Posted by Kenny Freestone on December 26, 2007 in Website

I’ve just returned to the office after a very nice holiday break, and found there are some additional outstanding questions and concerns about our OFT announcement.

I’ve posted your questions and concerns (sometimes paraphrased) in bold below, with my answer or thoughts below it.

Which system am I using? Do I need to do anything?

A previous post will help clarify which system you are using. (Click to see this post.) If you’ve started a tree on Ancestry in the last 18 months, odds are that it is in the new system, and you don’t need to migrate.

My transferred trees have multiple missing connections

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.

What about the notes I have in my Online Family Tree file?

I believe there are two chief concerns with imported notes:

  • The notes section is still there, but you have to “click several times to find the notes box”
  • Notes are visible only to the “owner” or to designated “editors” of the file

So, yes, the notes are still there. They are in the “research notes” section after you click the “edit person” button.

It is pretty clear those of you who have used OFT extensively use notes differently than is common in Ancestry Member Trees, where this type of information is often kept as stories or comments.

We originally implemented notes as “private”, because we didn’t have time to create a more flexible system, and knowing that some notes are very personal, we choose to default all notes to “private.” It is clear from your comments that a choice in this would be very much appreciated.

Perhaps on a GEDCOM or OFT file import, we could offer a choice to make notes private or public.

It also is clear that you would like the notes to be much more visible. One solution might be to have all public notes appear in the “stories” section, rather than the existing “research notes” section.

We’re very open to your feedback on this topic, and look forward to making this work better for you.

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

Your family tree in the Ancestry Member Tree system is FREE for you and all your invited guests. (Others who want to search your tree must have a paid subscription in order to do so.)

Some related features, such as viewing and attaching historical records to your tree, require a paid subscription. But you are free to ignore all paid features on the site.

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

No, not yet, or perhaps not at all. We consider this option all the time and have mixed thoughts and feelings as to what to do with OneWorldTree. For many, many customers, it is a wonderful resource. For some, it is an “infected dinosaur”. Our hope is to improve it in a way that those who value it can continue getting that value in a way that everyone can be content with.

Has lost all common sense? If this was a contest to see who could upset the most customers in the shortest space of time, Ancestry would surely have won it by a mile.

We totally get it that many of you are bitterly disappointed with this announcement. At the same time we are very, very grateful for those who give feedback, help us track down bugs, offer suggestions for improvement, etc. and who are willing to work with us to make the new system work well for everyone.

We have 3 months to make this work. If it is not going to work for the vast majority of users, we can extend that time. We can be flexible. But we do need to move towards turning off the OFT system. It is old, and we are not willing to maintain two systems. We’re putting all our available efforts into the Ancestry Member Trees system, and will make it the best we can for you.

Before making this announcement we surveyed about seven thousand highly active users of the Online Family Tree system, and about 25% of those surveyed replied.


survey results

We learned that this transition would be a challenge for many users, and have done all we can to make it simple and user-controlled (rather than, say, force an automatic migration). We also learned that about 4% would berate us for this decision. We want to do all we can to win this group over, and recognize that doing so will take time, good communication, and cooperation from all of us.

What about Ancestry World Tree and World Connect?

I also hear a major frustration that is more about using Ancestry World Tree, rather than just the Online Family Tree system.

Online Family Tree has acted as a shortcut to submitting files to Ancestry World Tree.

(Ancestry World Tree is a free database of GEDCOM files submitted either from the Online Family Tree system, or from the Rootsweb World Connect system. Ancestry World Tree and World Connect are in fact the same database. On the website, the database is referred to as “Ancestry World Tree”. On the website, the database is called “World Connect”)

Family tree files submitted or created using the Ancestry Member Tree system are not shared with the Rootsweb World Connect project. Today we have no plans to automate this process, or create a shortcut option.

To submit your file to the Ancestry World Tree database, please visit our sister site and submit your file to the World Connect system.

If you have comments, genealogy questions or concerns about any of this, I encourage you to post those to the blog, or please feel free to email me directly if you like: kfreestone at



  1. Amanda

    I have recently started doing genealogy thanks, in part to the new features on making it a bit easier for me to get research done.

    As a result I’ve been wondering if I can purchase FTM 2008 Deluxe and use it with my World Deluxe subscription I already have online.

    Does FTM 2008 come with World Deluxe subscription (which I need to get access to any possibly records older than my ggrandpa) or is it just the standard US Deluxe subscription like FTM v16?

    If I might make a suggestion, that should be explained somewhere for people just getting started like me or upgrading from older FTM versions.


  2. 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…this is a rip-off…..

  3. Jim

    Your statistics mean nothing. You claim that 25% of your subscribers responded to the survey. I attempted to respond to the survey; I completed it in full, and when I hit submit, the survey hung up and would not “send” and eventually my screen froze. I was forced to click the little X in the upper right hand corner and the survey disappeared, never to appear again. I imagine this happened to many of your subscribers who tried to respond to your survey. I have cable broadband, so connection is not an issue.

    You anticipated in advance that 4% of your members would be bitter about the change. Are you sure that figure is correct? According to the amount of people that I have spoken to, there is not one person who is happy with the new tree system. Most are planning to withdraw their information, and just use your site for research. These people are members of the “quiet crowd,” those whom you would never hear from, they just react.

    Ancestry is shoving this flawed, defective piece of garbage down members’ throats by using an excuse that just doesn’t cut it. “The old tree is old.” That is the biggest piece of bullhocky I think I have ever read.

    Your attempts to appease the thousands of unhappy people by encouraging them to submit their questions or concerns to your blog, or by your mealy-mouthed, tongue-in-cheek promises to “try” to correct or “try” to add relevant features that were in the original tree system but are missing in the new tree, are weak and do not carry water. All you are doing is stroking your unhappy customers.

    I did not see anything in your response about reinstating the lost descendancy views, the limited ability or non-existent ability to print out information, the ability to download gedcom files from the trees. You might reinstate the Notes section but give people an option to make the notes private or public? What kind of crap answer is that? The original tree system didn’t give anyone a privacy option and anyone who had a brain knew that if you type information the notes section, that information is seen by everyone.

    And your decision not to eliminate the One World Tree is more crap. I have written several times to Ancestry asking them to remove all information that was in my tree, because some of that information is 7 years old and is WRONG. I never received a response, and my wrong information is still floating in the One World Tree for someone else to pick up and use in their tree, not know the information they are using is WRONG!! I have seen my family members matched up with people from unknown families. My dead grandmother is matched to a stranger, someone I never knew, in the One World Tree. What kind of BS is that, — and you won’t remove that infected dinosaur. Well… when they said “brains”, you thought they said “trains” and you said “I don’t want very many.”

    All you seem to be concerned with is merging information from one person’s tree to another person’s tree. WE DON’T WANT THAT. I do not want to merge information from some one else’s tree into mine – I don’t know if that information is correct, confirmed, documented; if that person in Joe Blow’s tree is an actual ancestor of Joe Hoohay in my tree. I don’t even want the option to merge the information. My inexperienced sister-in-law started a tree in your new tree system, and within days she had her family going back to Viking days and had included every French, English, German and Scottish royal king and queen in her tree. When I saw what she had done I asked her where she got her information, and of course I was LMAO when I asked her. She said she received all her information by the hints. I looked at her in shocked disbelief and then I rolled on the floor holding my sides in laughter.

    This is what is encouraging?

    Your new tree system is directed towards the deficient genealogist; towards those who are looking to take the easiest way out to build a family tree. is encouraging inferior genealogy research and I think it is time to direct this information towards the media, who will be more than happy to pick up the story and run with it.

    So, Mr. Freestone, put that pit in your pipe and smoke it.

  4. Nancy Self

    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 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

    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 over to Rootsweb so that their tree is again 100% public.

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


    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? 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,


    cc: ancestry blog

  5. Margaret Jones

    Just visited the site after a short time off and saw the notes about moving my trees and decided to move one of them. What a disaster, cannot tell you how upset and disgusted I am. There are large chunks of information missing, some family lines are missing 200 years of information. Also, for some reason I cannot understand, one family line now shows their births and deaths as Northumberland instead of the correct place names [mostly Yorkshire]. No idea how I can correct this, even if I had the will to do it. I’ve checked the original tree in case I’d made some errors, but no, the errors are all on your part.

    I’m absolutely heartbroken to think I’ve got to basically start again and to think that I’ve only just renewed my subscription.

  6. Annie


    May I have your attention please?!

    When you are finishing celebrating the New Year, please turn towards the “new and improved” ancestry member tree and either fix it or get it off the pot.

    Another bug found: When attempting to enter a last name that is different from the father’s last name, the program kicks up an error message and will not allow you to save the name with the changes. Not all people keep the last name of their father, or spell it the same way. Some people maintain hypenated last names.

    Complaint after complaint regarding the slowdown of the Ancestry website, the inability to load pages, transfer files and the community message boards are a MESS!

    When trying to post a message on any of the community boards, an error message comes up and nothing is posted. Try to post again, and it’s the same thing. Go into the message board the next day, and there, before your eyes, are all the posting attempts that were made the day before. Multiple postings of the same post.

    WHATS WITH THIS!? We are paying premium prices for garbage?

    ANOTHER QUESTION: Many people have removed their family trees from the website in order to avoid the forced transfer of their trees over to the new trees. These same people are uploading their trees to the Rootsweb website. After transfering their trees to Rootsweb, if you perform a name search, these same trees are again showing up on the site. Will Ancestry be shutting these trees down and they will just sit stagnant on their website, will Ancestry remove these Rootsweb tress, or will they force transfer these trees to the “new and improved” AMT?


    If there is a forced transfer, I’ll guarantee you there will be a mass exodus of family researchers that may be detrimental to the healthy and lifeblood of


    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, 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 Like 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.


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


    I have been privately asked for more detailed information by as to how to download your GEDCOM file from Online Family Tree. This was by someone who believes he and his wife lost a large amount of data in their ancestry file when they had it ‘moved’ from OFT to AMT. As previously written, I recommend that users with concerns download their ancestral information from OFT in GEDCOM format. Their GEDCOM file will contain all the information that was in their ancestry file, including information about living individuals.

    If I recall correctly, the main OFT web page at used to include detailed information as to how to download your OFT file. Possibly, removed the information in order to “encourage” owners of OFT files (as in a ‘cattle chute’) to ‘move’ them to AMT, with all the problems that we have seen.

    Here are detailed step-by-step instructions showing how to download your OFT file in GEDCOM format (which retains ALL the information that was in the file, including information about ‘living’ individuals that does not show up to public viewers) to your personal computer. These instructions work for Windows/Intel machines using Firefox, IE and Netscape browsers; I don’t know about Mac’s. I guess I must issue a disclaimer that you may use all the above and following information only at your own risk.

    1. Go to the main OFT link at

    2. You may have to login to your account if a cookie is not found and recognized automatically by the web site.

    3. Once logged in, you should see a list headed by “Select an Online Family Tree”, maybe with only one line if you work on only one tree file On the left hand side is the filename link (in blue). On the right hand side are several icons. There should be an icon in the middle that looks like a dog-eared, printed page. If you float your cursor over the icon, you should see the message “download”, which serves to identify the icon. Click once on the printed page icon. Then, a new, small browser window will open up, which on my computer is in the lower right part of the screen. The small window might be hidden by other windows. The window has a light blue background and a message something like “Preparing your ancestry file for download; please wait”.

    4. Wait until the little browser window closes on its own. What is happening before it closes is that the OFT server is rebuilding a complete GEDCOM file for you from a database in which the data has been stored. I have a 5 MB file, and it may take 3-10 minutes for the window to close automatically–signaling completion of preparation of the GEDCOM file by the server for download.

    5. Now, the “printed page” icon should change shape, with the bottom third now looking like a black arrow pointing download. Click once on the “printed page+arrow” icon. Either of two things will happen:

    (a) Usually, a window opens asking if you wish to open or save the file to be downloaded. Click “save”, choose a location on your hard disk (if it is not chosen automatically), and then wait for the file to download. For my 5 MB file with a fast connection, this typically takes about 1-2 minutes. If you have a slow connection (58 kbaud), this might take up to 10 minutes (as a guess), so be patient.

    (b) Sometimes, information downloaded appears in a “Notepad” or “Wordpad” window as ASCII text. In that case, go to the “File” menu and click on “Save As”, then give a memorable location and filename such as “myancestryfile.ged”.

    6. This is your GEDCOM file. It can frequently, but not always, be opened in a genealogy program on your PC for further work and examination of contents without any problem. The GEDCOM from OFT is in a slightly old format, 4.0, which sometimes is not recognized by genealogy programs. If your genealogy program cannot read the file, it may be due to the old format. A free (and outstanding) program that I use to check my own GEDCOM’s is Geneweb (available at It works fine with GEDCOM 4.0 files downloaded from OFT and, if I recall, can also be used to convert them to a more up-to-date standard such as GEDCOM 5.5. Store and backup your GEDCOM file! It’s the output of your hard work!

    What next? You have several options:

    1. You may upload your GEDCOM as a public GEDCOM file on by going to (You can get additional information about uploading at the Rootsweb site.) If you upload the file to Rootsweb, it will be accessible to the public in essentially the same way as your public OFT file has been. Go for this if you want a public file like the one you had!

    2. You may upload it to many other genealogical sites, but you will have to research for yourself what the pros/cons are for posting. Pay attention to who controls and can disseminate, the information in your file.

    3. You may upload it to Ancestry Member Trees, but I would recommend against that because none (zip, zero, nada) of your notes will be accessible if you make your file public. However, it is good if all you want is a scrapbook with a slick graphical interface and, maybe, photos and stories about some of your relations.

    4. You may publish a GEDCOM file, photos, stories, with many variations, to your own web site using various web tools. It is not possible for me to survey the tools available, but I find that these sites are sometimes difficult to use because of the variability in organization of information. For me, the very best organization is as found in OFT or files.

    5. I’m sure that there are other options I have missed. Let me and others know.

    Hope that helps.

  9. 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 customers (as well as central management personnel at 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 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”.
    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’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:

  10. I think this whole new ideal sux’s ,it has runied a lot of people hard work and time .You came up with this tree,Do me a favor sit down do yours works about ten years on it amost night and day, then upload your to the new tree,cross your finers and pray,kiss all your hard work goodbye. I keep hearing only 30% is wrong ,30% of what number 30 million, 25 million ,15 million 10 millon are could the 30%be of 300 million either way that’s a lot of mistakes,for a tree that was working fine until someone like Ford had an better ideal.Thiers hasn’t work and neither will your. The tree’s as they are now,are nothing but trash.Junk would be a much better word.I join if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I was going to pay and join but not now not even if you dropped the price to a dollar it not worth it.

  11. Leslie

    It is 11:48 PM CST on December 31, 2007.

    All the family trees at RootsWeb and all the Ancestry World Trees at no longer exist.

    A message comes up, “Database no longer exists or is being configured.”

    I do not want to overreact, or jump to conclusions, but dear Lord, please don’t tell me those trees have all been deleted.

  12. Leslie

    I am sorry, I stand corrected. The message for the “old” original online tree system reads “Database doesn’t exist or has not been configured.”

    That tells me the trees are gone.

    However, the new Ancestry Member Trees work.

  13. Rob

    This is responding to Post no. 3 (Jim):
    Many royal and noble peers have children who were not always remains as peers amd eventually married commoners and have their descendants married into the common population rather than married into the royal/noble peerage and continued the lineage. You would be surprised that many royal and noble peers often have many, many illegitimate children who, most of them, did not actually lay any claim to peerage title or inheritance, married into the common population, have children and descendants remaining as commoners through intermarriage with other families, both of lower-ranking peerage and common levels. However, not all genealogical records focused solely on the common descendants descending from the royal/noble peerage over the centuries, instead only focusing on the privileged children waiting on peerage inheritance over the times.

    There are a lot of hidden genealogical sources out in the Web that the does not know yet. Though, I’ve founded few very good genealogical sources so far and the information is quite a gold mine.

    Big problem is that there is a lack of records TRACING most, if not all, the commoners (both legitimate and illegitimate children) descending from the royal/noble peers of England, Europe, Russia and other places. So we have very little way of knowing which of our ancestors who married to somebodies descending from the peers.

    One last thing, have been more considerate of other people’s concerns, like yours or Nancy Self, but you must bear in mind that have retained some repositories of information coming from some past genealogists who have ulterior motives to conceal or fabricate family lineages for reasons only known to them. OR have some repositories of family trees that does not have all the actual records thoroughly researched in the past century or before.

  14. Dave


    I think you misunderstood Jim’s post. Jim’s post was referring to someone who has no experience in genealogy, has not performed any research on the family, and then blindly accepts the Ancestry hints as gospel evidence of family history.

    I think we all know that royal families had many children born on the wrong side of the blanket. Many families who were not royal had children that were illegitimate. I have many of those in my family and some of those truths were buried deep. That subject is irrelevant to the dangers of accepting Ancestry tree hints as true and confirmed.

    This is not an argument about who was born on the right side of the blanket, what information Ancestry has in their repository(ies) or if that information is accurate or fabricated.

    This is an argument about the new Ancestry Member Tree, its shortcomings, the bugs contained within, the missing elements, and the general overall unhappiness of the majority of submitters to this new tree system.

    The argument also lies with the fact that trees are being withdrawn from’s database on a past-paced basis and the information is not being resubmitted under the new member tree. You may form a question in your mind as to how this is verified; experience and name searches. I’ve been working on my family for a few years, and flip-flop back and forth within my family. I’ll work on one line and switch to another a week or two later. During my period of working on one branch, I’ll search out other trees and print their information for viewing later. I have performed this procedure with countless names. After printing of tree information, I usually follow up on it within two to four months. With the printed documents in front of me, and because I am home on vacation these last two (2) weeks, I again searched out some of those same names to check for additions or changes. The trees are gone. All the trees associated with one particular name especially were gone. I have hard documentation in front of me that showed there were four (4) tees posted online for one particular ancestor, and she is wiped from Ancestry’s system as if she had never been there. Other names are also gone; other trees gone and they have not been uploaded to the new tree system because I looked. This has happened only within the last few months. There are, most likely, a myriad of reasons why all these trees have been withdrawn, but, considering the rate at which these trees are disappearing — I am going to point my finger at the new Ancestry Member Tree because the exodus and complaints are just too coincidental.

    I will also agree with others who post that most unhappy subscribers will not complain by post or in writing about the new tree system. Most of these people are passive, and prefer to sit back on the sidelines to work quietly on their own. These same people are the ones who, without notice, delete their trees from and work on their genealogy programs at home. is misguided in thinking that they can offer the public what they consider a modern, high tech, gimmicky-gadgety genealogy program to their paying subscribers. Some people will eat those gimmicks right up, but there are others who don’t need the gimmicks. All they need is a place to put in their information, with notes.

    In revising their tree program, Ancestry intends to recover programmer costs by eliminating the FREE viewing public and switch to a PAY-ONLY system. My suspicions are that this will backfire. We are on a quick-slide into a recession, and the real estate/mortgage crisis along with constantly rising energy costs and taxes, are preventing people from paying for luxury items such as cable TV, broadband internet, and subscriptions. Middle-income people are putting the monthly cable bill money into their gas tanks. will contribute to this crunch by forcing researchers to pay for their formerly free family tree searches. Ancestry tries to get around this fact with a concession loaded with double-talk:
    “Will this continue to be a free feature? Or will everyone have to have a paid membership to use this?
    Your family tree in the Ancestry Member Tree system is FREE for you and all your invited guests. (Others who want to search your tree must have a paid subscription in order to do so.)
    Some related features, such as viewing and attaching historical records to your tree, require a paid subscription. But you are free to ignore all paid features on the site.”
    What Mr. Freestone is telling us is that no one will be able to see any Tree unless they pay for it — period. Invited guests may be few and far between, because not everyone will let an unknown party view their tree. This is common sense. Some people will share everything, but there are those who will not share.

    I will never submit my information to the new Ancestry Member Tree.

  15. Rob

    Thank you, Dave, I clearly understood the issue, I was only responding to the last small part of Jim’s post (the one about royal ancestors, etc.), not his whole post and just had to breeze through the entire comment section to get the gist of the whole issue with over the controversy with the new AMT system.

    My actual point, among other things, was about the lack of documented records on the children and common descendants of the royal/noble peers, other than children who did inherited royal titles and passed them onto the next generations. For example, King Father have 5 children, one is a prince who is expected to become a king after King Father’s death, two other siblings might marry a royal or noble person of some notes and the other two siblings might end up marry commoners but not retain any royal/noble title. When all 4 siblings have children and grandchildren, most end up as distancing away from the royal/noble status. That’s why documented records only focused on royal/noble descendants, not their relatives and their common descendants. Hence the problem of finding which common descendants come from which royal/noble ancestors over the centuries.

    Records lost forever or burned/destroyed or somebody were not doing their jobs at conducting head-counts and identifying who related to who of everyone who have lived and died in a country and compiling the data for future references?

    I’ll be sure to watch the issue on the new AMT system regarding certain information and improvements. Methinks there’s an ulterior motive behind’s recent moves and improvements, probably responding to the DNA-gathering compliance and privacy laws of late, especially with’s new partnership with Sorenson Genomics. The latter have a foundation dedicated to creating the world’s most comprehensive correlated genetic and genealogical database. All based on DNA samples sent in or will send in by members of I’m just speculating.

  16. Mary Beth Marchant

    I would strongly suggest that anyone who posts a family tree do so through World Connect but keep your on files on your own genealogy program just in case that too is dumped. I really thought that was the case last night when nothing was available.

    As we have all seen, Ancestry is after lots of quantity and hang the quality. As others have suggested here, large numbers of inexperienced people love to just merge everything that even looks like it connects which results in so much junk.

  17. rc

    NOTES: I transferred one of my trees to the new setup, but don’t see NOTES. NOTES have all my info as to each individual and I want that info public. What is
    status of idea that NOTES be
    ONEWORLDTREE: I like this feature. So it ain’t perfect. It’s a research tool and starting point.

  18. After reading the never ending list of complaints I am very glad I was never willing to do an online family tree. I have enough trouble understanding why I am charged for 2 separate ancestry accounts.

  19. May I ask what seems to be dumb questions? I need to know the right answers.

    1) Where are the “Online Family Tree” files on the Ancestry system?

    2) Are they searchable by any subscriber? If not, why not?

    3) Why don’t they show up when I search for ‘Family Trees’ on the main Ancestry search page?

    I’ve accessed Ancestry for several years, but until the recent posts, I had not heard of “Online Family Trees.” I had heard of “Ancestry World Trees” and “Ancestry Member Trees” but not “Online Family Trees” and I’d like to think that I’ve been paying attention.

    The value of any submitted family tree to me, as a genealogy researcher, is in the genealogy reports that can be generated by the system, including notes and sources. By reviewing these items, I make a judgment about the veracity and value of the information. I love the WorldConnect/Ancestry World Tree presentation format. I intensely dislike the complex, inflexible and unusable “Ancestry Member Tree” format. There are too many clicks required to see very little information. You’ve made it very difficult for me to use effectively or judge the quality of the information.

    My 2 cents – Randy Seaver (please visit my blog at for daily genealogy news and analysis)

  20. Leonard Noland

    Randy, as an user here are my answers to your questions. I hope this helps.

    1) Where are the “Online Family Tree” files on the Ancestry system?

    The primary location for me is/was the website

    2) Are they searchable by any subscriber? If not, why not?

    NO. They are COMPLETELY private trees, UNLESS the user who is uploading the tree chooses to submit the tree to Ancestry World Tree. If they click that check box while uploading then the non living people would be indexed and searchable. After the tree is uploaded it can be edited online individual by individual much like the Ancestry Member Tree but without photos, stories, audio, video, etc.

    3) Why don’t they show up when I search for ‘Family Trees’ on the main Ancestry search page?

    If the user clicked the box to submit to AWT then they will be under the Ancestry World Tree category of the search results.

  21. Online Family Tree (OFT) is (or has been to date) an outstanding resource from 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 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 is sabotaging new entries. (Kenny Freestone, can you confirm or deny such sabotage, in your role as mouthpiece for 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 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 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

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

    Gary Collins

    (01.07.08 note from Kenny: Hi Gary, we are not sabotaging new (or any) entries. We haven’t changed the upload system, so perhaps this is an isolated bug? If you continue to see problems please send me an email (kfreestone at and we’ll investigate.

    We hope to continue improving the Ancestry Member Tree system to the point where everyone will be happy with it. –Kenny)

  22. Yikes! This ALL sounds so darn confusing.

    I haven’t made the change yet, am afraid to, after reading so many negative statements from other members.

  23. Leonard Noland

    Gary. does NOT charge someone to build and maintain their tree in the Ancestry Member Tree system.

    The FAQ’s, answered this question:

    Does an Ancestry Member Tree cost money?

    Your family tree in the Ancestry Member Tree system is FREE for you and all your invited guests.

    Gary, invited guests are FREE users, and they can be assigned security in the tree as Guest, Contributor, or Editor. Editors have full rights in the tree but cannot download the gedcom.

    Of course the AMT’s need some enhancements, so can you please be more positive, and submit your enhancement requests for what you would like to see added/improved. I have done that and I am confident that the reports and notes issues will be resolved to bring that part of the system in line of the OLD OFT system.


  24. Daisy

    Leonard, get your head out of that dark place and read all these comments again. I also suggest you read Kenny Freestone’s comment again.

    The trees are NOT public.

    While Ancestry does not charge someone to build their tree, people who want to view the tree must be a paying subscriber to UNLESS the owner of the tree has personally invited someone to view their tree, OR given an outside stranger permission to view their tree by invitiation.

    The majority of people who view family trees are not paying subscribers, so Ancestry wants to boost their revenue by creating a pay system to view family trees. The ability to view trees will NO LONGER BE FREE, unless the tree is uploaded at

    And, since owns Rootsweb, you can bet that service will not remain free for very long. Goodbye Worldconnect.

    Leonard, you are really missing something here. People HAVE SUBMITTED THEIR REQUESTS FOR ENHANCEMENTS to the AMT system. Kenny Freestone does not guarantee any changes to the new tree.

    Kenny Freestone’s silence tells us that the viewing capabilities of the AMT will remain as such. Defective, primitive and difficult to use. You can’t print, you can’t view descendants, the family BETA view is defective, and the photos being uploaded clog down the entire system.

    My friend has already uploaded 381 pictures to her family tree and she is still going strong. All the pictures were taken in the last 20 years of her children, grandchildren, mother with a dog, mother putting laundry up on the line, mother sitting at the dinner table. I am seeing this more and more. Throwaway photos not relevant to genealogy — get the picture? (pun intended)

    So Leonard, you can go and keep telling Kenny what you want to see in the new tree. Keep on posting your endless, one after the other posts as a new thought enters your mind. But keep in mind that most of your requests have already been made by other people, and have been met with silence.

    Ancestry is going to do what they want to do, sit back, reap in the money and watch the misery.

    I pulled my tree off last night by the way. Another tree bites the dust.

    (01.07.08 note from Kenny: Hi Daisy, Implementing new features takes time, and often when we work on them we do it quietly so as to not create expectations that we can’t meet. I am reading and taking notes on ALL the suggested features in this blog and elsewhere, and hoping to implement all of them. Please understand that I won’t promise any new features, not because we won’t or don’t want to do them, but because I won’t promise something until I am 100% confident we can deliver it to you. –Kenny)

  25. Hey Daisy,
    Thanks for your rudeness and personal attacks. You are a gem.

    I don’t have my head in a dark place, thank you very much.

    I never said the trees are PUBLIC.

    What does that have to do with my comments?

    And guess what? Its not all about OLD photos from the past. Today’s photos will be the past someday. These trees are also about family networking, sharing, having fun. Past and present.
    Not only will we put the last 20 years of photos online but eventually we may have the past 100 years of photos online.

    Thank you very much.

    And you know what else, the AMT are fairly new, and we have seen a constant stream of new functionality being implemented all through last year. Of course not totally bug free. Here are some of the wonderful enhancements.

    Goodbye Daisy, we will miss your rude comments.

    Got to go now and load a photo of me and by CAT for the family to see. LOL


  26. The old OFT system was completely private and the owner of the tree invited others to view the tree and collaborate online just like the new AMT system.

    The difference regarding the PUBLIC/PRIVATE issue was that the user could specify whether the tree is made public or not by selecting whether to submit to Ancestry World Tree or not, an automatic process done at the time of GEDCOM upload to OFT and could be turned off and on as desired after the fact as well.

    If the user wants to make their AMT public, all they have to do is upload the tree to Rootsweb (not automatic).
    It accomplishes the same thing. That a big deal for me, just one more step that I have total control over.

    Also, the AMT’s will be included in the indexes and paying members can contact you for more information on If you do submit to rootsweb anybody can can view your FREE public tree on rootsweb and contact you that way.

    So for us we will maintain our trees in the AMT system and upload them to rootsweb as we see fit for sharing with everybody in the world. We may or may not want to share with the whole world via rootsweb.

    There is much flexibility here, except for those who don’t want to be included in the indexes at all could do that with OFT, but cannot with AMT. Some will pull their trees because they don’t want to be contacted at ALL or have anybody living or dead in their trees indexed for anybody else to see.


  27. Dave

    Leonard, Please. You are very boring.

    So you like the new tree very much and have nothing but wonderful things to say about it. We get it.

    Now go play with your rocks.

  28. Leonard

    Thanks Dave, you too.

    I guess you think this blog is just for negative comments.

    Some people are here to get help understanding what it means to migrate, the positives and negatives. Change means they have to learn new things.

    You apparantly are here to personally attack.

    So when someone asks for clarification on something and someone replys trying to help, you attack.

    Typical rudeness.

  29. Re: comment 23 by Leonard Noland, apparently in response to my earlier comment 21.

    Dear Leonard,

    (1) I don’t think I ever wrote that charges a person who wishes to build an AMT tree. It’s been clear that anyone can start up an AMT for free.

    (2) After that, an AMT tree is visible to “invited guests”, but anyone else has to pay a hefty subscription fee. If there were an option to invite “EVERYONE” (anybody with internet access), AMT would be of more use, but it’s crippled anyway because notes cannot be displayed to viewers, it lacks the ability to provide a view of descendants of an individual, it displays very slowly due to the large graphical display overhead, et cetera.

    (3) You ask me to “please be more positive” in my description of AMT’s problems. What in your opinion is there to be positive about? has apparently decided to trash the excellent research tool OFT in favor of the defective “pay per view” AMT system. You write like an employee.


    Gary Collins

  30. Re: comment 20 by Leonard Noland apparently in response to comment 19 by Randy.

    Some statements made by Leonard are incorrect. It is unclear that he really has any experience with Online Family Tree (OFT).

    (1) OFT files can be created (even now, go to ) either by uploading a GEDCOM file or by starting from “scratch”, as with the AMT system. Once uploaded, the “owner” (originator) of the file can update the file using a neat web interface. The interface provides “pointers” to additional information about individuals in the file that may be relevant. It’s a tremendous research tool and I recommend that everybody try it out, even at this (possibly) late hour.

    (2) The “owner” of an OFT file chooses to make its contents public or keep them private. If public, the file is available and searchable in the same way as ancestry files. That means to ANYBODY with access to the Internet—without need to pay a subscription fee. Public displays of OFT, AWT and Rootseb files look almost identical. Rootsweb, and I believe, AWT files, have mnemonic database names whereas names of OFT databases are numerical with a preceding colon, for example “:123456”. So, it is completely untrue that OFT file are only private.

    (3) Whether or not the file is made public, the “owner” of an OFT file can invite others to be “editors” of the file itself or as viewing “members”. Both editors and members can view the entire file, including information about living individuals.

    Leonard is trying to make you believe that OFT and AMT are very similar systems. Thst’s simply not so.

    Gary Collins

  31. Ray

    I just can’t see the reason that I would want to maintain two separate family tree databases. Once I uploaded my FTM GEDCOM to this new AMT, it became its own animal. I scarsely have enough time to do research much less duplicate the results of that work into the AMT. Eventually I will just go ahead and delete my AMT on here as it will be completely outdated to the current information in my FTM database.

  32. Linda

    First let me say that I never have used OFT so I cannot comment on whether it is better or worse than Ancestry Member Trees. I do have a tree in the Ancestry Member Trees. This I created by uploading a gedcom to Ancestry. While some may disagree with me, I do not like editing the tree online and a few months ago I inquired if I could just upload a revised gedcom as I would to WorldConnect or Ancestry World Trees. I was told that I could only delete the current tree and then upload a new one. I should think that uploading a new gedcom would be the same difference and would make it easier – especially for those who still use dial-up connections. Needing to be online to add, edit or delete something from the tree can be much more time consuming than just uploading a new gedcom.

    Many researchers – most I would guess – use some type of Family Tree software which is of course where their gedcoms originate. By using the Ancestry Member Tree and needing to add to it rather then uploading a revised gedcom, it causes us to duplicate steps. First adding into our own software and then online at Ancestry Member Trees. I think this is an unnecessary step and this should be revised to allow revised gedcoms to be uploaded and REPLACE what is currently online. Just like is done at WorldConnect – where I also have my gedcom uploaded.

    Additionally, anyone who ONLY adds their information to an online database is making a HUGE mistake. Any online database should be in addition to a database kept in some type of Family Tree software or at the very least, a word processor on your home computer.

    In reference to WorldConnect and Ancestry World Tree, you state that WorldConnect will not be affected in any way. You also state that gedcoms that are uploaded to WorldConnect are by default also included in Ancestry World Trees (as I know by experience). Will this practice continue? Also, I have often wondered if the changes I make at WorldConnect are also reflected in Ancestry World Trees immediately as they are at WorldConnect?

    As far as OneWorldTree goes, it does not appear that it is ever updated! Another researcher and I have common lines that are my direct ancestors. She has misinformation in her gedcom that I have tried many times to get her to correct. I have also left post em’s where I can on Ancestry, but my information, which is correct, is not included. It looks to me as if Ancestry only included a certain percentage of the vast number of trees housed there. Or does one have to SPECIFICALLY upload to Ancestry World Tree to be included? I have only uploaded to WorldConnect. Does that make a difference?

    As a tool, overall while I do use OneWorldTree as part of the search process, it is only one of many that I conduct at Ancestry. I do not consider it the best tool, nor do I consider it useless, but I do feel that it could be improved and most importantly, include all of the trees!!!

    And lastly, I would like to throw in my two cents about what most of the posters here seem to feel is Ancestry ripping researchers off and “stealing their information”. so this is directed to those who have made a post on this subject:

    I see that I am in the minority on this one. Ancestry is providing a way for you to put your family tree online. While I agree that anyone should be able to search, not just a paid subscriber, the main point here is that Ancestry is providing the space to put the tree online. It also is providing for you to invite other family members, whether or not they are Ancestry subscribers, to view and add to your tree. The point here being that Ancestry is providing a service.

    But if anyone doesn’t like this aspect, then put your tree at WorldConnect where anyone can find you and your information! I can’t count the number of people who have found me from my WorldConnect gedcom. I have made numerous connections and gained more information by doing this.

    As for images and other documents that are added to these trees and having them taken by other researchers and uploaded to their own trees: To me, genealogy is about sharing. If we do not share it then how do we make connections? But if you do not intend to share it and have others make use of the information, photos and documents, then DON’T put it online ANYWHERE! Whether it is a website you have hosted somewhere else or using Ancestry Member Trees, anyone interested will find a way of using the information you have there.

    BUT, documents that you paid for are NOT under copyright law. Photos you own or took can be under copyright as well as any narrative you have written in your own words, but FACTS are NOT copyrightable!! So your trees that include those facts are not considered to be under copyright. It MAY be that your compilation MIGHT be something that can be copyrighted, there is much debate about this very subject, but the facts themselves can be extracted and used without any copyright infringement.

    So please, know the real facts and stop beating a dead horse!

  33. jemhay

    After much reading and consideration; I too have deleted both my OFT (which I didn’t realise was still here), and my AMT from So yet another tree and many links to the past has bitten the dust!

    This new system appears to be nothing more than the “dumbing down” and commercialization of genealogy for the masses; destroying it’s real purpose for those of us serious about researching our family histories.

    I sincerely hope Ancestry rethinks and listens to it’s users. More importantly, I hope they take advice from serious, experienced genealogists, in order to build a site that can successfully serve both the ‘experts’ and the novices amongst us without losing the integrity that real genealogy requires.

    I am a long term paying customer of Ancestry and am very disappointed at the direction it’s taking. Having taken many, many surveys about the site at their request; I repeatedly asked that they NOT FIX WHAT WASN’T BROKEN. Seems it fell on deaf ears. The site now, as far as the family trees and the resulting erronious information floating around on it is concerned, is rapidily becoming a joke!

  34. Re comment 32 by Linda:

    Linda makes the point that is providing a service by hosting ancestry files on their servers. This is true, but nowadays the costs of hosting ~10 MB are infinitesimal. Look at all the Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, storage given away for free. The implication of Linda’s remarks is that we should consider ourselves beholding in some sense to I don’t believe so. As a very perceptive contributor to one of the four “OFT” blogs previously commented (I don’t recall whom and am sorry I’m too busy to check), has gained back terrifically in annual subscription fees from users by providing free access to ancestry files.

    I started my own genealogical study in 2002 using Online Family Tree. I started entirely “from scratch”, beginning by entering my own name and those of my parents in the web interface. I have never paid subscription fees for use of OFT—and probably never would have at the inception of my family research. However, after a year or so, I started a subscription to for access to search over their massive numbers of databases. I have paid perhaps a total of $1000 in subscription fees to over the past 5 years.

    OFT is (was) a tremendously powerful tool for genealogical research for those who work full time and don’t have the time, for example, to travel and research court house or church records on their own. When OFT disappears, so will my subscription. It’s a matter of principle for me.

    I bought a copy of Family Tree Maker 2008, but find it useless for my own purposes. This is because I want to be able to export a GEDCOM from any ancestry tree program I use while preserving individual ID numbers of the GEDCOM file that had been originally uploaded. OFT and Rootsweb worked together very well in that regard. The original ID numbers assigned by OFT were preserved across download of a GEDCOM to my PC and then upload to The end result is that my Rootsweb ancestry file has had fixed ID numbers for individual entries for years. This has allowed me to create links from other files to entries in my ancestry file. You can see this if you click around my “photos” page on rootsweb’s freepages, at If you click on names in the page, you will be redirected to entries in my ancestry file. There are also links to photos stored in freepages.

    So, with OFT possibly being “deep-sixed” by, I am looking for other programs, either on my PC or on the web, that will maintain individual ID numbers. FTM can’t do it. Yesterday, I learned that Family Tree Builder may do the job, and I’ll check. Of course, I would be happier if could revise FTM so that one could preserve ID numbers when a GEDCOM is uploaded., but experience tells me that I should have to be willing to wait many years—if ever—for such a change to be made.


    Gary Collins

    P.S. Kenny Freestone may wish to comment on direct costs of storage to of, for example, 10 MB of storage per annum, which I expect to be of the order of ten cents.

    P.P.S. Perhaps Kenny Freestone can explain the corporate strategy behind the move by to replace OFT by AMT. I’m sure he is fully aware of it. Are there financial exigencies that require this shift?? Or is it just somebody’s idea to make bigger bucks off of Ancestry’s present and potential subscribers, irrespective of Ancestry’s position to date as a promoter and supporter of genealogical research??

  35. 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
    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 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 blogs at
    Gary Collins”

  36. I’ve responded to Gary directly, but I thought this would be useful to post here too since other folks may run into this problem at one time or another.

    Gary’s comments on the 24/7 Family History Circle blog were blocked by a spam filter because of the multiple links, which were posted back to back with no text between them. This is a common format in spam posts, of which the blog gets more than a thousand per day. I use a spam filter called Akismet, which is usually very good at keeping the good posts, or at least holding them for moderation, but because of the links, two attempts by Gary to post his message went directly into the spam bucket.

    To clarify, as a rule, we do not moderate posts on Family History Circle. The exceptions being posts that are insulting or offensive to other readers. (You can insult me all you want, but I stick up for my readers!) 😉

    I was able to repost Gary’s comments by inserting text between the links.


  37. Kenny Freestone

    RE: a question from comment 34

    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. Clearly the re-write favors a different set of core users, but it is a young product and we are adding features all the time. We are listening to your feedback, and hope to make AMT the best possible system for the most possible people.

  38. Maery Mayfield

    Pleae get down to busy and tell us how to use the new programs. I have
    tried for 30 minutes and get the same
    old “We started a new program. Just got back from vacation!

    Do you type in a name, place,
    How do you get upgraded. I just renewed my subscription to Delux Help Ham ready to cancel.

  39. Re comment 36 by Juliana Smith about my comment 35, thanks for figuring out the problem, for clarifying moderation policies on the 24/7 Family History Circle Blog, and also for reposting my message.

  40. bobwscott

    I’ve spent some time looking at the alleged “Sourced” versus “Unsourced” listing of trees until the Public Member Tree system.

    Virtually every source I h ave traced goes back to OneWorldTree, Public Member Trees, or the death and birth files on Ancestry.

    In other, words, this is a self-perpetuating system that feeds on postings on Ancestry to document postings on Ancestry. So, the first person to post a tree, whether there is any facts behind it or not, is going to have their research enshrined in the system and passed on.

    This is not research. This is systemetized hearsay. The most specific source I’ve found refers to a “Descendants of ” the family being researched. It doesn’t say who wrote it or when it was written.

    As I’ve said in a previous post, the whole OneWorldTree system is ghastly. Ancestry has no business trying to endorse a particular view of which tree is more likely correct. You can’t determine facts by consensus if the system is full of things that, even if true, aren’t documented.

  41. bobwscott

    The major problem with Public member trees is the navigation and the number of clicks it takes to see information compared with the current system. I am spelling out my view of how many clicks it takes to do anything further on in this posting.

    On a tree with lots of detail, in Ancestry World Tree, I can see the following in one screen:
    Person’s name, full dates. Spouses name, birth date and marriage date. Plus locations.
    parents’ names
    Names of children, their birth dates and locations
    Which children have postings for their children.

    Here’s some of what what happens when you go to the opening page under Public Member Trees.
    These start with the page with the information about adding stories and pictures, which have very little information about the person or family.
    From there it takes

    1 click to get the detail on the person
    1 click to open options
    1 click to open sources
    1 click to hide sources
    1 click to open fact events (which few are filling out)
    1 click to open relationship events (ditto)
    1 click to return to the main screen for the person

    Plus, if there are notes that were in the tree on AncestryWorldTree, these are lost in the “Research Notes” which I find almost impossible to remember where it is. Actually, since I started using this, it seems to me Research Notes has disappeared.

    So the information I’ve written detailing information—say in support of conclusions that are based on circumstantial evidence—I’ve got to re-enter this as a story.

    Now, it is possible to do this more easily through the family Group sheet, but that’s buried under the Family Tree.

    In fact, if the group sheet or tree were the first things that came up, this would be a lot easier. In fact, the group sheets look good, except they don’t have as much detail as the current system.

  42. Barbara

    I like the new structure that pulls all of the other trees that have correalting information open at once, but I’ve had some problems with accepting the information and having it overwrite the information in my tree of birthdates and other vital statistics of my on grandparents, when I knew my information was more accurate. The old structure did not change my information if I saw a tree that had some of my common ancestors unless I allowed the changes. Now I am not accepting or linking other peoples trees to mine because I do not want to spend the time repair my own tree.

    When I’ve found mistakes or try to report missing information and errors in links, it is nearly impossible to contact anyone at directly. I usually forget about reporting any errors, because it seems to be impossible to do.

  43. (1) In bobwscott’s excellent message 42, he makes plain that the AMT interface, which he calls the “Public Member Tree” interface, is extraordinarily inefficient, with all the “click, click” ing around that is needed. Plus the notes are “almost impossible” to find.

    (2) Barbara’s message 43 makes clear the danger that information in one’s AMT ancestry file can be “overwritten” by what appears to be an “accelerated” mechnanism to “glom” new data onto existing files. This might be exhilarating for “newbies”, but nobody with any xperience wants a pile of garbage glommed onto their ancestry file.

  44. Thom Kime

    GEDCOM download & Online Family Tree

    You click to download your GEDCOM but it displays or shows it to you instead of asking you to save it to your PC.

    Solution: For Microsoft Internet Explorer Users Only.

    Click the Back button on your Web Browser to get back to the (download GEDCOM) icon.
    This time, Right-Click (press the Right mouse button) on the (download GEDCOM) icon.
    A little meun window will appear with options.
    Select “Save Target As…” from the menu and a standard Microsoft Directory Save window will appear with a file named xxxxxxx.ged in the “File name:” box.
    Name the file the way you want and make sure it ends in “.ged”. Like “MyOnlineTree.ged”. Then save it to a folder on your PC.
    Your OFT GEDCOM file has been saved to your PC!

    This is an older Web Style method for presenting files for download. It was intended to give you the option of viewing it online or downloading it.

    Even though I know how to deal with this I still think it should save the file directly to your PC simply because that’s EXACTLY what you were expecting it to do when you clicked on it!

    To be fair;

    A note for you computer users: You are missing out on making your PC much easier to use by NOT KNOWING how to use Right-Click mouse menus! You can copy text directly off a Web Page if you learn to use these options which is GREAT for genelogy work.

  45. Thom Kime

    Online Family Tree BUG REPORT #1
    Surname Titles such as Jr., Sr., I, II, III, Esq. etc., do not follow the GEDCOM 5.5 Standard and do not work at all in OFT!

    NO ONE should use OFT until this error is corrected!

    To prove and replicate this error simply create a new Tree and Name it “Test”.

    Add a male person named “Harvey Dinkle, Jr.” and save it.

    Now try to add his father as “Harvey Dinkle, Sr.” and OFT will complain that the father’s and son’s last names are different and it will refuse to save the record.

    Near the top of the record it will display an option to save the record without checking for errors. Save it now using that option. We just forced it to accept our data! You can’t tell by looking at it but your 2 records are corrupted internally within OFT. It will now produce corrupt GEDCOMS too.

    Now to see what went wrong you need to go to “Manage Tree” and tell it make you a GEDCOM of you OFT.

    When it’s ready simply click the (download GEDCOM icon) and it will display the gedcom in your browser window.

    You will see that the names for your 2 records are as follows.
    Harvey /Dinkle, Jr./
    Harvey /Dinkle, Sr./

    That is NOT CORRECT!

    This how it should have saved it.
    Harvey /Dinkle/, Jr.
    Harvey /Dinkle/, Sr.

    Note that the “/” character is supposed to enclose ONLY the last name and then the surname titles (Jr. & Sr.) are supposed to follow ending “/”. That’s the GEDCOM 5.5 Standard which OFT does NOT follow. It doesn’t even offer you a way to correct it either. You can’t use edit to fix this error because it’s a programming and interface error!

    You are now the proud owner of a corrupt and useless Genealogy file which you can’t use correctly in ANY Genealogy Program including Family Tree Maker 2008.

    EVERY Family Tree has some or ALL of these surname titles and OFT will turn your genealogy work into useless trash if you try to use them!

    This problem was reported to, Technical Support who told me that I SHOULD EXPECT TO HAVE DATA LOSS and that this problem does NOT really exist despite my evidence!

    When I’m paying for it I expect it to be CORRECT!

    I wanted to tell him that he should expect a pay loss during his payroll calculation but I didn’t.

    NO ONE should use OFT until this error is corrected!

  46. Thom Kime

    Online Family Tree BUG REPORT #2
    Marriage Event Notes do not follow the GEDCOM 5.5 Standard and do not work at all in the New OFT!

    NO ONE should use OFT until this error is corrected!

    Using your genealogy program of choice on your own PC to prove and replicate this error; Simply create a new Tree and Name it “Test”.

    Add a male then add a spouse for him.

    Now enter some made up date for their maggiage.

    Now go to the Marriage Notes and put in “Married by Rev. Harvey Dinkle” and save it.

    Export this 2 person tree to a gedcom and upload it into a new tree on OFT.

    Now try and find your precious marriage notes. They aren’t there. They are ALL GONE!

    I lost 827 sets of marriage notes because OFT failed to follow the GEDCOM standard.

    I’m not just complaining here. I’m PROVING that these problems actually exist and are not being fixed!

    You can even use FTM 2008 to create your tree. It still won’t work correctly because OFT simple doesn’t have any Marriage Event Notes!

  47. Thom Kime

    Online Family Tree BUG REPORT #3
    Military Service Event does not follow the GEDCOM 5.5 Standard and does not work correctly in the New OFT!

    NO ONE should use OFT until this error is corrected!

    Gedcom 5.5 has 2 basic event styles. Standard and non-standard. Non-standard is properly known as User Defined Events.

    OFT does recognized both of these but when it come to the Standard Military Service Event it treats it like it’s a User Defined Event.

    When you upload a GEDCOM containing standard Military Service Events; Instead of putting your Military Service data into a standard Military Service Event it puts it in a User Defined Event that is labeled as “Military Service”. The proof that it’s User Defined is that you can rename it to anything you like. You can’t rename standard events.

    Now OFT does have an event called “Military” (not Military Service) but it doesn’t seem to be able to handle the standard because it never puts any data from a gedcom in there.

    The proof of this is to simply upload a 1 person gedcom with Military Service Event data and then go look at OFT’s Events list.

    Sure enough, OFT’s “Military” section is blank and as noted, your standard data is in a User Defined Event labeled as Military Service.

    When you download this gedcom later your Standard Event will now be incorrectly transformed into a non-standard event.

    You now own another corrupt gedcom thanks to the new OFT system.

    My opinion on all this is that the programmers were pressured so hard to make OFT link up with all of’s research features that they didn’t have the time to do the most important thing.

    To insure that they have basic GEDCOM 5.5 Compatibility.

    Now here’s a parting note that troubles me: I manually put some data into OFT’s “Military” event. Then I went to their new Beta Military Service page designer. It doesn’t even read it’s own Military event on this page. You have to enter it all over again. Not only that but this special page has no GEDCOM standard to support it so it’s a total waste of your time because it’s unique to’s website!

    It is a sincere desire of mine to see all these things fixed and for the new OFT to really shine but Tech support doesn’t even respond to my emails on the issue.

    I have properly documented their errors and not just slammed them with vague emotional outbursts but to no avail.

    I am convinced that every customer support employee [except 1] at has a sticky note on their monitor that says:

    Just tell them that “We are aware of the problem” to get them off your back. If that doesn’t work, just ignore them!

    I have only found 1 tech who understood and had a sincere desire to help. To him goes my greatest appreciation because he’ll get fired for making the others look bad and they’ll black-ball him.

  48. Mary Beth Marchant

    I wonder what wonderful thing Ancestry has done now to the Online Family Tree-at this moment it is not working. Kenny, what have y’all done now.

  49. Sloane Henderson

    I have lost my tree !? Boo-hoo I’m upset.:-( Can you locate it ? It’s name:
    Sloane Christine Smith.

    I did hit the beta button to see what that would do . It just seem to chane the tree format. It took so many hours to do my tree . Will you help me please ?
    Thank you,

  50. “Bug Reports” 46-48 by Thom Kline mistakenly fault OFT when they should fault AMT.

    Thom, I think you have it completely backwards. You erroneously referred to Online Family Tree as the offender when it is AMT (Ancestry Member Tree). For example, OFT has no “Military” event option (message 48). Instead, I think you intended to write


    and I would add…


  51. Thom Kime

    RE: OFT

    Gary. It wasn’t clear to me which is which. If the newest tree system is the one called Ancestry Member Tree than I stand corrected and my bug reports are to be directed to the new AMT!

    Thanks for catching the mistake.


  52. Hi, I added some people in the tree, one aunt who is single but with three children. Those children do not appear in th etree, unless I add a lifetime event (divorce) but then that person appears as husband.

    Is this a known bug?


  53. Roxanne

    I am wondering if I upload my family tree to make a book, will my tree be made public, I only want the tree visible to me and not have it out there for everyone to see. I would like to do the Ancestry press but I dont want any one else to see my tree.

  54. Thom Kime

    Reply to #53, Bart.

    You should not have to do anything special for the children to appear. It’s a BUG! You should never need to find a way to “trick” a genealogy program into doing what you need.

    If your Aunt has 3 children but never married than I suggest that you document it exactly that way.
    Enter the kid’s father as the spouse of your Aunt.
    Next enter Not Married in the Marriage event date field.

    This method allows you retain the children’s birth parents while making it clear that the couple was Not Married.

    The new Ancestry Member Tree (online), Family Tree Maker and Personal Ancestral File programs all accept this documentation convention for single parents.

  55. Leonard

    Regarding Comment #46 by Thom Kime concerning Titles

    In our trees we put the titles along with the first and middle names in the
    field named: First & Middle Names
    Example: Charles Brazzil Jr.
    We put the surname in the field name:
    Example: Gregg

    The resulting GEDCOM is as follows:

    1 NAME Charles Brazzil Jr. /Gregg/

  56. Thom Kime

    Reply to #56, Leonard, regarding surname titles.

    While it may be that the method you described is how you do it, is important to note that MOST all other software including’s retail software, Family Tree Maker, DOES NOT do it that way which makes your Ancestry Member Trees online incompatible with’s own retail product. At the very least that just really bad marketing when your online and retail products are not compatible!

    Also, your described method does not follow the GEDCOM 5.5 Standard and would require untold hours of special editing of everyone’s files just to suit AMT which would then create gedcoms in an incompatible format. Which is what it is doing already.

    If you are going to require me to edit over 380 persons in my file to accommodate your special non-standard format than AMT is totally worthless!

    I’m in it for the collaboration feature. We have 5 clan genealogist using standard gedcom formats and now WE have to change to suit your software? We are paying to have it OUR way, the Standard way, not your way.

    As proof of my claim, enter Charles Brazzil Gregg, Jr. into FMT.

    The resulting STANDARD gedcom is:

    1 NAME Charles Brazzil /Gregg/, Jr.

    PAF 5.2 will also produce the very same gedcom as will about 6 other programs that I am familiar with. Do you now intend to argue that FMT is the problem and not standard?

    This is the Standard Format, what is there to discuss? AMT needs to meet the standard and to be compatible with it’s own retail product FMT and it simply does not and is not!

    I’d also like to point out that FMT does NOT have specialized name fields such as FIRST, MIDDLE and SURNAME. It is a single line, space and comma delimitated entry system and so is it’s advanced edit structure! The help file even instructs you to enter name data in it’s normal order.

    Allow me to quote the FTM help file of’s retail product:
    “Use full given names in order (first name, middle name, surname). For married women …”

    This is about as factual as proof can get. Your own retail product’s instruction manual! The fact that FMT fielded (internally) each part of the given name correctly without any special instruction from me is a testament of fact that I am using the software correctly and that your method is not standard. Your method is explicitly contrary to FMT’s manual!

    Once again. Please fix AMT to follow the gedcom standard like your retail product does. Hopefully you will not grill to me to start quoting the GEDCOM Standard too. I’m not interested in arguing. I just want the darn thing fixed and I’ve proven every claim I’ve made in an effort to expedite that repair, but to no avail.

    What’s it going to take to get through to you guys?
    It’s broke!
    Fix it!

  57. bobwscott

    If you make the people tab–with the home person–the first page seen when a visitor opens a tree, it would make it a lot easier. I don’t think it makes it a good system, just easier.

    Make the stuff with “Add a photo” something like a “Manage Your Tree’ Page, just has you have in the page for making trees public or not.

    The other option would be to make a tree of the home person’s ancestors the first thing. That’s what most of us want to see–can we go back, can we connect.

    In the meantime, I have removed 11 family trees from the system. I have no patience for cutting an pasting all my notes into the “Add a Story” dialog boxes. Since most of my info was stolen from print copies a long time ago and put in Gedcoms, it probably doesn’t matter (except for the supporting notes)

    I am still waiting for 8 trees to appear. It used to take 24 hours for these to post after the user uploaded them. Two of mine are from January 6, one from January 7, one from jan. 10 and one from the 16th, which I had updated to see if that would make a difference.

    These include new files and files transfered from AWT.
    I am still waiting

  58. Lisa

    in reply to bobwscott, comment # 58

    Our family LOVES the home page of the tree the way it is. WHY?

    You see we go to the HOME page of the tree to see quickly and easily what is NEW today.

    What are the new stories added?
    What are the new comments added?
    What new photos have been added?
    What new videos have been added?
    What new audio stories have been added?

    I have so many comments from my family, how they love this. They leave the page up all the time, and they refresh it as they wish to see what is new.

    We wouldn’t want the home page of the tree taking us to the home person’s details page.. We can click “Home Person” to do that. We hardly ever go back to the home person in the tree, but for one of my trees it is set to the oldest ancestor on the primary surname. Someone invited to the tree for the first time, may click “Home Person” the first time. But from then on they have other things to look at, like WHAT’s new today.

    The home page is the center of activity, we can go anywhere from there.

    When we click on the “People” tab it takes the tree member’s last viewed person, a really nice feature to take you right back to the person in the tree I was working on last. We would hate for this to be removed!

    There are some things we would like to see added to this page:

    1) Recent People Added
    In order with newest person added first

    And all the other stuff we neeed

    2) Descendancy Report that can be generated from the individuals page
    like has

    3) Register Report
    like has

    4) Ahnentafel
    like has

    5) Pedigree in text format
    like has

    6) Make Research Notes available to all members of the tree, and available on non living people to everbody who can see the individual in the public tree

    7) Add audio mp3 files already recorded of family interviews/ stories

    8) Add video files already recorded

    9) And we need to be able to search our trees. At least bring the search up to par with OFT. Let us search burial locations, death locations, any event location. For example I want to see a quick list of everyone in the tree buried in a certain cemetery. Or wildcard search of death location, birth location, etc, etc We need to search the comments, the stories, the research notes, to find things.
    The photo titles, descriptions, locations, dates


  59. Lisa

    We would like to see the vertical descendancy graphic view that is printable that the current OFT system has, brought into the new AMT system.
    I know the new AMT system has the new horizontal Descendancy View, but it doesn’t show everything. The vertical view of OFT shows everything, all spouses and children , grand children, three generations at a time, allowing easy navigation down into more generations. And we can print it.

    And we need the text based view of TOO.


  60. capt

    I have to say, the new UI is very time consuming to use. WAY to many clicks and too long for page loads. Why are you doing this to you users? Seems like it should be better than the previous one right? There may be some new features that are nice but from what I am seeing in the comments (which I agree with 100%) things are looking a bit scary! Due to comments about data loss, I tried to export my GED files last night and found there are definate data integrity issues!! I have reported this via support but of course have not received a reply so as communicated to you, I’ll be posting this same message on all the blog and forum sites I can find to warn others. I am a subscriber (currenty) and have been integrating my family history with images for well over a year. Now when I want to export my GED files I noticed A.) When I export after an update (simply pressing the update button – not changing anything) The file I get IS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DATA FILE!! using beyond compare a file comparision tool. Of course I have not had time to check how it imports to other Geneology software yet, I am most interested in getting a backup of what I have posted on first. b.) You make them available as MHT files only, not GED files and there are no options as your site suggests. I could go on but others have stated the UI issues and for me, the Data loss is the number one concern – until I get my data. To think I was even thinking about the new 2008 package but from what I’ve read it is a downgrade.
    I will continue to look for other locations I can store my data and not have to worry that my years of hard work are going to go away only to be told by some phone person in India probably so sorry! start over!. I don’t understand how you can be so caviler about data loss from what I have seen here you have more to worry about than just loosing customers. Remember they are the ones that make you what you are and without them you ARE history. For every bad experience a person has they will tell as many people as they can about it. The sentiment and distrust of what was a reliable site will quickly get around in this day in age. You will be knocked out of any serious geneology reviews cause you target is now mass novices, not true geneoligsts. What will be will be, you can take responsibility for not listening to your customers or caring about there data.

  61. Re Lisa’s comments 59 and 60:

    Lisa’s comments encapsulate the two sides of the “big divide” between appreciation of OFT and AMT services for presenting ancestry files. Her messages express very well the sentiment to keep the best features of both services. She recommended to to:

    1. Provide an entry page with quick links to what is “new” in stories, comments, photos, videos and audios.

    2. Provide also a link to the “home person” on the entry page.

    3. Provide a link to the last viewed individual page..

    4. And also provide (as OFT, Worldconnect and Rootsweb servings of text-based GEDCOM files do in outstanding fashion), provide:

    • Descendancy reports
    • Register reports
    • Ahnentafel reports
    • Research notes
    • Pedigrees reports

    Whether or not the present AMT service addresses items 1-3, it does not address item 4 at all. People such as Lysbeth (see a number of recent messages by her on the blog counsel us to work with to make the obviously deficient AMT a better service.

    I applaud the sentiments expressed by, Lisa and Lysbeth. It would be wonderful if all the above desires could be addressed in an improve AMT.

    However, even if AMT were modified to provide all desired features listed in item 4 above, I would still reject AMT as a service for my ancestry file because it charges a subscription fee for “J.Q. Public” to view its files. Such subscription fees will seriously restrict access of AMT files as compared to access to OFT, WorldConnect and Rootsweb files. Reduced access to AMT files will, in turn, I expect, reduce subscriptions to Personally, I signed up for a subscription not long after I started to build my own ancestry file using OFT. As another perceptive person commented some time ago, providing free access to ancestry files fuels an interest in genealogy, and that thirst leads to subscriptions. may be killing at least one of the geese that has laid its golden eggs. The decision is in the hands of their accountants.


    Gary Collins

  62. Thom Kime

    Follow Up on Ancestry Member Tree BUG REPORT #1

    See comment #46 for details. Also note that comment #46 intended to say Ancestry Member Tree instead of OFT!

    Below is the exact response I received from Ancestry Technical Support regarding this issue:

    “We are aware of this problem. Currently, the online trees are very basic and treat Jr, Esq., etc, as part of the last name. As we improve our trees, I anticipate that new way will be added to enter a title or suffix, but for now, there isn’t a way around this, and we have no estimate of when the problem will be fixed.”

  63. Bob Scott

    After 11 days, some of my trees have finally become visible to the public.

    All of the notes I carefully entered are gone–as other posters have pointed out happened. Ancestry then labels my information as unsourced.

    All of the events I spent a lot of time putting in, immigration, census, residences, aren’t there. And this system says I have not entered relationship and life events.

    I want my notes to be visible to explain conclusions which may not obvious.

    I will again emphasize that the resources on Ancestry have been invaluable to me in pursuing research and in helping others.

    But the sheer arrogance of Ancestry is appalling in wiping out our work. I don’t want to have to go back an put all my notes in manually somewhere.

    I guess Ancestry figures it doesn’t need the serious genealogist–that it can attract more people who are happy to accept anything as long as it looks like a family tree.

    Why would I want to enter stories that only people I invite can see. If I put it up, I want everyone to see it. I can email the stuff to people easier than I can use this system.

    Why do I want to see a picture of somebody else’s great-grandfather when I open their tree? I want to see information on their ancestry.

    Above all, Ancestry has no business refereeing family history–saying what is sourced and what is not. Most of the sources that have been entered are not sources–they take you back to OneWorldTree, which is one of the most insipid tools I have ever seen.

    All OneWorldTree does is put together the trees from a lot of people who are usually working from the Gedcoms they have copied. I like to call Gedcoms a license to steal.

  64. Sheilal86

    Boy, I sure don’t like all of the grumbling from the experienced genealogists here. I am beginning to understand why I never receive answers from people I have tried to contact about information.
    Some of these people have paid money or done plenty of legwork to get their information and don’t want to share it.
    I guess I need to do some more research on how to do research before I can find out more information on my family. I honestly thought I would be able to talk to people who had the same family tree as myself.
    I was sure wrong about that as I have never heard back from the many people I have contacted. At least I know why now.

  65. Re message 65 by Sheilal86:

    Dear Sheila,

    My experience has been that most persons actively carrying out genealogical studies are only too happy to give help and answer questions. They (we) are not a bunch of grumps. Of course, some email addresses will turn out to have been changed.

    Keep on trying! Also post questions on message boards at, using advice for writing effective posts.


    Gary Collins

  66. Thom Kime

    Reply to Sheilal86, comment #65

    Novice genealogists tend to send emails that say give me, give me, give me. This isn’t sharing, it’s taking. Seasoned genealogist tend to write emails that offer a sincere exchange.

    In my initial contact email, I often include a rare old photo of a GGG Grandfather with the potential of giving more of the same in exchange for working with me and providing me with something of value from their collection.

    This technique is so effective that I recently received a very old newspaper clip about an ancestor in the Civil War who supposedly was killed in battle. The person who sent me that clip has no connections to me whatsoever but knew that this was my bloodline that she had found, and that I’d consider it an important item. I regularly send her information of potential value to her research. She is a Kimes and I’m a Kime. Our research can’t help but cross paths and it’s in our mutual best interests to treat each other well and exchange information.

    If you give, you will receive. I promise!

  67. SheilaL86

    Thank you to Gary Collins and Thom Kime for responding to my post.

    I understand now that you have to have something to offer to participate in the exchange of information. I didn’t want anything from anyone besides an affirmation that we had mutual relatives from the people I was sending a question to. My problem is that my father never knew or met his real father so I have nothing but family legend and old stories from old aunties to go on. I didn’t realize there were so many boundaries that can’t be crossed while doing research.

    By the way Thom, I am a “shirtail” relative of the Kime family in the Seattle area. Small world, huh?
    And the family I am referring to is Kime, not Kimes. I understand that small difference in a name. My last name is Lyon but I am constantly called Lyons, grrrr 🙂

    Wish me luck, looks like I am against one of the brick walls!


  68. David Sterling

    I used to think I was a pretty intelligent person, pragmatic, and not overly naive. I am relatively new to genealogy, having just started about 1 year ago. I found the OWT very helpful; being somewhat limited in ability to travel and do the “footwork” that many serious researchers do, I had to be content with OFT and the hints/sources available at Ancestry. Unless my math is wrong, I see negative/positive comments running about this transition going approximately 15-19:1 negative. I was perfectly happy to take information from OWT except when obviously flawed (mothers being born after their children,etc.) With all of the terminology being thrown about, I feel as if I am one of those silent types, destined to suffer in silence. WHat really burns me up is that for several weeks I went round and round with tech support trying to get them to understand that I could not access or add people anymore; they did not bother to tell me that OWT was no longer available. Guess I missed the original announcements; I sure don’t recall anyone saying anything about it, until I stumbled upon this blog. I am literally sick over the inability to do anything with this information, and the fact I can’t access it. David Sterling

  69. Thom Kime

    Reply to Sheilal86, comments #65 & #68

    It certainly is a small world! Kime is a rare name to be connected especially outside of Pennsylvania. I am always amazed at the connections that can be found.

    As to exchanging information; Offering something is NOT some secret, mandatory or unwritten rule. It’s a very effective and typically rewarding technique and nothing more. If you are emailing to email addresses found with gedcom files then I suspect you also need to look and see when the file was last updated. If it’s been years than you are not likely to get a reply. Email addresses are fleeting. People often change them in the hope of reducing spam mail and forget to update their online files.

    Offering yourself in a sincere manner helps in any situation, not just genealogy. Explain your situation and I’m confident that you will find more help than you can stand.

    Reply to David Sterling, comment #69

    Many of us don’t think should offer un-sourced hints from personal trees. One big reason is the high error rate of this information. Novice users tend to think it was provided because it specifically applies to them and is correct and it may not be. Also, the information does not dynamically update. If I correct some information, after you got and used a flawed hint from my work, you’re pretty much screwed. You’ll never know that your information is wrong or if it’s been corrected or updated. is encouraging a mentality that says “If it came from Ancestry, it must be correct” and the novice is buying into it.

    The argument in this regard is that appears to be pandering to this novice, fast food style of genealogy. Drive in – drive out and grab all you can along the way and everyone’s work is fair game.

    We pay for this service. We expect it to be thorough, correct, adhere to customary and accepted standards and above all, have 100% control over our own data. Expectations are significantly higher when you’re paying for something.’s current trend ‘appears’ to be that we will take whatever they give us and we just have to live with it or leave. The fight is to make sure that it doesn’t happen like that.

  70. Re message 68 by Sheila and the follow-up message 69 by Thom Kime:

    I think Thom Kime gave too strong an impression that one must have useful information to give before one can expect to get freely shared information. People like myself and, I think, Thom, are most happy to share what we know with people who make personalized contacts. It’s not just tit-for-tat. Of course, offer what information you may have, but nobody should hesitate to make contact if he or she thinks they have no information to offer. It often turns out that even limited personal information can be valuable in ways that are hard to foresee. And we’re all here to help each other in our genealogical studies, in spite of the roadblocks put up by

    Damn the torpedoes, full contacts ahead!


    Gary Collins

  71. This message concerns message 126 by Gary S. Collins on the blog 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! 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.

  72. David Sterling

    To Mr. Kime
    Your reply to my comments was interesting. It appears that you are in some position of authority here, at least that was the inference that I received. You obviously are an experienced researcher. Your statement about the accuracy of information is of course to be commended. I don’t know if your implication is that many people (myself included)who have somehow “hit the jackpot” must automatically suspect the information. I have definitely found much information that is in error, as I said in my original blog. I was able to find one link through my PGM utilizing documented sources back to about 1800-much of the rest of the information came from OWT. If I accept the accuracy of 5 or so names from about 1700, then I have a direct link (through historically documented persons) to a long, long time ago. I do like being able to drive in and drive out-I do not have the time or money to spend traveling afield or spending hours and hours online. I have found some obvious contradictions in others data utilizing such records as SS, birth, death, cemetary records, etc.

    I have made an effort to not merge information that was obviously wrong.

    Your comments to others about giving and sharing information have been pertinent; however, my experience has been that the people I have corresponded with have not in the least been interested in information I have picked up. At times they have been very good about answering questions, at other times I have never received a reply at all.

    In reading some of your other comments, you obviously do not work for, which I do believe helps with your objectivity. I wish I could correspond with others like you.

    Still, I’m frustrated. I do not get how in the world to add information or merge information or if any of this is possible. I can only do this for an hour a day or so.
    Perhaps Bobwscott’s posting on January 11 really gets down to the nitty gritty of it all. Being a newby, I do not understand all of the terminology and using technical support leaves me feeling as if I can no longer communicate my needs. If someone can answer this constructively it will be very much appreciated. I don’t know where else to go.

  73. Thom Kime

    Reply to David Sterling, #73

    I am just a frustrated user like you, nothing more and am not affiliated with or any of it’s other sites.

    Also, I am not aware of any Online Match & Merge style features on this site. I think that attaching source information is as far as they go Online. Family Tree Maker, their PC based retail product, does have these features and they do in fact integrate quite well with their online services. It will even add people to your tree from a census record, if you want, in addition to downloading a copy of the census into the program as part of the source record. It does not ‘appear’ to be able attach and source newspaper research which is a severe drawback for serious researchers.

    Drive thru genealogy: My thought is that any user would prefer a HINT that has sources and proof over ones without and that has a responsibility to provide only the best sourced HINTS if this is the way they intend to offer their services. Especially since they are using our data, in addition to their own, to do it. If they’re going to pander than do it right and make it worthwhile for everyone.

    Instead of me writing another book length message, let me give you an example of why their current policy and methods bother me. I have a person in a “Test Tree” named, Test Test, Jr. Imagine my surprise when found 7 HINTS for that unreal person in other Public Trees and for some reason it found a hint of “Onovio S Abi” in the 1930 Census in California. All I had entered in my tree was the name and nothing more. I was disappointed that his father, Test Test, Sr. received no hints at all. (sarcastic humor). I hope this example is explanation enough to cover the whole realm of my ranting on this issue.


  74. Barbara Forsey

    I have been using FTM for over 10 years and this 2008 has devastated my entire work. I transferred my entire file from FTM 16 and now have discovered that I have double children with 2 mothers (one unknown spouse) on hundreds of mostly men in my tree. The only way I have found to delete the unknown spouse is to deleted all the children which then deletes them from the entire file! I have emailed FTM with no response. I would like to go back to 16. I agree with others regarding the online Family Tree. I would like to take it off the site but can’t find out how.

    If anyone has any ideas how to fix my mess easier please contact me at FTM is not responding.


  75. Carole Grant

    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 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, 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.

  76. Carole Grant

    I apologize. I was under the misimpression that since other people have posted the same post on multiple blogs without reprimand, it was an acceptable act.

    Should I feel offended that I was singled out for this misdeed?

    NOTE: Your blog terms and conditions are as follows: blog Terms of Use and Guidelines
    This blog is hosted by The Generations Network, Inc., the corporate owner of While we have made the blog available to our employees and the community for open communication, the opinions expressed here are those of the poster, and not of The Generations Network, Inc. All responsibility and liability for the content of each post remains with the author. We reserve the right, but have no obligation to do so, to review and omit from posting any comment, be it from our employees or the community, which we feel creates legal risks, is not on topic in the area of the blog to which it is to be posted, or which, for any reason or no reason we feel is inappropriate.”

    I don’t see anything in the terms about multiple postings.

    I don’t see anything inappropriate within my post, nothing that creates a legal problem, or anything that is offensive. There isn’t even a swear word in there. All I see is redundancy, which I guess some people will call a crime. 😉

    Again, please accept my apologies. I guess I stirred the pot when it should not have been stirred.

  77. Sheilal86 Sheila Lyon

    The following excerpts from a message posted by Carole Grant:

    “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.
    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.”

    This is exactly what I was talking about in my earlier posts.
    What a turn off for the “newbies” (and I don’t like the way the newbie description is used in such a disparaging manner by so many of the experienced genealogists) who are just trying to get some information established. I am certain now that I have totally misunderstood the reason that people are posting their family trees or any kind of information at all.
    I don’t want to “steal” anything from anyone. I was under the impression that people just talked to each other, too.

    I have all of the information that I need, going back to the 1600’s having gleaned it from family legend, old aunties, certain libraries and writing to and paying
    for information from vital statistics bureaus. I have actually found it exciting to find information in the census or other databases that did pertain to my family and it was right in front of me the whole time, only there was a slight misspelling of the name, etc. I felt like a real Nancy Drew!
    So I don’t want anyones information, I am just trying to talk to people who might be my relatives, my kin.


  78. Carole Grant

    In response to Sheila:

    I believe when a tree is made public and posted online, that tree is there to be shared, but with limitations.

    I’ve been working on my tree for about 9 years, and I have approximately 12,000 names in it. For 8 of those years, my tree has been online at and made public with the purpose to share my information with other members of the same family lines, in hope that people who were related would contact me. My paternal grandfather’s family line has been what was called a “lost line” by a fellow genealogist. My research has tied in loose ends and lost ancestors have been re-discovered. What was great about the tree being public online is that all it took was for someone to find a name on your tree, email you and say “Hey! I’m related to so-and-so in your tree! We must be cousins; I would love to know more about the family (and give you information about my family in return).” I have discovered cousins all over the United States and it has been a wonderful, exciting and enjoyable experience.

    Most of the people who I have heard from have been a pleasure to talk to and share information with. Some of these same people sent me information in return so we could compare facts and correct errors. Not all have a great deal of information to exchange because they are beginning their research and my tree was a starting point. That’s OK.

    Sad to say, there are the other types — takers who post all over bulletin boards for info and who write to people who have submitted online trees. They say they are related, they have information, ask me what I can send them to answer their questions or knock down brick walls. One in particular — I answered her questions, sent her my family reports and copies of my documents, responded to her numerous requests and then after she got what she wanted, I never heard from this relative again and she never answered any of my emails. So be it. And there was the woman who wrote to me saying she was related to someone in my family tree and had been trying to find out what happened to this man and his wife. She had a little bit of information to share so would I help her find out what happened to these people. I willingly agreed, and began deep research through newspaper archives which told me the couple divorced and remarried. I found, ordered and paid for the death certificate which told me where the man was buried and the funeral home that serviced him. I obtained all the necessary paper documentation, scanned it and emailed it to her. She took all my information without so much as a thank you and I never heard from her again. Takers and users – lesson learned. It only takes one rotten apple to spoil the entire bushel. OK, maybe two apples.

    I also receive demands; not requests or queries, but demands. Rude emails telling me they are related to someone in my tree and they have been trying to find out more about their family so send them my information immediately. Gimmee-gimmee people. Those are the emails I don’t answer. Hi, I found your tree on and what information can you send me. Well, doesn’t that stink.

    My tree information has been copied several times over by many people. I know it is my information they are copying, because they are picking up my original mistakes. One person copies another person who copies another person who copied my tree and then attributes their information to the person they copied, my mistakes and all (I came across that recently and was astounded 😮 ). I do correct my errors on my tree as I find them or while verifying certain information, but unfortunately the people who have copied my errors do not realize my errors have been corrected. The errors they copied sit on their trees for perpetuity and then someone else comes by and picks the errors up as being true and correct. That is the risk of taking someone else’s information without verifying it, and that is why the Hints Tree Merge feature on the AMT is a defective feature. The novice researcher will merge unsourced, unverified information into their family trees and it will sit there, presumed to be true and correct.
    There are other genealogy websites on the internet that also offer this merge feature. One of these websites is Kindred Connections, aka The website offers a free one-month membership if you submit your family tree to their website. If you have so many names you get two months, more names you get three free months up to four free months if you submit something like 60,000 names. About 8 years ago I made the mistake of submitting my family tree to their website. They didn’t offer the automatic merge feature back then but they sure do now. They took my family tree and then the month trial period expired. I chose not to subscribe to their website because it was costly and the website didn’t offer enough to justify the cost of the subscription. I had many terrible errors in the tree that I submitted and could not correct any of them – I had wrong people with wrong families, wrong dates etc. – I could not even remove the tree unless I paid for a year’s subscription. There is another example of a Merge Hints feature gone bad. People on that website are taking my terrible mistakes and putting them in their family trees and I can’t do anything about it.

    I suspect Ancestry is on the path to doing the same thing. The OFT system will soon be frozen to corrections or changes, and in order to view any of the OFT or AMT family trees (not including those AMT trees with invitations to outside family members), the viewer must have a paid subscription to the Ancestry website. This is so defeating and discouraging to the new researcher.

    The ability to freely view family trees is an incentive to draw subscribers. I started my tree on Ancestry before I subscribed and that is the reason I subscribed — because I was able to post my tree, and view the other submitted trees. To me that was a bonanza. The ability to view another person’s family tree created the desire to dig deeper and get more information. Now, with all the trees at Ancestry hidden from the public unless you pay to see them, people will turn away when presented with the high cost of the subscription. There is no longer the teaser to draw them in.

    Sheila, I am not quite sure how you interpreted that part of my post that you commented to. Taking someone’s tree in part or entirety can be looked at in different ways. How different is merging it through Ancestry (along with copying photos and documents), than copying the tree manually, directly from Rootsweb? Well…I look at it like this: When someone gives me information, as time allows I confirm everything with documentation such as birth, marriage, death, military papers, funeral home records, cemetery burial records and headstones readings, among just a few. I scratch through court archives and land records; I pull 100+ year old divorce cases and civil suits, probate records and read through books trying to glean a piece of information about a location, event or person. I go to libraries, and I search through newspaper archives and make phone call after phone call. I give my documents to certain people only, and ask that they do not share them because that is my work. I think that is fair. This is a lot of time and work for anyone, and the experienced genealogist who does not submit a tree online is not going to give their hard work away. Some genealogists who do publish their tree online will share what is online only, but will not provide any information beyond what is online and they will not share their documents.

    With the new Ancestry merge feature, Ancestry is giving away work people may not realize is being given away, or want to give away. They are also encouraging sloppy research because included in that merge feature is information from the One World Tree which is a hotbed of errors and mismatched names. I have also found Ancestry offering unnamed, undated family trees in the merge feature and in the One World Tree that I have no idea where these trees came from. I think they are trees that were once submitted and then removed by the owners. I searched for one of those trees once, and could not find it in the OFT. Please correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t I recently read a post on one of these blogs about someone finding their obsolete tree being offered by them in the hints merge feature but this tree had been removed some time ago by the submitter?

  79. Thom Kime

    Reply to Sheilal86 Sheila Lyon, #79

    It is the kind of person that you are and how you handle information from other people that counts. Acknowledge others and give credit where it’s due.

    The kind of person you are will come through in time and you’ll make the contacts you desire and there will be those in your family who will help you in you quest. Be persistent, honest, sincere and giving. Build trust and above all, BE PATIENT!

    Show the family what other members have given and how it has advanced the family tree. Make sure you go out of your way to give credit to those who contributed to the effort. Do a family newsletter email and let them know what you’re doing. Let everyone know that you’re just as interested in the living as you are in the dead and dispelled the common myth that genealogy is just about dead people that no one remembers anymore. Do a family reunion, even if it’s really tiny. The next one will be bigger!

    If I visit a new found relative (actually any relative) I always ask them to pose for pictures and I quickly turn my attention to the photos in their home and ask questions about them. I ask if I may take photos of their photos and they are usually thrilled at the interest I’ve taken in them and their family! I try to have some advanced knowledge of their branch in the family tree so I can carry on and follow a discussion with them about it.

    Don’t give up or let the frustration beat you down either!

  80. Kenny Freestone

    In response to comment 77 and 78…

    This posting was not done by me or by our system. I find it rather bizarre, and apologize for the confusion it caused.


  81. Kudos to Carol Grant for message 80!

    My own sentiments regarding access to ancestry files and protecting them from abuse by inane copying have been expressed excellently by Carol. I encourage all to read or re-read her message.

    One occasionally has to put up with information “leeches” such as Carol described. I have had my share, perhaps the worst of which was a certain Rosemary who represented herself as The authority on a particular family name in my ancestry. After a few polite email interchanges and without provocation on my part, I read an email from her that started off “OK, a—hole, …”. (The “– “ standing for a repetition of two missing letters.) She sent emails to acolytes and then copied replies back to me, including one that highly insulted the performance of the football team at the university where I teach (as if I could possibly care; I never watch sports). One of her acolytes even sent me an email damning me for having come from the “bad side” of the family! Later on, she repeatedly attached obnoxious Post’ems to my ancestry file over the next few years, which I took great delight in deleting at the first opportunity.

    My delight was magnified when a different descendant of the same family who was unknown to her contacted me and sent me images of an old and highly informative family will. I transcribed the text of the will and placed it on the web, but I will never, ever share the images with that leech or let her know from whom I obtained them. Shield me from such leeches!

    But the bad interactions have been easily overbalanced by the development of many wonderful and informative friendships over the years. There is a great bunch of informed and intelligent individuals out there who are interested in ancestry and history. You have to reach out to make contact.

    I submit that I have not gone off subject with this message. If terminates Online Family Tree (OFT) and leaves behind only Ancestry Member Trees (AMT), much will have been lost. Access to AMT files will be restricted only to those who pay an annual subscription fee of about $200. The reduction in the contacts to any individual AMT file owner will be major. Fewer contacts, less information exchange, a much less vibrant environment in which information is exchanged: that’s the future that has been charting out for all of us.

    Turn this ship to a new heading! What a tragedy.


    Gary Collins

  82. Concerning messages 77 by “Blog Guidelines”, 78 by Carol Grant and 82 by Kenny Freestone:

    In retrospect, it seems clear that message 77 was a bogus message masquerading as a message from the blogmeisters at

    I feel a little bad for jumping too quick to the conclusion that message 77 was from the management. does not appear to have been censoring individual messages, with perhaps a few exceptions. would have no rational interest in alienating blog readers with messages such as 77.

    Even though I think the mission to replace OFT with AMT is a disaster for users as well as for, and although the new AMT system has been taking a devastating amount of flak from users who have come to discover that they are not even beta-testing the new system, but alpha-testing it, I think Kenny Freestone and the blogmanagers have been fairminded.

    Carol wrote privately to me that message 78 was written ironically. I’ve learned in the classroom that irony is so often misinterpreted as the genuine sentiment. I originally took Carol’s message 78 that way. Let’s all work to keep communication avenues open as we contend with the major issues at hand.


    Gary Collins

  83. Maureen

    I’ve spent a couple of hours reading Ancestry Blog for the first time. I’m not a ‘blog’ person. I found many of the entries interesting; some rude to ‘newbies’ like myself.

    My frustration with AMT is trying to attach things to my shoebox instead of my tree, which has occurred and really made a mess of things requiring painstaking deleting of these inadvertent attachments. Ho-hum. The book on I got from my library has helped some, but……. I guess I just don’t always recognize the right ‘save’ link to use in the different screens.

    I am glad that in my past use of Ancestry at the local library I printed out info I found, as it now seems unavailable. The info was sourced and I subsequently went to the sources and verified same before adding it to my tree. I don’t think ‘newbies’ intentionally ‘copy and paste’ stuff into their trees without verifying things, but perhaps experience the same problem I do w/getting it to the tree instead of the shoebox as intended.

    I do agree with the comments about the amount of time it takes to navigate the AMT system, and the ease at getting ‘lost’ in the process. Before becoming a paid subscriber I used Ancestry at my local library for a year or so and found the older system more user friendly in this regard.

    I also miss the ability to see my entire tree at one time instead of just isolated pieces of it. I was gifted w/FTM v16 for Christmas, so I’ll just download (I hope without incident) what I’ve done online to that.

    I appreciate reading the additional comments about sharing info which were recently posted. I’ve tried to reach some folks through the ‘message boards’ but haven’t had responses yet and fear I may have inadvertently seemed like a ‘gimmee’ person rather than mutual sharer. I’ll try again and give my info upfront, even though this scares me a bit since one never knows who is on the other end of the internet.


  84. sheilal86 Sheila Lyon

    Thank you for your comments Maureen, #85. And this is also a message to Thom Kime and Gary S Collins.

    Being new at genealogy, I too have been trying to navigate through the screens and have saved and pasted some information that may have not been correct. I am learning that if I do find information that might apply to my family in someone else’s tree, I investigate that information myself.
    One person here commented on the “newbies” who are trying to fill up their trees as fast as they can.
    I am not sure what the point of that would be, but I am convinced that taking your time is the answer. I have found that other peoples trees are really only a place to start my own inquiries and investigations.

    I know it seems like some of the seasoned “genies” would try to encourage rather than discourage the novices out here in the hinterland. While it may appear that they have all of the answers they may not have your answer, if that makes sense.
    And speaking of encouragement, thank you to Thom Kime and Gary S Collins who have both been VERY encouraging to me. I did contact another member who had my family, including my great grandparents, in her private tree. I told her I was going to Texas this spring and offered to take pictures of the headstones of my great grandparents if she wanted them. Seems her husband’s great grandfather is a brother to my great aunt’s husband who are also in the same cemetery as my great grandparents. She said she would be thrilled to have pictures of the headstones and cemetery.
    I am not certain there is any information she can give me that I need, but, it’s a start!
    I am like Maureen, I don’t want to be a “gimmee” person either.

    Thanks again you guys!

  85. Warren Cushing

    Okay. We have got a problem here Houston.

    Apparently the only way to update an existing gedcom on the new AMT is to upload another file and delete the old one.

    Members have contacted me stating that they cannot access my gedcom. This is because the old file was deleted and replaced by a new file.

    However Ancestry maintains the index for the old file for about a month after the file has been deleted. This causes confusion for members seeking information on my database. They are accessing the old file which has been removed and receiving the message that my file is down when actually the new file is readily available.

    Therefore I have concluded that I cannot delete the old files any longer, but can only upload new files. I am afraid I will be clogging up the system with new uploads until some sort of fix for this problem is found.

    The OFT was so simple to include in the AWT with just a click of a button. And the AWT was so simple to transfer to Rootsweb WorldConnect. Why can’t the AMT be as simple to use?

  86. Carole Grant


    Only one person used the word “newbies” on this blog and it was not me. Your words however are directed at me and you have accused me of calling you a “newbie” because you combined that particular emphasized word in with my comments.

    Sorry. Wrong. Go back, use your ‘find’ option on the tool bar under Edit and look for the word “newbie”.

    All I did was try to explain to you why some people may not have responded to your requests for information.

    You didn’t read my words. Instead you became irate.

    All I did was attempt to point out the deficiencies of merging in information from other people’s trees from the new AMT hints merge feature.

    You obviously felt personally attacked because you use the merge feature.

    I am sorry you feel that way, and there is nothing I can do about it because I will again say that I stand behind my words and there are hundreds of people who feel the same way I do.

    I share my information. All someone has to do is ask; however if someone DEMANDS information, or uses me, I will no longer share.

    Since I have been a member of, not every person that I have written to has responded to my emails, EVEN IF I OFFER TO SWAP INFORMATION. I just move on.

  87. Sheilal86 Sheila Lyon

    In response to Carol post #88.

    Actually, Carol, if you read my message carefully, I am actually defending your position.

    You are absolutely correct about merging information. Please re-read my message about using other trees only as a starting point in your own investigations.

    I am frustrated, yes but not irate. I am beginning to see frustration is part of the strange hobby of genealogy.

    I do like my word for the seasoned vets in this hobby, though. Genies. Hope you are smiling now.

    And yes, let’s move on.


  88. Thom Kime

    Reply to Sheila, #89

    That was the most admirable display of restraint I have ever witnessed! Good for you!

  89. Bob S.

    #90! This blog is not for your side-stepping comments. Stay on topic. You have already crossed the line of boredumb.

    Mr. Freestone, please delete post #90 by Mr. Kime which is out of line and does not belong on this board.

  90. While nothing is certain in this world, it appears that poster “Blog Guidelines” of message #77, complaining about posted message #76, is none other than poster “Bob. S.” of message #91, complaining about message #90. But his message is not clear.

    Dear Bob S., please elaborate your comments–I don’t understand your points.

    Is you are or is you not my “Bob. S.”??

  91. Patrick


    Now that I’m almost fully transitioned to AWT, I can say that I like it. I have one question and one comment/complaint.

    Question…Is there a way to attach files, i.e., death certs. obtained from other sources to persons on my tree?

    Comment…I’m quite certain you’ve heard this from other folks, but “unsourced” data from people who haven’t done the “grunt” level research really aren’t “hints”. If so, they’re bad hints. I’ve run across so much data that’s obviously just been copied from someone else’s tree. Maybe some people are simply interested in filling in the blanks on their trees and don’t really care that much about accuracy. If a certain piece of data is questionable, it’s easy to place a “?” or the word “possibly” next to it. But, again, some folks just aren’t serious about wanting accurate and verifiable information.

    As a solution, is it feasible to somehow segregate trees or portions of trees which are unsourced. Also, a friendly reminder to users that, in the interest of helpful sharing, place a “qualifier” on a pice of information if they’re unsure of its accuracy.

    thanks for reading my lengthy comments.



    ‘“unsourced” data from people who haven’t done the “grunt” level research really aren’t “hints”. If so, they’re bad hints. I’ve run across so much data that’s obviously just been copied from someone else’s tree. Maybe some people are simply interested in filling in the blanks on their trees and don’t really care that much about accuracy. If a certain piece of data is questionable, it’s easy to place a “?” or the word “possibly” next to it. But, again, some folks just aren’t serious about wanting accurate and verifiable information.’


    unsourced” data from people who haven’t done the “grunt” level research really aren’t “hints AND THAT some folks just aren’t serious about wanting accurate and verifiable information’
















  94. Patrick


    I didn’t intend for my comments/suggestions to be taken so personally. I guess people have different levels of sensitivity.

    However, I stand by my remarks that some people aren’t as careful as I try to be when posting data to their trees. In some cases, I post unsourced data, but I try to add a “qualifying” comment so that others won’t needlessly be led astray by a possible error that I’ve made.

    Hopefully, you will note that I didn’t merely post compaints; i also added specific suggestions as to how to improve this Ancestry product.

    Again, I regret that you took my posting personally. It was not intended that way.

  95. Kenny Freestone

    in response to comment 93…

    Hi Patrick,

    In response to your question, you can upload files in the form of images, PDF, .DOC, etc. to a person in your tree. If you find a photo or story on a person in another public tree you can save a copy of that photo or story to your own tree.


  96. Wanda McDonough

    Here it is Feb.11, 2008 and I am still reading lots of complaints and some suggestions from the users of But no honest leply from staff about the issue. It is preposterous to say the old system was unstable and might crash and therefore lose all the info in it. Any oginization as big as yours surely backs your information up several times daily. If you really love the new version, fine. Leave the older version for those who prefer the format. That is all we want. Why is that so difficult? Considering the annual fees plus what you obviously get from the very annoying banner ads, money can not be the problem.

  97. Patsy Reed

    My request is simple. When searching census, please number pages. It would be nice to review 75 pages, and then the next, be able to go to page 76 instead of going through the first 75 all over.

  98. Warren Cushing

    If I transfer my OFT to Member Trees today and start building there, will I be able at some point in the near future to make these Notes visible to the public?

    Moreover, will this be an On/Off button type arrangement as most members desire?

    I am worried that if I start using the Member Trees, that the OFT may have to be re-uploaded again to enable the Notes to be visible. If this is the case, then I cannot start using the Member Trees until this issue is resolved. I don’t want to have to do everything over twice.

  99. Kenny Freestone

    In response to comment 102…

    Warren, when we add this feature we plan to make notes public by default on new trees, and allow existing trees to change a setting to make the notes public.

    You won’t have to re-upload to make the notes visible.


  100. Mary (McCrary) Wertin

    Kenny, Last nite I happened to scroll down past the bottom of the page I was working on and saw the blog letters about the transfer of family trees to AWT and that it has to be done by the 18th of this month. I don’t recall receiving an e-mail concerning this change or perhaps I was asleep at the wheel. It doesn’t sound like the majority of the correspondents are happy about the change. Seems just when I get used to a program someone thinks it can be done better another way. You are not a Methods Engineer, are you?

    I am 80 years old, a retired secretary, and I really enjoy working on my family trees especially through Ancestry. I got started in genealogy in 1979 when I found an article about genealogy with a form to use in a magazine called, “Outdoor Illinois” of all things.

    I don’t adjust quickly to change and the mention of all the problems makes me nervous. I certainly don’t want to loose anything. Lately I’ve just started putting in all my sources.I liken the hobby to working a crossword or jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces have to fit.

    I made my tree public so people could see my information but, hopefully, would check out the sites where I found the information for themselves. That’s the fun of it. It is so exciting when you come across a record or obituary
    you’ve been searching for and the fact that you did it yourself is a tremendous feeling.

    I do not appreciate your idea of anyone being able to submit, edit or alter information in my tree and hope you will reconsider this. There have been a lot of good suggestions submitted by members that I also agree with and hope you initiate.

    From the sound of things all the kinks had not been worked out before the order to transfer. If you want to call me and walk me through the transfer I want to do so before my tree goes into Limbo. Thank you.

  101. Kenny Freestone

    In response to comment 104…

    Hi Mary,

    I’m not sure where you saw the note about the 18th of this month. That is not accurate. We have no set date as to when we will turn of the edit and viewing capability of the Online Family Tree system, but anticipate it will be soon–over the next few months.

    You mention you have made your tree public…I’m wondering if you are using our newer Ancestry Member Tree system already, because the Old Online Family Tree system did not allow trees to be public (but does allow for a copy to be submitted to the public Ancestry World Tree).

    You mention concern about others submitting, editing, or altering information in your tree. Neither the old system (Online Family Tree) nor the new system (Ancestry Member Trees) we are encouraging people to try out allow others to edit or alter your file unless you invite them to be an editor in your tree.

    I hope this clears up some of your concerns.

    I would be happy to call and walk you through the transfer if you would like. Please send me an email with your phone number. (kfreestone at



  102. thats not quite correct is it kenny!


    that you have called

    ‘one world tree’


    ok its not a humanbeing that is doing so but an ANCESTRY PROGRAM.
    infact this is far worse because its a program that ANCESTRY regards as progress.




  103. Karene Wood

    I could tell there were to be big problems when Ancestry started “merging” data from the Ancestry World Tree submissions to the One World Tree and now there are two more “member” trees..with countless errors due in part to the merge process and also to people not committed to checking their data for errors. The misinformation now in my family trees is unbelievable. Several years ago I sought to remove my tree from Ancestry and it was removed from my ability to change and/or correct data but not from the database overall. It is beyond Ancestry’s ability to delete it. I tried three times with customer service. I will never submit anything again in any capacity.

  104. In response to comment 104 by Kenny Freestone:


    You are completely wrong in stating that the “great” (not “old”) Online Family Tree (OFT) system does not allow trees to be made public. On the OFT entry page at, all one has to do is click on the ‘world’ icon to make the ancestry file public.

    Have you ever actually used OFT??


    Gary Collins

  105. carl hollister

    I have read the entire column of comments. oure just flogging a dead horse. Use version 16(2006). It works like a charm. Keep your trees and share with only the sites that don’t let anyone but you add or subtract. Make up your own books and print them on your own computer. No more Hassels, ulcers or bad feelings.
    best regards,
    Carl Hollister

  106. C

    Mr. Hollister, You have misunderstood.

    This blog / discussion is about the new Ancestry Member Trees that are online at

    This is not about the new Family Tree Maker program.

    People who are frustrated with/have problems or downright hate the 2008 Family Tree Maker program have also been posting here by mistake.

  107. carl hollister

    In reading more of the sites, a common theme is ” You lost my tree” or some version of that theme. Has no one thought to make a back up copy to a cd or floppy or even to a site on your computer? I would never send an original anywhere in cyberspace without having a back up at hand just on the chance that the gremlins could choose to eat that particular file. Seems to be just common sense.
    Also a lot of grouseing about the new program. True, it really is a clunker, but no one has a gun to your head forcing you to use it. Just send it back, get a refund, go back to version 16 (2006) and be at work in no time. I have yet to find an area in 16 that is compromised by Vista.
    If you are so anxious to have your tree on line look for another site or put in on your own site. It is cheaper than the annual fees of and safer too from what I am seeing in the posts to this site. I have made many good contacts with the old WFT site and also gathered much information.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that if the tool won’t work, get another tool that will.
    Carl Hollister

  108. carl you seem to miss the point entirly. many of us do have a back up we are not that stupid not to. our gripe is that ancestry is trying to force an inferier tree program which has a lot of ‘bells and whistles’ and LOTS OF BUGS that we dont want. so many of us are removing our trees. but we should not have too do so when we pay for a service hence this blog to tell them our feelings. if ancestry had actually offered a beta testing first rather than roll it out and said well here it is you will HAVE to move your tree; although though there is nothing wrong with the old online version. they have tried to tell us it is past it sell by date. rather than saying well now you have a choice on which you use. they seem to think giving us grafics instead of a useable tree which does what we want is enough. i have already reduced my all world to just uk because of the inability of ancestry to understand our requirements which is more records rather than gimicks and if they dont improve at the end of my subscription i will be off. many have all ready left the sinking ship which ancestry seem unable to see needs baling out. it does not help that there is a bug that is causing problems when moving our trees from the much prefered olt to the bells and whistles amt. you are ment to be able to do this with one click but that is not proving to be the case. as to my trees in olt i downloaded them all (8)on to roots and then deleted the lot. ancestry lost out with me . yes i do have a tree on amt but is not upto date and the way things are going i will not update it anyway just remove it. when i feel its due to be renewed.
    if we are paying for a service then we should be given the service. in my opinion they have got it completly wrong when it comes to amt and others seem to agree . its the programers who are the ones that need shooting not us we are just the messangers.

  109. carl hollister

    I do get your point and totally agree. Both the 2008 program and the tree fiasco are from the same root. When Banner Blue first started the WFT I contributed and so did a lot of others. It was free then. Then came the WFT cd’s and I didn’t mind that. No one could mess with the content and it made a good resource. It never was meant to be an end in itself. Then came the commercialism of having to pay a yearly or monthly fee to be able to see what we had put in. Someone cashing in on our work for which we got no remuneration. That’s why you won’t find my tree on this or any commercial site. The old way people could communicate via e-mail or snail mail with questions, corrections, sources etc. I made and met a lot of distant relatives and friends. This now is a thing of the past and we are in a mode of almost elitism. “You poor ignorant masses, you really don’t know what you want and if it weren’t for us intellectuals to tell you what you should have you would really be in a mess.” I have had enough of this kind of thing. I, and others, do know what we want, do know what works for us and dislike being told that we are full of +++++++. The only reason I am here now is that with the 2008 came a 2 week subscription to Ancestry. The Program has gone back. In 2 weeks so will the subscription. I have found nothing of value here.
    Thank you for letting me vent.
    Carl Hollister

  110. carl
    i know you proble are clued up to this but….
    do make sure you council just before the end of the trial BY PHONE DONT TRUST AN EMAIL as one person ,i think it was someone from new zealand did not and they ended up with a subscription for a year this was in the messages last week not sure under which heading they told us about it. dont wait for ancestry to contact you because it is in their intrest not to, contact them now and tell them you dont wish to continue or you too could be saddled with an unwanted subscription.

    if things keep going the way they are i am not sure i will continuee after my sub runs out. the only reason i stay is that the bmd and census ectra is convenently in one place and as the uk is a lot smaller than the usa i have quite a bit more coverage than you do. as to my tree i am very near to removing it for good anyway as it is only there as a contact tool!.


  111. Russell Kay Port

    I’ve just perused all the reader comments and have decided not to extend my short time based subscription. It looks as though your attention to customer satisfaction lacks the need for us to financially support this giant bungle you’ve just invoked.


  112. Sue

    I have emailed Ancestry and have entered a comment here, both about a month ago and neither of which has been answered. Considering I have supported Ancestry for going on 10 years, I would think it would be pretty good PR and good company policy to try to hold onto your long-term clients. So I shall ask my question again.

    I switched all my trees to the ‘new’ system called “Ancestry Member Trees” and was assured that they would be made available to the public. Not considering myself to be entirely stupid, I even followed the instructions and checked the box indicating that the trees were to be made available to the public. This was done a the end of 2007. I’m startled to see that any new names that I have added to these ‘new’ trees do not appear if searched by the public. They are certainly on the trees and I can find them because I know where to look, but if a member of the public is searching for, say, Wilmer Padunk, and I added him to my tree 2 months ago, Wilmer Padunk’s name will not come up even though he is indeed on my ‘public’ tree. Why is this and when will this rather gross oversight be corrected? Also, when will the name “Ancestry Member Tree” be placed on the search site? Right now, when searching uder the heading “Family Trees”, the only 4 categories which show up are: Public Member Trees, Oneworld Trees, Personal Member Trees, and the old Ancestry trees which cannot be added to anyway. Where are the ‘new’ Ancestry Member trees with all the newly added information which is supposed to be easily accessible to the general public? What is the point of any of us adding new names to our trees with the hopes of making new connections with the public, if the public cannot find the newly added names?

    Has Ancestry just become an exercise in futility as it seems to be losing its ability for us to connect with new ‘relatives’ through any new information which we add to our ‘new’ Ancestry Member Trees.

  113. sue, i too am a long time use of ancestry and i am as frustrated as you are with the way things are going especially when it comes to custermer relations side of things and the AMT although i must add here we in the uk do have access to ancestry via the telephone eaisaly and they are very good. but i am seriously concidering not renewing my sub next time.

    anyway i have just read the above and i see you are a little confused over the amt access. so i will just answer one part of your question

    the AMT entries are there wheater or not the entries are correct is up to each person to check and i am not in the position to comment on that part of your question.

    now as i said AMT is there if you remember you can decide weather or not to let other users see your tree and you are asked to make the choice. well those who decid not too have the trees labled personal and the others are labled public.

    so the trees under PERSONAL and PUBLIC which you mention above are infact the divided up AMT trees. and your tree should of course be in the PUBLIC section of the list.

  114. Sue

    Is there anyone at Ancestry who answers our questions or are we just wasting our time here? This is beginning to look just like a fly-by-night ‘mickey mouse’ outfit. The President and/or CEO needs to take a good hard look as its employees and maybe have a house-cleaning.

  115. Sue

    Well……….someone took pity on my plaintif wails and I can now access my newly added information – this has just transpired within the last few days, so thank you to whomever fixed the problem.

  116. Re messages 119, 122 and 123 by Sue:


    I think you are well advised to be concerned about very long wait times before updates to Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) files get posted. To my knowledge, new postings to Online Family Tree (OFT) or files have taken less than about a day. AMT appears to have a major problem getting updates posted!


    Gary Collins

  117. 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$ 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$ AMT offers no notes and is only available to paying customers.

    An alternative service I investigated recently is at, where I have uploaded my ancestry file to You can compare it with my rootsweb ancestry file at 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 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.


    Gary Collins

  118. 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, where I have uploaded my ancestry file to You can compare it with my rootsweb ancestry file at 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 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 directly from this blog page, and I predict that it will not work.

    (2) copy 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$ is compromising links in at least some of its blog message, including mine dated April 8.

    Shame on Ance$!! Kenny Freestone, I would appreciate if you would look into this and report back.


    Gary Collins

  119. 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 site in my message of April 8 was recorded as” 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’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 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.


    Gary Collins

  120. martha

    What is the difference between ftm basic and fmt platium 2008 also are they having trouble with 2008. i want to buy it but dont knoww which one to buy

  121. 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.



    below is the answer,from kenny, to the email i sent in response to kennys reuest on the ‘Online Family Tree Announcement’ blog message 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.



  123. 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.

  124. black legitimate family trees

    Message #142 is unintelligible […] Can the author clarify? […] […]

  125. I have seen a lot of seriously negative comments about feature problems. My advice is, stick to facts. Facts about problems can lead to fixes, and in my experience with Ancestry, they usually are. Also, be patient. Things take time to fix. Emotional ranting does nobody any good, though it may seem like the thing to do when you can’t get to the info or feature you need. This is the best resource for genealogy on the Web, and well worth this price considering everything that is here. Also, I have seen my factual comments about fixes and new features incorporated better than just about any other site I have been involved with on the Web.

  126. In reference to message #144 by Stuart Gourd:

    Dear Stuart,

    Many issues have been raised in this blog as well as in the main blog at . Some issues have to do with major deficiencies of the Ancestry-Member-Tree (AMT) system (e.g., only paying subscribers can see your tree, inability to see notes, inability to display charts of descendants). Others have to do with the fact that the much more highly effective Online-Family-Tree (OFT) system is still slated to be gutted. In my opinion, OFT is vastly superior to AMT for serious web-based genealogical research. Perhaps one can contrast the two systems by describing OFT as “open sourced” and AMT is private.

    Let’s give credit where credit is due: AMT is much more convenient for composing a multi-media family scrapbook. However, it is still inaccessible to the general public. Thus, even setting aside complaints that it takes forever for new entries to become searchable, thereare bound to be many, many lost potential contacts with distant family members.

    Thus, the “ranting”, as you describe it, goes far beyond simple requests for to improve functionality of its AMT resource. For me, at least, it will never measure up to the OFT resource. If and when OFT’s “plug” gets pulled, I will have to find some other means to update my ancestry file and then make it publicly available on


    Gary Collins

  127. (This is a close copy of a post to the main blog website)

    Dear All,

    There have been two kinds of comments posted at this blog site, 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: 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 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 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 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 thinks that elimination of OFT will increase use of AMT. Possibly, AMT is viewed as the future “cash cow” of by its management. I submit that such a view is seriously mistaken!

    Concerning II: With regret, I cannot recommend much about the AMT system, even if worked as planned.


    Gary Collins

  128. Where do we post suggestions like a ‘utility to merge duplicate entries in our lists of tree members caused by importing people, stories, parents, or children from other members’ trees?’ I work primarily in because trying to transpose to FamTree Maker is too tedious. How about a utility to capture our info fron Ancestry, who also seems capable of losing people, stories and relationships easily.

  129. Gary S. Collins


    Please remove message #147. The name is bogus and the link-back is to what looks like a porn site (http:/…)

    Thanks in advance.

  130. Joanne Sholes

    I have just recently posted my tree on the Public member tree site. It is also posted on the old roots site. I miss research notes not being viewable except to those invited. I have taken great pains in my research notes to credit other contributors and people who have generously helped me expand my knowledge. I do not mind my notes being availble and easily viewed. In fact, I would prefer it so people can see where my info came from and specific details included. I would appreciate at least the option to make my research notes viewable to anyone viewing my tree. There have been times I contacted a person only to find I was viewing my own work without any credit or notes. It would be nice to have the option to make research notes readily viewable.

  131. I am embarking on finding my roots. I am not sure whether I should sign up for or Family Tree Maker. I am not really sure they are different.

    I would really prefer to take an online course before starting this adventure.

    Please advise the best way to get started. I appreciate your comments. Thanks.

  132. Barbara

    How do I correct errors on your site. ie my Dad is still alive but someone put his death in 1973. Please help.

Comments are closed.