Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Reactions (My own and others) to the MyHeritage and RootsMagic Announcement

It is interesting that the announcement between and took place over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. That gave me, and I suppose other bloggers, a challenge to balance time with family (over 60 people to Thanksgiving dinner) and the interest in the events transpiring. I did take time to get myself up-to-date with RootsMagic 7 and begin the process of investigating various aspects and implications of this development. I read two blog posts by Susan Maxwell with interest and commented on them in my other blog, Rejoice, and be exceeding glad...

Here are links to Susan's posts:
New RootsMagic 7 COMPARE FILES Feature - My Way!
Joint Announcement Between MyHeritage network and RootsMagic software

Today I read a very interesting commentary by Louis Kessler who speaks from a developer's standpoint. His post on Behold Genealogy is entitled, "Genealogy Software is Transforming." I can say that I have observed some of the same attitudes from the large online genealogy companies that are the subject of his commentary. I would take this a little further however. I would refer to a link Louis gives to his previous post entitled, "My Analysis of RootsTech 2014." I would also refer to my own article, written earlier this year and linked by Louis, entitled, "MyHeritage -- The Vision to Become the Leading Genealogy Company #RootsTech 2014."

I would point out, however, that comparing, a non-profit corporation, with the other commercial genealogy companies, would seem to always put FamilySearch in an unfavorable light. The fact is that has an entirely different motivation and dramatically different goals than do the other large genealogical data suppliers. FamilySearch's major contribution is the accumulation of so many records from around the world. This core of records is now being made available to the other large genealogy companies, including, of course, This basic difference in FamilySearch's objectives, which have a decidedly religious motivation, could easily be interpreted by developers, as Louis expressed it, as a "ho-hum" attitude towards adding partner programs. The agreement between and seems to create an obvious advantage for each. That sort of advantage is not the primary motivation of FamilySearch, therefore the reaction of FamilySearch to a commercially oriented business proposal cannot be viewed in the same light as the other companies' reactions.

At the core of this entire issue is the need for genealogists to provide adequate and, where warranted, extensive and even exhaustive source information concerning their research. The time for compiling lists of names, dates and perhaps places is now past. We can think about the history of genealogy and its rather rocky beginnings, but we are most certainly in a time of transformation. Genealogy is rapidly evolving into something entirely different. Whose vision of the future of genealogy will prevail? My best guess is a blend of FamilySearch and Gilad Japeth's We will all be the beneficiaries of these advancements. In no way do I wish to denigrate the contributions of the many other genealogy companies. We are witnessing unprecedented advances from many other companies, but I am merely being consistent with my views expressed earlier this year. 


  1. James, you say "The agreement between and seems to create an obvious advantage for each."

    This may be true. The new program function allows the user to automatically make changes, individual by individual, in whatever tree they have hosted on MyHeritage, and likewise changes to some individual in FamilySearch Family Tree, but not automatically to individuals within RootsMagic7.

    So the agreement improves RM7's marketing position, but the RM7 user is perhaps not benefited much.

    1. You would have to ignore the huge number of new sources available literally at the click of a mouse if you take the position that the RootsMagic 7 user is not benefited.

    2. My spot-checking searches in databases yields either nothing or already-found-elsewhere search results for my relatives who are already well represented in sundry trees, as well as for troublesome 18th-century folks.

      Its databases are spotty, probably much more useful for those looking for European data. If one has a tree on MyHeritage and subscribes to the database, its own program already searches for results for everyone in the hosted tree -- one need not search individual-by-individual as with the RootsMagic7 connection.

      When/if acquires more unique USA databases, its usefulness and the RM7 interface will be improved.

    3. As they say, your results may vary. has over 8000 sources for my family tree waiting for me to attach. RootsMagic provides a clear path for moving sources into FamilySearch Family Tree, so what you think of the program varies with your own interests and needs.