Friday, February 5, 2010


Remember when the website was going to be released? The first promised date was late May 2009. Nope. Didn't happen. Then it was promised for Fall 2009. Nope, didn't happen.

The site was supposed to be the second coming of the LDS Family History Library Catalog (FHLC), with

* the content of the current FHLC with links to digitized genealogy resources
* content from other repositories and websites
* links to genealogy books or databases available online

In July 2009, they said that it would be the "window to the vast collection of genealogical resources."

In August 2009, the GenSeek Application on Facebook debuted and the Facebook page said it would have "Research tools for every genealogist. GenSeek on Facebook houses a unique method of searching for sources that may contain records of your ancestors that may be housed in the Family History Library."

There has been precious little added to either the website or the GenSeek Application for Facebook since then.

When will come alive? This screen has shown on the site since early in 2009.

I have received no emails about GenSeek launch! Have you?

The Genseek Application page on Facebook looks like this:

There hasn't been a specific post about the GenSeek application on their Facebook page since 14 August 2009 - the only one to date.

When I click on the GenSeek Application link, I see my GenSeek profile on this screen:

And when I click on the "Search" tab on the application I see:

That is exactly what we saw back in August 2009 - six months ago. And the current application works exactly the same as it did in August 2009. Nothing has changed -- especially the silence from about GenSeek.

Here is the list of my Genea-Musing blog posts concerning (working backwards in time):

* Trying to use GenSeek Application dated 30 September 2009
* GenSeek on Facebook Application is Available dated 10 August 2009
* GenSeekers Announced and Delayed dated 13 July 2009
* Lifting the Skirt on, dated 15 March 2009.
* A Sneak Peek at, dated 2 February 2009
* What Will GenSeek Be? dated 22 January 2009

Since the first announcement of in January 2009, only Tamura Jones and myself have posted any significant detail of what might look like and how it will work. Other genea-bloggers have been either silent or oblivious to the absence of what's been billed as the next great thing in online genealogy research. Maybe they're more cynical and realistic than I am?

Some persons have mentioned the dreaded "V word" - Vaporware. Technically, it's not - there is the GenSeek application for Facebook that "works."

Will the actual website look and work like the current GenSeek Application on Facebook? I sincerely hope not - the complaints I had back in September included:

* The listing of resources for a specific topic is haphazard - there are no orderly categories like on the current Family History Library Catalog.
* The information for a specific resource does not include FHLC microfilm or microfiche numbers for the items that are on those media. This makes the site pretty useless for many researchers, at least until all of the microfilms and microfiches have been digitized and indexed by FamilySearch.
* Printing the GenSeek item on the Facebook application is not paper or format efficient. The useful information is in a narrow column that prints on too many sheets of paper.

One more thing - did the Genseekers ever form up and march out to gather genealogy information for imaging and database digitization? That was announced in July 2009 as I recall.

I know what some readers are saying - have patience. I'm trying... major FAIL!

My opinion is that companies should not promise what they cannot deliver, and when they do promise and fail to deliver, that they should own up to it, state a reason and describe the measures being taken to be successful.

I want to be the most useful genealogy resource catalog since, well, the FHLC. High expectations and patience don't wear well, it seems.

The way things usually work out is that I rant about something today and it is scheduled to launch in the very near future. I hope does! We all need what it promises to do.


Dean Richardson said...


I think it's still a little early for the "vaporware" designation.

Remember that FamilyLink recently received an infusion of private equity funding.

If I were a VC on FamilyLink's board, I'd be encouraging them to keep working on monetizing their Facebook applications, which by all accounts they're doing well at, rather than making progress on GenSeek, which probably has significantly less monetization potential (at least for now.)

BTW, have you come across their GenSeek API Powerpoint on FSDN?

Google catalog_api_bretts.ppt and you should find it, if you haven't seen it already.


Lisa Louise Cooke said...

Perhaps FamilyLink should get back to business basics starting with the tried and true "Under promise...over deliver." It's a much better business strategy.