turned off downloads of GEDCOM files from OFT. This is completely unexpected and is causing problems. Thanks.

Best,

Gary Collins

236 Gary S. CollinsFebruary 11, 2008 at 9:36 am

Re #35:

Kenny,

OFT was downloading fine this morning. I don’t know what happened last night. Sorry for the bother.

Gary Collins

237 Joy AlfordFebruary 11, 2008 at 9:02 pm

I did as requested and shifted my genealogy files over to AMT. I must admit not happily because I am helping several others with their genealogy. I did some editing and adding to some of my trees and now can’t get to my trees. Why am I being locked out of my trees. I get this check back soon .
Were sorry but this feature is temporarely unavailable. We Apologize for the inconvience and ask for you patience at this time.
Check back with us shortly.
I have been getting that message now for a week.
I do want to say something about one of the coments made by one of the women about people taking info rmation they had spent money on and worked hard on and incorperating it into their genealogy.
I am 70 years old on oxygen have limited income so I can’t travel to Illinois, Arkansas, Britten Germany and ect. And I depend on the information others have put in their geneaalogy. My question is if this woman or any one else don’t like some one incorperating their information into their genealogy then why did they put their genealogy online any way. If they don’t want others to use their information then why not keep it off line and tucked away in a shelf at their home where no one can see it.
But Kenney please tell me why I can’t work on my genealogy or even see it.

238 Warren CushingFebruary 12, 2008 at 10:11 am

Kenny

Gary is right. There has been a problem downloading the OFT since yesterday. Error message received when clicking on
Open in Online Family Tree system link:
Error Number: 0x800A0BCD
Source:
Category: ADODB.Field
File: /oft/commonRoutines.asp
Line: 5133
Description: Either BOF or EOF is True, or the current record has been deleted. Requested operation requires a current record.

So I tried downing loading the gedcom to my computer by using the icon instead. When I tried to upload the gedcom to the new Member Tree, I received the following error message:
Error: The file you have specified (2294173.ged) does not appear to be a valid GEDCOM file, please try again.
I have uploaded this particular file a number of times to the new Member Trees without this problem before.

I have also tried all my other files and they report similar results.

239 judy adamsFebruary 13, 2008 at 9:17 am

well need i say more.

it took a week to remove my old index to the tree i removed on the 2nd. i upload into AMT prior to this a new tree file then manuelly moved all the comments into the new file. BUT YOU GUESSED IT MY NEW FILE IS STILL NOT AVAILABLE EITHER IN THE PUBLIC OR THE PRIVATE MEMBER TREES.

need i say more

judy

240 kelleygenFebruary 13, 2008 at 11:42 am

The one, ok…two things that disturb me the most about this: One, I don’t like what I am hearing about the notes not being able to be transferred. I have a lot of info in the notes, sources, stories, unfinished research trails. I can’t imagine transferring YEARS of this by hand into the new system.

Second, I *definitely* don’t like that “total privacy is not an option.” That is MY information. I pay ancestry.com a good amount of money for their service so I don’t feel that I owe them anything in terms of handing over my hard researched info. Furthermore, not everything on my tree is %100 percent accurate. I have not gotten the primary source documents for the entries yet. I don’t want anyone relying on my tree for research when it may not be correct. We have enough inaccurate info out there as it is. I don’t want to add to it.

I would feel much better about the whole thing if I could just have the option for my tree to be private, *totally* private. As it is, I will be buying software ASAP to continue my research on my own and take down my info from ancestry.com.

241 DianaFebruary 13, 2008 at 10:59 pm

I started back working on my family tree today after a long illness. I noticed the changes right off and I decided to read the coments on the blog before clicking to go to the new system. I am now so confused about what to do. I have read that some of you absolutely hate the new system and I am scared that mine may be lost also. What to do…what to do!
I am one of those people that is not computer savey, but I manage very well on the old site and a lot of you have said that it takes a lot of clicking to get back to the person you are working on.
I do my work on Ancestry.com and on Legacy.com. I guess I will just go to Legacy.com and work from there from now on.

242 Thom KimeFebruary 14, 2008 at 9:35 am

Reply to Diana, #241

Just about everyone hates to lean new ways to do familiar things. I do computer work and every 5 years I have to lean a new operating system. What a pain! But… once you get over the learning curve, like everything else, it’s not so bad after all.

Right now is NOT a good time to use the new system because it produces non-standard GEDCOM files that do not work correctly, not even in their own Family Tree Maker Program. I can say and prove this factually because I know the GEDCOM standard and can read GEDCOM files without a genealogy program, so I know what they should look like. However, like the other problems, it will be fixed.

To keep yourself 100% safe then you want to make sure that you have a personal copy of your GEDCOM files BEFORE they were used in the new AMT system. If you have already uploaded your GEDCOM to AMT but haven’t made any manual edits yet, then don’t make any edits. Your original file is still intact within AMT and can be retrieved safely. Certain types of manual entries and edits, especially with names, will not be recorded in the standard format and will corrupt your file.

If Ancestry.com successfully automates correction routines within the AMT or create GEDCOM programs then GEDCOM corruption will also become a non-issue.

In the end, the realistic answer is overtly simplistic. Wait for Ancestry.com to announce that ALL the documented/reported bugs have been fixed before you use the new system and help fix it by being a part of that solution.

There WILL be a happy ending to all of this. We can only hope that it will come soon.

Very VERY SOON!

243 Wanda McDonoughFebruary 14, 2008 at 3:24 pm

I gave you nearly 2 months to give us a reasonable explaination for insisting on this migration and not leeping the OFT available. As per previos notes I have deleted my trees and will not renew my membership. I have been with Ancestry since the begining but this is too much to deal with. Not everyone wants to use Family Tree Maker. Not everyone wants to ad cutsie little photos, etc. We just want facts and can not always travel to get them. Your Loss.

244 Thom KimeFebruary 14, 2008 at 5:07 pm

The note about Family Tree Maker leads me to believe that comment, #243 by Wanda, was mistakenly intended for me but I hope I am wrong since I do not work for or have any associations with TGN other than being an Ancestry.com member who happens to believe that AMT will be worth the wait and the hassles.

245 DianaFebruary 14, 2008 at 11:11 pm

In responce to Thom Kime # 242.
Thank you so much for your responce to my confusion. I believe I will wait until all the bugs are worked out of the new system before I try it. Thank you again.
Diana

246 Margaret JonesFebruary 15, 2008 at 7:27 am

Having tried to move one of my trees with over a thousand names in it I’ve ended up with a tree containing twelve! Even these for some reason have all originated from Northumberland! Needless to say they didn’t. You have now had the audacity to send me an Email saying you’ve added three more names. What is going on, I just don’t understand what I’m supposed to do to rectify the problem, or where the data has gone. I dare not try to move my other tree as this is now the second attempt with this one. I have now purchased my own software and as soon as I’ve transferred all my data will cancel my trees on Ancestry. To say I am upset is an understatement.

247 MaryFebruary 15, 2008 at 10:36 am

I have been doing Genealogy for 11 years now and I can’t fined my grat-grandfather Mathias Gasper I can fined him in 1903 and from there I have not fand him

He was born in Germany about 1849-1851 He came to the USA in 1870 in 1880 he married Nancy E.Nichols In 1883 they went to Idaho
All in info will help

Thank you
Mary

248 Steve RockhillFebruary 16, 2008 at 10:07 pm

I just recently made the switch from OFT to AMT and had virtually none of the problems that others have mentioned with partial trees or missing information. It was all there and ready to view after the upload was completed. I realize that Ancestry is trying to appeal to a broader audience with all the toots and whistle features (pictures, stories, video and audio) and that is fine. I personally am not interested in those features and will probably not use them. I am like those who prefer a more trimmed down, just the research facts kind of approach. I should note that I envision only using AMT the same way as I used OFT and that is as a way to make my research known to others. A few years ago I bought FTM software and use that as my research base and periodically I upload any updates to the internet based trees. That said, after experiencing AMT for a bit here are some suggestions:

1) I agree with those who have commented about “research notes” and making them more visible. I am not about to cut and paste all my research notes to the “stories” section so it would be helpful to make these more prominent and visible to all who view the tree. I see you can access them on the right column under “tools” but I think a better place to put them would be next to “edit profile” under the persons name on the main page (or somewhere in that general area). But again regardless of where you put them, they should be viewable by EVERYONE who sees the tree, paying or non-paying customer.

2)Under the “family Tree” tab – I like the Family Group Sheet view and the Family (Beta) view. But it would be nice to have some other views like descendant, register or story view.

3)Source citations should be more prominent. I see them in the right hand column all the way down the bottom (even under the ads). This would be an appropriate item for the “Tools” box or even have a direct link on the “Time Line” as there is for “historical records”.

That is all I have for now and perhaps will think of other things later. Keep working out the bugs and take into consideration some of the suggestions that have been made in all these blog posts.

One last thing: I really am thankful for Ancestry – it has made my research so much easier and faster. Sometimes I think I should have started all this 20 years ago but then I would not have all this information at my fingertips. I still have some roadblocks in my tree that I will need to do research the “old fashioned way” but Ancestry has really cut that to a minimum. Thanks.

249 judy adamsFebruary 17, 2008 at 6:44 am

its taken 14 days for my tree to apear online somthing most sites do within 48 hours not very good preformance is it from the leading company! but at least now it is on line. i have to check it now lets hope its not screwed up as others have reported

give us back OLT and no one will need worry or complain

250 judy adamsFebruary 17, 2008 at 7:01 am

i agree with what you said steve in message 248 compleatly. at a risk of plagarisum i have pinched your surgestgion and reproduced it below (as your construction of english and expresion is far beter than mine)to let the all knowing powers at ancestry know that we are sing the same song to them.

I agree with those who have commented about “research notes” and making them more visible. I am not about to cut and paste all my research notes to the “stories” section so it would be helpful to make these more prominent and visible to all who view the tree. I see you can access them on the right column under “tools” but I think a better place to put them would be next to “edit profile” under the persons name on the main page (or somewhere in that general area). But again regardless of where you put them, they should be viewable by EVERYONE who sees the tree, paying or non-paying customer.

THIS SHOULD BE DONE NOW in my opinion. what good is a tree to anyone when the notes cant be viewed unless you happen to be invited to view the tree by the owner. after all that is why the notes are there to be viewed not hiden and as most of us place our trees online so that people can view them and help fill in the blanks the notes available shows people that we are interested in producing acreate trees and not simply ripping of others work and compiling a vast list of names just to be able to say ‘i’ve got so and so named in my tree of what ever number of thousands they have’

please sort it now

judy

251 Gary S. CollinsFebruary 18, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Re #242 Thom Kine and #245 Diana

1. One may never get over the learning curve, nor learn what one is missing due to the limitations of the “tree” product.

2. I concur with Thom’s recommendation: save all information first to a GEDCOM file before consider “transitioning”.

3. There will never be a “happy ending” for many amateur genealogists with the deficient “trees” system. No notes, no public visibility, no contacts.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

252 Gary S. CollinsFebruary 18, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Re messages #248 from Steve Rockhill and #250 from Judy Adams:

Dear Steve,

Notes are only accessible to the owner of the “tree”, so your notes are unavailable to the general public. (Kenny Freestone, please correct if this has changed.)

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

253 Kenny FreestoneFebruary 22, 2008 at 9:56 am

In response to comment 252…

Hi Gary, this has not changed yet, but we do plan to make this change shortly.

Kenny

254 judy adamsFebruary 22, 2008 at 12:25 pm

re kennys answer in the above (253) at last i feel ancestry is listening on one issue make it sooner rather than later. how about adding the link to this blog on to the frount screen of ancestry co.uk AND DELEATING THAT FAULT RIDDEN PEICE OF PROGRAMING- ONE WORLD TREE- AS IT PRODUCES SO MANY ERRORS THAT THE ENIXPERIANCED TAKE TO BE CORRECT AND THEN ADOPT AS GOSPOL IT IS A DISCRACE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE NOW BEFORE IT PULLS YOU DOWN

255 judy adamsFebruary 22, 2008 at 12:45 pm

KENNY, NOW I FEEL LIKE YOU ARE ON OUR WAVE LENGTH, CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US ALL WHY ANCESTRY FEEL IT NESSACERY IN THE NEW AMT TO PUT THE NAME OF THE TREE FIRST RATHER THAN LAST. AND WHY ANCESTRY DECIDED IT WAS NESSACERY TO MAKE THE SEARCHING OF JUST A SURNAME ALONE RESAULTS NON ALPHABETICAL /DATE SENSATIVE AS THIS MAKES COMPARING THE DATA FROM VARIOUS TREES DIFFICULT AS AN IDENTICAL FIRST NAME WITH IDENTICAL DATE COULD APPEARE ANYWHERE AMOUNGST THE NON ALPHABETICAL MIXED UP NAMES.

judy

256 CarolFebruary 23, 2008 at 9:38 am

I am sick to my stomach, with the thought of a change and losing years of reserch. It was “fun” reserching my ancesters and never thought of it as “work”, by reading the comments from far more experience reserchers
than I the difficulty of your new website, I am horrified.
Ancestry.com you had my business for the rest of my life, but now I don’t think so.

257 Eloise GipsonFebruary 23, 2008 at 8:01 pm

I will never live long enough to reconstruct my three family trees which I have been working on for about 8 years. I am now 80 and terribly frustrated that I cannot find much of my old data. I can’t even find my three trees ( Williams, Davis, Shirley). Why did you change? If you can still locate my information on those trees will you please print it out and MAIL it to me? Also, your method of having someone unfamiliar with my ancestors trying to match family members is insane. It has some of those people insisting that I add people to my tree who are the wrong everything (color, age, name, war, state, country,, etc.) Believe me, if I die before I can untangle this awful mess I will come back and haunt you for the rest of your unnatural life. Where are my trees for Davis, Williams, Shirley, etc. and ALL of the information which these dim old eyes brought together on Ancestry.com;; all those charts, including family stories, service records,family events, etc., so my children will know their REAL heritage. I don’t believe this is what I paid a good part of my social security check for! Sign me -Eloise Williams Gipson, mad as hell,22 February 2008.

258 Warren CushingFebruary 24, 2008 at 3:26 pm

There are now major problems with the OFT and AWT interface.

Not only am I receiving line errors 52 and 5133 when updating my OFT to the AWT, but now server error 500 and “This database has been updated or removed by the owner” is appearing.

Sometimes I can open my OFT files; sometimes I can’t.
Sometimes I can update my files; sometimes I can’t.
Even when I update my OFT/AWT files, the update is frequently blocked and the update is not transferred to the AWT.
Lately the updated file is being deleted from online altogether. Sometimes it reappears a day or so later, but usually I have to try and boot it up again.
It’s becoming more and more frustrating each time.

I am having these troubles on all my OFT/AWT databases.
For the past week I have not been able to update Cushing Genealogy: American Ancestors at all to its corresponding AWT file 2373845. The updates are sent but never received by the AWT.

259 Kenny FreestoneFebruary 25, 2008 at 2:44 pm

In Response to comment 257…

Hi Eloise, please send me an email with your ancestry.com username and we’ll try to track down your tree files.

kfreestone at tgn.com

–Kenny

260 Kenny FreestoneFebruary 25, 2008 at 2:58 pm

In response to comment 243…

I just had a conversation on the phone with Wanda that cleared up some confusion and answered some of her questions.

So let me reiterate a few things:

–Ancestry World Tree (AWT) will continue to be available. We’re not turning this off.

–files submitted to AWT will not be automatically removed by Ancestry.

–If you prefer to continue submitting information to AWT in the future, please consider using WorldConnect on our sister site rootsweb.com. Information submitted to WorldConnect will appear in the AWT database.

I hope this is helpful.

–Kenny

261 Kenny FreestoneFebruary 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm

In response to comment 256…

Hi Carol,

There is no risk of losing years (or any amount) of research. I encourage you to try out the new system for yourself. In either case your information in your Online Family Tree (OFT) file will remain as it is. We will not remove it or modify it.

–Kenny

262 Thomas L WiltonFebruary 27, 2008 at 8:00 am

The lack of public access to notes/references is a serious disadvantage/flaw. I have developed extensive notes in some cases as an aid to researchers. When I compare the work of others, I only seriously review those supported by references. Without such access, where is the serious intent/accuracy?

263 R. ThorntonFebruary 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm

I absolutely HATE the new version of Family TreeMaker and have gone back to the old version. Four of my friends also went back. I hope you people come to your senses. The format stinks.

I am also upset that you will take away our ability to upload to Ancestry.com. What are you thinking?

I have found 12 previously unknown cousins by having it available to anyone who wants to see.

264 Geraldine ClementsMarch 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm

What is going on here.!?? I have been loading my family history on this site for 10 years now and I can’t find any of my stuff.!!! I was just putting some info the other day and uploading it and I can’t find anything!! I’m sure I requested it to be share with everyone on Ancestry.com and I can’t even find it. My info was even on the Rootsweb page and now it’s not even on there. . It use to be free for the public and now it looks like Ancestry.com wants to profit off our free info for their site, well that is just plain wrong!! Can someone help me out here what I’m doing wrong and why it is not even on Rootsweb page anymore either. Maybe the Ancestry.com should be making better changes or you won’t have the customers on this site anymore because it doesn’t benefit us one bit!

265 Carole SherwoodMarch 4, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Hi Have just been reading all the comments on the New Tree System. Afraid it is all going above my head.

I must say I am concerned that the notes will not be obvious as they are very much easy reading proof of how the research has been verified.

I haver been able to update some of
the marriage dates on the current system as although I uploaded the information in 2006 none of it has
ever shown within Ancestry’s One World Tree only on Rootsweb. Trying to email the help system just runs me round in circles and will never post

Carole Sherwood

266 Michelle BerryMarch 5, 2008 at 2:51 pm

I have turned in two (2) requests for your technical department to find my lost files which took years to enter – all the way back to the year 500!!! There was supposed to be an answer back to me within 24 hours – I am still waiting for an answer – what’s up with that? I paid faithfully for the international package every month and this is the way customers get treated – luckily I have most of my information handwritten in volumes – but will now have to find a place to work on it in the internet – I cannot believe a company would come in and wipe out years worth of data! – so…when can I expect an answer??? when your next change comes out and wipes out more?

267 Kenny FreestoneMarch 6, 2008 at 2:24 pm

In response to comment 264…

Hi Geraldine,

Are you still unable to find your family history on our site?

If so please send me an email with some details that would help us find it. (kfreestone at tgn.com)

Thanks,

Kenny

268 Kenny FreestoneMarch 6, 2008 at 2:28 pm

In response to comment 266…

Hi Michelle,

Please forward your request to me (kfreestone at tgn.com). I apologize our tech support team did not get back to you.

We certainly did not intentionally wipe our your data–that is not our policy. I’m hopeful that we can find it for you.

Kenny

269 Warren CushingMarch 7, 2008 at 9:49 am

Kenny

Oh pooh! :(

I thought that the OFT was going to be turned off March 2nd according to your initial blog entry, so I jumped the gun and starting using the Member Trees instead. Yeah, I realize that the date was supposed to be tentative. But I wanted to be prepared. I am a stubborn old goat, and don’t harken to change very easily unless I initiate it (of course).

Anyway, I thought you would like to know that I am having very little trouble (so far) with the new Member Trees. All the clicking is a bit tedious and bothersome, but I have managed quite adequately thank you very much.

This will undoubtedly improve somewhat when the Notes appear online. When might that be, may I ask?

It would also be beneficial to have the Source Citations listed online as well instead of hidden in the bottom right hand corner of the Person View. Is that on the drawing boards at all?

270 DarleneMarch 7, 2008 at 2:47 pm

I don’t think it’s right that you should take information that people have given you for free, and then charge other people money to view it. Besides, when people pay for information, they expect that it is accurate. A lot of people don’t know how to sift through all the trees to find well substantiated information vs hearsay. They maybe paying for mis-information. I know you’re paying for the website servers and all, but it still doesn’t seem right to me. The fact is that a lot of the information is mis-copied and mistaken. I have seen other people in my line take my good information and twist it up and offer it as their own, including misspellings.

271 GrannyToadMarch 7, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Ditto Darlene #270. For free viewers can no longer see my research notes. In addition, I’ve never seen so many people contacting me about individuals that are supposedly mine that are not, even surnames I’ve never seen before. I can’t even guess where they get such ideas.

On my end, it’s clumsy to use. Bottom line it’s neither user nor viewer friendly

272 Richard PetersMarch 7, 2008 at 4:17 pm

I switched over to the new system a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t as complicated as I feared. I do have issues with the new system though.

FIRST: The click, click, click is driving me nuts. I CONSTANTLY get the message “INTERNET EXPLORER SCRIPT ERROR.” It is not the fault of my computer, so don’t even go there. It is this new system that is at fault. Extremely frustrating.

SECOND: Why can’t we post notes anymore?

THIRD: The Search engine is also faulty. In the old system I could just type in a birthdate and find out who on my tree was born on that date. I could also search city or state. The new search system is too limited.

FOURTH: A couple days after I switched over to the new system I had already added several names, so I updated my tree. On the old system, it was updated within 24 hours. Now THREE WEEKS later, I’m still waiting for my info to be updated and added to my family tree.
Will it ever be added or is my new work in vain?????

I know others have issues too. I do hope Ancestry.com does address these issues. PLEASE listen to us.

273 LysbethMarch 7, 2008 at 10:36 pm

#271 GrannyToad: I suspect that One World Tree may be the reason why you receive inquires about surnames that you have never seen before. One World Tree is designed to copy information from family trees that we submit and then give helpful hints by connecting entries in multiple trees. Users of One World Tree should confirm these ‘helpful hints’, but too many users simply accept them as true. I have seen family trees on AMT that list One World Tree as a ‘historical document’ in source citations!

One World Tree appears to connect different individuals just because there is some overlap in their information, i. e. a similar name with a birth or death in the same year in the same state, and makes a lot of incorrect connections. I am ranting because there is another family tree on AMT that has copied the detailed ancestry in Sondheim, Hesse Kassel that I submitted for my ancestor and has connected that information to a descendant that I know is wrong — and has referenced One World Tree as a source of the information.

At least some users acknowledge that they obtained such connections from One World tree, but I am still very concerned about the garbage that One World Tree is spreading. Let me join the chorus to kill off One World Tree. Or — if Ancestry insists on maintaining the database, then perhaps it should carry the warning: CAUTION the genealogy surgeon general has determined that using data from One World Tree may be dangerous to your genealogical health…

274 pashaMarch 8, 2008 at 2:05 pm

Dear FRIENDS!!!

If you or some of your relatives were born in Russia, Ukraine, or some others countries of USSR and now you are far from your native town and want to find some photos or video materials of town, school you were attending, other places, information about your Motherland, we will help YOU!!!

Big amount of workers in different regions can provide accurate and truly information in short time for good prices. We will be glad to help you!!!

275 MARY CASEMarch 9, 2008 at 11:19 am

I do not intend on transferring my family tree over to the new system. I am not going through the mess or hassle or problems that everyone has been having. I have run off family sheets and whatever else I can from the OFT that I have created FOR MY OWN USE. From here on out, I will just have to make corrections and additions by hand, which will look tacky for generations to come. But I do have a suggestion or question. Why doesn’t Ancestry just offer this old OFT program on disk for us to purchase for a reasonable price because it is being discontinued. This way, those of us who have worked years on this program and want to continue using it would be able to. It would seem to me that it would be the reasonable solution for those of us who are happy with the old program, and don’t want to change or deal with the new program and all of its “bugs”.

276 Warren CushingMarch 9, 2008 at 11:25 am

ONE BIG COMPLAINT about the new Member Trees…
Why does it take a month for data that has been uploaded, deleted, or updated to appear on the Ancestry Public Member Trees Index?

This is very frustrating to work with, as I am constantly redoing jobs that I have already completed without realizing it. I deleted four old GEDCOMS last month for my main family tree that are still listed in the Index. Of course, all of them immediately stated that the files have been removed. However, the new replacement tree has yet to appear online. What’s up with that?

Rootsweb handles the job superbly in less than an hour!

Most other genealogy sites update their data on a daily basis.

Why is there a problem with Ancestry Member Trees? The abysmally slow US Postal Service has even faster delivery than Ancestry online.

277 Peggy KaruzaMarch 9, 2008 at 11:30 am

I have two trees with the same name. One of them i do not use. I am concerned that if I delete it, the information in the other tree with the same name will also be deleted. So at this point I cannot add my tree to the new system.

278 Gary S. CollinsMarch 9, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Re Mary Case’s suggestion in #275 that ancestry.com make a version of OFT available for present users:

A good idea, although there are better ones. Here are ideas I support (best ones at the top):

1. Maintain Online Family Tree (OFT) in its present form, or (very best) have OFT taken over entirely by rootsweb.com. It works well, has the same ‘standard’ format as rootsweb or awt files (with notes and an efficient, speedy text-based interface). The technical reasons announced early-on for dropping it, that it’s old and about to fall apart, have never been explained. I can only assume that ance$try.com thinks that many OFT users will switch over to the pay-per-view “Tree” system. The “Trees” have the well-documented deficiencies of (a) pay-per-view, (b) no notes currently, (c) burden of a graphics-heavy interface slowing down transmission rates back and forth, (d) non-standard presentation of information.

2. Maintain OFT, but, if it helps, drop off the links to other information. The capability of working on the web with OFT has been tremendously helpful. One can update an ancestry file from any location. I’m sorry, Kenny, but the “Trees” just aren’t adequate as a replacement.

3. Provide a PC-based version of OFT compatible with the web-based version so that persons could continue to work more or less in the ssame way (this is Mary Case’s suggestion #275).

Even better, in my opinion, would be to make an improvement to Family Tree Maker (FTM). I purchased a copy last summer but, to my dismay, found that FTM is unable to import a GEDCOM file and preserve existing ID numbers of individuals. This is an important thing that OFT did (as does uploads to Rootsweb.com). Thus, I have been able over the past 5-6 years to download files I build using OFT and then upload them to Rootsweb.com. As a consequence, I have been able to establish fixed URL’s for individual entries in my ancestry file. Those fixed URL’s can then be linked from elsewhere. For example, if you go to my ancestral photos page at http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~garyscottcollins/, you can click on a name and up will come the entry for that individual in my ancestry file.

If FTM were modified to preserve individual ID numbers when uploading a GEDCOM file into the program, my problem would be solved. Obviously, it’s possible to do it because that is exactly what rootsweb.com does (probably also AWT, but I don’t know) when one uploads a GEDCOM.

4. Continue on the present course to elimination of OFT and ‘dumbing down’ in the building of ancestry files online.

Sincerely,

Gary S. Collins

279 Gary S. CollinsMarch 9, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Re my just completed message #278:

The correct link to my photos page is http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~garyscottcollins/ (there was an unnecessary comma at the end of the URL).

280 judy adamsMarch 10, 2008 at 3:23 am

in reply to mary in message 275

there is no need to work on a paper version just transfer your ged to one or all of these sites

RootsWeb
myheritage
gencircle
tribalpages.

there are many others.

then go to familysearch and download their FREE software.

‘Personel Ancestral File’ (PAF)

load your ged into this and you will have a very good place to work on your tree ofline. it is very versertile you can tie as many knots as you want
eg. if you have one person / family who marries into another family multiple times the program can handle this with out having mustiple entries for one person. you can place children/mariges/adopted parents in the correct order no matter which order you work on them.
print charts and reports plus lots of other benifits. but the main thing is you can export a ged which can be handled by most sites on the nett. but of course do keep a back up else where as well.

judy

281 Warren CushingMarch 10, 2008 at 10:16 am

RE: # 278 Gary S Collins

I like Gary”s idea of siphoning the OFT off to Rootsweb.

I enter all my data on the OFT.
I then transfer that data to the AWT with very little effort. Press UPDATE and within an hour the changes are made. Why would anyone want to change to the new Member Trees that take up to a MONTH to be deleted, uploaded or properly indexed?
Next, I upload my AWT files to Rootsweb WorldConnect. The changes I made on the AWT are, of course, visible in a couple of minutes. Rootsweb updates their entire index overnight. So I am prepared to work again the following day.

Why do I need the Rootsweb site at all? Two reasons:
1. Rootsweb provides a link to my Freepages website
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~cushinc/
AWT does not.
2. In the entire process ALL THE URLs REMAIN FIXED. So as Gary points out, linking them is very crucial to all of my website as well.

This is not possible with the new Member Trees. The URLs change with every upload. Very poor interface indeed.
Also, very poor indexing and updating hinders research immensely.
I would very much like to entirely TURN OFF the “We have added new members to our family”. I don’t want to send or receive those messages. That amounts to a lot of spam that I would be sending to my own family members who do not want to receive it. I add hundreds of names and/or details everyday.
I will never use the Ancestry Hints or the One World Tree for anything. Another dud, in my opinion.

The OFT is far superior to the new Member Trees in so many ways; it’s a shame that Ancestry cannot see this.

So, as you can see, I am using both systems now, but I still prefer the OFT.

Have you ever owned a car that you wish you never sold? You better not sell this one. It’s a keeper. :)

282 Grant HoveyMarch 11, 2008 at 1:21 pm

You have required me to move my Ezra Hovey Family Tree to Ancestry Member Tree. However, this tree is not listed with the instructions and icons for moving it. Instead a second, less important tree, Myers Family, is listed.

283 CherylMarch 14, 2008 at 8:34 am

I read all the messages previously but I’m somewhat confused as to the deadline for retiring OFTs. I haven’t decided what to do because I don’t like the trees with the head silhouettes, etc. It would be good if Ancestry could move my trees to Rootsweb. I did them online and I’m not comfortable with doing anything I’m not sure will work out. I thought my info would be there for others indefinitely. It wasn’t a good time for this to happen and I didn’t have much time to think about this since I only happened upon the 12/19 message by accident. Is the deadline the end of March or was it extended?

284 LysbethMarch 14, 2008 at 10:17 am

I was contacted by another Ancestry user anonymously who requested more information on an individual in my Personal Member Tree because the index to Personal Member Trees is available to all Ancestry members. I declined to share the entire tree with public access so I deleted that tree and uploaded a different version. I submitted the new tree with public access.

According to my email archives, that was two weeks ago. However, the new tree still has not been indexed in Public Member Trees and is therefore still not available to him.

285 judy adamsMarch 15, 2008 at 8:45 am

Cheryl message 283

just download a copy of your tree from the olt but dont delet the file in olt yet. when you are prompted during the download save the file to your desktop or some other location that you know where to find it. now go to rootsweb and signin using your profile and password that you use here on ancestry. go to familytree tab and on the right you will see submit your tree to world connect now all you need do is brows for the file you downloaded and your tree is then on rootsweb. it will take about 24 hours for the tree to appear in its entirety but leave it a few days. then check the tree is correctly uploaded on roots. once you are satisfied you are then able to delet the olt if you wish. but what ever you do i would avice anyone to also keep a copy on your machine ethier retain the file you downloaded or put it into a tree program there are many free ones or comerciall ones to chose from. i myself use familysearches free personal ancesral file (PAF) you can then work on your tree when you want with out being on line.

judy

at the end of the day it will be ancestrys loss if we all moved our trees to world connect instead of the unwanted bells and whistles program amt which they have called progress!

286 Bob HowardMarch 15, 2008 at 11:16 am

I just moved my family tree to the new system and instead of having 10+ generations I now have 2.5. This is an improvement? Five years of works gone.
Thanks.

287 Dorothy PaganoMarch 16, 2008 at 8:08 am

I called the site in April and told the representative my computer had crashed and therefor I could not transition. She EMPHATICALLY stated I did not need to do anything, the transition would be automatic. I have had the site since 2000 and have paid until June/July 2008. I did not/was unable to recieve any e-mail directions for one one and just happened to accidently read in the newspaper about the transition. I am furious that just last month the representative on the phone gave me inaccurate information…

288 David RoberdsMarch 17, 2008 at 2:51 pm

I never removed my tree – it should still be an online tree but it does not appear. I have the same problem as message # 264 with same response:
“Maybe the Ancestry.com should be making better changes or you won’t have the customers on this site anymore because it doesn’t benefit us one bit!” – I canceled my membership until you can find a solution.

289 Kenny FreestoneMarch 18, 2008 at 3:40 pm

In response to comment 286…

Bob, please send me an email (kfreestone@tgn.com) with your tree name and user name and I’ll look into this. If it is as you report, that is completely unacceptable.

Usually when similar concerns come up it turns out that there was some confusion along the line somewhere. We’ll get it figured out.

–Kenny

290 Kenny FreestoneMarch 18, 2008 at 3:43 pm

In response to comment #287…

Hi Dorothy, I apologize our customer service gave you misleading info. The transition is NOT automatic, but it is optional.

I’m confused about your comment about your computer crash being an issue.

–Kenny

291 anita hueckMarch 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Hi,
I’ve read and re read your information, but I cant work out how to go onto the new site. I’ve pressed what I thought were the correct button, but each time i sign on, there it is again, my invite to go across to the new site.

HELP……..
Anita

292 David RoberdsMarch 19, 2008 at 7:59 am

Kenny,

Re: message # 288, Thanks, my OFT is working again and appears on internet without any loss of data.

David

293 Kenny FreestoneMarch 19, 2008 at 8:15 am

In response to comment 291…

Hi Anita,

I suspect you may already be using the new system

Both the old and the new tree systems are on the same web site, Ancestry.com, so you won’t need to worry about going to a new site.

To tell which system you are using, have a look at the FAQ post http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/online-family-tree-faqs/

–Kenny

294 Ken WorthingtonMarch 19, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Kenny,
Where have all the trees gone?
Each week I perform searches for the same names and each week, there are fewer and fewer trees for research.

Where are all of the “hundreds of thousands” of satisfied users of the new Ancestry Member Tree system?

Why are so many of the new AMT’s that are uploaded going private, and then they eventually vanish?

293 posts on this blog alone and the majority of them are complaints.

All those silent unhappy AMT users don’t complain, they just remove their trees from your website.

All those silent unhappy former ancestry.com OFT users who are in shock that the OFT system is now obsolete and can no longer be updated, changed or expanded online and these same people just don’t know what is going on, and they remove their tree from your website.

The only free offering available to people are the original OFT trees or trees that bleed over to your website from Rootsweb. I am sure that it’s just a matter of time before ancestry kills off the free access to Rootweb.

How long before ancestry.com realizes they made a huge mistake.

Thousands upon thousands of names, trees, are gone. This is happening on a daily basis.

Was it worth it.

295 judyadamsMarch 20, 2008 at 4:33 am

I HAVE JUST RECEIVED MY LOSTCOUSIN NEWSLETTER AND SAW THIS ARTICAL.

Rootsweb to be moved to Ancestry
Although the Rootsweb forums and mailing lists are free, Rootsweb has for many years been owned by The Generations Network, owner of Ancestry. It was recently been announced that Rootsweb will be moving to Ancestry’s servers, which will mean that in future Rootsweb addresses will end not with rootsweb.com but with rootsweb.ancestry.com although we understand that old links will still work. This change is very controversial judging from the comments we’ve seen on forums!

IS THIS THE END OF THE WFT. ARE THE POWERS THAT BE PLANING TO PROVIDE NEW TREE SOFTWARE HER TO? WILL IT STILL BE FREE TO VIEW THE TREES? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ALL THE OLD TREES? COME ON KENNY TELL US NOW!

BUT FOR ANCESTRYS SAKE I HOPE THEY DONT CHANGE ANYTHING ON ROOTSWEB OR THIS WILL MOST DEFENTLY BE THE LAST NAIL IN THE COFFEN

296 Darlene KellyMarch 20, 2008 at 6:09 am

I absolute HATE HATE HATE the new system Ancestry is forcing everyone in. Not only is it impossible to download information from the MEMBER sites but why do they have “Private Member Trees” at all? What is that all about? They tease you with a name, but then you have to e-mail the person who posted it, and hope they return your reply. If they don’t want you to see what they have, why in the world did they upload it to ancestry anyway? I HATE the fact that I have to click on multiple screens to get the information I used to get on one. The IDIOT that designed this program surely does not actually use it. In terms of a researcher who uses this site extensively it is the PITS. I am a full paid subscriber but I may not be for long. I HATE that I am being forced into a new system that I despise and that I am paying for something that I can’t use as effectively as the old one. I am currently looking for other sites that are less restrictive and “cutesy” as Ancestry is becoming. I am extremely disappointed and upset with all the STUPID EXCESSIVE CHANGES THAT ADD NOTHING TO THE EASE OF USING THIS SITE. You want to get more people to subscribe? Make it easier for us to use it, NOT HARDER!!!!!

297 judyadamsMarch 20, 2008 at 7:07 am

well said Darlene thats how most of us are feeling. i am sure there would be pleanty more saying so to if this blog link was placed on all the international ancestry sites. currently those who use ancestry.co.uk exclusively dont have a link. even if they did and started to add thier comments the powers that be at ancestry has thier mind set on thier goal and no matter how we protest i fear nothing will change until ancestry losses ALL the surport from us the users and we all remove our trees and not renew our subs. ANCESTRY TAKE HEED OF WHAT WE SAY OR THAT WONT BE A COMPANY LEFT.

298 CaroleMarch 20, 2008 at 10:11 am

Here is the link to the article dated March 13, 2008: http://genealogy.about.com/b/2008/03/13/rootswebcom-being-transplanted-to-ancestrycom.htm

How “clever” of Ancestry, but this was predicted and it was only a matter of time before the heads at Ancestry were put together and they plotted their next course of action. They are playing this out like a game of chess.

Ancestry is absorbing Rootsweb into their domain site for several reasons.

I really don’t think that Ancestry expected such a huge, and continuing, protest to the new AMT tree system. In their minds, they felt they were doing researchers a favor by offering us this new modernized tree which they claim is easier to update on their servers. Unfortunately, they fell flat on their faces, because the majority of users do not like the tree which is overloaded with graphics, green leaf hints to incorrect or unconfirmed unsourced information, difficult navigation, impossibility to print or download and no research notes. We see no evidence of Ancestry’s ease in updating the trees on a minute-by-minute, hourly, daily or even weekly basis. Instead, it takes more that two weeks for information put in the new AMT to update on the website and be made available to researchers. Information is still being lost while the tree owner attempts to switch over to the new AMT and Ancestry has to locate it on their servers. It’s been reported that the tree information that is found is old, outdated information, and not the current, actual tree that the owner was switching over. But, aren’t we lucky! We are offered the ability to upload our photo albums, write stories about family members, and upload recordings. The AMT is grossly defective, still loaded with bugs, and is still not user or viewer friendly despite the promises to improve it and give us what we wanted.

Many people are resistant to change, and want only simplicity. This simplicity was available under the old OFT, and the loss of this simplicity has caused a backlash.

Ancestry.com has lost a huge percentage of paying and free customers who had their trees uploaded on Ancestry under the old OFT. These people deleted their trees and many of the paying customers canceled their subscriptions. Some people have uploaded their trees to Rootsweb, but the statistics show, that the majority of these people did not. If you perform certain common name searches, the numbers are down.

Many people are not computer savvy, and are confused with the entire tree system. They don’t even know if they are using the old tree or the new tree. By reading postings on the blogs, some of these people become lost while trying to view information in one of the new trees or even in the census indexes. With the difficulty of the new AMT, how does Ancestry expect to keep these less-than-computer-literate people using their new tree system or their website?

Web traffic to Ancestry has dropped since they locked access to the names in the AMT trees, discontinued updating the old Online World Family Tree and made the AMT trees only available to paying customers (or invited guests). With the removal of the free trees, nothing is left except to pay a hefty fee to Ancestry.com for use of their website.

By bringing the free Rootsweb under their roof, so to speak, they will use Rootsweb to draw more people back to the Ancestry website, hoping these same people will then subscribe to their services because they want to see more, and want access to the information in the Ancestry Member Trees. This will work to a limited degree.

Eventually, sometime in the next year or so, Ancestry will lock down Rootsweb, and it will no longer be a free tool for researchers to use and by doing this, Ancestry will again employ their strong arm tactics, and force subscribers to use their worthless, difficult to navigate, horrendous to view, impossible to print, new and improved Ancestry Member Tree.

On the positive side, Familysearch.org, hopefully, will always be a free site, and trees can be uploaded there, but once uploaded I could be wrong, but I think trees submitted remain there as-is, errors and all. Familysearch puts the trees on disc and sends them out to the local LDS libraries. I am not too sure how that website works because I have not uploaded any information to them. I believe they are part of the Ancestry.com network.

They are also uploading much information which is free to the public and also offer free Family History software.

http://www.familysearch.org/

Here also is their news release, where they notify the world that they are digitizing millions of genealogical and historical documents that will be made available to the public for FREE.

http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Home/News/frameset_news.asp?PAGE=Press/2007-10-23_National_Archives_FamilySearch_Team_Up.asp

299 Gary S. CollinsMarch 21, 2008 at 12:46 am

Re message #298:

Dear Carole,

Thank you very much for the news and links, which shed light on Ance$try.com’s plan to terminate Online Family Tree (OFT) for no real reason at all (Kenny Freestone’s claim that OFT was “old” and on the verge of disintegrations has not been validated).

The news of tinkering with Rootsweb.com is very disturbing. The debacle experienced by all the good folks who tried in good faith to convert OFT to Ance$try member Tree (AMT) files does not inspire confidence that there will not be monumental problems associated with insertion of “.ance$try” into “rootsweb.com” URLs.

I continue (very happily) to use the still active OFT system to update my ancestry file, but dread the day when Ance$try.com pulls the plug because I still haven’t figured out how I will manage in OFT’s absence.

Gary Collins

300 Wayne KurtzMarch 22, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Ancestry.com:

I think you really have a serious customer relations problem on your hands here. Now you may say that commenters on this blog represent only a small percentage of your user base, and that may even be true … for now. I think you would be ill served to assume that silence indicates acceptance from the majority of your subscribers, however. Many of them, like my wife and I who have been doing genealogy for over ten years and paying subscribers for almost as long, may not have seriously gotten around to using AMT to any extent yet. If so, you may have a “perfect storm” awaiting you … a shrinkage of current subscribers and an inability to attract new ones (always the lifeblood of a website).

I would seriously advise you to postpone the closing down of OFT and reconsider why your “beta” testers (those folks on this blog) find OFT much more useful, and easier to use, than AMT.

I “get” AMT and don’t find it particularly difficult to use, but I am very computer savvy … not everyone is. I think that you’ve intended to implement a web application as opposed to an indexed repository of genealogy data and I understand the revenue potential of that and have no objections to you guys making money, but the purpose of public testing is not just to get feedback … but to listen to your users … I don’t see that here.

I am offering this (unsolicited) advise as both a genealogist and an IT consultant who has worked with several clients designing websites & web applications (it’s how a make a living). You need to fix the problem!

BTW, don’t ever get rid of OWT (unlike some of your commenters suggest). I appreciate the fact that it maintains a set of alternatives for each entry and appears to support voting. This allows users to see that genealogy is not deterministic and that our ancestors often identified themselves differently in different situations. OWT is also a good way to mitigate the notoriously low quality of most genealogy data.

Regards,
Wayne & Ruth Kurtz

301 Gary S. CollinsMarch 22, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Re message #300 by Wayne Kurtz:

Dear Wayne,

I have minor differences with opinions in your message to ancestry.com:

I think it’s fairer to write that the good folks who have been trying to switch their files over from OFT to AMT have been “alpha” testers, not “beta” testers. The number of problems has been phenomenal, including (a) transferring seriously outdated versions of OFT files; and (b) having to wait weeks before information updates to AMT files are posted.

I’m not one of those “alpha” testers myself. I tried out an AMT file briefly. To me, it’s really nothing more than a “family scrapbook” site with a genealogical veneer. Eliminating public access, eliminating public research notes, and allowing others to “glom” stuff onto your ancestral file are not things I would ever want for my own ancestry file.

One World Tree (OWT) is a hodge-podge of information that, I agree, results from a kind of “voting”. But since so many erroneous and inanely copied ancestry files are around, such voting is completely specious. One can argue for “truth”, but simple voting doesn’t get you there. I’m frankly quite surprised that someone who reports working on genealogical studies for a decade would support OWT.

That said, I absolutely concur with your position that ancestry.com will be making a major mistake, both for itself and for current OFT users, if and when it closes down Online Family Tree (OFT).

With best regards,

Gary Collins

302 LysbethMarch 23, 2008 at 12:03 pm

I agree with Gary in posting #301 about One World Tree. OWT may be useful to someone like Wayne (posting #300) who is experienced in evaluating conflicting information. However, I see far too many trees on Ancestry that cite One World Tree as if it were a source of reliable information instead of a computer generated database that combines totally unrelated individuals (including connecting unrelated spouses from two separate and different trees!). Yes, not all information in family trees is reliable, but One World Tree is more often part of the problem, not part of the solution.

I also agree with posting #296 that the public index of private trees is questionable. However, there are reasons to place a Private Member Tree on Ancestry. One is to provide access to the tree to relatives in other states to work on the tree together as a group project (genealogy does bring distant cousins together) but still restrict access to private family information and photographs. That could be a nice feature of the new system, one which the user has the option of using or not using.

Another less common reason dictated my choice for keeping a tree private temporarily. I have published an article in a genealogy quarterly which requests that authors not post the same information on the Internet for a period of one year. I was working on attaching some of the same information to my family tree on Ancestry when I had time for the project last month, with the intention of waiting until the period of a year expires next month before changing the access of that family tree to public. It would have worked better for me though if the Private Member Trees index had not been public in the meantime.

I still see a need for a better display of genealogical information in AMT, which has been promised for far too long with too few announcements from Ancestry to reassure users about which features will be available and when. The transition has obviously not been handled smoothly, and it is surprising that this continues for so long given the resources available to Ancestry (in-house difficulties transitioning to a new computer system or management indecision?, or private comments among users speculating about outsourcing contracts and the damaged Internet cables to India last month? — lack of information fuels speculation and discontent among users). I have used the format of OFT because I prefer it to AMT and Family Tree Maker.

However, at the same time I agree with Ancestry that there is a need to move toward a more standardized format for information in GED format. It has been annoying that a GED downloaded from OFT to Family Tree Maker has produced so many error warning messages and lost marriage dates. This continues to be a problem with a GED transitioned to AMT and then downloaded to Family Tree Maker (not the 2008 version so perhaps this may have been corrected there), but at least Ancestry managed the conversion from OFT to AMT online without this problem appearing for me. Perhaps the multiple formats out there for GED files uploaded from various systems is one of the reasons why the transition from OFT to AMT has been so unsatisfactory for some users.

We do need more standardization of the GED format (perhaps with fewer choices in marriage options), and I am prepared to reluctantly accept AMT in order to move in that direction. However, I do not agree with Ancestry that a scrapbook format is the best choice for displaying genealogy information. I could accept the AMT format for input, but we need AMT to offer a wider choice of format displays for users in the search mode. And, in the meantime the current system needs to appear to be functional with the AMT indexes updated in order to sustain your users confidence in the system and reduce their frustration with the transition.

303 Warren CushingMarch 23, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Something has gone terribly wrong at Ancestry lately. Every time I update an OFT file to the AWT, Ancestry deletes it instead!

Perhaps this is one reason why so many files have gone missing in the past few weeks. I know some people have given up in frustration also.

I have updated both of the following databases, and now both of them have disappeared again.

Cushing Genealogy: American Ancestors (AWT # 2373845)
Cushing Genealogy: Irish Ancestors (AWT # 2356591)

Kenny has corrected this line error #5133 once before, but the problem still persists.

Has the OFT indeed been turned off without notifying us?

Or is this a problem that is occurring because Rootsweb is being transferred to Ancestry servers?

I have contacted Customer Service, but they are clueless as to what is really going on. They just suggest I move everything to the new Member Trees.

I would do that except that I update hundreds of changes on a daily basis, and Member Trees takes a month or more to process. I am still waiting for my January and February updates to appear online! So Member Trees is totally useless to me because it is so outdated.

How do I get my databases back on line to the AWT?

304 LysbethMarch 25, 2008 at 11:47 am

I have to admit that I have received as many inquiries for further information in the past three months since I copied over to the new Member Tree System as I had in the past three years on the Online Tree System. Perhaps Ancestry users prefer the anonymous connection service (though I find it tedious), or maybe users who are just starting their research tend to be using the new system, or maybe it is the display of photos and source information that attracts them.

However, I still reject the Member Tree search engine’s feature of automatically filling in the surname of the father. I just searched on an ancestor’s name and, with the surname of the father automatically filled in, the search returned a list of 5 trees. Then, I removed the surname of the father from the search and a 6th tree was listed — it failed to make the first list simply because no father had been entered into that tree at all. I have performed this search multiple times with the same result, and the display confirms that no father is listed for the 6th tree. Not a case of an European spelling for the father’s surname or patronymic naming or an illegitimate birth. The 6th tree did not go back further than the individual that I searched, and the father was just not entered.

An exact search for an individual should not require that the surname of the father be entered and should return all trees that exactly match the individual alone. This is not a useful service — we can type the surname of the father if we want to enter that restriction on the search. Not all users will realize this and will not remove the surname of the father and search again, and they will miss trees.

305 Shermaine JilesMarch 25, 2008 at 2:52 pm

I have three lines on here and I can only get two to transfer. What do I do with the other one?

306 Shermaine JilesMarch 25, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Okay, Here is another question….How do I get all my sources and my pictures from the old site to the new site? ….I think that I hate this already.

307 Kenny FreestoneMarch 25, 2008 at 3:45 pm

In response to comments 305 and 306…

Hi Shermaine,

Because pictures only work on the new system, I believe you are already on the new system and have no need to transfer.

To tell which system you are using, have a look at the FAQ post http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/21/online-family-tree-faqs/

–Kenny

308 alison pritchardMarch 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm

I’m almost in tears here looking at the mess which is now my tree.
All my hard won info has disappeared and the look of the new layout is so amateurish and naff.
The old one was brilliant – user friendly and easy to read.
Genes Reunited changed their tree to this kind of rubbish, and I left them partly because of this. Be warned Ancestry. The ‘old’ tree builder is the main reason why many stay with you despite the high cost.

309 JohnMarch 26, 2008 at 10:45 am

When are we going to be able to use the features of the new AMT system? For example, attaching family tree information from matching trees that other members have contributed. I mean automatic, not manual.

310 JohnMarch 26, 2008 at 10:47 am

Addition:
It has been broken for a month.

311 judy adamsMarch 26, 2008 at 1:58 pm

john DO YOU REALLY WHANT THE ABILITY TO ADD TREES TO YOUR TREE AOUTOMATICALLY wether or not you can say so or not. take a look at the bit of junk ONE WORLD TREE thats exactly what the program does (without our say so i hasten to add)Ok you might be able to controll it in amt (i have not and will never do so so i am asuming you decide wether or not to add a tree) just one look at the mess owt has made of peoples hard work (mine included) should warn you not to go down the atomaticall tree amalgimation road. it is always best to manually add the tree one person by one person it might take some time to do this but then YOU ARE THEN IN CONTROLL of what is added and you can then check all entries one by one.
allowing amt to automatically add tree data to your tree is the first step to having your tree removed from your controll.

312 JohnMarch 26, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Now Judy, Before it was broken, you were able to add or not add individual people as an option. Also you now can add just one generation at a time. Before it was up to five generations and you had no control. Another feature was choosing details of selected people, changing place of birth, dates, children etc.
But now we are stuck in the failed functions of a new system, paying for items we don’t get.

313 Marie WattersonMarch 26, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Excuse me?
Excuse ME!

“But now we are stuck in the failed functions of a new system, paying for items we don’t get.”

You are talking about TAKING information, TAKING research that was done by other people and putting it into your own tree, without doing any of the research yourself, any of the work!!!!

You are taking other people’s work, and you complain because this feature is BROKE and you are paying for something you ain’t gettin’?!!

I beg your pardon, and I don’t mean that nicely. I am disgusted.

That comment is going rise the ire of many genealogists who have put a crick in their neck over books and paperwork, added this information to their tree and then put online to share with other family researchers. Most people share online to draw in other family members in order to exchange information. I don’t think that their sharing was intended for people like you who think that because you pay for a subscription to ancestry, you are entitled to take someone else’s’ work by a merge feature to fill out your tree without doing any work on your own.

I am horrified.

There is going to be an absolute DELUGE of inaccurate information flooding the servers of Ancestry.com because people are taking and not doing the research or checking to see if what they are taking is correct.

These trees that the “Takers” are creating will be displayed proudly to their family members, printed out in book form, and passed down through the generations, and the Takers didn’t even do the work themselves, and a large percentage of it will probably be incorrect.

I predict that John’s comment will create a furor amongst the people who read this blog, and some of them may even remove their trees from Ancestry because John has finally thrown in their faces what the HINTS feature is really all about. Paying for items we don’t get. hrrrrmmppffff!!!

314 JohnMarch 27, 2008 at 7:55 am

Marie, How do you know that work is not checked for accuracy from other trees? Why would someone work so hard to prove information that is already verified? Sometimes with several records and sources. People who don’t mind information sharing have their trees public. What I can’t understand are those who keep it private, do not want to share and take information from public trees and attached it to their private tree. So you never post on message boards? You never look at well documented information in a public tree? I don’t think so. I am starting to side with Ancestry.com in this war when it comes to new features on the new AMT. Let’s save our hobby.

315 Marie WattersonMarch 27, 2008 at 10:50 am

Of course you will side with Ancestry in the war of the new trees. Because you want to take the well documented information that other people have researched on their own time, and place it in your tree.

That is what you said.

You pay for it, so you are entitled to take other people’s research.

Posting on message boards has nothing to do with your comment of elitism and self-entitlement.

All researchers look for help, and all researchers may take a name or names from someone else’s tree. A good genealogist will confirm the information they find, even if it is “well documented.”

A good genealogist will not subscribe to a website and, because they pay for a subscription, expect to be just GIVEN their family information through an automatic merge feature and then throw a fit because the feature is defective.

Professionals act in a professional manner, and they also do the work themselves.

It is people like you who cause professionals to make their trees private.

316 Carol BellisMarch 27, 2008 at 12:08 pm

This is for Pam Wagoner, comment 45. Pam, I had the same problem, no updates. Ancestry kept telling me that it was my computer among other things. Ancestry encourages us to use Internet Explorer. But……….at my son’s suggestion, I switched to Fire Fox. Bingo, my Ancestry trees are now updated. (not just the date).

317 JohnMarch 27, 2008 at 1:09 pm

For # 315
Thanks for the advice, professional. I want to be just like you. Never use any information from a public tree and put it in my private tree. As a matter of fact maybe I’ll not share any of my research with any one else. Maybe I will keep it all to myself. Maybe I’ll walk around with my pinkie up along with my nose.
Sometimes I think we know much more than those self appointed pros. I am happy knowing that I am not a pro and open to learn.
Thanks again
John Newbee

318 barbara finwallMarch 27, 2008 at 6:31 pm

I’ve never understood all the different trees. What’s the difference between theAncestry Member Tree, the Online Family Tree, The One World Tree, etc. etc.?
I don’t know what I have and what I don’t have. Therefore I don’t know what to do and what I’ll lose or not lose. I’m very computer illiterate and when computer terms are used to explain things it’s like a foreign language. What the heck is gedcom? It becomes even more confusing when initals are used. OFT, AMF, FTM, AMT etc. etc.

319 LysbethMarch 27, 2008 at 10:05 pm

I tried Carol’s suggestion in #316. I have 4 OFT trees that failed to update a few weeks ago so I just switched from Internet Explorer to Firefox and requested updates on all 4. Two updated and two have not yet updated. However, I was not certain that the change to Firefox had really made the difference so I revised the two that had updated and then requested updates in each of them — one with Firefox and one with Internet Explorer and both updated successfully.

Updating OFT trees remains a big of an enigma and a bit erratic — still waiting for the other two trees to update. However, I see some progress.

320 LysbethMarch 28, 2008 at 8:03 am

Post #319 continued: Ok, this morning my other two OFT trees have updated into AWT, not as quickly but there now. Actually, last evening I saw OFT trees update as fast as ever. And — TRUMPETS here — my AMT have updated in the Public Member index.

321 judy adamsMarch 28, 2008 at 8:14 am

ok barbara i see you are very confused

OLT = ONLINE TREE

this is the original software that ancestry used for all of us to be able to make our tree on line. this is the format that we all want to use but ancestry has decided that it has become time that they used a new software. this is where AMT comes in

AMT = ANCESTRY MEMBER TREE

This is the software that ancestry wants everyone to use and they have decided that those using OLT HAS to move all the trees to AMT or lose the tree. this is why we are complaining as those of us (ALOT OF US) who started with OLT feel that we like it better to the new AMT

OWT = ONE WORLD TREE

This is a bit of software which ancestry came up with that they belived would help us to find our ancesters. Unfortunetly it does not help. it looks at two trees that have the same name in it and that is often all it needs. the program then joins the trees together removing from show any details that it decides is wrong. it has caused so many probles by adding unrelated people and deciding that they are one person that there are calls for the softwares removel. MY ADVICE DO NOT TRUST THE INFO YOU FIND ON IT.

NOW the most important thing that you should understand is what a gedcom is (also known as a ged)

when you build a tree in any program you put in a name and dates extra into a form on the computer. think of this form as a bit of paper. instead of it being in a book you have writen it on the computer. when you add people you make more pages. so eventually each person has a page. there comes a time when you need to move the copy to somewhere else or give a copy to someone else. so you need a copy of all those pages in a way that you either dont have to print out to give to some one or have to type in again.

imagine that i have a person in my tree which is also in yours and we find that we are very closly related of course it would be silly to have to say well here is my tree all 3000+ pages of it. it would cost the earth to print and send to you each page and more to the point too long for you to wade through the bits of paper putting it onto your tree. so the tree programs all have the ability to put the pages from your tree together into a file (think of it as a book) which when you put it into a tree program will alow you to see what has been put in the tree without having to wade through the bits of paper. the file that the tree program produces is called a GEDCOM or GED. there are other forms of this but most use the GEDCOM format.

now if you do not have a home based tree program, which i advice you to do, then you can find pleanty of free ones on the net. i myself use familysearches free
PESONAL ANCESTRAL FILE.
and you can read the help files to find out more.

was there any other questions or bits you dont understand

judy

322 SusanMarch 28, 2008 at 8:34 am

Ok, I am feeling really stupid now. Can someone please help? After much debate, I decided to submit my tree and wanted to submit it as private, because I’m still unsure as to how all of this is going to play out, and I thought private was a good compromise until I made the decision to submit it publicly. I clicked on the submit icon, read the rules, clicked “accept”, and then received a message that my tree will be posted within 24 hours. Where did I miss the option to make it private? And is there anyway that I can go back and fix that?

323 judy adamsMarch 28, 2008 at 9:29 am

susan

open your tree

on the right at the bottom is a box labled tools

open manage my tree

look for is my tree public if it says yes then you need to go into the change option beside the yes and change it to personal.

thats it done

324 SusanMarch 28, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Judy,
Thanks for your reply. I don’t see a box labeled tools, but I started this tree over 2 1/2 years ago so maybe it’s an old version. I’ll keep looking around and see what I can find to fix it, thanks again for your help.
Susan

325 James B. AkridgeMarch 30, 2008 at 4:24 am

I believe this site should be free to those who have used it in the past my family tree dates back 268 generations here in the US and counting me,plus my children,and grandchildren makes it 271 generations to which hasn’t been up date online yet!I will be updating my family file if it’s going to be free only.

326 Richard PetersMarch 30, 2008 at 8:57 pm

I have 2 questions that I hope someone, ANYONE can answer.

1. Why on earth does it take so long to update a family tree? I updated almost 3 weeks ago and am still waiting for it to appear on my tree.

2. My family tree is NOT private and I don’t want it to be, so why isn’t my email address shown as in the old system? I hate getting emails via a third party.

SOMEONE PLEASE REPLY>>>>>>>

327 LysbethMarch 30, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Richard — my experience also had been that my update had not worked after waiting more than three weeks, but my Public Member Tree did finally successfully update two days ago within 24 hours after I repeated clicking on the ‘update’ icon under ‘manage tree’. My Online trees also updated in Ancestry World Tree. My guess as a user (and this is just a guess) is that Ancestry made changes in their system so that when the update process began running again, the system had lost some of the old update requests. It worked for me 2-3 days ago — but only after I repeated the update command, and then it worked within 24 hours or less. It may have been a co-incidence, but if you are still waiting for an old update request to take effect, then try updating again and see if works now. If not, then perhaps Kenny has an answer.

328 Phil ParrattMarch 31, 2008 at 8:02 am

Like everybody else, my Ancestry World Tree disappeared a number of weeks back when I tried to update it at Online Family Tree. Luckily, it reappeared a couple of days ago and appears to be none the worst off from the journey through cyberspace. I did successfully move my two trees from Online Family Tree to the Ancestry Member Trees. Now on one of the two Online Family Trees I moved, appears a bar that states, “Move to Ancestry Member Tree again.” Question for Kenny; what is this all about? Also, is this the last day to move Online Family Trees? Thank you.

329 LysbethMarch 31, 2008 at 8:13 am

The process of updating the family tree indexes was not running for awhile when Ancestry was working on system changes. Friday all of my trees in Public Member Trees and Ancestry World Tree did update, but apparently some users have not yet seen recent updates. How can we decide whether this is a system problem or an individual problem?

Kenny — is the system now updating the family tree indexes on a regular basis? What should we expect to see and how often?

330 Kenny FreestoneMarch 31, 2008 at 8:59 am

In response to comments 326 & 327 & 329…

Richard had two questions:

1. Why the long update time? The answer is we have been updating our hardware that enables these updates, and have just recently (last week) finished with that. Updates to our search index going forward should be happening about every 2 or 3 days.

(Lysbeth, you suspected that the “update” button on the manage tree page would trigger an update, but that button only acts to save the changes you made to that page. The updates to the search index are automatic).

2. You ask how to have your connections made via your email address rather than anonymous connection. on the “My Ancestry” page click the link “My Site Preferences”. On the page that comes up you’ll find an option to display your email address.

–Kenny

331 Kenny FreestoneMarch 31, 2008 at 9:03 am

In response to comment 328…

Phil,

With the Online Family Tree (OFT) move, we give you the option to continue working on your OFT file, if you so choose. The option to “Move to Ancestry Member Tree again” will create a new AMT file based on the updates you’ve made to your OFT file.

Today is not the last day to move OFT files. We will continue to allow moving OFT files for as long as the system is running. We do plan over the next several months to turn off the ability to view and edit your OFT file, but have no set deadline established for that yet.

–Kenny

332 Geraldine ClementsMarch 31, 2008 at 9:05 am

Hi Kenny, Well, I finally after searching for a very long time for my info,it was under the family tree “ancestry world tree”. And funny it is back on the Roots Web Site, which know I search for it and could not find my stuff then, so I don’t know how it just reappreared. I have also updated my stuff twice in the last two weeks and like some other people complaining it is still not updated like your site says it will do it in 24 hours. Maybe you should change your “UPDATED from 24 hours” to a one week or more because your system is doing it’s job at the other end to Update our info. So what is up with that then??? Geraldine Clements

333 LysbethMarch 31, 2008 at 10:27 am

Kenny — in the old Online system, changes to an Online tree do not appear in Ancestry World Tree unless users click the ‘update’ icon. Are you saying that in the Member Tree system, all changes in family trees are automatically included when the system runs an update without any additional action by the user?

334 Kenny FreestoneMarch 31, 2008 at 12:37 pm

In response to comment 332 (and also 333)…

Hi Geraldine,

I believe the text “UPDATED from 24 hours” you quote is within the Online Family Tree (OFT) system, and refers to the amount of time it should take to update your OFT file to the Ancestry World Tree (AWT) system.

The newer family tree system is called Ancestry Member Trees (AMT), and this system does not update or publish to the older Ancestry World Tree system, but instead updates its own search index on Ancestry.com. The newer AMT system updates automatically every couple of days or so. The update system has been down for several weeks while awaiting a hardware upgrade, but is now working again.

–Kenny

335 judy adamsMarch 31, 2008 at 2:29 pm

KENNY
WHY THE HELL HAVE YOU ONLY JUST SAID THAT THERE HAS BEEN A PROBLEM WITH THE UPDATING SYSTEM IN AMT WHEN THERE HAVE BEEN COMPLAINTS ON THESE BLOGS ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF TIME IT HAS TAKEN TO UPDATE OUR TREES. DONT YOU THINK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER TO TELL US WHEN THE PROBLEM FIRST BECOME KNOWN.
ITS LIKE BEING GIVEN THE KEYS TO A NEW CAR AND ITS NOT TILL YOU ROLL DOWN DOWN A HILL GATHERING SPEED DOES THE CAR SHOW ROOM SAY OH BY THE WAY WE NEED TO TELL YOU THE BREAKS NEED FIXING. I KNOW THE SHOW ROOM WOULD NOT GET AWAY WITH IT SO WHY DID ANCESTRY FEEL THEY DID NOT HAVE SAY ANYTHING ABOUT HAVING A PROBLEM WITH UPDATING THE AMT!. THE MOSTER (AMT)STILL KEEPS GROWING DOSENT IT. BRING BACK THE ABILITY TO USE OLT NO PROBLEMS WITH THAT SYSTEM SIMPLE EASY TO USE AND INFORMATIVE TOO. MORE THAN ANCESTRY HAS BEEN TO ITS CUSTERMERS THESE LAST 2 YEARS.

336 Carolyn HApril 1, 2008 at 12:18 am

Kenny, FIRST, PLEASE DO NOT USE MY LAST NAME FOR THE PUBLIC TO READ. You could use Carolyn H.
My many years of family research is precious to me. I am the mother of a severely ill daughter, over 17 years now, and researching and submitting my research of my family has been a God-send to me, something I can do while my daughter sleeps. And it is a real work of love for my relatives, who appreciate it so much. I don’t just write bare bones entries, but a full page or more on each individual. I’ve worked so hard. I love your old system, where I have entered all of my research. I think the old system was PERFECT, so I don’t welcome the new changes of the new system. I am frightened by what I read about the new system. It would almost kill me if my work was butchered. If I change over to your new system, will my entries remain exactly as they are now, every word of them still there? Will other people be able to change my entries? If I DON’T decide to risk changing over to the new system, will my research still remain intact on rootsweb.com? Will rootsweb remain free for the public to view? This is truly very upsetting to me.

337 judy adamsApril 1, 2008 at 4:53 am

crolyn whether or note your file crosses over ok i dont know but one thing is for sure YOU will be the only one who can see your notes. no one else can unless you give them direct acess to your tree so in the new system you are writing all those pages just for you to see and those you alow to see your tree everyone else is excluded. unlike in the olt where anyone could read yor notes so if they contain all you refs to your tree and you decide to make it a public tree as far as amt is concerened and everyone else unless you go and manually put in al sorces in the seprate sorce area your tree comes up as unsorced and all your notes are hiden and this ancestry calls progress.

338 Kenny FreestoneApril 1, 2008 at 8:16 am

In response to comment 336…

Hi Carolyn,

We recognize how valuable your work is to you and your family and feel a HUGE obligation to not mess it up.

We are acting very cautiously with this transfer for that reason. We would love for you to try the new system out. Doing so makes a copy of your OFT file without changing or erasing the original–so it is safe to check it out and see what you think. We would love to hear your feedback on what improvements we can make to the new system.

Let me respond to your questions:

1. “If I change over to your new system, will my entries remain exactly as they are now, every word of them still there?” Yes. (While not everything appears in the same place in the new system, it is there.)

2. “Will other people be able to change my entries?” No. (Although if you like you can invite family to help add and edit information.)

3. “If I DON’T decide to risk changing over to the new system, will my research still remain intact on rootsweb.com?” Yes.

4. “Will rootsweb remain free for the public to view?” Yes.

–Kenny

339 Gary S. CollinsApril 1, 2008 at 11:53 pm

In regard to message 336 by Carolyn H and response 338 by Kenny Freestone:

Carolyn,

There are several issues. My guess is that you have been building your ancestry file using Online Family Tree (OFT) and then either making your file public in OFT or transferring it to Rootsweb. A public OFT file is not the same as a Rootsweb file, although they function in much the same way. If and when ance$try.com terminates OFT, you will have to find a new way to edit your file. One option might be to edit locally on your PC, using a PC program that can be purchased or obtained for free from many sources. Perhaps there will be other web services that function in much the same way as OFT. I hope to find one myself. The best option would be for Rootweb.com to take over the so-called “ailing” OFT.

But I think what Kenny writes is misleading in regard to transferring your file over to Ancestry Member Trees (AMT). In regard to (1): yes, information in your entries may still “be there somewhere”, but your notes will only be accessible to you, as I understand things, and, worse, only those in the general public who pony up a subscription fee to ance$try.com will ever be able to see your ancestry file. (Please correct any inaccuracies, Kenny.)

I am pleased to read in Kenny’s message 338 that rootsweb.com will remain free for the public to view.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

340 marieApril 2, 2008 at 11:18 am

In response to post #338 by Ancestry’s Kenny Freestone:

It appears that Ancestry’s agent is trying to sell a product by misrepresentation.

Keep in mind that misrepresention of an item is not always by an incorrect description, but most of the time is by what is MISSING in the description.

341 Janice BrownApril 2, 2008 at 6:20 pm

I’ve been researching genealogy for over 30 years, and have been computing the same length of time (I started young, so no I’m not 90 now).

I’ve tried many versions of genealogy software over the years. And I’ve been a subscriber to ancestry for many years now (and to many historical societies).

In other words, I know what I am doing. YOU FOLKS DO NOT. I hate your new software. You ignore the suggestions that long-time researchers offer you and just plow ahead with a bad idea. I am no longer updating my online family tree and have gone with private software (not your brand either which crashes like crazy).

You just are not getting it right. What is the matter with you, that you can’t enlist some decent beta testers, and THEN darn it listen to their criticism and make the needed changes. Obviously the people creating your online software have never had extensive experience with family tree research, merging families (cousins who marry cousins) and producing really helpful output (types of reports we typically need).

Janice Brown

342 Richard PetersApril 5, 2008 at 5:26 pm

Kenny,
here it is April 5th and almost a month has gone by and I’m still waiting for my family tree to be updated. I have hit the “Update” button and nothing seems to happen. I add to my tree every night. Are these additions in vain? Will they ever be added to my tree or are they in a “limbo” somewhere?
Please reply.

343 Gary S. CollinsApril 8, 2008 at 11:59 pm

Seeking a replacement for Online Family Tree:

‘Online Family Tree’ (OFT) has for many years provided superior free access to and editing of ancestry files. While I hope that Ance$try.com does not terminate OFT in the near future, we all need to identify alternative services now since ‘Ancestry Member Trees’ (AMT) is not the solution but may soon be the only option provided by Ance$try.com. AMT offers no notes and is only available to paying customers.

An alternative service I investigated recently is at geneanet.org, where I have uploaded my ancestry file to http://gw2.geneanet.org/gcollins. You can compare it with my rootsweb ancestry file at http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/~garyscottcollins/. I prefer the rootsweb format, but the geneanet format is comparable and I can learn to live with it. Try it out! The best part is that you will be able to edit your geneanet file over the web, just as you can do now with OFT. That is a tremendous facility when building your ancestry file from many locations! And, unlike an AMT file, it will still remain visible to the general public!

I strongly recommend hosting an ancestry file at geneanet.org if and when ance$try shuts down OFT in its misguided hope that former customers will move their ancestry files to its deficient new AMT tree system format.

I strongly encourage readers with other alternatives to inform us of them now! Thanks in advance.

Cheers,

Gary Collins

344 judy adamsApril 9, 2008 at 12:38 pm

hi gary thanks

free sites i use are

tribalpages
gencircles
myheritage

i have just put mine on your surgestion too

any one know any others ?

345 Gary S. CollinsApril 10, 2008 at 11:14 pm

Seeking replacements for Online Family Tree other than Ancestry Member Trees:

This is a followup to my message of April 8. In that message, I wrote:
“An alternative service I investigated recently is at Geneanet.org, where I have uploaded my ancestry file to http://gw2.geneanet.org/gcollins. You can compare it with my rootsweb ancestry file at http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/~garyscottcollins/. I prefer the rootsweb format, but the geneanet format is comparable and I can learn to live with it. Try it out!”

Well, when I tried the link to Geneanet tonight from my message on the Ance$stry blog, it did not work at all!! However,when I simply hand-copied the URL http://gw2.geneanet.org/gcollins into a browser window and then clicked on it, I immediately got my page at Geneanet. Try it yourself both ways:

(1) click on the link http://gw2.geneanet.org/gcollins directly from this blog page, and I predict that it will not work.

(2) copy http://gw2.geneanet.org/gcollins into the address window of your browser and click on it, and it will work just fine!!

Not believing in hobgoblins or black cats, the only credible inference is that Ance$try.com is compromising links in at least some of its blog message, including mine dated April 8.

Shame on Ance$try.com!! Kenny Freestone, I would appreciate if you would look into this and report back.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

346 Gary S. CollinsApril 10, 2008 at 11:50 pm

Seeking alternatives to Online Family Tree (OFT) other than Ancestry Member Trees (AMT):

I think I figured out the problem connected with my messages of April 8 and 10, and an apology is (partially) in order. As it turns out, the link I entered for a Geneanet.org site in my message of April 8 was recorded as http://gw2.geneanet.org/gcollins.” Look carefully. What is wrong is the trailing period in the URL. Without the period, the link works fine. Including the period messes up the link completely. Try it both ways!

I wrote “partially” above because Ancestry.com’s Blog software should be smart enough to parse URL’s so that a trailing period is disallowed. If I submit text such as “blah, blah http://this_is_an_URL.”, the Blog program should be able to parse the URL from the following period.

To sum up: Looking back, there was probably no nefarious action on the part of Ancestry.com. It appears that trailing periods following URL’s were mistakenly included as part of the URL. However, trailing periods in a URL (with nothing following) are, at least to my knowledge, a no-no. Kenny: no need for an investigation. Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

347 Kenny FreestoneApril 11, 2008 at 8:48 am

In response to comments 345 & 346…

Hi Gary,

The blogging software we use is not developed by us. You’ll notice a “W” logo in the bottom right corner of the blog which points to wordpress.org, which is a great, but clearly not perfect, blogging tool.

We don’t have much interest in developing a better blogging tool than what WordPress provides–it’s not really our thing.

I think on the whole, if you got to know us, you’d find we at Ancestry.com are not nearly so nefarious as you might think, but really a rather friendly bunch. If you are ever in Provo, please stop by for a visit.

–Kenny

348 SueApril 11, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Well, the problem I thought was solved is not! Ancestry notifies me every time I add new names to my “public” member tree (Ancestry member tree which is “public”). Yet, if I pretend that I am some member of the public searching for a specific person (who just happens to be in my tree because they were added and ‘confirmed added by Ancestry’ about a month ago, my tree will not come up as for some unknown reason so the member of the public will not have access to the information in my tree through that ‘newly added and confirmed as added by Ancestry’. What is going on here? Kenny? Logical answer please or at the very least when this BIG PROBLEM will be fixed. I exect and demand to get what I pay for

349 Richard PetersApril 11, 2008 at 8:41 pm

When Ancestry.com switched over to the new Ancestry World Tree, I was disappointed, but thought I’d keep an open mind. But this week I received some news that makes me absolutely heart sick. I asked Kenny why my information has not been updated to the new “Ancestry World Tree.”

Kenny wrote me:
“Our Member Tree system does not have a direct method to submit trees to the AWT/Rootsweb without exporting a GEDCOM file, and then uploading that file via WorldConnect on Rootsweb.” (Whatever the heck that means??)

In other words, all the new information we are adding only shows up on the Public Member Trees and maybe that ridiculous One World Tree. So if you have a correction or addition to your tree, it will not show up on Ancestry World Tree or on Rootsweb. You cannot add a death date, correct a birth date or place of birth, spelling mistakes, etc. Like I said, this news makes me heart sick. I feel that all my work is for naught.
I’m going to take GARY’S advice and move to another system. Ancestry.com simply does not care about what we think or what we want.

Sincerly, Richard Peters

350 CaroleApril 12, 2008 at 11:48 am

Ancestry.com shot themselves in the foot when the switched over to the new Ancestry Member Tree system and then “privatized” it only to paying subscribers.

That is not the way to get new members.

There are several other genealogical websites currently in business, who offer access to their family trees only to paying subscribers. Genealogy.com is one. They draw you in by a free search and then stop you dead in your tracks by telling the searcher that in order to see more, you have to subscribe to their website and pay big bucks to do it. I click out of those websites faster than a hungry flea hopping onto a dog.

It is free access to tree information that teases, tantalizes and creates the desire to access other information the website has to offer, and Ancestry.com has plenty to offer besides the trees. But if the researcher is headed off at the pass, they turn to find another road.

After the announcement that OFT was in its death throes and was soon to be buried, I made preparations to preserve the tree that I had worked on at Ancestry.com for 9 years and downloaded my family tree from Ancestry as a gedcom. I then imported the gedcom file into my home program. I have Family Tree Maker 2006 which I do not like, and recently purchased Rootsmagic. I prefer Rootsmagic over FTM because of the multi-generational descendant working-view capabilities, the ease of switching between pedigree, family and descendant screens and because the program generates a superb ahnentafal report. Rootsmagic Ver. 3 also has the capability of storing multimedia, such as photos and documents, among other things. This program is one of the top rated genealogical programs on the market today and I highly recommend it.

I uploaded my gedcom to Rootsweb to keep my tree public to same family researchers; to have other family members contact me, and to prevent information in my tree from being merged into other family trees. I have errors in my tree and until everything is documented and confirmed, I do not want to see those errors incorporated into someone else’s tree, and then merged and remerged several times over into other family trees. I think it is self-evident that the people taking the incorrect information are not checking to see if that info is correct or not. I now work solely on my home program, export my gedcom file to my hard drive, and then upload it again online to update my Rootsweb tree on a regular basis. This is a simple procedure and takes very little time.

I will comment that since I have placed my tree back online at Rootsweb, I have had more people contact me which was to be expected; as a comparison factor, more people contacted me in same one month period time span from Rootsweb then when I had my experimental temporary tree online under Ancestry’s AMT system. Rootsweb 9 Ancestry 2.

Now with Ancestry placing Rootsweb directly under its canopy, I am afraid for my family tree.

Questions to be asked are:

1. How long with the Rootsweb remain free to public view on the Ancestry.com website before those trees too are privatized only to paying subscribers;

2. Will the Rootsweb trees be placed in the One World Tree system to be used and abused as all the other trees have been in that offensive display of pretend genealogy; and

3. Will the Rootsweb family trees be offered up to Ancestry Member Tree users in the hints feature, to subsequently be merged into member trees?

I am aware that Kenny has claimed the Rootsweb trees are free, but he didn’t say for how long and he also did not volunteer any other information.

For all you people who find the hints merge feature so wonderful, I would like to point you in the direction of my post on the 500 million names blog. Please read my evidence of Ancestry’s merging gone wrong, with incorrect undocumented information taken from my early trees by other researchers and merged into numerous trees over and over again without being confirmed, to be passed on to other researchers as true and correct. Some of these AMTs are brand new; the trees appeared virtually overnight and are complete with these blended families that don’t belong together.

Be afraid people. Be very very afraid.

351 Gary S. CollinsApril 13, 2008 at 12:01 am

In response to message 347:

Dear Kenny,

Explanation accepted that there was no nefarious action on the part of Ancestry.com, as I had suggested in messages 345 and 346. Apologies are due!

I guess parsing text to identify valid URL’s is not so easy. In the future, if I have a URL at the end of a sentence, I will leave a trailing space before the ‘period’.

I’m surprised that WordPress.org, a major blogger that I have worked with, boo-boo’d in this way.

I did visit BYU a few years ago in connection with my job. I will drop by Ancestry.com if I have the chance to visit again.

Gary Collins

352 Gary S. CollinsApril 13, 2008 at 12:43 am

In response to Carole’s message 350:

Dear Carole,

(1) I second your comments about the futility that genealogical websites will experience as they try to make the public pay to access general ancestry tree contents. You expressed the issues very well. Your point that an owner of an ancestry file will receive many more contacts when their file is “really public” (such as when hosted at Rootsweb.com) than when “not really public” (such as when on AMT) encapsulates the problem with the AMT idea. Individuals make their ancestry files public in order to develop contacts with others who can correct or extend their knowledge. This problem transcends all the other problems individuals have had with files improperly transferred, possible lost information, inordinately long times before updated information is posted to public databases, and so on.

(2) In your search for an alternative to Ancestry.com’s Online Family Tree (OFT), you propose using a genealogical program on your PC such as Family Tree Maker (FTM) or Rootsmagic to update you ancestry file, after which it will be uploaded as a GEDCOM file to Rootweb. That’s fine, and I previously suggested the same approach.

However, it is useful to point out three major positive features of the OFT system.

• You can edit and update an ancestry file from anywhere you have a access to the Internet with a web browser. Thus, you can work while traveling, for example.
• The OFT screen for an ancestry file offers for each individual entry a list of freely available ‘trees’ that might have information about that individual. Also information about other records. I have found this information, called ‘hints’ in the ancestry-member-tree system, to be very helpful. Of course, one has to sift and sort the information, but it will be a great loss to the public if/when OFT is terminated.
• To be fair, FTM provides lots of links to information that ancestry.com has, although a lot of it is proprietary. However, you are still stuck working on one PC and cannot readily work at other machines, for example while traveling.

For these reasons, I strongly encourage Ancestry.com to continue to support OFT.

I am also very concerned about future maintenance of Rootweb.com.

Best regards,

Gary Collins

353 SueApril 13, 2008 at 10:34 am

ALERT !!!! ANCESTRY HAS NOT MADE ANY OF THE NEW INFORMATION ADDED TO THEIR TREES WITHIN THE LAST FEW MONTHS SEARCHABLE FOR THE PUBLIC. GO TO ‘LIST OF PEOPLE’ IN UPPER RIGHT CORNER TO SEE IF ANYONE YOU ARE SEARCHING FOR IS THERE.
______________

I have put that on all my trees and suggest others do the same, then, perhaps, those searching for someone we have added to our trees will somehow get to our trees via an “old” addition and can read the message and check the list of people. I’ll change it back to what my trees are about when the system is fixed.

354 Brian GoldbergApril 14, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Hi,

I swear I wrote before and my comment isn’t even up here. I migrated to the new tree system. It seems fine to me. I came back to look at it a few weeks later and I can’t find the “new” tree. When I say new I mean AMT. Well my old tree is there plus a link to migrate to the new system. I don’t really care which system I’m in I’m just trying to follow the directions. I’d really like to tell you what I think of the customer support too but I don’t care really that much. I had what I thought was a simply question and I don’t really get a straight answer.

If I have a relative who is alive and older than 72, how do I mark that person as living so they show up on the tree as living not as dead.

355 Kenny FreestoneApril 14, 2008 at 3:01 pm

In response to comment 353..

Hi Sue,

We have completed several successful updates to our trees index over the last few months, and are now indexing about 2 or 3 times per week.

Perhaps you could email me some examples of how this is not working for you. We’d love to look into it. kfreestone at tgn.com

–Kenny

356 CaroleApril 14, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Just for fun, I started from scratch one of those new ancestry member trees, with the home person being my husband. I put in his name, his mother and father’s name with their birthdates, and within 45 minutes I had a complete tree going back to the early 1700s in New England.

What is even more amazing is that the merge system merged in duplicate spouses and children listed in other AMT’s, and the hints also picked up people with similiar names, same census years (i.e. 1860 census in Ohio), then asked me if I wanted to add these sources to my tree. In checking the other hint trees offered to me at the same time, I could see that people had entered these same-census-year-similar name people in their trees, and were then subsequently merged in trees by other people.

I realize this is confusing, but I don’t know how to explain it in a simple manner.

The end result in my tree is a convoluted mess of incorrect people, wrong spouses and duplicates.

In my tree is a documented family member who was my mother-in-law’s grandmother. I know a lot about her, and her children. This family member is in several AMT’s and she in some of these trees, she is there with 11 children. I know for a fact that this grandmother had only 8 children. These children are documented and I even have pictures of their headstones. I wrote to one of the tree owners who had 11 children for my MIL’s grandmother. I asked the tree owner where she came up with the 3 extra children, and she said she didn’t know, but she thinks some of them were duplicated because of similar names but said she “can’t remember where they came from.” Well, these 3 extra, duplicated, wrong-named children are being offered by the Ancestry tree merge and people are picking them up and putting these children in their trees.

Ancestry will be happy to know that I have now added more names to the 500 million allegedly uploaded to Ancestry’s trees. But, — all of these names were taken through the merge system from other trees already on Ancestry.com.

I’m deleting my mess of a tree ASAP. First I am going to wait and see how long it takes for my tree to come up in the search function.

357 Gary S. CollinsApril 15, 2008 at 1:40 am

In response to message #356:

Dear Carole,

In order to understand how any complex system such as “ancestry tree” works, one must test it out.

Carole, I praise you for your test, which appears (regrettably) to allow the presence of various non-family members who have been “mistakenly” “glommed” onto your file.

I cannot understand at all why unrelated individuals should be “glommed” or “stapled” onto an existing Ancestry Member Tree( (AMT) site. However, I can report that no unrelated individual has ever been connected with my ancestry file without my consent!

More to come.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

358 Elaine HutchingsApril 16, 2008 at 3:16 am

For the past 3-4 weeks I have been having a great deal of trouble logging onto the ancestry site, if I do manage to log on I am frozen out after about 2 minutes, as a quarterly subscriber I feel that this is not good enough.

There is little help from the Ancestry people, all they have done is give me a Technical Support phone number number to use, is this happening because of all the changes they are making I ask myself? Is anyone else out there having the same problems?

359 Kathy McGuinessApril 20, 2008 at 10:26 pm

This whole OFT going to AMT reminds me of when i worked for a government agency. Someone gets control & has to make a name for themselves or thinks they know better than the ones doing the real work. I have deleted my trees that i want totally private. I already had them on the family tree maker software & was using OFT as a safehaven (not public). For the ones “I” want public there are mixed problems. I found my parents line on the OFT okay. However there is a duplicate on One World Tree that is a mess that I didn’t send there. My father & his brother who were married once have had other wives & families merged to them. When I looked at the OFT trees for them I saw these other wives & families were on separate trees. This not only misinforms but it is an insult to my family history.

FYI for those who have trouble with their notes missing from OFT to the AMT. No one told me but i found that in AMT: go to the “people” view (silhouette) of a family member. Then click on “edit profile” then click on the tab “research notes”. I found my notes there. If you go to someone else’s tree the “edit profile” won’t be there but in it’s place is “view”. There won’t be a “research notes” because you can not read other tree’s notes as discussed on other’s blogs.

Ancestry.Com has been a great source of information for me over the past 5 years. I am on it daily. I also completed numerous surveys that I was asked to do by Ancestry. Apparently a waste of my time by these results. I did some of their work for them when I made dozens & dozens of corrections on name spellings in records. I paid hefty subscription fees over the years. No discounts for renewals but Ancestry would offer discounts for new members at times. Where was the loyalty discounts? None of this would matter if I could get what I paid for in the past. Now I don’t have any faith in the accuracy of the family trees. They are corrupted. In the past you knew not every tree was going to be correct by the abilities of the owner. But this mess has damaged the credibility of Ancestry.Com & eventually Rootsweb.com if these errors are sent there. The Board and or Owners of Ancestry we need to hear from you.

360 Brian GoldbergApril 21, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Any luck giving me an answer to my questions. Especially should I make another Ancestry Member Tree AKA AMT? I made one and saw it. So making another is just going to choke the system.

361 Brian GoldbergApril 23, 2008 at 10:00 am

It appears my tree is there.

362 Danica LoveApril 23, 2008 at 5:50 pm

I’ve been a member of Ancestry.com since the beginning (2000) and love the family tree system that has been in place all that time.

I notice that the new one has to be paid for. No more free search. Interesting. I would guess this is the real reason behind the new system.

Searching is harder on the new system. Sharing with other’s is harder also. I don’t just put up my family’s files, I also do random research and put my finding’s on here in the hopes that other family’s will recognize the line and it will help them in their research. But now, they can’t access it unless they pay. Why should they pay ancestry? Ancestry didn’t do the research or put together the line. I want my research to be free. I want people to be able to access the records I put up without having to pay for it.

This is all about money and nothing about helping genealogists.

363 judy adamsApril 28, 2008 at 12:36 pm

i having discovered some important data have yesterday updated my tree by submitting a compleate new copy to AMT at the same time i resubmitted my tree to RootsWeb, gencircles, tribalpages and myheratiage. all but ancestry had the newer version fully searchable within 24 hours. ancestry STILL HAS NOT yet it is the same info on each one. i will monetor and nag you reminding ALL how long it takes for your inferier and totaly c*** system finaly does the update.
i will also watch that peice of junk ONE WORLD TREE to see if the info metioned which resulted in my updatedtree submition does in fact clear out the erronous data it has created on my thomas westbrook which i have mentioned in other posts. this i doubt will happen as i have no faith in the bit of junk programing which forms ONE WORLD TREE perpetuating errounous data as it does.
so hear we are aprox 1 day thats 24 hours since i submitted a new tree to all sites mentioned all have updated exept you.

MY COUNT TO FULLY SEARCHABLE TREE
ONE DAY …NOT ON LINE YET

364 Gina WatchousApril 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm

I don’t check my public tree’s often enough obviously, I have 2 jobs and raise a grandson so I get a break on that.
I just learned about this world tree thing. I don’t like being forced into anything and when I went to add some data to my trees it was BIZARO land. I have been reading posts on here and it appears I am either running out of time or already have run out of time to move my trees. So, what I want to know is what site can I move my stuff to that ANCESTORY does not already own and therefore cannot absorb and sell my information and reseach as their own? Please Kenny do not assume I am naive enough to assume that is not what’s happening. That’s why I left FamilyTreemaker years ago. Gina Watchous

365 Gina WatchousApril 28, 2008 at 2:35 pm

I cannot believe it. I just went back to my trees and one was already TAKEN. Not only that, there are LIVING PEOPLE VISIBLE ON IT. Can everyone see this or just me? My children are on this tree MY GRANDCHILDREN ARE ON THIS TREE THEY ARE BABIES FOR CHRIST SAKE. I need an answer this KENNY. This matters this puts them in potential danger and i won’t have it so your company can make a profit.

366 judy adamsApril 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm

gina

if your tree is public or private you should be the only one who can see those that are living unless you invite some one. each time you log into your tree YOU can see your tree as YOU yourself typed it which of course is as it should be. but if i was to look at your tree i WONT see the living in your tree. i have checked by using an alturnative log in on another machine in another location and the daughter i lost even though i added a death date did not show up. if you are worried you can try the same to check it out.
why here any notes that you make WILL NOT be visable on ANY of your people wether they are dead or alive unless you give editing rights.

as to other places to place your tree try
myheritiage
tribalpages
gencircle (make sure you check the privite option for the living)
onefamilytree

367 Kenny FreestoneApril 29, 2008 at 12:37 pm

In response to comment 365,

Hi Gina,

We do our best to not index or display information about living people. In the member tree system if your grandchildren have no birth dates indicated, they may slip through our filters since we have no way of knowing they are living.

Other family tree systems have similar ways to not show living people.

It is certainly not our intent to display information about your grandchildren. If you will send me an email (kfreestone at tgn.com) with some more details, such as the tree name and URL, we can make sure these names are not shown.

–Kenny

368 judy adamsApril 29, 2008 at 1:07 pm

MY COUNT TO FULLY SEARCHABLE TREE
TWO DAYS …NOT ON LINE YET

369 Brian GoldbergApril 29, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Very strange indeed. I got an invitation to view my tree.

“Brian,

Our family tree (old 2005) is growing.

2 people have been added:
Son 4 Zabielak
my dad (born whenever…)”

Since this is my tree and I wrote it and no one else can see it why would it tell me about my own tree. Then I get the 14 day trial notice if I want to see it.

370 judy adamsApril 30, 2008 at 3:19 am

hi
i too recieved a message about my tree (not the new tree submition i’m counting down) having new people added too. they said that i had added myself and one other. as this tree is only uploaded to that joke system AMT and NEVER worked on online as i use a home based system i know to be reliable to work on there is obvoisly yet another glitch with the programing of this white elephant, AMT, they have said is progress and surperier to the much prefered OLT system we all want to be able to use.
ANOTHER SHOT IN THE FOOT FOR THEM!

371 judy adamsApril 30, 2008 at 12:55 pm

MY COUNT TO FULLY SEARCHABLE TREE
THREE DAYS …NOT ON LINE YET

372 judy adamsMay 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm

MY COUNT TO FULLY SEARCHABLE TREE
FOUR DAYS …NOT ON LINE YET

373 judy adamsMay 2, 2008 at 12:30 pm

MY COUNT TO FULLY SEARCHABLE TREE
FIVE DAYS …NOT ON LINE YET

374 judy adamsMay 3, 2008 at 6:10 pm

MY COUNT TO FULLY SEARCHABLE TREE
SIX AND 1\2 DAYS …NOT ON LINE YET

375 judy adamsMay 4, 2008 at 12:29 pm

MY COUNT TO FULLY SEARCHABLE TREE
SEVEN DAYS …NOT ON LINE YET

376 Kenny FreestoneMay 5, 2008 at 10:27 am

In response to Judy,

Hi Judy, We’ve successfully indexed the family tree system several times over the last week. We usually have an updated index every day or two.

Perhaps there is something we can dig into to understand why your tree is not part of that index. If you would like us to look into that, please send me an email with your username, a URL of the tree, and which person(s) in the tree you are trying to find in the index.

kfreestone at tgn.com

Thanks,

Kenny

377 judy adamsMay 5, 2008 at 2:23 pm

MY COUNT TO FULLY SEARCHABLE TREE
EIGHT DAYS …NOT ON LINE YET

378 judy adamsMay 6, 2008 at 12:34 pm

MY COUNT TO FULLY SEARCHABLE TREE
NINE DAYS …NOT ON LINE YET

379 judy adamsMay 7, 2008 at 8:12 am

MY COUNT TO FULLY SEARCHABLE TREE
TEN DAYS …NOT ON LINE YET

380 judy adamsMay 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm

AS I BELIVE IN BEING FAIR AND REPORTING CORRECT FACTS IF POSSIBLE

below is the answer,from kenny, to the email i sent in response to kennys reuest in POST 376 but it sould be noted the file is not on line as i write this.

**********************************

Hi Judy,

Sorry to not get back to you sooner. It turns out there IS a bug in our indexing which has caused some of the information to be only partially indexed. The bug has been identified and fixed, so you should see success soon—probably today or tomorrow.

Our apologies for this bug—and we thank you for your persistence which helped us track it down.

Best,

Kenny

381 judy adamsMay 9, 2008 at 6:10 am

MY TREE IS NOW ON LINE dispite the fact it has now appeared i have made the desion that when i delet the old version of the tree i will not re upload the photos i have currently with the old file as my over all opinion with AMT has not changed which is it is all bells and whistles which does not meet my expectations of an informative and functionable system that is free to view to all. if ancestry insists on continueeing with this white elephant the figurs will eventually speak for them selves. its ancestrys loss not mine. why they ever abandond the old OLT RATHER THAN RELAUNCH IT WITH A FEW TWEEKS BEATS ME. IT WAS BY FAR A MUCH BETTER SYSTEM which is very much missed by all.

382 KATHLEENMay 14, 2008 at 11:21 pm

I POSTED COMMENT #359 WITH MY NEGATIVE COMMENTS ON THE NEW AMT SYSTEM OF FAMILY TREES. SINCE THEN I HAVE MYSTERIOUSLY HAD PROBLEMS WITH VIEWING CENSUS IMAGES LATE AT NIGHT/EARLY MORNING HOURS. IT APPEARS I AM PUT IN A TIME OUT AFTER VIEWING IMAGES FOR SEVERAL HOURS (NOT CONSTANTLY). IN THE FOUR YEARS PLUS I HAVE HAD A SUBSCRIPTION THIS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. ISN’T IT STRANGE THAT THIS WOULD HAPPEN THE WEEK FOLLOWING MY POSTED COMMENT??? THE IMAGE APPEARS TO DOWNLOAD THEN A BLANK CENSUS PAGE. THEN A MIRACLE, IT IS FINE THE NEXT MORNING. SO WHO IS PLAYING GAMES? TECHNICAL SUPPORT TELLS ME THIS KIND OF THING IS NOT DONE. HOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN THIS ONE KENNY??

383 Gary S. CollinsMay 16, 2008 at 11:18 pm

In reference to messages #359 and #382 by Kathleen McGuinness:

Dear Kathleen,

I strongly doubt that Ancestry.com is actively “messing” with your account. There would be no point for Ancestry.com to outrage individual customers. Almost certainly, I think you have experienced random problems unconnected with your messages. Having myself made very negative comments regarding Ancestry.com’s floated idea to terminate Online Family Tree (OFT), I have several times similarly felt that my service was compromised. But in hindsight I don’t think that was the case at all. Just a little paranoia.

Let me suggest that contributors to this blog make their complaints very clear regarding termination of OFT, but assume good faith on the part of Ancestry.com towards its customers during these “discussions”.

I am happy that OFT is still running. However, as I have written before, when OFT goes, so do I. With no hyperbole, my opinion that Ancestry Family Tree is totally inadequate as a replacement for OFT for individuals having a serious interest in their genealogy remains unchanged.

With best wishes,

Gary Collins

384 LysbethMay 22, 2008 at 12:02 pm

I have been having a problem with editing a source on AMT. When I edit an existing source to correct a minor typo and hit ‘save’, I occasionally find that the source entry has been removed, not saved. This does not happen every time, but this week it has been occurring often enough to be very annoying.

I thought that perhaps I had failed to hit the ‘save’ icon, but last night I was very careful to hit ‘save’ and was astounded when the source entry disappeared again. I have not been seeing comparable difficulties with other areas of AMT so I do not suspect an incompatibility with my computer system.

Could you please make the AMT system more robust by responding with a request to confirm that I intended to remove the source before it is removed for any reason? This is done elsewhere in the system, but apparently not on an edit of a source added to entries such as birth, marriage, or death.

385 ruth baileyMay 25, 2008 at 3:23 am

If we decide to delete the orginal family tree will this also delete the details in the current one?

thanks

ruth bailey

386 judy adamsMay 26, 2008 at 4:32 am

hi ruth

if you delete your tree every bit of the tree—thats photos and coments as wellas your family will be removed.
the only way to preserve the comments ectra is to manually copy them to a new uploaded version of the tree prior to deleting the old version

judy

387 LoriMay 26, 2008 at 9:43 pm

I converted my OFT to AMT and found that the comments, photos, and military pages were no longer in the tree. I checked the number of individuals in my original tree. It is 210. In the new tree, there are over 600 individuals. I want to know how I can get a complete and accurate translation to the new AMT and what tools are available to verify that all of my comments, photos, and military pages were preserved. I’m very concerned that my old tree will be deleted, and the new tree will not contain all the content I have entered over the past several years.

388 Kenny FreestoneMay 27, 2008 at 2:59 pm

in response to comment #387…

Hi Lori, The old OFT system did not support photos, comments, or military pages. I’m guessing you started with the new AMT system, and have nothing to worry about.

Does this sound right?

Kenny

389 Crandall MeliaMay 27, 2008 at 6:36 pm

As I read the “Reader Comments”, I began to realize that the vast majority felt the same way as I did. The old system is so much better. I thought the Web presentation of May 27 would address the REAL questons that the members had, but nothing of substance was given. When so many have so many reservations about the new system, why has Ancestry not addressed them? I am fortunate that I have had about 5 or 6 years with the old system and have most of my family records complete, and futher research is simply done to fine tune what I have and verify those facts that I have gotten. I, too, wonder why the Notes and stories in my Family Tree Maker file do not transfer to AMT. I have yet to see a simple answer as to why this was done.

My best advice is when you try something new and it is not acceptable to those who pay for the services, DUMP IT!!!

It might even be helpful if Ancestry would address those complaints of the litterally a vast majority of the members who submitted those complaints.

Crandall Melia

390 Gary S. CollinsMay 28, 2008 at 12:03 am

In reference to message #389:

Dear Crandall,

I didn’t understand your reference to a “presentation of May 27″. Was this some kind of presentation by Ancestry.com having to do with OFT and AMT. Would you please clarify?? Thanks in advance.

Gary Collins

391 Crandall MeliaMay 29, 2008 at 10:10 am

Gary:

On May 27, Ancestry did a one hour “Webinar” for all members about the Ancestry Member Tree program. Since there has been so much negative about the AMT, especially in this blog, I thought they might address, in an UNDERSTANDABLE way, the necessity to change to the new format and why they, for instance, did not include any of the notes and all information that was in the old format. I have never seen anyone FROM ANCESTRY actually sit down and address the primary thrust of these many complaints.(I feel that many were pretty specific) Fortunately all of my actual research has been stored on my computer with Family Tree Maker, so the only regret that I have is that in the future, it will be more difficult to obtain the information that I have been previously getting from OFT. To make it really simple, I just don’t understand why Ancestry would trot out a new system (AMT) (that upsets so many members) to replace a successful one (OFT), then forge ahead without consideration of these complaints. A system being old does not automatically mean obsolete. New is not automatically mean better. Your members and their approval should be paramont. Having worked in retail for the public for a lifetime, it just doesn’t make any sense to me any other way.

Instead, the “webinar presentation” was simply a primer on how one might use the new system, primarily for new members, although it wasn’t promoted that way.

Crandall Melia

392 SusanMay 29, 2008 at 3:22 pm

I’m still waiting for all the new people that I’ve added to the “new” family trees since December to be ‘searchable’ on these “new” and unimproved trees. I did complain a month or so ago and used one name as an example. This one person is now searchable, but none of the others are. I am notified when they have been added to my “new” tree and they are indeed there…….BUT, to anyone who searches for one of these new additions to my tree(s), my tree will not come up. They must actually go to my tree (how they’ll know to look there is beyond me), then pull up my ‘list of persons’, then enter the name they are searching in the space provided. Right now, that is the ONLY way that someone can find anyone new added to my tree since December. As somone with the brain of a rapidly melting ice cube once said “You’re doing a heckuva job, Ancestry!”

393 Kenny FreestoneMay 30, 2008 at 7:48 am

In response to comment 392…

Hi Susan,

We’d be happy to look into this complaint further. Please send me some details and we’ll investigate.

–your ancestry username
–tree name
–name of person in tree unavailable via search

kfreestone at tgn.com

Thanks,

Kenny

394 SusanMay 30, 2008 at 11:10 am

Thanks for your quick response, Kenny. I’ll send you the info immediately after posting this, but to your email address. In the one tree, I have over 3000 names and obviously cannot go through all of them, but I have managed to find 15 non-entries for you (tip of the iceberg). One pattern is beginning to take shape. The original couples of each branch (i.e. the most distant of each branch) do not seem to be searchable, whereas their offspring are – bizarre). This is not in every case, but in quite a few of the cases entered since December. Email with your requested info following within 1/2 hour of this posting.

395 SusanMay 30, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Hi Kenny, sent you the email with the requested info about 1 1/2 hours ago. Let me know if you didn’t get it and I’ll resend it.

396 NancyJune 1, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Has anyone else been having trouble with the “Enhanced Viewer”? Every couple of weeks when I try to view a document, I will get a flashing screen saying that I need to download the enhanced viewer – even though it was working just a few minutes before. Of course, I can’t download because the screen is flashing. Customer support gave me a complicated multi-step process to get it working again that requires deleting all my temporay files and passwords. This has become very annoying! Also, is it just my computer, or does this site seem to be getting slower and slower to navigate?

I know this blog is about the member trees, but just needed somewhere to vent!

397 KATHLEENJune 2, 2008 at 7:41 pm

RESPONSE TO NANCY #396. I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM AFTER VIEWING CENSUS FOR A FEW HOURS LATE AT NIGHT. I HAVE VISTA WINDOWS. I THOUGHT IT WAS A TIME OUT BY ANCESTRY WHICH IT STILL MAY BE. HOWEVER I CALLED TECH SUPPORT & THEY HAD ME GO INTO MY CONTROL PANEL TO UNCHECK A COMMAND THAT VISTA DEFAULTS TO. CALL THEM INSTEAD OF GOING THROUGH THE GENERIC SUPPORT EMAILS. I STILL GET THIS INTERFERENCE IF I HAVE BEEN ON SEVERAL HOURS.

398 robert johnsonJune 8, 2008 at 10:01 am

So far this new system is miserable. I lost over 50 percent of my information and all my pictures. Will ancestry be willing to give a free membership for the next year while I re-enter 8 years of data. If not I’m leaving.

399 LysbethJune 10, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Kenny confirmed that updating the searchable indexes for the Member Trees system has been paused for a few weeks, but should be back running in the coming week.

400 Pat SetserJune 24, 2008 at 8:51 am

Clearly you don’t send info to everyone -I just stumbled onto this site after searching for 45 minutes on how to find a PERSON to ask a question. I have MAC- there is NO right CLICK. Someone continues to add people to my tree whoare not related to me. I need this to stop -I’m NOT sharing my tree – this makes formerly wonderful useful Ancestry,com a huge frustrating mess – can I find a person for help?

401 Gary S. CollinsJune 24, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Dear All,

There have been two kinds of comments posted at this blog site over the past six months, which, to remind readers, was set up to “address questions” connected with termination of the Online Family Tree (OFT) system and in support of a newer Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) system (see introductory comments at the top of this blob). The two kinds of comments have been as follows.

I. Major complaints about the proposed termination of the freely available OFT system, considered by many users over 5-10 years as having had tremendous value in researching their ancestries.

II. Major complaints about the new AMT system. AMT has the advantage of allowing those who “own” ancestry files to attach all kinds of media to a GEDCOM file, but to its detriment, it is private (requiring a paid subscription for viewing), and (still after half a year) does not make researcher’s notes available to viewers. Other complaints include allowing unknown parties to “glom” junk onto an ancestry file without permission or notice to the owner of the file.

Concerning I: Ancestry.com originally proposed terminating OFT by March 2008. Wisely, it has not done so, and I hope that is because of its recognition of the substance of the major pleas for its continuation raised by a core of serious genealogists. The date for eventual termination of OFT was modified to be more ambiguous in about February 2008. My take from web language is that it might still be terminated within a few months. While an improvement over summary termination about March 1, this situation is still highly disconcerting to those genealogists who value and use OFT.

To unmuddy the waters, I ask Ancestry.com now to commit to continue support for OFT for some definite period of time. This will allow those who use it to plan. My personal recommendation, of course, is to see it continued indefinitely into the future. OFT is effective, it works for those who use it, and it will not detract from those kinds of genealogists who prefer to use AMT with all its potential to attach multimedia in the simplest way possible. If it is unacceptable to the corporate structure of Ancestry.com to maintain OFT for “the time being”, then at least set some definite date.

There has never been a serious presentation of financial reasons for which Ancestry.com wishes to terminate OFT. Only the expressed view that it is somehow “tired” or “old” in the digital age, or that systems will “break down” from age. This is ridiculous! Digital systems do not “age”. I cannot see that it is a major expense to sustain OFT in its present form. I would be happy to see a more serious presentation of financial reasons to eliminate OFT. I, for one, am left only with the impression that Ancestry.com thinks that elimination of OFT will increase use of AMT. Possibly, AMT is viewed as the future “money cow” of Ancestry.com by its management. I submit that such a view is seriously mistaken!

Concerning II: With regret, I don’t find much to recommend about the AMT system, even if worked as advertised.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

402 Connie HillJune 29, 2008 at 1:59 am

I want to know how to get my pictures back on my site from the other tree?? I had several members of my living family on it and now they are blanked out. What is this???

403 KATHLEENJune 29, 2008 at 10:32 pm

NOW WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE PUBLIC MEMBER TREES TONIGHT? A SEARCH FOR ANYONE BRINGS UP A MIX MASH OF PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT NAMES & CENTURIES. ONE WAS BORN IN THE 1200′S. NONE WITH THE SURNAME I WAS LOOKING FOR. THIS IS PROGRESS?

404 Cynthia TenickiJune 29, 2008 at 10:50 pm

I have been working on 2-3 trees. They are not perfect, I thought not ready for publishing. But if you are
shutting down Gedcom I needed to know, and tonight is the first I’ve learned that you are changing. Can I put my trees on Ged com and still
edit them ? What should I do? I have
one with 21000 names in it.
I certainly don’t want to lose it.
I was never notified of and I am
on here nearly every day. If I
put my impefect tree on Gedcom
can I still perfect it online, and resubmit it as “now complete” later?
I am really concerned. I’ve been working on these trees, The Tenicki–Potter-Brown-Runyan to George Washington and Princess Diana” Tree and “Kilts and Tartans in Our Tree” for years… what now. Thank you
Cynthia Potter Tenicki

405 Diane HalseyJuly 6, 2008 at 8:42 pm

With the advent of Ancestry’s latest update to the opening page; newest format changing the searchabilty of the data bases; and the retirement of the OFT system, I guess I now have a whole lot of photocopying of my two trees I need to do before I retire my subscription. But I guess that’s going to be a real problem as I can apparently still update my online trees, but now I can no longer view the results. ??

I’ve been an avid user on Ancestry and I might add, a paying customer, using the online Ancestry World Tree for over 6 years but now I can no longer search or view the results. Now that really hurts!

I am not pleased with the style and format of your new Public Member Tree system. It has two many grahpics, and less actual content. I am really sorry for the new approach and direction Ancestry is choosing. It’s rather a take it or leave it situation.

406 Nathan WallJuly 21, 2008 at 12:24 am

Ive got an old OFT tree file that I want to remove as its a duplicate with another file that was added through the RootsWeb system.

Oh and Ive also changed email addresses since that file was updated. And moved countries :) Ok Ok so its been a while!

Do you think there would be intelligible instructions on how to actually delete the old file? Oh no…. the Ancestry.com says do this, RootsWeb.com says do that, so I Google search and find the login to OFT again – and hey presto I can login using the old site’s user code…. BUT I CANT ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING NOW?? WTF?

I want to do the right thing and remove an old piece of research that in the last 5 years has been completely updated —– obviously this is too hard for Ancestry/RootsWeb to get thier heads around?

So its no wonder people are complaining about the quality of Ancestry’s “NEW” super elegant (read that as complete waste of time and bandwidth) member trees……

Looks very pretty. Pretty useless.

If I didnt want access to the search system and “public” records I wouldnt have renewed my subscription today…..

“Oh you mean you ACTUALLY PAY FOR THIS?” —- Im really starting to wonder why.

407 David KetchumJuly 21, 2008 at 9:01 pm

“If you make changes to your Online Family Tree file after you’ve transitioned to Ancestry Member Trees, you’ll have the option to send the updated file to the new system once again.”

I can’t find an UPDATE option for OFT to AMT.
Please advise.
Thanks

408 Linda DavenportJuly 27, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Hello Kenny. I’m trying to work with this new system but it is rather difficult. I’ve been with Ancestry since 2000. How long does it take for any individual (not an invited family member) to be able to access the names on a new tree uploaded a week ago? I uploaded a new tree (15,000) names last week and the friend still cannot find the family tree.

409 judy adamsJuly 28, 2008 at 4:02 pm

hey Nathan

thanks for the tip about googling the oft login i just managed to up load my file (newest version) back into it. as i write i doubt if it will become public ……….. i will be able to tell ……… but at least i can now view my tree online in a form i like …….. oh how i hate the bells and whistles in amt……….. why did i bother well it saves my carring a load of paper with me when i am at one of the verious record ceners here in the uk if ikeep my tree online and its also means if something goes wrong with my very old computer i have a nere up to date ged available .

of course dont know how long i am going to be able to access the oft that is dependent on the power that bes at ancestry.

hey ancestry are you listening I AND OTHERS PREFER OFT if you must pull the plug on anything then it should be the one world tree and then amt

LEAVE OFT ALONE PLEASE

i wonder what would happen if we all pulled our tress from amt and put them back into the OFT
you can STILL upload a tree from here

http://www.ancestry.com/oft/login.asp

even if you removed all your active trees from there ages ago you just need to log in and upload as before

i have not been brave enough to remove my tree from AMT as i am writing but i will sleep on it and i just might do so!

410 Robin BadleyJuly 28, 2008 at 9:58 pm

I have been trying to move my online family tree for over four (4) hours now. It still shows that 0% of the file has been moved. However, it does show that it is attempting to move it.

How long does this take? When and how should I stop it and try again later?

Thank you.
Robin Badley

411 George BaumannJuly 29, 2008 at 2:19 pm

I have been away from home for more than six weeks doing on-the-spot genealogical research and when I try to access my family tree data on Ancestry.com I am not able to do so. I do not get the window showing my 4 family trees.
Please let me know what I should do.
Thank you,
George Baumann

412 Marian Lowe JordanAugust 1, 2008 at 9:43 am

I don’t find my files (any of them) on line.
Can I still add my trees to the program. They seem to be on hold. If so, how do it do it?
I have been a member since 1998 and plan to continues if my programs are not lost. I put a lot of work into them and hate to see them go to waste.

Your program has help many of my distant cousins to connect to the family lines.

413 Anna GrossAugust 4, 2008 at 7:55 am

I am upset with this new system. All of the info. that I have entered, additional info. such as stories…that is part of the history of the individual does not transfer. The facts transfer…but not the info. that is in addition to the facts. Why not? I think this is important..and therefore I am upset with this new system.

414 CindiAugust 17, 2008 at 12:00 am

HI, I am really struggling with my trees. I have two Scouten-Baker trees,and I can’t figure out how to merge the info that I have into just one. One of the trees has Parker-Robarge info,AND I have a Parker-Robarge Tree.Please don’t ask how I got so much info spread out all over. I got really confused with where I was placing info,and it is just out of control. Thanks! AARGH!

415 Deon AndersonAugust 21, 2008 at 8:15 am

The only problem that I am finding with the new changes is that I am not able to do the family story or the decendent view. Please include that as part of the features other than that I would have to concider changing my options of having it out on Ancestry. com

416 Cheryl SpauldingAugust 31, 2008 at 11:34 am

There is a real lesson to be learned from this experience. First, nobody should EVER rely on a system, outside their own computer disc to keep information permanently. It WILL be lost. It WILL be corrupted. It WILL be used. Second, I agree completely with those who find this new system a disaster. But it is a disaster for the USERS. It is a BOON and a huge benefit to the LDS church and their record system. They get for free all the work we all do. Now they get all the documentation as well. I’d go someplace else too, except that they OWN everything there is. Sadly, there is no alternative BUT to keep your own records.

417 judy adamsSeptember 4, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Ancestry never seems to learn do they!

They have moved around all those bells and whistles on this over graphic burdened AMT in an effort to show they are LISTENING TO US THEIR CUSTUMERS they even moved the research notes up to a more visible position but the fact remains there are no improvements at all. The research notes are now where you can see then IF YOU OWN THE TREE but it seems they are still INVISABLE TO ALL BUT THOSE THAT THE OWNER OF THE TREE INVITE. The page is less informative on the family than before.

ancestry are acting just like a party magician they think that a little bit of slight of hand will impress and quieten our concerners but we know illusion when we see it especially badly preformed illusion. At the end of the day we have gained no improvement yet again we will protest while ancestry goes off to try to learn a new trick to enthral us. Ancestry needs to remember we know how magic works.

I wish we could turn back time and go back to the way things were before the OWT WAS EVEN CONCIVED BECAUSE THATS WHEN THE ROT SET IN but that is an impossible dream mean while we have to watch as the site which we all once loved and wanted to be with for life changes in a direction which will inevitable end in divorce by many customers when they don’t renew their subscriptions that they have possible have had for years. it such a shame when the record collection is so vast and important to us the customers that the improvements which are being rolled out on NEW SEARCH and AMT are angering us the customers rather than pleasing us that we are all begin to fall out of love and we slowly look more and more towards the only solution left open to us.

DORVORCE

418 LibbySeptember 7, 2008 at 8:30 pm

I am outraged. I cannot find my personal family tree on which I have worked for about 5 years. I will be cancelling my subscription. Someone else said it best “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. You have messed up all my information on my personal tree.

419 judy adamsSeptember 8, 2008 at 9:45 am

kenny

i know i have said this before but please now you have moved the research notes to a place where we can all find them please concider this

it is aparent that some of us want our research notes to be available to all to see and some want them to remain private

i myself would like them visible as that is where ALL my research sources are entered as my tree stands now it looks like my tree is unsorced. but i can understand others who say thay dont want them on view so i prepose the following choices could be implimented alowing a choice of

a) all notes hiden
b) all notes shown
c) show all notes exept those switched of by choice
d) hide all notes exept those turned on by choice
e) show all notes for people born before 1900 (date varible)all note post 1900 (as per choice)(atamatically turned off
f) show all notes for (selected date) and those dead only after date

of couse to impliment them exactly as i discribe above could be cumbersom but i am not a programer but some work around should be possible especially if you use the top 4. in this way a majority of us would be able to have the choice we want be them off or on.

personly i did not insert my notes to be read by only me i intended them to be read by all.

judy

420 JEANSeptember 25, 2008 at 5:24 pm

I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO PULL OP MY FAMILY TREE FROM THE OLD SYSTEM AS I WROTE STORIES FOR EACH OF MY FAMILY MEMBERS. I HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO FIND THEM. PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO LOCATE THE OLD FAMLY TREE SYSTEM WITH THE STORIES.

THANKS
JEAN

421 Caryl V TaylorSeptember 27, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Frankly, I’m tired of ALL the up-grades! I finish one system and am told a new system in replacing the old one. I don’t know where I am and I’v lost many of my relatives. I need to start all over again. Also, wasn’t the 2009 system supposed to be free to me? Please respond.

422 DOCK BLACKSeptember 29, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Am I in the new system and did I lose any
material in the change over? Is my project in danger? Help!

423 Gary CollinsOctober 5, 2008 at 5:36 am

Dear Kenny Freestone and all readers,

It’s been very sad to see what has transpired since ance$try.com announced last December through its designated mouthpiece (Kenny Freestone) that ancestry.com was moving the Online Family Tree (OFT) system on to a “higher” level with its Ance$try Member Tree (AMT) system. After nine months, readers should evaluate plusses and minuses of the move.

Little has changed since day one:

(1) Some subscribers, mostly newer ones, like the new graphical interface and the ability to attach photos and other media to their AMT’s. This was not possible directly with OFT, but, if you examine my own web site (click on my name), you can see how one can attach media using either OFT or freepages and websites on Rootsweb.com.

(2) Many subscribers who switched to AMT have been confused by a seemingly forced transfer, terrified that their research might have been lost. Many have been understandably outraged upon discovering that, under the new system, carefully prepared research notes would be available to nobody other than themselves.

(3) Many subscribers who switched to AMT are unhappy that their AMT trees are not generally accessible to the public. One of the irreplaceable benefits of posting an ancestry file on the web is contacts from long-lost cousins and other relatives. You can kiss that hope goodbye with the AMT system since only ance$try.com subscribers will ever see your AMT file (unless you are prevoyant and can identify those cousins in advance.)

(4) And others have complained that junk of all description can be glommed onto their AMT files without their permission. Yucch!

(5) It is pretty pathetic that there are 420+ messages in this blog site–mostly complaints that have not been answered. Ance$try.com appears to wish to bury the substantial complaints that its users and subscribers have about its operations.

In brief, the AMT system stinks for many potential users. The open OFT system was (and still is) a highly successful model for developing ancestry files over the web and making them publically available.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins (an ex ance$try.com subscriber)

424 judy adamsOctober 7, 2008 at 9:46 am

well said gary.
i agree with every thing you say.

add in to this the disatrous new search program and ancestry will eventually be worthless!

425 david ketchumOctober 20, 2008 at 9:22 pm

So if OFT gone forever?
Or is the server just “down” for tonight?

426 david ketchumOctober 20, 2008 at 9:26 pm

So if OFT gone forever?
Or is the server just “down” for tonight?

BTW. I never got an answer to my question about updating AMT from OFT after the first transfer. (See July 21 post #407)
I guess Kenny doesn’t really care to help any of us

427 John HenryOctober 23, 2008 at 6:07 pm

I am looking for the ancestry on the Henry family

428 H.J.StoreyDecember 4, 2008 at 8:25 am

I applied about 1st. Nov. to try your 2 weeks Free Trial. I filled in numerous questions until I found you were going to charge about £80, At that point I rang off. Now I see that £107.40 has been deducted from my a/c on 4th. Nov.

Since I have never used your service, nor even the free trial, can you please refund that amount by cheque or to my bank – a/c. no 02266806,
sort code 01-01-81. Nat West.
Please acknowledge asap. HJS

429 Gary CollinsDecember 16, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Good news. At this writing, Online Family Tree (OFT) continues to be operational, for which I am grateful to Ancestry.com.

In my opinion, it’s fine for users who wish to go over to using the Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) system to do so. I personally find AMT deficient in comparison to OFT for reasons previously given by me many times.

However, it’s good for Ancestry.com itself, in many ways, to sustain the “oldie but goodie” OFT system, as it seems to have decided to do. I wish to congratulate Ancestry.com for this sensible apparent decision, which will be appreciated by many members of the broad community interested in genealogical studies.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

430 NancyJanuary 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Help! My tree is marked private but still shows up as public when I do a search. Does this happen to everyone? Is my tree just public for me, or can everyone see it? Can’t get any feedback when I try to contact Ancestry.com.

431 JosephineJanuary 30, 2009 at 5:43 am

Where is the Header tab on right hand side to enter my user name and password as a guest of Larner /Lynch tree

432 Elbert L.. BrownFebruary 9, 2009 at 5:27 am

I have paid my membership fees for years to use the Online Family Tree. I tried the Membership Tree System but it is difficult to use and the historical information on individuals is not transferable from my Apple computer program (Reunion), Online Family Tree members have built in historical information that is of significant importance and will be lost when you close the system down. I, for one, will most likely not renew my membership with you. I see where many others feel the same way. It is your loss.

433 Toya HarveyFebruary 9, 2009 at 10:19 am

I can’t open MY FAMILY TREE program which was installed years ago. Many records and much history are in the files FFI. Please help!! What do I do?

434 Alice KirbergMarch 13, 2009 at 7:03 pm

I just switched to the new ancestry member tree and more than half of my tree is gone. What the heck happened.

435 ElainaMarch 18, 2009 at 4:50 am

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Elaina

http://www.freearticletrove.com

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