Please Don't Misunderstand Me, Ancestry

Published September 24, 2012 by Steve Watts #

We have to be some of ancestry.com’s biggest fans. Julie spends countless hours building and fleshing out her monster tree using ancestry as the focal point. Our household is 100 % in terms of world members. We both own a copy of Family Tree Maker with TreeSync - one for Windows and one for MAC. Unfortunately, we purchased FTM with TreeSync primarily to backup Julie’s opus (her now 72,000 person + and counting family tree). The postmark on the Windows version - which was available first - is 25Oct2011. If I started right away - which is likely - then that says I started calling Ancestry support on 27Oct2011 or so - let’s call it 1Nov2011. It is now 24Sep2012. TreeSync hasn’t worked on MAC or Windows one time for this tree despite repeated frustrating calls and a surprising lack of communication. I believe 1 year is way more than you need to fix this problem, so I’m starting a countdown to 1 year.

So, today is t-38 and counting. If I counted correctly (and I’m sure I’ll hear about it if I didn’t), that says that 1Nov2012 will be day t-0, or one year from the day I started trying to get a good backup from FTM with TreeSync. I’m going to send a tweet once per day with the hash tag #tangledrootsbu and the day count, and will report success on the day we receive a backup of Julie’s tree that we can run it on Family Tree Maker - either MAC or Windows - and see that the numbers are at least close and the resources (records, photos, etc.) appear to be present. We don’t intend to be rigorous in verifying every detail - this is a monumental tree, and achieving a backup of such a tree is non-trivial. But it’s not something that should take a year from the release of a product advertised as doing just that, for goodness sake. I really don’t care if this is done through TreeSync, or if you send me a stack of CDs or DVDs or a hard drive with the data. It just needs to run in an FTM instance. We have GEDCOM Backups and they do run so we know your software can handle a large tree.

Now for the “please don’t misunderstand me” part. We think ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker are fantastic tools - not the only great tools available, but the ones we happen to use and like. Your tools and ones like them have absolutely revolutionized the pursuit of Family History. TreeSync is a tool that qualifies as revolutionary. I do appreciate the gesture you just made in saying that you are not planning to release FTM 2013 - I assume that is because you still need to finish FTM 2012. I have some experience with the type of thing you are trying to accomplish in my past endeavors, but I must say I don’t envy you the year you have likely had trying to make everyone who bought a TreeSync equipped product happy. These are records of their families, and they are their labors of love. They care deeply, and I’m pretty sure the people you have working at Ancestry do as well. Let’s get this thing finished so you can get started on a fantastic FTM 2014!

And thanks for your contribution to making the pursuit of Family History so fun and rewarding!