Twile is now Completely Free for Everybody

This announcement should please a lot of people! The following was written by the folks at Twile:

Doncaster: 7th February 2017

Family history timeline Twile announces its service is now free for all users.

The UK based company, who will be exhibiting at RootsTech in Salt Lake City this week, have revised their subscription in order to fully embrace their mission of making family history more engaging for the whole family.

The totally free service now allows all Twile users to:

  • Build their family tree
  • Share and collaborate with family
  • Add unlimited milestones and photos
  • Import trees and memories from FamilySearch
  • Import and merge multiple GEDCOM files

Paul Brooks, CEO comments “When we started Twile, our vision was for all family members to share and collaborate on their family story. We want family historians to share their research with their family and we want the whole family to get involved – we felt that the paid subscription was getting in the way.”

Twile, winners of last year’s People’s Choice award at RootsTech, have received financial backing from Findmypast and other investors. Paul adds “Although we will no longer be charging customers to use our core product, clearly we still need to make money. We have some ideas for optional add-ons that customers could purchase to enhance their Twile experience, but we don’t plan to charge a subscription fee or to limit usage again.”

Privacy is a key part of Twile’s offering and the company wants to assure customers that their personal data is secure and will never be sold. Paul adds “We are aware of concerns within the industry about the privacy of data, but we will never sell our customer data or jeopardise their privacy in any way.”

About Twile

Twile is a UK-based interactive timeline of everything that’s ever happened in your family. The timeline consists of photos and milestones—such as births, marriages, and deaths—that tell the story of your family from your earliest known ancestor right through to today. Family historians can import their family tree from any online genealogy service and then add more recent events from their own life before inviting family members to explore and contribute.

While the Twile website is aimed primarily at family historians, it is also designed to encourage the rest of the family to add their own content, including the younger generations. Twile was the winner of two innovation awards at RootsTech 2016, including People’s Choice.


The trouble I found with Twile…for women they add a married name as soon as you add a marriage. I don’t like that – I like the way Ancestry does it. Also, many women, especially in Europe, go by their birth surname (I object to the term, “maiden name”) all their life. Twile needs to “get with the times”.


    Maiden name is perfectly acceptable and while some would change our language to be politically correct I cannot acquiesce.


    Auto-changing a name is just wrong. Some women choose not to marry the father of their offspring. Others choose not to use their spouse’s name upon marriage.

    Then again, there are other things to consider: name given at birth, adopted name (first and/or middle and/or last name), nome de plume (Samuel Langhorne Clemens = Mark Twain), or legal name change for other reasons (to sever an association with an abusive parent, for instance).

    Then again, there’s the case of patronymic names. Until laws changed +/- a century ago in the three Scandinavian countries, women kept their own patronymic names their entire lives; they still do in Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Women did not use their husband’s patronym (a woman was, after all, not the son of her husband’s father; she was the daughter of her own father).

    Twile needs to revise their genealogy program’s data entry process. From the first “how to do genealogy research” book I got half a century to now, the standard has always been to use a woman’s birth name in genealogy programs, never her married name (if she married the biological father of her child(ren)).


More Twile Issues

I have just sent items in this message to Paul Brooks at Twile.

I really think that you are not making it clear enough to your users as to what is actually happens in Twile.
You imply that by inviting a family member to view their Timeline on your tree they can do that without them having to register as a twile member.
At no time was I warned that as soon as I invited someone to Twile, I would (if they registered) no longer be able to replace the initial existing data base and I could not really stop them inviting other family members (perhaps incorrectly) to add to the confusion. I would prefer an option that allows them to view and perhaps suggest additions to the originator and maybe just suggest additional invitees.

Fortunately I was savvy enough to stay in control and have impersonated my wife (with her collusion) and my cousin Patrick in my usage testing. Incidentally the various routes for inviting members do not seem totally compatible because although Jean invited Patrick he received and e-mail saying that ‘Michael had invited him’.

I mentioned last year that no responsible family historian would tolerate this highjacking of data by either ‘Twile’ or the ‘rest of their family’ without some level of the originator’s control. And now Twile is free it actually makes it much worse as the account seems to stay open (and connected) for ever. How do I, or my family members terminate their own accounts themselves so that the original data can be replaced/purged. You must know that family history is an everlasting ongoing story requiring corrections, additions and various genuine updates.

The level of personal detail, reunions, party events, photographs etc., Twile are actively encouraging is also enormously dangerous as it is a gift to identity thieves and perhaps paedophiles. Is there a check on the suitability of photographic data?.
Most real genealogy data is publicly accessible anyway. But you seem to be opening the doors rather too publicly and with very little control. How really secure is your database? Staff, vendors, contractors etc.
I will not be using or promoting Twile unless these issues are resolved.


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