The Demise of Your Family History Magazine

A few weeks ago I received my latest copy of the magazine Your Family History and looked forward to settling down to read the glossy periodical. I’ve been subscribing to the magazine for many years since signing up at the first Who Do You Think You Are Live Show at Olympia, London way back in 2007.

Back then it was called Your Family Tree and was published by Future Publishing, based in Bath.

I found it to be one of the better genealogy magazines out there, mostly due to the layout, as well as content, as many others in the genre were quite text heavy and not so engaging. Every so often they would have some interesting freebies and would offer some datasets to help with research – initially on a CDROM, then moved to digital downloads.

I liked the mixture of informative articles, case studies, letters to the editor and requests for help.

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Back when it was under it’s original name!

I enjoyed making time to sit and read it, a bit of me time. Cup of tea on the side… Or sometimes as a travel companion to while away the time on a train journey or something to read in the sun.

They used to do a crossword which was an interesting diversion, but sometimes had little errors in it, in fact often with the magazine I wondered if they had proof readers with some of the mistakes that crept in to the articles each month, but despite that I always found it a good read and well worth keeping up with the subscription.

A few years ago it was taken over by Dennis Publishing and renamed to Your Family History in 2016, but the content wasn’t compromised by the change.

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And as it later became known as Your Family History

When I received my February 2018 edition there was a notice on the envelope to say there was an important message to read, and when I read it I was really quite disappointed to see that it would be my last copy as the magazine was no more.

While I appreciate that in this digital age, the printed word seems to be dwindling in popularity, but I knew they offered the magazine in a digital format too, but all the same, sales had tailed off for them and it wasn’t sustainable for them to continue. It is a real shame, they had a worldwide distribution with subscribers as far flung as Australia and New Zealand.

But what irked me the most was that the publishers were suggesting something a little bit sneaky, to move our existing subscriptions over to another magazine – unless we contacted them to say otherwise – to something called Computeractive. Not genealogy related at all. While of course many of us use various forms of technology when researching and recording our family trees, replacing an informative genealogy magazine with one about computers is not a fair swap, and certainly shouldn’t be done on an opt-out basis – surely it should be an opt-in? Especially with the forthcoming changes in terms of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which will be putting stringent rules on companies passing data on. While I know this is within Dennis Publishing’s own brand, switching a product someone subscribes to on the basis that it will be switched over unless you ask it not to be, is just not on.

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Computeractive – not really floating my boat

Also the price of the magazines is not comparable – if I were to buy a copy of Your Family History without a subscription it would have set me back £4.99 but the latest price for Computeractive is £2.10 – less than half the price and didn’t offer any reduction in the subscription I paid on a quarterly basis.

Of course I contacted them straight away to advise I most definitely didn’t want to subscribe to Computeractive. I don’t know if I will look to replace my subscription with one of the other magazines out there. There are still a few to choose from; Family Tree Magazine, Who Do You Think You Are?, Discover Your Ancestors, as well as generic history magazines, so I guess I will decide in a while if I am missing having that monthly read and news updates about latest collections etc.

Did you subscribe to Your Family History Magazine? How do you feel about it’s closure?

Do you subscribe to any other genealogy magazines? What do you think of them? Do you recommend any?

Are genealogy magazines old hat? Has the internet of things taken over?

Tell me what you think!

8 thoughts on “The Demise of Your Family History Magazine

  1. I don’t subscribe to any magazines so I don’t have any recommendations. I get some online newsletters, but even those I rarely read. I guess I find learning by doing a better technique for me than reading articles that may not at that moment have any particular relevance to the research I am doing. Sorry about your magazine though!

    • I liked to keep informed with any new record sets that I might have missed – especially if not affiliated with any sites I subscribed to, and it was good for things like that. Occasionally they did some interesting articles focusing on specific occupations or areas of interest. And they used to do a section on “Skeletons in the Cupboard” on the last page which could be quite entertaining. I guess it is more that I will miss having something to read that was to do with a thing I enjoy doing.
      But I do think that magazines as a whole are probably suffering, much like shops are, with the competition of the internet where things are available either more cheaply or free – in terms of information etc.

      • Yes, magazines, newspapers, locally owned stores—-all disappearing. I get the new record set information from various newsletters and from Facebook groups. I guess I am just a digital age genealogist and came to it too late to have read things in hard copy!

  2. I found this really sad. I live in Israel and people brought me this publication when they visited. My mum brought me the latest issue and I opened it up on Saturday. When I read the editor’s introduction I was really sad. It was the best publication going from my point of view and I am really not sure what I will replace it with. On Saturdays I read paper books and magazines only and I am totally offline. The hunt is on!

    • I can imagine that for the overseas subscribers it has been quite a disappointment – I don’t know how long it often takes for copies to arrive to various countries. It is sad because there are still vast amounts of people who aren’t completely internet savvy and much prefer books and magazines for help and advice. Thanks for the comment!

      • The incoming post in Israel is so awful I rely on real human mules. I also received a copy of Family Tree magazine this week. Usually I don’t much like it but I have to admit they have really upped their game. I do wonder if the timing was deliberate. You can’t blame them.

      • I do wonder whether the rival publishers had any inkling of it and it will be interesting to see how the remaining magazines respond to it as no doubt they will get an increase in subscribers. I might get a couple this weekend and see what I think!

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