My Family Tree

Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by Genealogy (the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history.)

In the late 80’s I made my first attempt to compile my family tree using Clarisworks for Macintosh. After more than ten years, trying to get the non-standardized data from that program and damaged ZIP drives is almost impossible.

I started collecting data again about 3 years ago, after evaluating several offering including several desktop applications including the widely used Family Tree.

I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to do this all by myself. I needed to enlist my family to gather and enter this information, so a web based application that allowed anybody to participate by entering information was ideal.

PhpGedView is an Open Source web application that runs on php with a MySql backend allowing more than one person to contribute to the family tree, while at the same time having the administrator approve content going into the family tree. Features include charts and lists, PDF reports, visitors and users options, GEDCOM 5.5 Support.

With everybody leading busy lives, its hard to get people to participate. Its just not fun entering information about your family into a site leading to my disappointing 60 entries.

Several months ago, I created a family group within Facebook and that group has almost reached 200 people as I write this entry in my blog. Having a hip web app within Facebook to gather this data would be so much effective.

There are now several Web2.0 startups that target this market. Geni, MyHeritage and Kindo, which MyHeritage recently swallowed.

Even though MyHeritage has more users and traffic, Geni has the Facebook application which would make it real easy when sending an invite to the group.

Only issue remaining of course is privacy. How do both of these companies deal with the privacy of all this data.