FamilyLobby.com Offered as an Alternative for Former MyFamily.com Users

Ancestry.com recently announced that it will close the popular MyFamily.com web service. The outcry from MyFamily.com users has been loud. Other companies are now scrambling to offer alternative services that offer similar functionality. One online service, FamilyLobby.com, has been operational for several years and is a mature service. It claims to have similar features that MyFamily.com users have enjoyed for many years and could offer a smooth transition. Best of all, FamilyLobby.com is available free of charge.

The following announcement was written by the folks who produce FamilyLobby.com:

Dallas, TX -June 24, 2014

As the closure of MyFamily.com nears, former users are looking for an alternative to host a virtual gathering place for family located all over the globe. FamilyLobby.com has similar features that MyFamily.com users have enjoyed for many years and could offer a smooth transition. FamilyLobby.com is also working on a way to help former MyFamily.com users import their data into the FamilyLobby.com systems.

FamilyLobby.com is a free website with a unique family URL, where members can share photos, videos, newsletters and more to keep family members connected. To build a family website, users can simply visit FamilyLobby.com and click on the “create” button to get started. A virtual tour and sample site offer helpful insights for new users.

“Your site has made it easy and with so many choices and great added pieces to make the site fun, exciting and always full of great information,” said one FamilyLobby.com user.

The top features of FamilyLobby.com include:

Family Tree. Here users can upload photos and information in family tree format, making it easy to view children, parents and grandparents on one page.

Photo Gallery. In the photo gallery, family members can upload and share photos, and family members can leave comments. Photos can also be viewed as a slide show.

Members. This where family members are displayed in quick list format, showing name, phone and contact info, making it easy to connect and send information to everyone.

Discussion Board. This is a private area where members only can leave messages for each other.

News and Newsletter. After family members post news items, FamilyLobby.com makes it easy for the user to click on these and create and send a newsletter to family members.

Also as part of its free family website, FamilyLobby.com users can utilize the family calendar option, journal and more. Users can also add music and change the page themes as they are easy to customize as the seasons change or as events take place. Many site upgrades are available for a small fee.

Summer is in full swing, and that means family reunion time. One important feature of FamilyLobby.com is that it aides the user in planning a family reunion. These days, many family members live far away from each other; family reunions are an important get-together for families to reconnect. What better way to plan the big event than as a group online? The private discussion board option allows for easy back and forth sharing of ideas.

As one FamilyLobby.com user commented: “This reunion has been in the planning stages for years and finally is coming together with your help.” For more tips on planning a family reunion, check out the Family Tips section at FamilyLobby.com.

Started in 2005, FamilyLobby.com has a strong user base and plans to continue building in the years to come as a family web hosting site. MyFamily.com is part of the Ancestry.com family and will shut down the MyFamily.com site on Sept. 5.

Ancestry.com posted an announcement June 5, 2014 about retiring MyFamily.com and other services here: http://ancestryforums.custhelp.com/posts/11bf253c69.

A FAQ has been created in regards to the retiring of MyFamily.com here:
http://www.ancestry.com/cs/faq/myfamily-faq.

Disclaimer from Dick Eastman: I won’t write a review of FamilyLobby.com and compare it to MyFamily.com simply because I am not familiar with the soon-to-be-terminated MyFamily.com. I could not write a meaningful comparison. However, if you are a MyFamily.com user and you do try FamilyLobby.com, I would like to invite you to post your comments below, describing your experiences with the two services.

 

36 Comments

I’ve not used this site before and found that it’s not iPad friendly. The tour that I wanted to do to see what was involved wouldn’t load. That would be a deal breaker for me.

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    The iPad (and iPhone and iPod Touch) cannot display anything written in Flash. The problem is in the iPad, not in the web site. There are some available “workarounds” but most of them are awkward to use. You can learn more by starting at https://www.google.com/search?q=ipad+and+Flash

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    Thanks Dick, yes I realised later that it must have been flash. Thanks for the link.

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    As a “user” of devices, I don’t think I HAVE EVER expect all the new phones, Ipads, notebooks, whatever? to ever replace or be as efficient, and effective as the personal PC or MAC…. for any one to buy these other items and expect the SAME service abilities is a wrong assumption… THEY will never replace the personal computer device!!!!

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    Regardless of the reason, any My Family replacement that does not work with the iPad is not a viable option for me or many of my members and the flash workarounds are not an attractive option. While it’s true that I still keep a PC around for those few things I can’t do on my mobile devices, 90% of the time I use my iPhone or iPad for everything I want to do. A family website is definitely something that needs to be mobile for me.

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Mary Dresser Taffet June 25, 2014 at 6:59 am

One thing I don’t see listed here is a place to upload and share files — such as word documents, PDFs, etc. That’s one service that MyFamily.com offered, which is one of the major uses I got out of it.

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I had a look at family lobby but recommend one of the free sites with no limitations such as rootsy.com or if you have a device that does not handle flash, famberry.com is great on the mobile or desktop. They are pretty much easier to use and more secure than myfamily.com anyway.

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    I tried to find rootsy.com to see what their site offers. I cannot find it; everything I try takes me to aol.com and searching there yields nothing for rootsy. Can you give me a better link?

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It looks like rootsy.com has disappeared. Famberry.com looks active, BUT I guess I’d worry about a free site – that could disappear with my data at any time.

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Kimberly Prell Clark June 27, 2014 at 9:17 am

The Next Generation for site building may be one solution for some. Here is a link to the site http://lythgoes.net/genealogy/software.php . Near the bottom of the home page there is a link that takes you to Simply Hosting who works with TNG in regard to site hosting. I agree that free is likely not the way to go and with something like this you have a little more control. Simply Hosting works like GoDaddy.com, etc. in regard to you having your own domain for your site. It not for the new user or the faint of heart and takes some computer and website knowledge to go this route.

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Hello, I invite you and your readers to try http://spokt.com – We have offer private communications, track your unviewed items, allow for file uploads, news posts, photos, videos and polls. It was inspired by MyFamily.com over 7 years ago and has had many happy converts during those years. Not only that but we have begun work on a MyFamily.com migration tool that will seamlessly bring your data from MyFamily.com into Spokt automatically!

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    Kimberly Prell Clark June 27, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Good Heavens, a migration tool before September would be completely amazing and awesome. I have several MyFamily sites and have been extremely unhappy with the export that that are allowing on the site, not to mention the DDoS issues they’ve had (and couldn’t help) that has put a bit of a dent in our time slot for getting everything (replies, notes, files, and photos etc.) down one at a time. I looked at the demo and it is very promising. It seems easy to use and straightforward.

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The Family Lobby website is nothing at all like the My Family Classic sites but the support has been excellent. They have ask us to list the features that we would like to see and are working very hard to give us similar features to those we had on My Family classic sites. I encourage all the members who are looking for a replacement site to check out Family Lobby.

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    Wanda, did you ever check out Spokt.com? It was inspired by the MyFamily 1.0 Sites.

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    Yes I did check out Spokt.com. It appeared to be more like the MyFamily.com 2.0 and 3.0 sites which most of the members rejected. The classic my family is not a blog looking site. Most of our group sites were play/hobby sites and not especially for family history/discussion type use. Member created Photo albums are neatly arranged in sections. You could go to a certain album and see a preview of all photos, click on each photo and make comments on each one. When I checked out the sample at Spokt I saw one continuous string of photos with no separation and did not see a place to comment . Perhaps I overlooked that? WE do not like forum or blog type posting of comments either.

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    Wanda, I’m glad you gave it a try. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you but I think you may have overlooked some things. Here are the reasons why many are finding their new home coming from MyFamily.com 1.0: We keep track of users’ unviewed items, users can comment on news, photos, videos, and polls. The comments are indented so you know who said to whom. Catching up is a cinch with our “Next Unviewed Item” link.

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I am extremely hesitant to start a group with another company after the myfamily.com fiasco. Our extended family and also a High School group used the service to keep in touch with one another even though everyone is scattered across the country. We had a good number of members who were not very computer knowledgeable. They were able to join in and know that someone was watching out for them (me.) Though we put pictures, files, conversations, addresses, calendars on the service over the years, ONLY the photos are being prepared for download. Years of conversations with family members who have since passed on are lost unless we capture them one at at time. Files of historical interest are in the same boat. For now, I have started a private group on facebook, but it is not a good answer. Many of our family members don’t want to be involved with facebook. It isn’t easy to find something that was put on there at another time. You can only “tag” photos of people who also use the service, so that doesn’t help when we are identifying old photos.
Until I learn of a service that will allow me to periodically capture the content we have added, I will keep searching. I will not join any service that makes it difficult to retrieve our information, nor do I have any confidence in a free service being around for a long time.

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    I feel the same way. The more I see about the info that is NOT being captured by Ancestry, the angrier I am about the membership fee that was paid each year. They could have retained the services of programmers capable of capturing ALL of the data in each account. If the Spokt people are doing this, then ANCESTRY could do this!! NOT HAPPY WITH ANCESTRY!!

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    Hi Theresa,

    I completely understand your concern. A lot of folks (including a few of our own employees with old content still on MyFamily) were quite shocked to learn that the data was essentially being destroyed with no way for the layperson to salvage it easily. This is why we have taken up the task of preserving those memories still stored on MyFamily’s servers with Mayflower, our official Myfamily migration tool.

    Another diamond that has been born out of this rough situation is Spokt’s commitment to a new, industry-leading Open Data Model. We have announced the development of Harbor™, a data export service which will allow you to save a proper download of all the data from your Spokt Hub to your own computer’s hard drive, any time you choose. We plan to release this tool by the end of summer. We recognize the value you place on the memories you’ve accumulated through the years. We are committed to going beyond offering a great service by helping you preserve those memories on your own terms, and on your own hard drive.

    Please let me know if you have any questions about our migration service, Mayflower, or if you need any help getting set up on Spokt. Have a great weekend!
    RJ

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    Mary Dresser Taffet July 4, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    RJ,

    I also have my photos on my old MyFamily.com site organized into multiple albums. Your Spokt site doesn’t seem to offer the ability to organize photos into albums. I for one wouldn’t want to have a jumble of unrelated photos all mixed together. Are you considering offering the ability to separate photos into albums?

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    Theresa,

    We don’t usually discuss unannounced features, but I can tell you specifically that we are preparing the release of a robust photo organization solution. It is a top priority once Mayflower, our MyFamily migration tool is fully rolled out.

    Let me know if you have any other questions! You can also contact us directly at http://spokt.com/contact
    RJ

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I would also like to recommend Spokt. I have been using it for a few years and it is great. It has all the features that my family used most on myfamily.com and it has a lot more space.

I have never had an issue with downtime or any interruption of service and it is very easy to use.

Plus they just announced “Mayflower” which imports files and data from myfamily.com. Here is the link: http://spokt.com/mayflower/myfamily-migration-export-tool

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Mygreatbigfamily.com offers many of the features of Myfamily including online family tree and many more features. They offer a free 14 day trial. MyGreatBigFamily free trial site.

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I am still very pleased with FamilyLobby.com. They are working hard to give us features similar to what we had at my family. I am able to do all the things I did at my family but just in a little different way. I did not find that to be the case at Spokt.com as verified by support email replies to some questions I had. I will continue to watch and see what kind of changes are made in the future to make Spokt feel more like the old MyFamily classic. Right now it reminds me more of the newer myfamily blog type sites. I can see where the migration tool might be good for those who need to for big family type sites. For our Hobby site we did not need the migration and features there are much better for our needs.

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    Hi Wanda,
    As we indicated in our communications with you, Spokt is the closest match feature-for-feature to the MyFamily 1.0 sites, while offering many enhancements for our members. For instance, the “Next Unread” has been highly esteemed by MyFamily refugees as a significant improvement.

    I’m still not sure I understand what you mean when you refer to Spokt as a “blog type site”. I know you were active on our blog — is that what you are referring to? I can’t help but wonder if perchance you confused our blog with our official Hubs.

    At any rate, it sounds like a migration was not something you needed. For our users who have years of memories and conversations built up at MyFamily, Spokt’s Mayflower migration tool is the only option on the market that offers a comprehensive export of your data.

    I’m glad you’ve found a place you can call home. That’s a huge relief in the wake of MyFamily’s closing. Please let me know if we can help you in any way.

    RJ

    http://spokt.com/contact

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I highly recommend Spokt. We have years of photos and genealogical information and discussions on our My Family site and would be devastated to lose all of this. While some of the other options mentioned here may have more features, only Spokt has a migration tool that promises to preserve all of our data. While we also would like our photos organized into albums, for now we can live with the enhanced search capability of Spokt and the promise that albums will be a future enhancement. I am new to Spokt but am very impressed with their level of communication and support. Also for all of those people worried about getting burned again, they are promising to provide a download of our data to our computers in a future phase.

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    Kimberly Prell Clark July 19, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I agree that Spokt seems like a reasonable facsimile to MyFamily but after learning that they were not going to be able to guarantee that they could get all the MyFamily sites migrated to theirs before the deadline and at an extra cost for each site for the migration it just wasn’t cost effective for me to move mine. I have gone through all my sights now, copied and pasted replies and comments into Word Documents as well as downloading all the photos with the original filenames (instead of the wretched MyFamily export) and other file types. It has been tedious and time consuming but it is nearly done. I will not do this again unless I purchase a domain and build my own site so that I will have the control. After going through this with Geocities, Vista, and now MyFamily I have no urge to deal with another company that may or may not shut down.

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I am not saying that Spokt is not a good site but I cannot for the life of me see anything at all that is similar to the the classic my family site. It does however remind me very much of the 2,0 sites that they tried to migrate us to. I did not bother with the later updates that that had because I looked and did not like.
I thought this post started out being a place for people to comment on Family Lobby as a replacement for MyFamily but it seems to be more about Spokt.com now.
Family Lobby will probably never be exactly like MyFamily classic but they are changing features that we can see NOW trying to give us the features we miss. They are also working on a migration tool. I have also tried the Spokt site and I must repeat, I see nothing that reminds me of MyFamily classic but I will keep watching. I am very interested to see where all the History files migrate to with no history section. They have been very nice to me and I am not writing them off, Just waiting to see how my friends make out with the migration tool before I give any serious consideration.

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I think that different groups must use My Family in different ways. We are on My Family 1.0 but use primarily for Photos and News – some History and a few files in the File Cabinet. We are primarily doing genealogical research and sharing old photos and records as well as discussions about our research. For us, Spokt works quite well. Albums would be nice but a good search capability works almost as well. People on our My Family site actually use History and News almost interchangeably and they are the same format with different names. We do need Files and Spokt has promised to support them. Games and Recipes and Calendar and even Reunions is of little use to us. So I think each group needs to pick the new site that works best for them. For us the most important thing right now is to successfully migrate our old information and I think Spokt is the most likely to be successful at this.

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Google sites. Free plus easy to create a new family friendly page. Not sure if it can import data from MyFamily old pages, just started investigating importing.

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If I sign up for spok… will it be able to export my myfamily.com 2.0 site?

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    Official word from Spokt this morning is
    “Yes, our next highest priority is Mayflower for 2.0 Sites. We’ll get it!”
    From Spokt blog

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It has been intesreting reading all of the comments here. I understand that there is a deep concern with storing your precious family history on an external site, without knowing that all of your information will be accessible tomorrow. We thank the users who have recommended http://www.famberry.com as a trusted site to store your family history.
At Famberry, we started out with just a dream to privately store the family history of just one family. Due to interest from other families we opened the site to all and now use economies of scale to provide a place where all families can store their family history securely for years to come. At the moment we provide this service for free; but as we grow we may start to charge new users to access the service. We are very focussed on delivering you the very best experience, so we just focus on your preserving your history, photos and messages. We are constantly working to make your experience better, so users see small changes on a daily basis. We see being focussed on our users as our strength and we treat them like family. You may have only just heard of us, but we have been around for years and we plan to be around much longer.

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What do you think about Tribal Pages.com.. family tree? I’ve been trying to still decide what to do with my sister’s, God Bless her Soul-rest in peace over 10 years ago, my family website that I’ve been up keeping.. She worked very hard for years on her Geo family history, I don’t want to lose anything or anyone.

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    Hi Diann,

    In case you have not already checked out Spokt.com, we have successfully saved millions of records from MyFamily through our automated migration tool, Mayflower. We can preserve your sister’s site including the Photos (with descriptions and metadata), and all the posts in News, History, Reviews, Recipes, File Cabinet. We save all the comments on those posts, and even keep them “threaded”. We also automatically move the members over. If you want to take a closer look, you can check it out at this link:

    http://spokt.com/mayflower

    Please let me know if you need anything from us.
    P.S. You can contact our support team at http://spokt.com/contact

    Like

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