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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Help - Errors/Crash MyHeritage FTB

See also: MyHeritage: Not to worry the initial response.

I noticed on your blog you are familiar with MyHeritage Family Tree Builder. I have been using this for over a month, amassing many many hours of research electronically from hard copy. Today when I went to open the program (it worked fine yesterday) I suddenly received an error and the program could not open. I had the option to send an error report, or not, or debug. I tried restarting my computer, then tried removing the program and was taken to the MyHeritage website, which is down for maintenance, so no help there.

I was wondering if the site maintenance may have interfered with the workings of my program. I have no way to save my zedcom files or turn my data into report for back-up if I can’t get this program to work again. Do you have any idea what may have caused this, or how I might go about fixing the problem so I can get at my research and back on track?

If this program crash has caused me to lose all of my data, I will be heartbroken, and it seems the FTB converts GEDCOM files to ZEDCOM files… which means I can’t seem to open the backed up data files I do have in any other program. Any help you might be able to offer would be very much appreciated.

Oddly enough, I had planned to do another blog entry today on and how the software you’ve been using interfaces with both MyHeritage and Google to present possible research alternatives when connecting our trees with those others are creating at MyHeritage.

When Ol’ Myrt attempted to visit the website directly, up popped an announcement “Sorry, the site is currently undergoing weekly maintenance. Please visit us again in a few hours. If you wish to participate in our Beta, click the ‘Contact Us’ button.” So, as they say at NASA – “We have a problem, Houston.”

My initial reaction is to first congratulate you for attempting to solve the problem by rebooting your computer. Frequently, rebooting can clear your computer’s memory, and render the use of a malfunctioning program operable once more. If not, one is usually advised to reinstall the program an option clearly not possible in this situation, since the website in question isn’t available to obtain a fresh download of the program installation file. Do not attempt to uninstall the program or anything. We want to give MyHeritage a chance to catch up with us on this situation.

My second reaction is that it does appear access to the website is a critical component to the use of Family Tree Builder. Not being a coder for the software, I don’t have the exact answers but I will write to my contact Daniel Horowitz immediately and address your concerns with him post haste. He is a good guy, and I know he will get back to me immediately. Ol’ Myrt here will be away from my desk for about three hours this morning, so that may preclude my follow-up blog with his reply until later today.

My third reaction is to consider those of us in the western hemisphere are on a different time schedule than the servers for MyHeritage, a company based in Israel. Most websites perform maintenance on a schedule that permits peak usage access. We may not be in those elite time zones. But, if MyHeritage wishes to infiltrate the US/Canada market, changes in their business practices may be required. always posts a “we’ll be back” blog entry letting subscribers know what’s happening. The MyHeritage Blog is accessible today, but there is no comment about the service outage.

A major website is down for “a few hours” every single week? That seems peculiar to me. Facebook would never survive on that type of service schedule.

If a big change is in the offing, certainly, an explanatory email should have gone out to all users a week or so in advance. But then, even a major challenge like moving servers from one facility to another doesn’t take that long. For instance, there was only a short delay of a day or two when physically moved their servers from one location to Ancestry’s server farm.

Routinely rebuilding indices of ancestor names, dates and places, photos, etc., is probably the challenge. MyHeritage is extremely popular outside the US/Canada market, a fact that eluded Ol’ Myrt for quite a while, being as US-centric as I am.

My questions for Daniel at are:

  • Certainly this user and Ol’ Myrt are missing the boat, so please assure us that most likely Desarai’s hundreds of hours of data entry are not lost.
  • Why is the MyHeritage website down for so long every single week?
  • What provisions are made to ensure that Family Tree Builders users can access their compiled data when not connected to the internet?
  • Since this provision isn’t immediately obvious, can a pop-up interface be added soon explaining the phenomenon as an alternative to the notice two users faced this morning.
  • Where does this user’s data exist? On your servers or her home PC?
  • Explain Family Tree Builder’s compatibility with the generic GEDCOM file format, readily accepted by all main-stream genealogy programs.
  • Describe backup (perhaps in generic zipped file format) in place with Family Tree Builder.

I have every confidence that Daniel will get back to me shortly.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.


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© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

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