A Week of Unexpected BSOs

This week did not go anything like what I expected. BSOs captured my attention and broke my writing concentration. I decided to go with the flow and see where it took me. This major distraction was caused by – yep, you guessed it – Ancestry’s Tuesday afternoon announcement that it was retiring Family Tree Maker.

Now, you are probably thinking, “Here comes another one of those rants that I’ve been reading all week.” Nope, not from me. Ancestry chose to move on, but the truth is I had already made the decision to move on when Ancestry suffered that DDos attack.

I have been an Family Tree Maker user since back when Broderbund owned it and it had served me well. However, the the attack happened, the software went haywire. Even when I went off line, it barely functioned and, as Ancestry service returned to normal, quirks still remained behind in the software. The biggest one for me is that the program freezes up constantly and freezes up everything else on my computer at the same time. No, it’s not my computer because the only time I have the freeze issues is when FTM is open.

During a rare moment while the DDos attack was happening, I actually got FTM opened and created a GEDCOM. I quickly closed FTM up again and purchased RootsMagic. I decided that I didn’t want to be held hostage along with a company targeted by an attacker. Since then, I have kept both programs updated with information, although I continued to enter new data through FTM. The only reason for that was laziness on my part.

In the fall of 2014, I received an email ad from Heredis and purchased that because it was some ridiculously low price like $10. Heredis is based in France and is way more widely used in Europe than it is here. One thing I liked about it right away was that a short time later, a Swedish cousin emailed me his GEDCOM. I know GEDCOMs are imported into software, but I clicked on it without thinking and the file actually found Heredis on my computer on its own and just opened. No manual import needed!

I began attending RootsMagic user group meetings at Pima County Genealogy Society and dabbled a bit with it. I made the decision earlier this year that, although I would finish my digital scanning project this year using Family Tree Maker, when it was completed, I would create more-or-less a final FTM GEDCOM and make the final switch over. (If you’ve followed my blog, you know that my Genealogy Go-Over was completed six weeks ahead of schedule on November 22, so this has been down time.)

Then this week happened. And I got distracted. Big time. By all the Bright Shiny Objects – all the genealogy software programs out there.

I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything spectacular and when the vendors immediately started offering discounts to Family Tree Maker users, I jumped in to look around.

As I mentioned, I already had purchased both RootsMagic and Heredis. After seeing some of the great prices being offered right now, I also purchased Legacy. My original intent was to seriously try and compare those three options. One more BSO caught my eye, though – Family Historian. I watched their 16 minute video and was impressed, but still bypassed them at $46. Then, the 20% off offer was posted and I decided for $37.20, I was going to add it to my collection.

There won’t be any comparison reviews of these four products on my blog, but I think I have four great choices. Putting together technical details isn’t my idea of fun and there are several other bloggers, Randy Seaver being one of them, who do a fantastic job in that area.

I am not one to promote commercial sites, but today is a bit different. If you are like me, you like to check things out for yourself.  I will note whether each company has versions for Windows (W) or Mac, but you can review them yourself. One person’s pro is someone else’s con. Several of the companies have free or trial versions; they are based in the U.S. unless noted otherwise:

Ancestral Quest – W and Mac, has a free version

Brother’s Keeper – W only, no free version that I find

Family Historian – W only, 30 day free trial, based in UK

Heredis – W and Mac, no free version that I find, based in France

Legacy – W only, standard version free

RootsMagic – W and Mac with MacBridge, free standard basic version

Reunion – Mac, no free version that I see, based in Australia

Take some time to google  The 2016 Best Genealogy Software Review if you would like a detailed comparison of these and several other programs that I didn’t include on my “maybe” list. Note that the product prices are mostly wrong right now because of extensive sales and Heredis 2014 has been updated to Heredis 2015.

I would love to have reader comments if you are a current user of any of these programs.





3 thoughts on “A Week of Unexpected BSOs”

  1. I like my FTM, but I went ahead and bought Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic. I’m not sure I have enough patience to try more than that. But I’m not going to panic about the announcement. I thought the end of Geocities was the end of the world, but now I see it wasn’t. In fact, the various blogging platforms are so much easier than Geocities ever was. So everything will shake out in the end.

  2. I am also exploring new software after having used Family Tree Maker for decades. I am now on a Mac, which limits me somewhat in my choices. Thanks for your summary. Click on my name to see my post about the FTM retirement.

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