Thursday, May 20, 2010

2010 FamilySearch Software Awards - what they mean

The FamilySearch 2010 Software Awards were announced in late April by FamilySearch at the Developers Conference. You can read the press release at Renee Zamora's blog (among others - I briefly met Renee at the NGS Conference) that was released yesterday (why did they wait over three weeks?).

The following recipients were announced and the awards were presented at the FamilySearch Developers Conference:

1) Best New Product Awards

* The MagiKey for the “Best New Windows” product --
* Arcalife for the “Best New Web site” --
* MobileTree for “Best New Mobile” product --
* FamilyInsight for “Best New Macintosh” product --

2) Best New Feature Awards

* OurFamilogy for “Best Research” feature --
* SharingTime for “Best Collaboration” feature --
* Genetree for “Best DNA” feature --
* Ancestral Hunt for the “Best Geo-Mapping” feature --
* FamilyPursuit for the “Best Groups” feature --
* Photoloom for the “Best Media” feature --
* FamilyChArtist for the “Best Print” feature ---
* AppleTree for the “Best Celebrity Tree” feature --

3) Community Player Awards

* Gaylon Finlay, Incline Software, “Bug Hunter” award --
* Michael Booth and Bruce Buzbee, Roots Magic, “Trailblazer” award --

These software awards are important for ALL genealogists (not just genealogists who are LDS church members) because these companies are either FamilySearch certified affiliates already or are striving to be affiliates. As certified affiliates, it is very likely that there will be links to these companies in the New FamilySearch Family Tree online database.

I speculated about how online collaboration was going to occur in New FamilySearch Family Tree in my post Genealogy Collaboration, Take Two, which noted that Sharing Time ( was one of the companies working with FamilySearch to enable real-time collaboration.

My speculation is that persons with a family tree database in RootsMagic will be able to add their tree content to the Family Tree database from within RootsMagic without using a GEDCOM file. Changes to the family tree added to RootsMagic may be able to be added to FamilySearch Family Tree through some sort of synchronization process. Likewise, if your tree data is in FamilySearch, then you can click on Family ChArtist from within New FamilySearch Family Tree and create a beautiful tree chart. And so forth for each software company listed.

The New FamilySearch Family Tree database is currently available only to LDS church members, but FamilySearch has said that it will be opened to the genealogy world in late 2010 or early 2011.

Someone at the NGS Conference told me something like this: "All of the certified affiliates are entrepreneurial companies - they saw the opportunities and are pursuing them. Much of the content produced by these companies will be hosted by the companies, and not on FamilySearch servers. FamilySearch will provide the family tree data, and links to the services." I don't recall who made that comment to me (if you did it, I would appreciate knowing, but then you might want to remain anonymous - your choice. Sorry, I'm a bad reporter here... I forgot to write down my source!).

That's why I think that it is important to investigate and test out these award winning companies. They are going to be the "winners" in their specialized field and many more genealogy researchers will be able to use those services whether through New FamilySearch Family Tree or not.

Some of the selected software winners are already online with significant content and anybody can use them if they wish to. Many of these companies had an exhibit at the NGS 2010 Conference and may be at the SCGS Jamboree in June in Burbank, and at the FGS Conference in August in Knoxville.

As I mentioned above - this is my own speculation based on what I've read, seen and heard over the past months - I'm trying to read the tea leaves here without knowing who is pouring the hot water. If I'm wrong with my speculation, I would like to know it (even anonymously via email, I had only a few responses to my earlier posts about collaboration, but nobody said I was wrong.

UPDATED 4 p.m.: A reader provided the link to the New FamilySearch list of certified affiliates - see There are descriptions of each product and their compatibility with New FamilySearch Family Tree. Note the Certified Features Legend at the bottom of the page. Interesting!!

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