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Family Tree DNA nightmare
Posted by: Carl (ID *****9040) Date: November 22, 2013 at 05:09:45
  of 4712

For a long time, Family Tree DNA has supported the posting of two pedigree charts for those customers who wanted to divide their ancestral tree into paternal and maternal sections and post them seperately (optional, but not required). However, they now have a new plan.

Because of the interest in autosomal DNA testing (Family Finder is an example), Family Tree DNA has decided – and rightly so – that it is better to post a single pedigree chart that allows matching samples to be examined more fluidly by the researcher. And then there is the nightmare way they have opted to proceed.

Instead of displaying the single pedigree charts of those customers who had already posted a single tree and only one of the two for those customers who had posted two trees, wait for this – THEY HID ALL THE TREES!!! That’s right, they arbitrarily blocked the viewing of ANY currently uploaded GedCom file. They want ALL customers, living and dead, to delete everything in the way of a tree already (and still) on their servers and start all over again from scratch. Every customer. Delete all your existing uploaded work. Go through the whole process of creating a new GedCom file. Go through the whole process of uploading a new GedCom file. Go through the whole process of getting all ancestral surnames properly accounted for. Do that – rather than ask the company to whom you paid good money to simply POST WHAT THEY ALREADY HAVE, WHAT IS ALREADY THERE!!!

The background – I had suggested to a fellow family researcher that extending her husband’s YDNA results to a Family Finder test as well might prove to be helpful. We waited for the testing, the results came in, and I accidentally discovered this wonderful new feature as I tried to examine matches for a new DNA sample.

Well over a month ago, on October 16, I initiated contact with Family Tree DNA about the problem. Since then, slowly, ever so slowly, in an extended SERIES of messages back and forth (several of which included my phone number and a request for direct contact, which of course did not happen), I’ve been told:

10/26 “…Your GEDCOM is still available under the GEDCOM tab on your personal page.”

Message back to them, pointing out it is not available to other researchers. No answer.

New message from me, and the response from FTDNA – wait – it’s a bug.

10/30 “… This GEDCOM issue has been brought to my personal attention. We have identified the bug and have moved it to the top of our priority list. We will get it fixed as soon as our engineers have tackled the problem. We appreciate your help in bringing this to our attention.”

Back from me -- it’s a bug? I was told it was a new company policy.

10/30 “… The information I am currently getting is that it's a bug and is fixable. I'm sorry that you've had such a difficult time getting information regarding this. I will keep you updated as we make progress tomorrow.”

Message back to them, then a much later reponse from FTDNA – wait – it’s NOT a bug.

11/11 “My apologies for the delay in responding to your most recent inquiry. While I can understand your frustration, the fact that we set up a message over a year in advance of a change indicates that the choice was not arbitrary. Family Finder is based on both maternal and paternal lines of DNA, which is why we want a combined GEDCOM … Supporting the old format would not have been a viable solution for us, which is why we've removed the support for it…we still didn't delete the files, they're just not visible through the Family Finder matching interface.”

Increasingly frustrated message back to them – you still have the files, you are implementing this decision in a terrible way that inconviences all your customers, living and dead, and besides, I already have that combined tree, so please display it and all other single trees.

Message from them.

11/14 “…I went back and checked your kit again and you don't have a combined tree uploaded, you only have a paternal line uploaded.”

This time, a screaming, stomping message from me that I DID in fact have a combined tree uploaded and that somebody wasn’t bothering to check.

The month anniversary of the initial attempt quietly passes and still no results getting Family Tree DNA to post the trees.

Then comes 11/21, “…I also apologize that I did not click on the link that normally only holds paternal lineages to see that you have a full tree there.”

Really? Really? You actually hadn’t really bothered to check, after being told it was there, but simply claimed you had already checked?

And in this same message from them, the Family Tree DNA “HelpDesk” the very “helpfully” added, “The obvious and simple solution would be for you to delete your GEDCOM and upload it again in the new format.”

Really? Really? We have circled all the way back to that? That was the final straw.

11/21 – the one last final REALLY screaming, stomping message from me (with the exact same wording and the exact same asterisks as included in my message).

“Your apologies are not accepted -- and particularly not appreciated. The obvious and simple solution IS TO POST THE D***ED TREES!!! AND I AM ARGUING ON BEHALF OF EVERY CUSTOMER YOU HAVE WHO SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WORK TWICE TO DELETE AND RE---->LOAD<----- GEDCOM FILES YOU ALREADY HAVE!!!!! WHAT THE H**L IS THE MATTER WITH YOU PEOPLE????????”

Some of those customers whose work WAS available are now dead. What about them? What about all of us living ones who could benefit from their work? The silliness of the Family Tree DNA company is breathtaking. Wouldn’t you want your customers to recommend you to other genealogists?

Now, my experience with what this company characterizes as “Technical Support” or “Customer Service” may not be typical – but it sure was frustrating. Can anyone get Family Tree DNA to step up the plate and post each of the SINGLE trees ALREADY on their server and ONE of the trees in any dual tree setup? Bennett Greenspan, are you listening to any of this?? --Carl


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