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Seeking advice regarding upgrade to premium subscription of FTB
James Keen
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Hi all,

For a few years now I've been using the free version of FTB. Since I've been researching different sides of the family separately, I've now got 5 gedcom files which are linked to 5 different websites (I don't really use the websites at the moment, but it seems FTB is particularly insistant on getting me to upload the data for online viewing). Since the software is the free version I'm limited to 250 persons, which had become a problem, until I decided to split the tree up into seperate branches and therefore allowed me to proceed with each being well below the 250 limit (seemed a good idea but probably cheating the system a bit).

With the latest subscription offer I'm seriously considering upgrading to a Premium account (not Premium plus, that's too much) to take advantage of things like smart matching which I think would help progress my research and also the all-in-one charting which would be particularly good to have.

Am I correct in thinking that if I buy a 1 year premium subscription then this will allow me to use premium features within the FTB program for life, and then after 1 year I can choose whether to continue the subscription for the web pages? What happens to the webpage if I don't renew? 

Could people please advise on how the Smart-matching actually works. Is it within the program or on the webpages? As I said I don't use the websites really just the program. So want to know how I'd have to use this feature.

Also since I now have 5 seperate webpages, apparently I can only upgrade 1 of them. This isn't really an issue at the moment, since it's only this way to make the free version last longer, so as long as the upgrade will enhance my research within the program.

Just really want some advise to help me decide if it's right to upgrade. Thought (and hopefully rightly so) that it'd be better and quicker to ask others on the forum than wait for a reply from customer services.


James Keen
United Kingdom
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RE: Seeking advice regarding upgrade to premium subscription of FTB
Cindy McCabe
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I just upgraded to Premium Membership from the free version, and am very happy with the decision.  With the nest empty, I have the time to take my hobby to the next level.  I purchased a two year subscription with the specific goal of tracing director ancestors to immigration to the USA, and PROVIDING DOCUMENTATION.  The scope of the project should fit well within the Premium Membership maximum of 2500. At the end of the subscription, I will probably just declare the project finished, print a chart and "host" my research at either My Heritage or Ancestry.  I'll become one of those dead/inactive trees that I complain about:)

I'm becoming a bit of a snob and only doing Smart Matches with paying members (crown icons) because it is an easy way to weed out inactive and not serious researchers.  Over time, you learn the names of the site managers that are relevant to your work.  I just merge the info from large trees (often inactive), then ignore those trees unless the site manager is a crown. I love the Merge and Consensus Page features!

Requests for technical help usually take at least a week, so I like to use the Forums.

I don't use the site for social networking, but my relatives who are interested in genealogy are members. 

I definitely think it is worth the $.

 Good Luck





Cindy McCabe
Naperville, IL
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RE: Seeking advice regarding upgrade to premium subscription of FTB
Rhianna W
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I hope I answered all your questions here. If you find you'd like more information about something, let me know. 
  • When you buy Family Tree Builder Premium you get the Premium features for life. 
  • You also get a one year family site subscription for one family site.
  • At the end of one year, you can decide to continue the family site subscription or contact support to downgrade the site back to the free level.
  • The 250 person limit applies only to your family site. You can add as many people as you want to the tree in Family Tree Builder without upgrading.
  • In addition, upgrading to Family Tree Builder Premium gives you access to features like Smart Research, which is a really important tool for efficiently searching the names in your tree. Premium members also get online features like the Timeline that shows the path of events in a person's lifetime in a beautful display. 
Smart Matching
  • You get Smart Matches both online on your family site and in Family Tree Builder. 
  • Getting Smart Matches is free. You don't need to be a Premium member to view the matches regardless where you work (online or in FTB).
  • When you publish your family tree to a family site at MyHeritage your trees are compared to all the other trees on MyHeritage.com. 
  • If two names match then we show them to you. 
  • There is a compare screen both in Family Tree Builder and online that lets you view the matched person within the context of the tree (with non matched names hidden) to help you get a better idea if the match might be real.
  • Matches are performed on a number of criteria, such as name, date of birth, names of parents, etc. 
  • Matches get a rating which you can view to see the quality of the match. 
  • The rating shows the criteria that matched (or didn't) to give you a better idea of the quality of the match.
  • Matches with a higher ranking are shown first in the list so you'll get the best matches at the top of the list.
  • Premium and Premium Plus members can confirm or reject matches and contact the owner of the matches to get further information.
You can have as many family trees as you would like on your family site as long as the total number of individuals in the trees is within the limit for the site. To illustrate, if I am a Premium member and my site allows me to have 2500 individuals in the family tree, then I can have one tree with 2500 people in it or 2 trees with 1250 people each or 10 trees with 250 people each in them. 
In your case 5 trees should easily fit within the limits for a Premium subscription. I personally think it's easier to have one family site to manage. It's much easier to have one location for all your family members to view the tree.
However, that's my opinion. Some people prefer to have separate sites for each tree. It's entirely up to you.
Now that FTB 6.0 integrates the online features in the program it will be perfect for someone like you who prefers to work mainly with Family Tree Builder.
Rhianna W
Tel Aviv, Israel
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RE: Seeking advice regarding upgrade to premium subscription of FTB [2]
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WITH respect to the answer in part ..... From this point forward things should be different. We changed the way publishing works in Family Tree Builder 6.0 so that each tree can only be paired with one family site.  
I am concerned that- my FTB did not auto update to V6.
I use Cnet tracker too for a better chance at finding updtaes- and that too failed.
So myheritage has released a V6= and assumes that form now on things will be better.
I contend that the auto update function may have a bug therefore in  months to come the will be little difference becaue no-one will know that V6 exists.
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RE: Seeking advice regarding upgrade to premium subscription of FTB [3]
Rhianna W
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About the auto update - we haven't released the new version in "check for updates" yet. This is a decision we made, rather than a bug. 

The reason behind releasing FTB 6.0 as new downloads only is that it allows us to better monitor feedback about the new version. If anything critical goes wrong a) people who have invested a lot in their project (Long time users) will have less chance to be affected b) we can act immediately to fix any issues that may arise c) and we give our loyal users the most stable version we can.

No offense to new downloaders - the program goes through rigorous testing before we release anything new, but there are so many variables that can affect a program's performance we don't want to assume that the version you download will be 100% perfect.

I hope you'll see that we do take steps to make sure we're giving you the best product we can. 

Does this answer your question? 

Rhianna W
Tel Aviv, Israel
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RE: Seeking advice regarding upgrade to premium subscription of FTB
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Perhaps one of the least smart descisions I have ever had was to buy a 2 year premuim plus subscription to myheritage.

In regard to smart matches- be aware that- lots of users have lots of "trees" and keep resaing those tress under "new" names.

Every time a "new" tree is saved -- you will get smartmatched. so a person with -say 12000 in his/her tree might yiled say 300 smartmatches. Then they resave and you get another 300 smartmatches but they are THE SAME people that yesterday you tirelessly worked through ONE by ONE. And therey are many of these instances.

Secondly- People smart match and I guess few actually check and verify that the data thhey have just gained is CORRECT. So they add it thier info base and someone else matches that and before long you have  chain of events that- appear to "correct" becuse its been "matched" to a resonable number of seperate users, whern in fact it may have flawed at the outset.

Thirdly -and not all agree with me here but thats a democratic right we have- That persons subscribe to myheritage and Publish theri tree, then go off into Ancestry.com or go bushwalking in the Kalahri desert. Meanwhile  4 years on their data is being "smart matched". with little (in my opinion) hope of EVERY being confirmed.

Some belive that a lapsed user is still a valid user- whereas I belive that after a subscription lapses the tree should become defunct- but it stays for life. The individula who published th tree may weel have gone elsewhere but the dta is preserved. Once you relaise that you may spend many hours a day smartmatching data thats old and just keeps coming and coming and coming- you might see my point of view.

The other issue is that- myheritage will tell you that "as a premium member" your questions are high priority and will be answeres quickly- --Just  keep this in mind- Myheriatge are in Israel- , it apperas that in Isreale the weekend is a three day event and they dont work weekends. Think about it.

Have a look at some of the postings on the FORUM and see if yopu think that myhertiage is a bucnch of happy campers or a group of 300 million individulas with 500 thousand nine hundred trillion smartmartches and everyone is happy. I dont think so.

Good luck but if I wre in youyr shoes and had forthought and awareness enough to provoke and enquiry as you have so done- we would not be having this dialogue.

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RE: Seeking advice regarding upgrade to premium subscription of FTB [2]
Rhianna W
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I really laughed at your line about people going off bushwalking in the Kalahari desert. I can tell you have a good sense of humor.
I can also hear your exasperation.
I'm sorry to hear you're not satisfied with your Premium upgrade. 
Let me answer a few things that might help...
1. You're right about people adding several copies of the same tree. The problem had to do mainly with Family Tree Builder users who accidentally published mutliple versions of identical trees. It's a usability issue and we have indeed been working on changing things to prevent such a mess.
From this point forward things should be different. We changed the way publishing works in Family Tree Builder 6.0 so that each tree can only be paired with one family site. This isn't going to fix the problem with people who give the tree a new name each time and republish, but it will prevent the same tree from being published to twenty different sites the user is Site Manager of. We looked into the issue and found that the latter is the majority of the cases where duplication of trees happens.
If you feel like checking to see if things get better, I'd really appreciate hearing from you in a month or so after most people have installed the new version and republished trees, got Smart Matches, etc., etc.
2. The fact that most people assume the information they find is correct is something I wish we could prevent, but unfortunately it's a common circumstance not specific to MyHeritage. We definitely try to do our part by appearing at genealogy conferences and educating through our company blog and genealogy blog. Also, the fact that only Premium members are allowed to confirm or reject matches means that only people who are serious about their family history are the ones doing the confirming/rejecting. We do try to do what we can to change the situation.
3. About users who post a tree and then don't touch it - this is a sensitive issue. Some people prefer to "host" their trees online at places like MyHeritage. It's a cultural thing, as most early genealogy sites were just that - a place to host your tree - and not much more. So a lot of people who pioneered working online have this kind of mind set - that your family tree gets posted online and other people can see it, but you don't really do a lot more than that with it. 
The fact that family history web sites have come a long way since then and integrated many social networking features that make it possible not only to record your family history and search ancestors, but also contact famliy members, keep up to date with each other, send invites and get event notifications, create charts and reports, view statistics and so many other things, just doesn't occur to some people. 
I'm generalizing here and I apologize if whoever reads this doesn't fit in that category. There are many reasons why a person might choose to upload their tree and not touch it. I invite other people who read this post to elaborate...
A lot of those people have really large trees that benefit the community at MyHeritage. (IMHO) for this reason their trees should be included in Smart Matches. For example, my little 170 person family tree got a match with someone who had a huge tree. I confirmed the match and it helped me get to other people like myself who have little trees that I would otherwise have a hard time reaching. 
In essence, those large trees are like hubs that bring people together. So it's a real question whether or not to kill matches on trees like that. I hope you will appreciate that the issue is not a simple question of whether or not to allow Smart Matching on large trees that aren't "active" per say.
4. Support and Premium membership - the majority of the support team is indeed located in Israel. In Israel the work week begins on Sunday and ends on Thursday. The weekend is Friday and Saturday. Support works on the weekends at a lower capacity. Due to the fact that we work on Sunday and not on Friday, it might seem like we have a long weekend because when you read our response on Monday morning three days will have passed.
We do answer Premium support requests on first priority. There are times when support gets innundated with requests and response time slows. This is one of those times, due to many factors, such as the release of a new Family Tree Builder version and our acquisition of several companies. We're doing everything we can to get to you as soon as possible and I'm sorry if your requests weren't answered in a timely fashion.
5. Is everyone happy? Should they be? I don't think so. Like you said, it's a person's Democratic right not to agree with others. There are literally millions of members at MyHeritage. Can we make everyone happy? We can try, and we always will try, but I think it's utopian to expect that all our members will be happy all the time. And I personally am not sure I want that. If everyone were happy all the time, then people like you wouldn't write. When you write things like this it is exactly the kind of feedback that makes us take a step back and reexamine things to see if we can make something better.
We aren't always able to implement every suggestion or make every change you want to see made. And at times it may seem like it takes a long time or nothing is getting done, but I ask you to keep in mind that we are constantly making improvements (many you don't even see or feel) and a large majority of those include improvements suggested by our users.
It doesn't matter what site/program/service you use to search your family history. There will be things you'll get along with and things you will not agree with. I think the most important thing is that you find the service that suits your needs best. If it's MyHeritage, great. If not, that's fine too. In the end, the most important thing for us is that you enjoy what you do. 
Rhianna W
Tel Aviv, Israel
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RE: Seeking advice regarding upgrade to premium subscription of FTB [2]
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Welllll---myself, I never expected that smart matching was not a lot of work and more often than I would like a royal (sometimes literally) pain in the neck.  But I found many more gold nuggets than I ever expected to find and some very surprising information that I gratefully used.  Besides, if a tree is annoying and useless, one can always instruct myHeritage to ignore it.  I am a mostly satisfied, often happy and occasionally ecstatic myHeritage user.
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