Category Archives: Family Sites

Interesting genealogy-oriented family websites

MyFamily.com (Inc.) Acquires Encounter Technologies

In yet another acquisition, MyFamily.com, Inc., (owners of Ancestry.com) has acquired another company to help expand their services. They’ve acquired Encounter Technologies, which came out of the Georgia Institute of Technology Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).

According to the Georgia Institute of Technology, Encounter Technologies designs, develops and deploys innovative communications applications that help people stay in touch on the web. Unique solutions include SnapGenie multimedia photo albums and visual phone conferencing services.

From the Press Release:

The acquisition of Encounter Technologies is another strategic step MyFamily is making to grow their team and develop technology that will give families innovative ways to connect and share on the Web.

Other strategic steps include a new generation of executive talent that Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of MyFamily.com, Inc. has attracted to pioneer the next wave of the company’s growth and innovation. Michael Graff, a former Microsoft executive, is chief among them and recently joined MyFamily as a Senior Vice President and General Manager of the MyFamily business unit. With the acquisition of Encounter Technologies, MyFamily appoints Encounter Technologies’ founder Hoyt Prisock to Vice President of Strategy and Business Development of the MyFamily web service.

Some of it sounds like they are trying to apply the Web 2.0 stuff to genealogy. I’ve heard lots of rumblings about new “portal” sites for families that have genealogy services built into them, but as far as I’m concerned, all you need is something like Drupal, or phpBB.com combined with PhpGedView or The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding.

Out of the four applications I listed above, Drupal is a content management system (CMS) – basically you could have discussion forums, a recipes area (those seem to be popular with family websites), a photo gallery, etc., email/mailing lists, all out of one system, phpBB is a discussion forum, and PhpGedView and TNG are actually full-blown online genealogy applications. Out of those four, only TNG charges (and it’s well worth the money as far as I’m concerned, I’ve been happy over the past few years, as have many others).

You could literally host your own family site, completly under your control, and with the amount of privacy you want (with all of the concerns about identity theft, children, etc.), for a very cheap price – $5 or so a month for hosting, plus another $10 every year for a domain name.

That’s just me.

Harry Potter Genealogy Mapped Out

For those of you into fictional genealogy, Cassandra sent me a note about mapping out the genealogy of the characters in the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling, the series’ author, is a big fan of genealogy, and has included a lot of back history of the various characters.

The site is hosted at RootsWeb, and as an example, you can see Harry Potter’s family tree in Pedigree format.

Be Wary of ‘Unsourced’ Material on Web

Roxanne Moore Saucier has another great column in the Bangor Daily News (Maine), Be wary of ‘unsourced’ material on Web that reminds us all not to take everything we find on the internet at face value.

Excerpts from the column:

So is the Internet the best thing that ever happened to genealogy – or the worst? Neither. Computers and the World Wide Web certainly have changed research habits for most of us.
….
An unimaginable amount of information is available on the Internet now, and it’s growing all the time. But it’s more important than ever to resist assuming that everything we read is true.

It can be great to find that someone has done a genealogical homepage that includes our ancestors – but all too often, these are “unsourced.” There’s no indication of where the information came from. And with the speed of the Internet, it’s easier than ever for one person or site to pick up on an error and repeat it as fact.

At times I find myself lamenting how “easy” the internet has made genealogy research – too easy in some cases, because I have literally had relatives take my years of genealogy research, and then casually slip in some material they found on the web, and present this as “genealogy research” to other family members.

It drives me up the walls when a relative says “look at all of this information I found during my research” and it turns out that their “research” consisted of them hitting up Google, finding a few web pages that were last updated in 1998, with contact information that is out of date, and with sources missing.

GenoPro – Hosted Genealogy Data Online

Saw this in a story at Genealogy Software NewsGenoPro is adding a new feature to version 2.0 of their software (GenoPro 2.0 is in beta right now):

GenoPro is launching a new service for publishing genealogy online. If you are looking to publish your family tree and pictures on the web, but are somewhat confused about how to get started, GenoPro offers you an easy solution. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can publish your complete family tree to our server familytrees.genopro.com.

This jumps over many of the newer applications that allow for easy publishing of genealogy data online, in that you don’t have to deal with hosting of the files (sounds like you only have to handle one or two files to upload, and it generates the views/reports/etc. online).

It will be interesting to see if other genealogy software developers follow suit. Some already offer a similar feature – Family Tree Maker/Ancestry.com is one example.