Saturday was the third and final day that the exhibitors' hall was open at the Federation of Genealogical Societies' annual conference in Salt Lake City. Here is a bit of what I saw on the third day:
In the June 16, 2003, edition of this newsletter, I reviewed a program called "Family History CD," produced by the Jefferson Project. This program is aimed at the genealogist who wishes to store text, audio, graphics, and full-motion videos on a CD-ROM disk. While not limited to genealogy use, the intended audience is anyone who wishes to store family or other memorabilia in a format that can easily be copied and given to others. You can read my earlier review at http://www.eogn.com/archives/news0324.htm#FamilyHistoryCD. Now the same company has released a much more comprehensive program called "Passage Express." It has many new capabilities that go well beyond the making of CDs. It creates multimedia CD or DVD disks with slideshows and documentaries with photographs, background music, narration, genealogy data, video clips, audio recordings and more. For more information about Passage Express, go to http://www.passageexpress.com.
FamilyKey is a brand-new product. In fact, it is so new that it isn't really a product just yet. The program is in beta test and the producers are not yet taking orders from customers. However, they did demo what appeared to eb a program that was 80% or 90% complete and they do expect to release version 1.0 within a few months. FamilyKey is one of the new generation of genealogy programs that is web-based. The new user of FamilyKey sends a GEDCOM file to the company and a brand-new web site containing all that data appears within a few hours. The new site is very secure and the owner can give multiple levels of permissions to different users. Data that is left open for everyone to see becomes Google and Yahoo searchable. In fact, the software reportedly is optimized in a manner to make it easy for Google, Yahoo and other search engines to index your data. As a result, it is easier for others to find your data. FamilyKey also supports full multimedia files (pictures, full motion videos, music and more). The program appears to be very user friendly. I plan to write more about FamilyKey when version 1.0 is released. You might want to keep an eye on http://www.familykey.com.
Archive CD Books Ireland is releasing an impressive number of books on CD-ROM disks. These are old, and often valuable, books of genealogical interest, Most of them have not been available for years. In fact, one of the books recently scanned has only two known copies in existence. Some of the books include Slater's Commercial Directory of Ireland, 1846 (this huge book may be purchased either in sections or in its entirety), Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1810, by Sir Arthur Vicars, complete with many corrections that have never been published before, Pigot's Commercial Directory of Ireland, 1824, (this huge book may be purchased either in sections or in its entirety), and many, many more. I hope to write more about these CDs in a few weeks. In the meantime, you can learn more at http://www.archivecdbooks.ie
GenSmarts is a Windows program that uses artificial intelligence to analyze your existing genealogy and to offer suggestions of where to look next. You can read my earlier review of the program at http://eogn.typepad.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2004/12/gensmarts_a_gen.html. Version 1.0.9 of GenSmarts was shown at this year's FGS conference. The program now features a large knowledgebase of the Family History Library's U.S. book and film collection. The program scans the dates and locations in your existing genealogy database and offers suggestions of things to check next, including the actual call numbers of thousands of items in the Family History Library, almost all of which can be rented and viewed at a local Family History Center near you. More information can be found at http://www.gensmarts.com.
RootsMagic version 3 was announced and displayed at the FGS conference. The program does look good and I hope to write a more complete review within the next few weeks. A newly-updated book is also available: Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic, Third Edition. This program can be found at http://www.rootsmagic.com.
GenMerge is a program that has been around for some time. It is an excellent tool for combining multiple GEDCOM files. It finds duplicates, produces "cleaned up" GEDCOM files and much more. This year's FGS conference, a new version of GenMerge was being shown. It includes a new and simplified user interface, HTML reports with new index capabilities, context-sensitive Help files and more. You can learn more at http://www.genmerge.com.