Maybe I have more confidence in online sites than others. From participation in many online genealogy forums, I've arrived at the conclusion that I use my software and Ancestry web site differently than most.
|Ancestry.com at the conference of the|
National Genealogical Society
St. Charles, MO 2015
I've gathered that people using Family Tree Maker (FTM) software enter all of their data within the software and perhaps sync it with their tree(s) on Ancestry. I do just the opposite. I enter all of my discoveries directly on the Ancestry site. Every few weeks (or months, if I get behind), I download the GEDCOM from Ancestry into my FTM software. I consider the FTM GEDCOM download as a backup of my research.
Am I lazy? Do I like living life (and my research) on the edge? I don't know. All I know is that this is what works for me.
I'm pretty much a digital kind of gal. And I know that may subject me to some dangers. I have my scanned images of documents and my personal digital photo archive all on my laptop with a backup to the cloud via Dropbox and my Amazon photo cloud. Have I thrown away or discarded any of my original documents, photographs, scrapbooks, slides or negatives? Not on your life! It's just easier for me to manage all of the data in a digital archive.
I think that we all like what we are used to. That is why I prefer OneNote to Evernote (although I use both). I prefer Family Tree Maker to Roots Magic and Legacy. Why? Because it's what I'm used to. In my working life, I always used the analogy: the only person who likes change is a wet baby! The same is true with genealogy and our software.
The advantage of being able to download a GEDCOM from Ancestry is that I can import it into whatever software application I'm using. Each of the major software packages provides different options for reports, printouts, books, etc. Having been 100% digital for several years, I'm just beginning to recreate hard copies of my research using the various software applications. Each one allows me to have different options, printouts, etc.
Am I concerned about an impending sale of Ancestry? Not so much. Do I fear that all of my research will be lost? No. Why? Because I have my GEDCOMS, my scans, my notes, my boxes and boxes of documents and photographs. And everything is backed up - on my laptop, Dropbox, Amazon, as well as on external hard drives.
For now, Ancestry remains my online tree of choice. The online family trees on Ancestry are excluded from my routine searches. I think we all know how unreliable so many of them can be. But I know they are there if I need a few hints. FamilySearch provides me with additional resources, but there is NO WAY I'm going to get into a discussion of sources or "who's right and who's wrong" in entering data or citing sources. The best I can do is to make my research available for future researchers, with source citations. I'm not going to get this all done in my lifetime, but I can leave some bread crumbs for those who choose to follow my research in the future.
Seriously, who really knows if Ancestry will be around in 100 years? I sure don't. FamilySearch-LDS - definitely a good chance of survival. Who know if the Internet will even look the same in 100 years? All I know is that I will continue to do my data entry on Ancestry, with my back-ups to FTM.
At this point in my life and research, my objective is to produce as much as possible into "hard copy" that can be printed/published and donated to local societies and libraries for those family members and historians who come after me.