Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So what happens to DynasTree family trees?

Earlier this month, MyHeritage.com announced the acquisition of OSN (Verwandt.de) which included the DynasTree family tree website. With this acquisition, MyHeritage.com became the largest international website dedicated to families (With 13 million family trees, 47 million members and 530 million profiles).

But quite a few researchers had family trees on the DynasTree website. What happens to those trees? I have not seen any press release, announcement or blog post answering the question posed above.

As a DynasTree family tree owner, I received an email the other day from DynasTree and MyHeritage telling me what would happen. Here is what it said:

"Dynastree.co.uk is being moved into MyHeritage.com, and our team is merging with the team of MyHeritage.com. For the next 6 months, until August 18 2010, your data will still be on http://dynastree.co.uk/, and you can view it and export it to your personal computer, but it cannot be edited any more. The data has also been safely and securely placed on its new home at MyHeritage.com, and this is where you should go from now on to continue to use it and grow it. All family tree data has been transferred, including the family tree information, photos, albums, tags, members, etc. Family pages and unaccepted invitations were not transferred.

"On MyHeritage.com you will find a similar site for growing your family tree and sharing family photos, with several exciting new benefits for you to enjoy.

"As a bonus of this merger, if you had a paid Premium status on dynastree.co.uk, you receive a Premium status on MyHeritage.com for free until December 31 2010, even if you had bought Premium for only 1, 3 or 6 months on http://dynastree.co.uk/. You will not be billed automatically on MyHeritage.com; your payment info was not even transferred to MyHeritage.com.

"If you were not a Premium member on dynastree.co.uk, don't worry. We have decided to give all http://dynastree.co.uk/ trees on MyHeritage.com an unlimited capacity of individuals and a photo storage capacity of 2GB for free, without any time limit. This is because family trees did not have a capacity limit on http://dynastree.co.uk/ and http://dynastree.co.uk/ promised its users that this would remain free. So even though the usual MyHeritage.com business model has a family tree capacity limit of 250 individuals and 250MB of storage on the free plan, these limits do not apply to the http://dynastree.co.uk/ trees imported to MyHeritage.com. We are giving you this gift because we have listened to many requests and feedback from http://dynastree.co.uk/ users on this matter. This means you will be able to keep your family tree on MyHeritage.com and continue to grow it regardless of its size, without having to pay anything. You can still decide to purchase a Premium subscription on MyHeritage.com for extra premium features. Please note that no family trees on http://dynastree.co.uk/ have ever reached a 2GB storage capacity and if you wish to exceed this storage on MyHeritage.com, the PremiumPlus subscription will provide you unlimited storage.

"We have also decided to give you gifts as part of this merger, that you have never enjoyed before, for free:

• You can now do unlimited PDF chart exports on dynastree.co.uk for free
• You can now generate unlimited ancestor and descendant list PDFs on dynastree.co.uk for free
• You can now do a GEDCOM export with photos for free

"MyHeritage.com has free benefits. PDF charts are free on MyHeritage.com, and so are family statistics and family tree hints (Smart Matches). All of those were Premium-only features on dynastree.co.uk. When a user buys a Premium subscription on MyHeritage.com, all his/her family members automatically enjoy Premium status for free. MyHeritage.com now has more than 540 million profiles in family trees (dynastree.co.uk contributed 100 million profiles). This allows better matches between trees so you are likely to receive free matches soon with other family trees, and you will be able to make new discoveries or find relatives you may not have known before.

"MyHeritage.com has many new features that dynastree.co.uk did not have yet, such as:

• better facilities for uploading photos: upload multiple photos at once, import from Facebook, even upload photos from email or mobile devices or enjoy cool photo slideshows
• automatic tagging of people in photos with face recognition technology
• sharing of videos and documents
• a powerful home edition software called Family Tree Builder that is free and synchronizes with your online family tree

"There is an interactive Timeline, a beautiful Timebook, enhanced family tree statistics, support for 35 languages and many more features. We're sure you'll enjoy this!

"Some features that dynastree.co.uk has and are missing on MyHeritage.com will find their way to MyHeritage.com soon. The Family Crest Builder for example has already been moved. So you can expect MyHeritage.com to become the best of both. Not each and every feature that dynastree.co.uk had, will be available on MyHeritage.com. It is a different platform, but we will do our best to listen to requests and ensure that the important aspects are available on MyHeritage.com, to keep you happy. Some features are missing only temporarily. For example, poster printing on MyHeritage.com will be available in the next few months. For more details on features that are available or missing, see our blog.

"Privacy is very strictly enforced on MyHeritage.com, none of your data is accessible to anyone except you and your family members; whoever could see your data in dynastree.co.uk can see it on MyHeritage.com. You are the owner of your data and you can ask for it to be deleted at any time from MyHeritage.com, just like it was on dynastree.co.uk. The privacy policy is very similar; you can view the MyHeritage.com privacy policy here. MyHeritage.com is a very good steward for your data, it was founded in 2003 and it was trusted by 36 million users worldwide even before the merger with dynastree.co.uk, and now there are 47 million users on the combined platform.

"IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Terms and Conditions of the service are now about to change. This serves as an official notice of 30 days in this matter, which will end on March 18, 2010. The previous Terms and Conditions were found here and the new Terms of Conditions of MyHeritage.com are found here. You have the right to object to the change and to the transfer of the data to MyHeritage.com: in this case, send an email to support@myheritage.com, describe your request, and your account and data will be fully deleted from MyHeritage.com immediately, and you will receive an email confirmation. It is not possible to continue working on dynastree.co.uk as the site is being discontinued in 6 months. If you were a paying member of dynastree.co.uk and are unhappy with the changes, you may contact support@myheritage.com and you will receive a full refund.

"MyHeritage.com strictly protects the privacy of your information, and in addition to the 100 million profiles of dynastree.co.uk, it is the home for 440 million additional profiles contributed by its other users, in Europe, the USA and all over the world. MyHeritage.com is financially robust, it is funded by two of Europe's strongest investors - Accel Partners and Index Ventures (the investors of Facebook and Skype), and it has raised more than $24 million since its foundation in 2003, in total six times more funding than dynastree.co.uk. You can see a photo of the MyHeritage team and read about its management team.

"To sum up:

• You may export your family tree with the photos, from the family tree settings on dynastree.co.uk.
• You may write to support@myheritage.com with any questions or if you want your data to be deleted.
• It is difficult to move 11 million users and 100 million profiles. There were problems with the migration for some users, many of which we have already been fixed, like the way last names of married women were displayed. Please be patient and give us a bit more time, our engineers are working hard to provide a smooth transition. You should also allow yourself some time to get used to the new service on MyHeritage.com, as some aspects of the service are different.
• If you are one of the 600,000 users who had an account on MyHeritage.com before, note that your dynastree.co.uk family tree was added to your existing ones, so when you log on to MyHeritage, you will have the choice to visit the former sites or the new one from dynastree.co.uk.
• If this still wasn't enough info, you can read through the press release that we have issued.

"Our goal is to build the best international platform for family trees on the Internet and we hope to keep you as a satisfied customer for many years to come.

"Sincerely, The combined team of dynastree.co.uk and MyHeritage.com."

I am very pleased that DynasTree and MyHeritage have worked together to combine the assets of both companies and websites. In my case, I had free accounts on both sites, but with two different databases. I clicked on the links above to go to my MyHeritage site and both of my family trees are there. That means that other researchers can search them and perhaps find a common ancestor or two - and then contact me to share information.

Thank you, DynasTree and MyHeritage!

UPDATED: Edited 24 February to eliminate links to my own database on MyHeritage.

1 comment:

Paula Hinkel said...

Thanks for the informative post, Randy. It sounds like MyHeritage.com is going to be an even better resource for us!