Monday, February 22, 2016

Genealogical Estate Planning- 101

What will happen to all of your genealogical data and heirlooms after you die?  Are you amassing hundreds or thousands of ancestors and collateral relatives in your genealogical research?  Does everyone view you as the family archivist and send you pictures, documents and heirlooms for long-term preservation?  What is your genealogical estate plan?

Many people have been forced to consider these questions after the December announcement by of their intent to discontinue selling the Family Tree Maker software line as of December 31, 2015.  Earlier this month, announced new agreements with two software companies that will provide desktop software for syncing with your family tree(s). They closed their announcement with this request:

"We ask for your patience as Ancestry’s product team works with Software MacKiev and RootsMagic. As soon as we have an update, we will make another announcement. For now, just know these options are coming and will be in place before the end of the year to ensure you do not have a break in tree syncing and preserving the work you have already done." - See more at:

I have to admit that genealogical estate planning can be a daunting task.  I reluctantly migrated to Family Tree Maker and as my preferred genealogical data solution after the demise of the Personal Ancestral File software.  If you need historical context on Personal Ancestral File, please read this article by a fellow blogger from 2013. However, I had progressed with my understanding and use of Family Tree Maker to the point of toleration if not full acceptance.  I currently rely principally on my online tree at as my first point of data entry.  I use Family Tree Maker to back up my work to my personal computer.  Occasionally, I use FTM to work offline. I frequently use FTM to print family reports for myself and my clients.  I also continue to use Personal Ancestral File for report generation, ready reference and searching notes fields as it is much faster to access data than FTM.

The development of the Family Tree at has been very heartening to me and has given me a backup plan. I am attempting to keep my genealogical data at both and  I am frustrated that it appears to be a dual entry solution.

Screen shot of my portion of the Family Tree at
I am intrigued by the announcement that Roots Magic software will sync with  Roots Magic advertises itself as: "the genealogy software named 'Easiest to Sync' with new FamilySearch," I notice that this moniker was announced by FamilySearch in 2009. Hopefully someone out there in cyberspace will give me a more recent impression.  Will Roots Magic be a potential bridge between and  Is anyone else looking for a bridge between and  What are your thoughts on these matters?

Given that many are beginning to foretell the death of the personal computer, this discussion has much greater urgency.  I hope that you will offer your perspective on these matters by commenting or contacting me. Genealogical estate planning is a subject worthy of becoming a continuing series of blogs.  We are all in dire need of genealogical life-preservers.

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