Ancestry.com

Known Issues with Online Family Tree Transition

Posted by Kenny Freestone on December 21, 2007 in Family Trees

We have a few bugs with the transition from Online Family Tree that we want you to be aware of. We have fixes for some of these issues, but we won’t deploy them until early January (we won’t be making new site changes during the holiday break). In the meantime there work-arounds for many of the issues or you can wait until after we update the website, and then try again.

 

12.26.2007 note: I notice some concern about the safety of this migration process. The transfer is safe, because it is non-destructive, meaning your existing Online Family Tree file remains unchanged and unmoved and essentially untouched in this process.

When you request the transfer, our system triggers an “export GEDCOM” request on the Online Family Tree file. The original file is untouched, and a separate, new copy of your file is created in GEDCOM format. We then take this new GEDCOM file and import it into the Ancesty Member Trees system.

When this is complete, you now have two files. Your original Online Family Tree file remains exactly as it was. And you also have a new Ancestry Member Tree file.

GEDCOM is the standard format for transferring family tree data. If for some reason your tree contains information that doesn’t work with this standard, we may have difficulty transitioning your tree. However, that would be a rare situation. We’ll also transfer your list of invited guests into the new Ancestry Member Tree system.

Here are the known issues:

1. Online Family Tree files with single quote character (‘) in the title can’t transition

If you have a tree name that contains a single quote character (‘), it will not move to the new system correctly. To work around this issue, click on the info icon ( info ) on the My Ancestry page and change your tree name to remove the single quote. Click “Change Name” to save. Then do the “Move to the Ancestry Member Tree system”. In the “Move your Online Family Tree to Ancestry Member Trees” dialog, you can specify the name of the tree in the new system to be the original name with the single quote if you so desire. (01.04.08 update: This issue has been fixed. If you were affected by it, you should be able to migrate now and not experience this error.)

2. Making additional changes to your file during the transition causes the transition to fail

If you modify the tree in Online Family Tree while you are waiting for it to move to the new system, the move will fail. To work around this issue, do not make any changes to the OFT tree while the move is in progress.  (01.23.08 update: This issue has been fixed. If you were affected by it, you should be able to migrate now and not experience this error.)

3. Having lots of people invited to your Online Family Tree file may cause the transition to fail

If there are more than 15 invitees to your tree, the move may fail. To work around this issue, in the dialog “Move your Online Family Tree to Ancestry Member Trees”, un-check the box that says, “Re-invite those I’ve invited to my tree.” Then after the tree has moved to the new system, click on the tree in the new system, click “Manage Tree”, and click on (invite others to see your tree). You can then manually invite people to your new tree. (01.04.08 update: This issue has been fixed. If you were affected by it, you should be able to migrate now and not experience this error.)

4. Some transitioned files have missing connections or people (added 12.26.2007)

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.

So, it is a bug we’re working to address. The bug is that in a minority (appears to be up to 30%) of Online Family Tree GEDCOM exports, the GEDCOM data is not formatted correctly. We did not see this in our testing. We do have a solution in mind, but expect it will take several days to fix and test.

So, if your tree is one that appears to have missing family information, please be patient while we fix this bug. I’ll post to the blog when we have it corrected. You will be able to re-initiate a migration. I recommend that you do not manually delete your Online Family Tree file after transitioning to the new Ancestry Member Tree system. The transition process itself does NOT delete the file. (01.02.08 update: This issue has been fixed. If you were affected by it, your original Online Family Tree file can be migrated again this time without the error)

5. When an Online Family Tree file has notes on a person AND also on a citation for that person, the two notes are combined in the Ancestry Member Tree file in the citation field. (added 01.04.2008)

We’re working on a fix for this, and hope to have it fixed shortly.  (01.23.08 update: This issue has been fixed. If you were affected by it, you should be able to migrate now and not experience this error.)

As more known issues are discovered, I’ll add them to this list.

If you come across errors with your file transitioning, please help us investigate 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.

Please note that we have NO known cases of data being permanently lost in any transition for any customer. If you feel you have lost data, please let me know. We absolutely realize that holding your many years worth of genealogy research in our system is a sacred trust, and are fully committed to preserving your data safely and securely.

64 comments

Comments
1 Robert LeFevreDecember 21, 2007 at 1:14 pm

If you dont know by now , That you are making a terrible mistake . You soon will . When your clients start leaving by the thousands . Are you people crazy ?.
You are committing a crime by taking the data provided by many hard working researchers and using it to your advantage only , While deriving the poor researchers of being able to work thier own files .

2 CDecember 21, 2007 at 10:16 pm

I’m gone already. This is an abomination. Ancestry was warned and they didn’t listen.
Since ancestry has the genealogy monoply, perhaps its time to contact someone to see what our legal rights are.

Ancestry thinks “OK we lose 1,000 but new people will come in who don’t know any better and use our new tree system designed for idiots, and those new people will replace the old users.”

It doesn’t work that way. You lose 1,000, you gain 1,000 but if you hadn’t changed your tree format, you might have gained 2,000 and not lost 1,000.

Stupid idiots.

3 wylerDecember 22, 2007 at 7:38 am

Robert and C, I’m just an ancestry.com subscriber (since 2006 so am not familiar with the older system) and am curious about what was better in the old system and what is deficient in the new one.

I have enjoyed many hours of research with what is evidently the new system but now wonder what I am/was missing.

4 CDecember 22, 2007 at 8:22 am

Go here: http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/12/19/Online-Family-Tree-Announcement

and read the comments, and you will see what the diffence is between the old Online Family Tree and the new Ancestry Member Tree.

The new tree has serious defects and is a simplified entry system for computer deficient people.

People have lost their records, the valuable notes section is not visible to researchers, and the census entries have been deleted. Instead, we the submitter must manually attached a copy of the census to each name, which causes double work.

We must manually re-link all the missing members in the tree to the correct person.

A person has to constantly click to be able to get to the person they are looking for, because the people search engine within the tree does not always work. The family views, descendant views and pedigrees are either eliminated or changed and not for the best.

The new system allows for anyone to merge someone elses tree entries into their own tree, which will provide a boon for the lazy, inexperienced genealogist to merge someone else’s tree into their own. The problem with this is that the records that are being merged are entries that are not always correct, because too many other researchers out there do not confirm their work, and just copy someone else’s work, which is WRONG.

New submitters to ancestry.com won’t know the difference and will accept the new tree system, if they are inexperienced and don’t know better. The experienced genealogist who knows what they are doing will rebel and remove their tree from ancestry. Ancestry.com will lose the experienced researcher, but think how this benefits them! The documented research will be replaced by novices who copy copy copy copy copy and attach attach attach.

This is genealogy?
What a way to go Ancestry! Boost that reputation of yours.

5 wylerDecember 24, 2007 at 5:28 am

Thanks ever so much, C, for your detailed response. It has served to provide an understanding for me [a non-OFT(old-tree-system) user] of the AMT(new-tree-system) features I am using that might be less than robust.

I think you may be onto something with the dangers of the the new member-tree-hints merge system. Even though I’m typically pretty careful, I made one errant click and got a generous dose of data added to my tree that I did not want there until I had done further checking/research. It took me some time to go back and find/fix what got added.

What I am still puzzled by are the source citations created by this new hint system. Maybe I’m missing something but the citations don’t really document much as to the source of the data. At least with the old OneWorldTree hints, it would provide a link so that the OWT entries were visible. I’ll have to check this out further because it really doesn’t tell me where these dates/other data are coming from . . .

Thanks again, C!

6 D. MagrawDecember 24, 2007 at 7:13 pm

I guess I’m stupid. I do not know if I am working in the OFT or the new AMT. How do I find out? Will somesone Please tell me? I only joined this year, so I don’t have as much data to lose – - – but I don’t want to start all over. I am anxious to know if I need to move my data – and if so, where do I begin & what magic button do I click on?
Since March is only 3 months away – hints on how would really be nice.

7 CynthiaDecember 25, 2007 at 4:38 pm

I just recently purchased the 2008 FTM program. I was forced to do this because my 8.0 version wasn’t compatible with IE in Vista. I have to say I don’t like this new version at all. It was a total waste of money and isn’t very user friendly. It doesn’t appear to have as many functions as the older version. This is not a version I would recommend to any of the researchers I connect with.

Dissatisfied

8 CathyDecember 25, 2007 at 6:51 pm

RootsMagic is compatible with Windows Vista. I use in on my laptop that has Vista and everything works find. I just can’t download my gedcom file from Ancestry into Vista. It won’t save as a gedcom file, but instead opens up in a window of its own with all the html language. I have to figure out how to correct that.

9 CDecember 25, 2007 at 6:53 pm

Family Tree Maker is an Ancestry.com product.

All you’re doing is installing a glorified version of their sucky tree into your computer.

10 Billy BarnesDecember 27, 2007 at 8:26 pm

I have spent years researching my family and some I did not know were my family. I will give props to the resources available however the hours and years I have spent doing this – every time I log on – seems like the first time. Everything is gone…all the work…all the hours spent….I will be cancelling my account forever. Sometimes, especially for this price, inefficiency is and always be inadequate. Not that anyone will ever see this; however, think twice before you make the investment unless you want to make a manual family tree….everything you do will just be deleted like you and your family never mattered…

11 Jeff KoppDecember 28, 2007 at 11:20 am

I migrated our family tree over from the “Online Family Tree” at MyFamily.com to “Ancestry Member Trees” only to discover that there was an older version(?) of our OFT that was migrated over instead of the one we had been updating all of this time. The older one wasn’t even listed on our Family Website at MyFamily.com (under “Select an Online Family Tree”), so I’m not sure why it got migrated or how I’m even supposed to know it was there to begin with.

Anyway, once that was cleared up and the correct tree was added to Ancestry.com, I’m now being told by Kenny Freestone that we should continue to update the old one on MyFamily.com until they (MyFamily.com) offers the migration. WTF? This is completely insane. Here’s what Kenny wrote:

“We do not currently offer the migration option via the MyFamily.com
site, and it may be some time before that option appears. When it does,
you’ll have the option to migrate your file again. I would suggest you
continue with the original OFT file on MyFamily.com until that site
offers a migration. The reason is I believe that the MyFamily.com
migration to their 2.0 version will keep you connected to your current
tree, not the new one that appears on Ancestry.com.”

Can you guys make this ANY more confusing or complicated? I think not! I’m going to look into building a family tree wiki instead and just remove our trees from both of these sites. This is just ridiculous.

12 John WheelerDecember 28, 2007 at 1:22 pm

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE NEW SYSTEM — with one exception. There doesn’t seem to be a way to merge person entities (aka ancestors) which appear at more than one point in the tree. Just as there is a scavenger working in the background to deliver hints about available historical records and other trees that align to mine, there needs to be a scavenger going through my tree, pointing out that this Sarah Robinson (my aunt’s sister) is the same woman as the Sarah Robinson who is my uncle’s brother’s wife. The fact that she plugged into my family at two different points needs to be unified.

Other than that, I feel that the online ancestry.com service is one of the most useful and helpful online services that exist today.

13 Joyce B.December 28, 2007 at 2:03 pm

How much did Kenny pay you to post that comment.

14 Nancy SelfDecember 28, 2007 at 7:34 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

15 TammyDecember 30, 2007 at 3:15 pm

I hate the new system, I tried to give it a chance and am seriously dissapointed. Years of research data and notes have been lost in the transefer. Accessing the information is awful, and time consuming. I trusted this site with my precious data and now lost a great deal of it, generations are just wiped out!

16 garyscottcollinsDecember 30, 2007 at 5:18 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/

17 garyscottcollinsDecember 30, 2007 at 10:54 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/

18 KathyDecember 31, 2007 at 12:38 am

OK Mr Freestone, the tree that I edit has an apostrophe in the title. It is not called a singlr quote. It is called an apostrophe. The tree owner was not warned to change the title. The AMT is mangled & the OFT is unuseable. We have both tried & failed to use the OFT. It will not let us in the OFT tree

A notice was put on his tree page to migrate it. No instructions were given to change the title of the tree. How do you plan to fix this, or is this just written off as part of your 30% failure rate?

You did not adequately test the “new & improved” tree & put it up with no regard for what it would do to people’s work.

Ancestry has a near monopoly for genealogy. Happy users tend to be quiet. A 30% failure rate is abismal.

19 Brent MitchellDecember 31, 2007 at 4:16 am

Where are you getting the information from when we merge files? I have notice incorrect information which I then have to edit to correct. Also, duplicate information is shown, which should be merged prior to displaying or asked which information you want to merge. The do not add feature does not always work and should have a check box to click by all information is not included. Finally, all source records are not being included, ie Ontario Vital Stats.

20 sandyJanuary 1, 2008 at 2:53 pm

I am new to the site but was very excited. I put in a lot of information but then found I put in an entry in error. When I did I thought I could just go in and delete that entry. Well, when I deleted that one another one that was tied to people all over also deleted some way. so now I am not sure what to do to correct it. I don’t really want to have to go in and reenter all that information and then have to delete it where it is still sitting there. Got any help out there?

21 Amanda NordinJanuary 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm

You have deleted all the hours and hours I have spent entering data. My entire family was excited about this website. Are you going to put it back or is it lost forever? If so -send my money back.

22 Richard PetersJanuary 1, 2008 at 7:51 pm

Like so many others, I too am very disappointed in this new system. All this work, down the drain.
Why didn’t Ancestry.com ask US SUBSCRIBERS if we wanted to change? Even though I love genealogy, I will be canceling my subscription and find myself a new hobby. I’ve worked too hard on this to start at the beginning again. To much frustration.

23 Sandra PadgettJanuary 2, 2008 at 11:30 am

All of the doccumentation and stories that I have spent years adding to my individuals did not transfer. I am sorry I uploaded my file to your new program. I will not be renewing my membership in March.
Sandra Padgett

24 Sandra PadgettJanuary 2, 2008 at 11:36 am

All of the doccumentation and stories that I have spent years adding to my individuals did not transfer. Didnt anyone test this offering it to us. I can’t even get back into my old files and make additions or corrections. I am sorry I uploaded my file to your new program. I will not be renewing my membership in March.

25 Herb CarterJanuary 2, 2008 at 12:52 pm

I can’t get the “Descendant Chart/ Share/Export PDF” to work. I’ve tried all the options but no luck. I sometimes get one page of 120 sent to my C drive sometimes the page has a big red X across it. It takes a very long time and often crashes before finishing. The document title will only center on the first page not the whole document. I had no troble doing this with V16, I took the V16 PDF to a printer and had the chart printed on one big sheet.
Please fix and add this to the next
patch.
Herb

26 Herb CarterJanuary 2, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Another item which isn’t working in charts is the Divorce line. I’ve entered it in the data and checked all the correct boxes but on the Descendant Chart nothing shows. May be my mistake somewhere but if not please fix and add to the next patch.
Herb

27 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 4, 2008 at 1:14 am

Dear Kenny Freestone (mouthpiece for Ancestry.com),

Users of OFT who have experienced what they have described as catastrophic losses of information when attempting to transfer OFT files to AMT deserve the most immediate response from you—the designated person at ancestry.com responsible for transfers from OFT to AMT.

I petition you to explain their problems now, and in this blog!

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

28 Wanda McDonoughJanuary 5, 2008 at 11:59 am

Each day I see new postings about the negative aspects of the new system, yet I see no responses from you as to intent to correct these issues or return to the older family trees we all loved (even with the flaws). Is Ancestry willing to lose so many patrons who have supported you since the begining?

29 Concerned, ConfusedJanuary 5, 2008 at 12:22 pm

I read this blog and other than a forum for airing grievances find nothing to address the concerns of the average user who has a Public Tree or Personal Member Tree created within last couple of years. Are these trees affected by this merge? Is the information we are submitting in this period not going to “take” in the new system? Have a few of these trees and the “no response to emails” issue I am experiencing re: inability to download gedcom is worrysome. I have tried repeatedly to download a gedcom from a couple of my trees in last week and cannot get a gedcom. Is this going to be resolved?

30 Leonard NolandJanuary 7, 2008 at 6:18 am

Hello concerned/confused.

The Public and Personal Member Trees created on ancestry.com and accessed here:

http://www.ancestry.com/myancestry

and listed under the top heading “My Family Trees” are not being affected by the phase out of the ancestry.com OLD “OFT – Online Family Tree”.

If you have one of those OLD format trees it will be listed under the section “Online Family Tree” in the bottom half of your myancestry page and on the OFT page:

http://www.ancestry.com/oft/
OR
inside one of the MyFamily.com sites hosted on:

http://www.myfamily.com
(Original Site) uses OFT – Online Family Tree
The beta 2.0 myfamily.com site
http://beta.myfamily.com
is using AMT – Ancestry Member Trees

I have checked and I have no issue with downloading the Ancestry Member Trees that I am owner of to GEDCOM. If you are owner of the AMT tree and can’t download it to GEDCOM, then you need to call ancestry.com and submit a technical support request.

31 bobwscottJanuary 8, 2008 at 9:27 am

There are a lot of problems in the concept of this tree.

My biggest criticism is this is a “Do it this way”, not “We let you do it your way.”

1. Ease of use.
My main problem is that it makes everything harder to find. The beauty of the current system is you can see alot of essential someone has posted on a specific family at one glance and know if you want to pursue it. That is lost in this system.

As a researcher with 40 years experience I am sure my needs differ from someone new.

2. Photos
However, when it comes to adding pictures, once most of us get past our great-grandparents, few pictures are available and most of the entires or going to end up with “No picture available.”

The people I want to share pictures with and who care I can email. I find I have very little interest in pictures outside of my immediate line.

3. Narrative.
This is making my life harder. I have a lot of narrative explaining facts in my gedcoms. These get buried in “Research notes.” These are not research notes–they support the data and have now been moved so far away, it’s hard to know if it’s there.

4. Sourced and unsourced.

This is one of the worst decisions I’ve seen. Few people are taking the time to enter sources. I’ve always written this into my narratives. Why do I want to spend my time looking for the citations to put int the way you want them.

5. Too many choices.
This goes to part of the cause making things harder to use. This may run a bit counter to “have it your way”, but the options are not clear as to where they and how “back pages” relate to the “front page” of each tree.

6. OneWorld Tree
While I’m at it, I consider OneWorldTree one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever seen–the idea that you can poll the trees and see which one researchers agree one.

In a world in which everyone was experienced and did their own research, this might work.

But that’s not how the world of ancestry users works. What happens is somebody posts a Gedcom and then a lot of people researcher the same line simply take the material and repost it.

What I have found is that material I sent out in print y ears ago, was entered into a tree by someone and then it gets recycled repeatedly. I can tell by mistakes I made years ago that keeping popping up in other people’s work, things nobody else knows and how far lines are taken.

So, if there is a mistake–my own and those introduced by others, like taking theories and making fact–OneWorldtree is getting its consensus view from a bunch of people making the same mistakes.

32 bobwscottJanuary 8, 2008 at 9:28 am

There are a lot of problems in the concept of this tree.

My biggest criticism is this is a “Do it this way”, not “We let you do it your way.”

1. Ease of use.
My main problem is that it makes everything harder to find. The beauty of the current system is you can see alot of essential information someone has posted on a specific family at one glance and know if you want to pursue it. That is lost in this system.

As a researcher with 40 years experience I am sure my needs differ from someone new.

2. Photos
However, when it comes to adding pictures, once most of us get past our great-grandparents, few pictures are available and most of the entires or going to end up with “No picture available.”

The people I want to share pictures with and who care I can email. I find I have very little interest in pictures outside of my immediate line.

3. Narrative.
This is making my life harder. I have a lot of narrative explaining facts in my gedcoms. These get buried in “Research notes.” These are not research notes–they support the data and have now been moved so far away, it’s hard to know if it’s there.

4. Sourced and unsourced.

This is one of the worst decisions I’ve seen. Few people are taking the time to enter sources. I’ve always written this into my narratives. Why do I want to spend my time looking for the citations to put int the way you want them.

5. Too many choices.
This goes to part of the cause making things harder to use. This may run a bit counter to “have it your way”, but the options are not clear as to where they and how “back pages” relate to the “front page” of each tree.

6. OneWorld Tree
While I’m at it, I consider OneWorldTree one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever seen–the idea that you can poll the trees and see which one researchers agree one.

In a world in which everyone was experienced and did their own research, this might work.

But that’s not how the world of ancestry users works. What happens is somebody posts a Gedcom and then a lot of people researcher the same line simply take the material and repost it.

What I have found is that material I sent out in print y ears ago, was entered into a tree by someone and then it gets recycled repeatedly. I can tell by mistakes I made years ago that keeping popping up in other people’s work, things nobody else knows and how far lines are taken.

So, if there is a mistake–my own and those introduced by others, like taking theories and making fact–OneWorldtree is getting its consensus view from a bunch of people making the same mistakes.

33 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 8, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Re comments 31/32 by bobwscott:

I second all your criticisms of the Ancestry Member Tree system. It’s pretty useless to any serious student of genealogy.

34 Bob ScottJanuary 10, 2008 at 5:38 pm

If there is a way to make my trees appear in the Public Member Tree, I can’t find it.

Files I have uploaded to the new system–and made public–can’t be seen by the public as the names don’t come up any conceivable search.
Files I have transferred from the new system simply disappear.

Then there are the dumb items.

Why would I want to receive emails telling me people have been added to various trees I have submitted?

Added by who? I haven’t invited anybody and anybody I would want to exchange in formation with I wouldn’t let them add. I’d tell them to send me an email so I can choose what to add.

Then the email refers me to content on the Web–which refers me back to things I put on.

Within the trees, I get these suggestions who “Looks like” they might be the person in the tree. So it’s telling me that someone in the 1700s in Scotland–who I only have names on, not dates–looks they match someone born in 1870 and living in California.

35 Linda SwansonJanuary 11, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Problem: I have installed the Platinum family tree maker twice. Each time I go to register I get a message “there is a problem connecting to the registration server” and “authentication with server failed. I have checked my server and found that it works fine with all programs but this one. I’m new to computers. Any suggestions.

36 G. DeesJanuary 12, 2008 at 8:21 am

I am a new user of your ancestry.com on-line program. I am an experienced computer user who still knows what DOS means and am operating with Windows XP Pro. I am new to geneaology research but understand the obvious value in target searches of public records. I first thought you just wanted money and went from the free trial to a paid subscription which made absolutely no difference. After getting totaly frustrated with the user interface on-line I went out and purchased the FTM 2008 program thinking that the main problem was your on-line product. I am now more frustrated than ever and am not even able to export the work I have done in ancestry.com to my desktop program. Instead of being prompted to save the GEDCOM export to my computer it just opens the text file in another explorer window. The program with the latest updates and patches has crashed on me numerous times. If I don’t see major improvements soon and a response about this I will definitely remove my entries and return the program for a refund. You can be sure that everyone living in my tree will know to avoid your product and services also.

37 Angela RingroseJanuary 16, 2008 at 8:23 am

Have tried migrating my ‘Tree’ BUT all that’s happened is that I’ve an empty tree now with a new name.
What’s wrong?
Angela Ringrose (nee Williams)

38 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 16, 2008 at 11:28 am

In response to comment 37…

Angela, It looks like you have 3 files in our OFT system. The file you migrated “AngelaMargaretWilliams” last modified 4/25/06 has zero names in the original OFT file. You have 2 other trees with names in them, and the file “Williams Family Tree” with 532 names looks like your most active file.

Try migrating that file and let me know if you have troubles.

–Kenny

39 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 16, 2008 at 11:35 am

In response to comment 36, We have a help file for downloading a GEDCOM file from the Ancestry Member Tree system: http://ancestry.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/ancestry.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=473&p_created=1013414400&p_sid=Uv4NeWVi&p_accessibility=0&p_redirect=&p_lva=&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPTEmcF9zb3J0X2J5PSZwX2dyaWRzb3J0PSZwX3Jvd19jbnQ9NjcmcF9wcm9kcz0wJnBfY2F0cz0mcF9wdj0mcF9jdj0mcF9zZWFyY2hfdHlwZT1hbnN3ZXJzLnNlYXJjaF9ubCZwX3BhZ2U9MSZwX3NlYXJjaF90ZXh0PWRvd25sb2FkIEdFRENPTQ**&p_li=&p_topview=1

If the “File Download” window does not appear and Windows automatically downloads a text file:

1. Right click on the “download GEDCOM” link.
2. Select “Save Targe As…”
3. A new window will appear asking where you want the file to save on your computer. Please select a place you know you will be able to find the file such as “Desktop.”

–Kenny

40 Kenny FreestoneJanuary 16, 2008 at 11:38 am

In response to comment 34…

It takes a few days usually for the our search index to add files to the public search system–so it may be you just need to wait a bit and try the search again.

–Kenny

41 Michael A. Crane, Jr.January 17, 2008 at 11:17 am

I like the new Ancestry.com tree but it is a simple version that makes it easy to research names on a tree. For me, it is more a research tool than what I considered to be my final tree project. For my final version of my tree I wanted to make one of the old tree styles, the more professional looking ones that are printable, by decadency and other options. I am horrified to learn that those old trees are slated to be removed!!!

As I said, I do like the new Ancestry.com trees… but this was just a starting point, I never meant for this to be my only online tree. I wanted to make a World Connect tree too. They really are better in so many ways.

I think I had better download some gedcoms while I still have a chance! There are some older trees out there that I would hate to see get mangled and all that information lost!!!

MACJR

42 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 19, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Re message 41 by Michael Crane, Jr.:

Dear Michael,

You shouldn’t have a problem making a “professional looking” tree, for example on Rootsweb.com. Almost certainly, you can download a GEDCOM file from your Member Tree file and then upload the GEDCOM to Rootsweb.com (go to http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igmuser.cgi).

Of course any photos and other media will not be attached to your GEDCOM file, but you will get the “professional” look that you want, complete with notes, ancestry graphs
descendancy graphs, and so on.

Best,

Gary Collins

[Kenny Freestone, please correct if I am in error.]

43 Michael A. Crane, Jr.January 20, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Re message 42 Gary Collins

Thanks Gary, I will keep that in mind. I do know about RootsWeb… and that it is owned by the same company that owns Ancestry.com… but there are not too many online genealogy resources that they do not own.

I have been a member of Ancestry.com since 2003 and consider my membership with them to be a Love/Hate relationship. ;)

Now to some of the general topics going on in this thread.

I do not work on my tree full time or I would have a few thousand names by now, rather than just the 600 or so I currently have on my new version Ancestry.com tree. Some of my bloodlines have proven difficult to track backwards; others are already well documented on several old Ancestry.com trees, and at RootsWeb.com. In my searches through the online trees, all of them, new and old, I tend to only add people to my tree permanently if I can verify, as best I can, that they actually existed and are related to my tree. I will sometimes use information found in OneWorldTree… but only as a starting off point, not as an end to a means. If the new individual(s), and their vitals, cannot be verified, I delete them or modify the new data to what can be verified. Also, I am very selective on what I import. To me, OneWorldTree is a useful tool, but like with any power tool, you must be careful how you use it! I also like to look up the source records that OneWorldTree used for its combined data. If you look for it, you can find it.

Yes, the new version of the Ancestry.com could definitely use more work, but I do like it. As I said in my last post, it is a very good tool for finding new individuals and new information on individuals already in your tree, and not just through OneWorldTree. It does offer clues but you do have to be careful about those hints. Many are right, some are not. There is an option to ignore hints you know, or can prove, are wrong. To me, the new Ancestry.com tree is almost as good as Family Tree Maker.

About Family Tree Maker 2008. Ouch, some of you seem to hate it without really even giving it a try… kind of like how I felt about Family Tree Maker 11 (my first try of that program of any version). ;) I hated FTM 11 but I have loved each one since. This new one, FTM 2008, is definitely unfinished and a bit buggy… but the 2008 version improvements are worth putting up with those few bugs and unfinished aspects of the program… at least to me… but please, I hope they let me have more control and edit/delete power with the custom fields in the next update!!!

Anyway, just a few thoughts about what I had read on this thread. I do believe that Ancestry.com could be more user friendly, and have more reasonable prices, but I do like their services. Without them, I would not be where I am now in my genealogy research.

Thanks for listening and best regards to those who care.

Michael A. Crane, Jr.

44 Bob ScottJanuary 20, 2008 at 8:53 pm

I had just started to put trees up on Ancestry World Tree in the last year. I had been slow to get to Gedcoms because I compiled lots of info in word processing documents and it was simply a lot of work to put them in.

But I decided I would gradually put them together and share them, although it took a lot of hours of my time. I probably have data on over 100 families, a lot of whom I am not descended from, but tracked because they were in the same area and were just interesting to me.

I have now removed about 15 or so trees from both Ancestry Wolrd Treee, and new ones that went up on Public Member Trees and ones I have transfered. I have left two up just to test what kind of reaction I get–and they have relatively rare trees.

But I will not put any more up until there’s a system that doesn’t wipe out all my work.

PS. Don’t fall into habit of entering things online. It’s a great way to have your data somewhere else–and not on your own computer.

And to the person complaining about professionals–I don’t get paid for this. I posted things to help people and if they aren’t documented–citing OneWorldTree as a source is absolutely bogus–why would I want to share something I can’t prove?

45 JessJanuary 20, 2008 at 11:56 pm

I am somewhat dismayed to find that just about everyone is unhappy with the new product. I like it, except for the slow loading and the difficulty of sharing my sources for verification. I didn’t even realize that notes don’t show up, and was just putting some of my notes into “comments.” I mark hints that are obviously wrong with the optoin to “ignore.” And leave the other hints in for future pondering, or place them in my clipboard. There is definitely something odd going on with trees that don’t connect…it sometimes looks like I have duplicated records or trees that exist side by side. Don’t know how else to phrase it. I emailed tech support, but never got an answer. Guess they are feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. I think that I will try to stay positive.

46 Bob ScottJanuary 21, 2008 at 10:57 am

I just looked at the historical records this system matched against one of the two of families trees I didn’t delete from this system. (I deleted about 18)

It gives me page after page of possible matches for Schmuele Meyer Mendelevitch, most of which are U.S. census records and quite a few immigration records. The problem is that my tree says he died in 1902 in Snov, Russia. Shouldn’t the system be able to exclude people who couldn’t possible have been alive at the time of the purported match.

Then his wife, Shane Fegei Levine is matched against all sorts of Levines. The problem there, of course, is she never appeared in this country under the name Levine, and married about 1885. And I have a death date on her. Again, shouldn’t the computer be able to exclude people who were still alive after she died?

How does this kind of approach help anybody?

47 Gary S. CollinsJanuary 22, 2008 at 1:23 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.

48 Dale ChamberlainJanuary 23, 2008 at 6:08 pm

So I was one of the early ones who migrated my files to the FTM2008 format. I did not have or notice many of the problems indicated here in migration. However, it wasn’t until after the service pack that included the genealogy reports that I noticed the problem with the apostrophe in the text being clobbered by some other graphical character. This was apparently caused by the migration. Unfortunately, I’ve made several changes to my database before noticing the problem.

So my question is this: will there be a way to fix the migration problems in the new database without having to go back to the old database and doing a migration again (thus losing the changes I’ve made)???

Dale

49 Oliver SimmonsJanuary 27, 2008 at 8:05 pm

I just transported my family tree to the new online family tree and noticed that all the comments and family stories did not transition over. I had no back up on many of these stories and years of research could be lost

50 Warren CushingJanuary 28, 2008 at 10:52 am

#49 Oliver Simmons

Not to worry. Your notes are still there, just hidden away. This is a common complaint about the new Ancestry Member Trees.

First, click on a person you know who has Notes. Then look for the TOOLS menu on the right hand side. Then click again on the Research Notes, your original notes will be displayed.

Very tedious and cumbersome, I know, but Ancestry is currently working on resolving that issue sometime soon.

51 D.A.February 2, 2008 at 7:23 pm

I wish I could view anything on the weekends on Ancestry…I am constantly getting error messages…and the only customer service says is delete internet file, defrag…like I couln’t know this…anyone else having this problem…it’s just getting worse..only on weekends.

52 Mac McDonaldMarch 7, 2008 at 7:55 pm

A couple of days ago, all of my search results started appearing in a new fancy looking kind of gold box. It really looks nice, and for the most part it works well. There is however, no blank search again form at the bottom of the page as there was before. Because of this, searches are far more time consuming as one must go clear back out and work your way back to a blank search form. At the same time as the new look started, once you get to lets say a actual census image and you want to hit the back button, it locks everything up causing one to need to control, alt, delete and start all over again.

Thanks, Mac

53 Celia BolfMarch 13, 2008 at 9:10 am

I just tried to move my Family Tree to, per instructions, from OFT to AMT. I LOST IT! It is gone. No Names in the tree!!!!
This is the second time you have lost my Family Tree and I had to start over. The last one was over a year ago.
I trusted you. I cannot get into my remaining Trees to print my data from the OFT.
Sometimes new is not good.
I have been with Ancestry since the late 90′s and have gotten some good contacts with relatives. Thank you for that. But I do not trust you anymore. If I get my data back, I may stay with you. I have stayed through all of the other changes through the years. I still have two more family line Trees to move and I am afraid to move them for fear of losing them. Although they are already lost to me because I cannot access them.
I want my data back.
Celia

54 julieMarch 15, 2008 at 3:05 pm

when i upgraded, the program changed the spellings of a couple of names (Alfredo Pena, II to Alfredo Pena, II Pe; Jan Pena to Jan Pena, Pe). It will not allow me to correct this, though i can easily correct other errors in names. please tell me how to fix this, as it is obviously unsatisfactory!

55 SueMarch 15, 2008 at 4:54 pm

I transferred all my trees over to the new “Ancestry Member Trees” system in December. Since that time, I have been adding quite a few updates onto my “new and transferred” trees. Much to my horror, the new information is not to be found on any of the public trees. In fact, I can find no “Ancestry Member Trees” listed at all when I search for someone in my tree. My old trees are listed, but not the new ones. What is happening? I can certainly access my “transfered to Ancestry Member Tree system” trees to add new data if I go via the “My Ancestry” route. But if I just do a search as though I am a visitor, my new trees do not show up and I have indicated that they are to be available for viewing by the public. Am I doing something wrong or is there a temporary glitch with Ancestry and, if so, when will it be rectified?

I would appreciate your taking the time to answer this query. Thank you.

56 Gary S. CollinsApril 9, 2008 at 12:04 am

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

57 Gary S. CollinsApril 10, 2008 at 11:25 pm

Sorry, my message #56 was probably not on target for this blog. Please disregard.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

58 Kay ResetarMay 17, 2008 at 11:09 am

I have a connection problem. I was told by ancestry that my problem is with Norton. I chatted with Norton and the fix did not work. So ancestry knows there is a problem with Norton, why can’t they fix it on their end? I may not extend my ancestry account because of all the problems and each provider blaming the other with no solution.

59 Georgia S ReavisJune 19, 2008 at 8:51 am

I can not add (or merge) the person’s parents, spouse(s), and children into my family tree.

60 Cynthia MooreJuly 22, 2008 at 3:06 am

I transitioned my tree and seem to have lost all of my entries in the notes section. Where did they go? I spent years entering them.

61 Gary S. CollinsJuly 27, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Comment on message #60:

Dear Cynthia,

This is a longstanding problem with Ancestry Member Trees (AMT) that, to my knowledge, has not yet been solved. I believe that the notes still are only visible to the author of the tree, which makes them pretty useless to anybody else. Also, a subscription fee is necessary to access other AMT’s unless you have a personal invitation from the tree’s author. The whole system is, in my opinion, really lame when compared with using Online Family Tree (OFT) to build an ancestry file and using OFT or Rootsweb or Worldconnect to host a public GEDCOM file.

You should read about these and other issues discussed extensively in the 3-4 blogs associated with OFT and AMT.

Best regards and good luck,

Gary S. Collins

62 akathymclOctober 1, 2008 at 9:18 am

The past two weeks I have been happily and diligently building my personal (for now) Ancestry Member Family Tree from my own GEDitCOM Tree which lives on my HD. (Before that, I’d used Ancestry mostly for research) . Even only part-way through the Tree-building process, your Hints & Merges expanded my lines and I already have 1052 indiv. in the AMFT. A good start. This morning I noticed your info about transferring to the new OFT. I transferred, carefully following your directions. When it was “completed” I took a look at the OFT version: 17 individuals!!!! Only 17!!!. You lost 1035 of my people. And their records, notes, etc.!! Thank goodness I hadn’t deleted the AMT!
I have seen how the quantity and quality of your site has improved enormously over the years I’ve been a member. But ….. WHAT HAPPENED????????? I read your blogs. This glitch just AINT fixed yet, folks. I’m going back to working on my ‘old’ AMFT til you get this migration problem fixed for real. Good Luck. – Kathy

63 Gary CollinsDecember 16, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Comment on Kathy’s note #62:

Dear Kathy,

Your message is a little confusing or confused. It seems as though you initially transferred your GEDCOM to the Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) system during the two weeks before your message.

But your reference to later transferring your AMT file to “OFT” makes no sense at all. I don’t think Ancestry.com offers any possibility to do so because they have been actively discouraging users from using Online Family Tree (OFT).

I don’t know for sure what your problem is, but possibly you are talking about making your “private” AMT tree a “public” AMT file. Others have had a problem like yours, in which only a few individuals appeared in their public file.

This has nothing to do with the Online Family Tree (OFT) system. I believe that your reference to OFT is completely mistaken. OFT is a fine system that is integrated and compatible with worldconnect and rootsweb.

Sincerely,

Gary Collins

64 David BooneFebruary 4, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I’ve been trying to upload gedcom’s I’ve had on the site for awhile so I can download them. I lost most of my files in a computer switch. When I try to do this, I get a “sorry for the inconvenience” message. Is this a software problem or my problem? Losing them is devastating after 15 years.

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