I was thrilled to get the news in my RootsMagic genealogy software program that RootsMagic has partnered with Ancestry to finally connect with their API. What does this mean? Oh, get excited.
Currently, RootsMagic connects with two APIs, MyHeritage and FamilySearch. With the FamilySearch API, RootsMagic links with the FamilySearch site and database connect ancestors. Make changes through the FamilySearch interface of RootsMagic and you can quickly and fairly easily update your FamilySearch tree and history data. While there is definitely room for improvement, such as linking sources with matched data instead of forcing the user to reconnect the source dots after linking the data, causing more errors and mismatched sources in RootsMagic than there should be, this connection opens up a vast range of data from other FamilySearch members and research.
RootsMagic taps into the MyHeritage API to bring hints only, as it does with FamilySearch data. The information must be added manually, but it does help you easily find those wonderful hints.
The news is new and there isn’t an update available yet for this new partnership with Ancestry, but expect something soon. Ancestry has been protective and cautious about their API and it is well past time when they needed to see the big picture and link beyond their gates.
This comes not long after the announcement of Ancestry going on the auction block in May 2015. Permira Advisers LLD bought it in 2012 and last year’s subscriptions grew to $553.8 million in 2014 over $334.6 million in 2012, and Permira issued a $215 million special dividend from Ancestry in August, indicating that the service is still viable and in demand. According to general news, Ancestry is still on the auction block with Permira currently owning 50%, but there is little concrete news.
The sale of Ancestry made many nervous, even more so when Ancestry announced last month that they were terminating their Family Tree Maker software, recommending RootsMagic as an alternative, and RootsMagic jumped to provide Family Tree Maker (FTM) users step-by-step help to get on board their program with a special discount for FTM users.
Today it was announced that The Software MacKiev Company has bought the popular Family Tree Maker program. With FTM staying on the market with fresh new developers, the competition could benefit genealogy and family historians as these two leaders in the field battle it out in the genealogy research industry.
Personally and professionally, while I was nervous about Ancestry’s auction, the demand for genealogical and family history research is higher than ever. Ancestry has a vast investment in data, valuable data, and they are buying and digitizing more and more every minute of every day, adding to the wealth of historical information for genealogists and family historians.
After switching from The Master Genealogist to RootsMagic over a year ago, I’ve found it easier than ever to do my research from the comfort of my desktop computer. This doesn’t mean I won’t be on the ground digging through papers and maps stuck in dusty file cabinets in the back of old crumbling city office buildings somewhere in the world, but it does make the process of uncovering the basics much easier, and my tree is growing daily. With the inclusion of Ancestry, and hopefully MyHeritage and other genealogy services expanding their APIs, it could be an exiting next few years!