Thursday, June 5, 2014

BIG News from Ancestry.com - Announcing Retirement of Several Features and Websites

I participated in a telephone call on Wednesday with Ancestry.com public relations and executives about their announcements that were released today at 10 a.m. MDT via email to subscribers and users and an Ancestry.com blog post (http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/06/04/ancestry-com-focuses-on-core-offerings/).



Ancestry.com is "retiring" five services and websites in their holdings.  Here is a summary of the announcement that I heard on the phone call:

1)  MyFamily.com Retirement

*  Users can export their group data  - data exports can be requested by clicking on "Export Now" button located at the top of the page when logged in.

*  Refunds will be issued automatically to site owners of active MyFamily.com sites - Refunds are effective 5 June 2014 and will be pro=rated to this date.

2)  MyCanvas.com Retirement

*  Between now and 4 September 2014, customers can complete current projects or even start and complete new projects.

*  After September 4, 2014, MyCanvas will no longer accept printing orders and all projects will be deleted.

3)  Genealogy.com Changes

*  Subscriptions, member accounts and the ability to contribute to message boards and family home pages will be retired.

*  Users can log into their account to export, print and save their information before 5 September 2014.

*  They are preserving certain portions of Genealogy.com in a read-only format, including:  GenForum message boards; Family Tree Maker home pages; the most popular articles.

4)  Mundia.com Retirement:

*  Mundia trees have always been part of Ancestry and are available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish.

*  Members can download the family trees they've created in Mundia in their native language before 5 September 2014.

*  Mundia trees can be accessed for free on Ancestry.com.

5)  Y-DNA and mtDNA Test Retirement:

*  They are dedicating more resources to their autosomal test - AncstryDNA.

*  Effective immediately, they are no longer offering the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests for sale.

*  Customers can download their raw DNA data (in a .csv format) by visiting www.DNA.ancestry.com.

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Why is Ancestry.com doing this?  They offered some reasons that I missed during the phone call, but these are my thoughts about it:

*  In my view, the sites are obsolete.  Most services offered by the sites are offered by other companies with a more user-friendly and cost effective product.

*  Subscribers, user visits and new users for these services has dwindled over the past few years, and Ancestry wants to streamline their operation and dedicate their resources to their services that draw new customers and are profitable.

*  The retirements free up some interesting domain names like MyFamily.com and Genealogy.com for future activities.

*  MyFamily.com was a useful site for families, but I think it became limited in capability over the years.  This may be the cause of the most concern and even backlash against Ancestry.com.

*  MyCanvas.com created beautiful family history books and charts, but was limited in scope in my opinion.  Publish on demand services and other chartmaking companies reduced its appeal, I think.

*  Genealogy.com was obsolete, with limited databases and a relatively poor search engine.  I think that all databases available on Genealogy.com were on Ancestry.com.  I have a user's home page on Genealogy.com at http://www.genealogy.com/users/s/e/a/Randy-Seaver/ which I haven't updated since 2005.  I don't know if I will lose that or not.

*  Mundia.com has never worked well for me, and I've complained about it several times.  No big loss, in my humble opinion.

*  Y-DNA and mtDNA are useful, but other DNA websites offer more tests at a cheaper price.  Ancestry is not getting many new test requests, and is wise, I think, to drop these services.

Undoubtedly, I'll have more to say about the sites at a later time.

At the time this blog post is published, I'm on the train from San Diego to Burbank for the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree.  This announcement is sure to cause some buzz at the Jamboree over the weekend!

My thanks to Ancestry.com for the heads up on this announcement and for permitting me to publish this at the time of the official announcement.

The URL for this post is:   

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


10 comments:

Geolover said...

The rather brief Ancestry.com blog announcement is at

http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/06/04/ancestry-com-focuses-on-core-offerings/

Lisa said...

I have used MyCanvas to publish family history books and have been happy with the results. I have a project going that I guess I will need to finish up this summer. My question is: can anyone recommend a comparable service? I use Rootsmagic software, but always used Ancestry family trees for the MyCanvas books. If there is something out there that would produce about the same type book using files from Rootsmagic, I would gladly give it a try!

Jill Ball said...

Thanks for the heads-up Randy.

Kim Garrison said...

I am appalled that they are retiring the MyFamily sites. I am active on all five family sites. One site, the Landes site, has over 89 pages of photos alone...that's 1,335 photos! My cousins and I interact on almost a daily basis. I see no other service comparable in organization, search capability and ability to communicate effectively. My cousins and I are in absolute shock and feel like we are all going to lose touch with "the family".

Kristin said...

Too bad they don't include the ydna and mtdna with their other test. I don't think many new people testing realize that it's missing.

Don said...

Ancestry just doesn't realize the amount of time spent in developing these sites, and the amount of valuable family information and photos that are on each site....not to mention the cohesive element of keeping family informed and in touch.

This was a horrible decision for those of us who have spent over a decade on multiple sites gathering family, and loading multiple photos, historical documents and stories. Now they expect us to completely dismantle what took all of that time to assemble and attempt to put it back together on a different site which is not set up as conveniently as myfamily is. None of the 3 alternative sites that Ancestry offers is as user-friendly, nor do I wish to learn a new system.

Ancestry has become a huge corporation that is only interested in making money. Do they forget where they came from ~~~~> myfamily.com. Now they stomp on their own roots. Shame on Ancestry. They'll not get another penny from me.
Call and complain at 1-888-265-7491

Jason Rhoads said...

I am also appalled - there are shutting down the site with no real option of migrating our content!

I am looking at moving our alone home somehwere else. I signed up for a free account at famiydetails.com and seems great so far. I'm also going to create try familylobby and mygreatbigfamily.com.

Jason Rhoads said...

just for reference, here were some alternatives I found:

http://www.familylobby.com

http://www.familydetails.com

http://www.mygreatbigfamily.com


I'm sure there are others but these appear to have been around for a while.

Don said...

spokt.com appears to be a viable alternative. They are willing to accommodate myfamily refugees and they are working on a migration tool. Have a look.~~~~>
http://blog.spokt.com/general/myfamily-alternative/7405

Steve Hayes said...

It looks as though they have dropped the Rootsweb mailing lists as well, unles reports that a DDoS attack on Ancestry's servers had been neutralised are premature. There has been no new mail on the mailing lists since 16 June.