Wrap-up from FGS Conference in Salt Lake City

Monday, September 12, 2005

This weekend saw the wrap-up of the FGS Conference in Salt Lake City. A number of vendors took the opportunity to use this venue as a showcase for new versions of their products. This included:

  • Family Tree Maker 2006 (http://www.familytreemaker.com/) – new features include searching and merging from Ancestry.com, family facts, research tips, charting companion.
  • Familysearch.org/LDS released disks 106-115 of Pedigree Resource File (pedigrees submitted by online users) and a new version of their home page which is friendlier, and makes downloading PAF 5 much easier.
  • Gensmarts 1.09 (http://www.gensmarts.com/) – have added 150,000 items from the FHL collection together with call numbers.
  • Legacy 6.0 (http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/) – new features include a “Home Page”, research helper, publishing center (for a book report), timelines (unfortunately both the publishing center and timelines aren’t included in their FREE version – so there is no way of test driving them before purchasing as there is no full feature demo available).
  • Rootsmagic 3.0 (http://www.rootsmagic.com/) – new features include backup to CD, Gensmarts integration including create to-do, private events, sharable CDs, add source to multiple individuals at once. This program is really starting to catch up to the leaders in the industry and I for one, am starting to pay much more attention to it. Note: It should be noted that there were no releases announced from The Master Genealogist as the latest version 6.03 was introduced a few weeks before the show.
I personally won’t be giving up my Gensmarts program just yet. While Legacy 6.0 and FTM 2006 have both introduced research suggestions tools, Gensmarts is still much further ahead of these programs and because it is dedicated to just this one feature, does a much better job. I am particularly surprised that as a distributor of Gensmarts, Legacy didn’t opt to go with tighter integration with Gensmarts. I would have like to have seen the ability to convert Gensmarts suggestions into to-do’s as implemented by Rootsmagic 3.0. Instead, they have tried to reinvent the wheel themselves and have come up with an inferior copy. When I think about all the other features they could have implemented using that development time instead….

I also had great hopes for Rootsmagic 3.0, now that they own Personal Historian. Personal Historian is a fantastic program for creating either biographies or family histories of individuals in your genealogy file. While it imports actual genealogical events for individuals from your file it does not import the source information, so the ultimate biography/family history when exported loses this information. I hope to see tighter integration between these two products in the future.

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