Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Goodbye FamilyHistoryLink.com

I received an email late last night from FamilyLink.com that said that their family tree web site, http://www.familyhistorylink.com/, would disappear as of 15 August 2009. The email said:

"Progress is constant and can make some online services obsolete. This is the case with FamilyHistoryLink. This service will be closing its doors on August 15. Please take some time between now and then to download or save any key messages that are important to you for your future reference. Then get started using GenealogyWise to see what the future holds for interactive genealogy through social networking."

Now, http://www.familyhistorylink.com/ started out as http://www.familylink.com/. I tried several times to upload a GEDCOM file to www.FamilyHistoryLink.com and could never make it work for me. So, it is no big loss for me, since I was never able to use it effectively. Now, if you were successful in uploading a GEDCOM to FHL, and that was your only online family tree, then you will need to retrieve it somehow.

The email noted that GenealogyWise was the latest thing in social networks, and that readers should join up:

"As a member of FamilyHistoryLink, we wanted to make sure you are among the first to witness the unveiling of a new social network for genealogists, GenealogyWise. This exciting new service takes off where we left off at FamilyHistoryLink to combine community interaction with tools and resources for people who are interested in researching and sharing their family history with others."

What? If they had wanted the faithful FHL users to be the "first to witness the unveiling" they would have sent this email out a week ago. They waited until over 4,000 persons signed up on GenealogyWise before sending this email to FHL users.

and later in the email:

"Join surname groups, explore ancestral records, share photos, video, and family trees. Create and customize your personal profile to tell others about your research interests and privately receive and respond to emails from other users without ever publishing your email address to the public. You can also share online family trees and personal research pages to collaborate with others. And the service is completely free!"

Hmm, "...share online family trees..." Funny, I haven't seen any online family trees - yet - at Genealogy Wise. Frankly, I hope that they permit GEDCOM uploads on Genealogy Wise so that it becomes a full-fledged social "genealogy" network, not just a social "talk" network.

Left unsaid is what happens to WebTree at http://www.webtree.com/. This is another family tree application created by FamilyLink.com about one year ago. I was successful at uploading a GEDCOM and putting a family tree to this site, but in recent months the site has not allowed me to login and see or work with my tree.

So - goodbye FamilyHistoryLink.com - no big loss. Whither WebTree - will it persist or disappear? Will the Facebook We're Related application ever permit a GEDCOM upload? (It's useless to genealogists without one IMHO.) Is a GEDCOM upload in Genealogy Wise's future? (Will it work well?) Will WorldVitalRecords.com ever add more vital records? When will GenSeek.com launch? Is WorldHistory.com launched or not? (if not, then when?) Genealogists want to know these things but are struggling without a scorecard.

The genea-soap opera "As FamilyLink Turns" continues.

1 comment:

Virginia Travis said...

Randy,

Excellent observations and questions. I was never successful at importing and managing a GEDCOM on FamilyLink.com. It was very frustrating. Giving up was the best thing to do. I continue to use We're Related at Facebook, but their notifications to add relatives is a useless feature. I've added my husband at least 6 times so far. I've had a WVR subscription for nearly two years and, if memory serves, found only one valid piece of data that I hadn't already found elsewhere. It would be nice if Genealogy Wise works well enough to keep people from giving up on it entirely.

The genea-soap opera "As FamilyLink Turns" continues. Very funny!