About six weeks ago I wrote a review of PedigreeSoft.com. It is an excellent online genealogy application that helps you manage your family history and genealogical research. It operates in much the same manner as all the other genealogy programs that we have all used for years, such as The Master Genealogist, RootsMagic, Legacy, Personal Ancestral File, Reunion and others. You can enter data, update that data, create reports, import and export GEDCOM files, share data with others, and much more.
At first glance, PedigreeSoft.com appears to be much like other traditional genealogy applications. There is one major difference, however: your data is stored on a web server, not on your own hard drive. In fact, PedigreeSoft.com is one of the new Web 2.0 applications. I expect we will see many more, such Web-enabled products within the next few years.
You can read my review of PedigreeSoft.com at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/03/pedigreesoftcom.html.
Shortly after arriving at the “Who Do You Think You Are?” conference in London, I spotted Matt Garner, owner and chief programmer of PedigreeSoft.com. I had seen him only a few weeks earlier in Provo, Utah and I knew that he lives near Provo. Here he was in London and, even stranger, he was standing in the convention exhibit of FindMyPast.com (formerly known as www.1837online.com), one of the leading providers of online databases of interest to genealogists researching U.K. ancestry.
I walked up to Matt and said, “You are a long ways from home.” Matt smiled but didn't say much. A few hours later I found out why Matt was smiling and why he was working in the FindMyPast.com exhibit. It seems that Matt has partnered with FindMyPast.com, has relocated from Utah to London and has joined the team at FindMyPast.com’s London headquarters.
Here is the official announcement, which I will follow with a comment or two:
Findmypast.com, the UK’s leading family history website, today announces its acquisition of PedigreeSoft.com, producer of a family tree builder program which enables genealogists to easily organise their research and share it with others online.
The new service will be integrated with findmypast.com’s current genealogy research offerings, available to subscribers at www.findmypast.com, and will also continue to operate as an individual online resource at www.PedigreeSoft.com.
The PedigreeSoft website marks a significant technological leap in genealogy, as its single, easy-to-use Web 2.0 application enables users to organise all of their existing research online and share it online with others. The service allows any PedigreeSoft.com user instant access to all of his or her research from any web-enabled computer worldwide. The web platform also lets multiple users concurrently research the same individual, share their findings and coordinate their efforts. A unique feature for logging amends and additions allows the original data owner to edit others’ contributions. These features are currently not available on any other similar genealogy website.
Elaine Collins, Commercial Director at findmypast.com, said: “PedigreeSoft.com’s online and community access features mark it out as uniquely different to other genealogy software packages currently available on the market. We feel the service will complement the genealogy records and services we offer to family history enthusiasts at findmypast.com, providing an enhanced service for our customers. Both our professional genealogist customers and people using findmypast.com to explore their family tree for the first time will be able to benefit from the easy-to-use service.”
The website’s founder, software developer and genealogist Matt Garner, has relocated to the UK to join the team at findmypast.com’s London HQ.
Garner commented: “We have received wonderful feedback from our customers since the service launched in 2005 and we're excited to become a part of the findmypast.com family."
The basic PedigreeSoft.com service is free of charge. The price of annual subscriptions for additional features will be announced when the paid integrated service is available on the findmypast website later this year.
Comments by Dick Eastman:
This strikes me as a great business arrangement. As I wrote in my earlier review, PedigreeSoft.com is an excellent product, and I believe it to be the beginning of a wave of web-enabled genealogy applications. If I am to criticize anything about the program, all I can say is that it is not yet a mature product. It is still missing some reporting functionality and various utilities that one expects to find in genealogy software. Of course, the same was true of most competitive products when they were first released. The Master Genealogist, RootsMagic, Legacy, Personal Ancestral File, Reunion and others were all missing various bits and pieces in version 1.0 of their releases. Those functions typically were added in version 1.1 or version 2.0.
The other thought that popped to mind when using PedigreeSoft.com is that the company needed a bit more marketing muscle. As good as the program is, it seems obvious that a one-person company cannot afford the advertising required to become a major player in today's crowded genealogy software marketplace.
Today's announcement with FindMyPast.com seems to solve both of those issues. Advertising will now be handled by a well-known and powerful online service that already reaches tens of thousands of genealogists. Addition of new features should be easier now that Matt can focus on developing the product and spend less time on business management. The planned integration of PedigreeSoft.com within FindMyPast.com's online databases should benefit all genealogists. The international implication of an American software firm joining forces with a British online database service simply is an indication of the world in which we live: international boundaries are becoming less and less important every day.
From the view of FindMyPast.com, the arrangement also seems to be shrewd. Eventually, the new software will be integrated in order to offer customers another option for managing their own genealogy records and research results. The software will eventually automatically search both the databases on FindMyPast.com as well as other databases provided by other companies that agree to the arrangement. FindMyPast.com obviously saw a product that it liked, and decided to add it to the company's portfolio. As electric razor entrepreneur Victor Kyam stated so many times, "I liked the product so much I bought the company."
My guess is that we will see changes about four to six months from now as the two products merge together. I suspect this international marriage of two state-of-the-art genealogy services is going to survive and prosper.