More questions and answers about the Online Family Tree Transition
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I've just returned to the office after a very nice holiday break, and found there are some additional outstanding questions and concerns about our OFT announcement. I've posted your questions and concerns (sometimes paraphrased) in bold below, with my answer or thoughts below it. Which system am I using' Do I need to do anything' A previous post will help clarify which system you are using. (Click to see this post.) If you've started a tree on Ancestry in the last 18 months, odds are that it is in the new system, and you don't need to migrate. My transferred trees have multiple missing connections We've just recently been able to replicate this issue, and identify what causes it to occur. It is an unusual thing, but not as rare as we would hope. Our thanks to those who have sent us information to help us reproduce the issue. So, it is a bug we're working to address. The bug is that in a minority (appears to be up to 30%) of Online Family Tree GEDCOM exports, the GEDCOM data is not formatted correctly. We did not see this in our testing. We do have a solution in mind, but expect it will take several days to fix and test. So, if your tree is one that appears to have missing family information, please be patient while we fix this bug. I'll post to the blog when we have it corrected. You will be able to re-initiate a migration. I recommend that you do not manually delete your Online Family Tree file after transitioning to the new Ancestry Member Tree system. The transition process itself does NOT delete the file. What about the notes I have in my Online Family Tree file' I believe there are two chief concerns with imported notes:

  • The notes section is still there, but you have to click several times to find the notes box'
  • Notes are visible only to the owner' or to designated editors' of the file
So, yes, the notes are still there. They are in the research notes' section after you click the edit person' button. It is pretty clear those of you who have used OFT extensively use notes differently than is common in Ancestry Member Trees, where this type of information is often kept as stories or comments. We originally implemented notes as private', because we didn't have time to create a more flexible system, and knowing that some notes are very personal, we choose to default all notes to private. It is clear from your comments that a choice in this would be very much appreciated. Perhaps on a GEDCOM or OFT file import, we could offer a choice to make notes private or public. It also is clear that you would like the notes to be much more visible. One solution might be to have all public notes appear in the stories' section, rather than the existing research notes' section. We're very open to your feedback on this topic, and look forward to making this work better for you. Will this continue to be a free feature' Or will everyone have to have a paid membership to use this' Your family tree in the Ancestry Member Tree system is FREE for you and all your invited guests. (Others who want to search your tree must have a paid subscription in order to do so.) Some related features, such as viewing and attaching historical records to your tree, require a paid subscription. But you are free to ignore all paid features on the site. Now will you please make a similar announcement about OneWorldTree, and retire that infected dinosaur' No, not yet, or perhaps not at all. We consider this option all the time and have mixed thoughts and feelings as to what to do with OneWorldTree. For many, many customers, it is a wonderful resource. For some, it is an infected dinosaur'. Our hope is to improve it in a way that those who value it can continue getting that value in a way that everyone can be content with. Has lost all common sense' If this was a contest to see who could upset the most customers in the shortest space of time, Ancestry would surely have won it by a mile. We totally get it that many of you are bitterly disappointed with this announcement. At the same time we are very, very grateful for those who give feedback, help us track down bugs, offer suggestions for improvement, etc. and who are willing to work with us to make the new system work well for everyone. We have 3 months to make this work. If it is not going to work for the vast majority of users, we can extend that time. We can be flexible. But we do need to move towards turning off the OFT system. It is old, and we are not willing to maintain two systems. We're putting all our available efforts into the Ancestry Member Trees system, and will make it the best we can for you. Before making this announcement we surveyed about seven thousand highly active users of the Online Family Tree system, and about 25% of those surveyed replied. surveysurvey results We learned that this transition would be a challenge for many users, and have done all we can to make it simple and user-controlled (rather than, say, force an automatic migration). We also learned that about 4% would berate us for this decision. We want to do all we can to win this group over, and recognize that doing so will take time, good communication, and cooperation from all of us. What about Ancestry World Tree and World Connect' I also hear a major frustration that is more about using Ancestry World Tree, rather than just the Online Family Tree system. Online Family Tree has acted as a shortcut to submitting files to Ancestry World Tree. (Ancestry World Tree is a free database of GEDCOM files submitted either from the Online Family Tree system, or from the Rootsweb World Connect system. Ancestry World Tree and World Connect are in fact the same database. On the website, the database is referred to as Ancestry World Tree'. On the website, the database is called World Connect') Family tree files submitted or created using the Ancestry Member Tree system are not shared with the Rootsweb World Connect project. Today we have no plans to automate this process, or create a shortcut option. To submit your file to the Ancestry World Tree database, please visit our sister site and submit your file to the World Connect system. If you have comments, genealogy questions or concerns about any of this, I encourage you to post those to the blog, or please feel free to email me directly if you like: kfreestone at