11 December 2015

Surviving the Loss of Family Tree Maker

This week Ancestry.com announced that in January 2017 they would drop support of their popular genealogy software package, Family Tree Maker. The reaction in the genealogical community has been overwhelmingly negative but if Ancestry does indeed follow through with their intentions, there are many alternatives for those of you using their software. First of all, don't panic! You have more than a year to move your files and to work out glitches, if any occur.

The office volunteers at StLGS have long recommended either RootsMagic or Legacy Family Tree for PC users and Reunion for Mac users. All three programs are solid, well supported, and flexible. You can do everything you did in FTM and lots more, including extremely valuable source citations, charts, media attachments, etc. We have sample copies of both PC programs at the office for those who want to see before making a decision and we have volunteers in-house who can help you with all three packages. We often have classes in using software too; the winter class schedule will come out in January and we already have two classes planned for March on using RootsMagic. In addition, instructor, Ted Steele, is working on a new monograph on using RootsMagic, which will be available soon.

Those of you who have very old versions of FTM (or other aging software) would do well to upgrade during the next few months, as it is always dangerous to keep valuable files in outdated versions of programs.

Meanwhile, for those of you who have begun to ask, you transfer your files via GEDCOM. If you are a member of StLGS, you can download a free monograph (PDF) on GEDCOMs, written by Ted Steele, in the Member Benefits section of our website. (Or go directly to http://stlgs.org/resources/on-this-site/monographs-for-members/) The monograph is also for sale in our store in print form. Just search for "GEDCOM."

We will be providing more ways to help you during the next few months. Watch for announcements and know that there are lots of StLGS volunteers who are available to help you through this transition.

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