(Bob Larson – December 29, 2015)
Many Family Tree Maker Users in my society have recently asked my opinion about what to do with Family Tree Maker, since Ancestry is retiring it on December 31. I’ve written an article that should explain the future of all genealogy software. My comments appear to be in agreement with many other pundits in the genealogy industry as noted below in their blogs at the very bottom.
You have to remember if you’re over 70, in several years you will be replaced by a more tech savvy group of genealogists (your children) and their offspring (your grandchildren) will be even more tech savvy than your children. It’s a changing world, but form your own opinion after reading this article on the future of technology and genealogy software.
Worldwide, the future and decline of desktop genealogy software is obvious for several reasons:
1) Smartphones and tablets far exceed desktop and laptop sales with the younger to baby boomer generations per the latest research surveys. Notice this dramatic change at restaurants or other public meeting places. Younger genealogists have said they want mobile computing versus desktop computing.
2) Ancestry, MyHeritage, and FamilySearch have or will create apps for smartphones and tablets because of their popularity. The app can access or modify your family tree using these services. A smartphone has or will have the same or more computing power than many laptops or desktop computers. There are more apps for smartphones than for home computing devices.
3) Cloud computing is here to stay and home computing will eventually disappear within five to 10 years. Microsoft, Adobe, and others are moving quickly to cloud computing with their software programs. Same goes for genealogy software vendors.
4) This is mainly due to the older generations disappearing too or exiting from genealogy research. Their younger generations will take over their research using cloud computing.
5) Internet trees with mobile computing is more popular with the younger generations. They want to share their Internet trees with the world without having their trees violated. Less costly too for the Internet genealogy data providers and more helpful for many genealogists worldwide!
6) Plus the Internet tree providers are duplicating many of the features used in the home genealogy software such as timelines, photos, sources, family stories creation, new record hints, and soon DNA results with restrictions. It’s rumored most modern country newborns will have a DNA test in the near future.
7) Sales of desktop genealogy software is declining too. PAF, Master Genealogist, FTM and several Mac versions have exited this market in the last five years. The others will follow too all because of the cloud. Several providers like Ancestry and MyHeritage will survive with their equivalent cloud trees.
RootsTech 2015 had over 20,000 genealogy visitors in SLC and the results indicated the same too. Changing times, thanks to the needs of the larger future market, the millennials or better known as our grand kids!
Existing family tree users: don’t fret as you can still use your existing software for several more years depending on the life of your computer, but may be limited on the third party features such as maps, web search, and publishing. However, with the later Widows or Mac systems likely converting to the cloud, you will have to eventually change too!
See these articles by the pros on the future of genealogy software and what it means to you!
For preservation of your genealogy software files: Preserving Your Family Tree Info.