ThinkGenealogy Innovator Award #2

Wednesday, 14 Jan 2009 | by Mark Tucker

This next award is long overdue.  The second winner of the ThinkGenealogy Innovator award is Legacy Family Tree version 7.  When the innovator award is presented for software innovation, it is for a specific feature.  The innovative feature that is being recognized today is Legacy 7′s source citation templates following Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace.


Previous versions of Legacy allowed for source citations, but not anywhere near this level.  So this improved citaion feature can be considered an incremental innovation.  Evidence Explained (or EE ) is 885 pages and contains around a thousand citation models for U.S. and international documents.  Just reading the book is an accomplishment in itself but then translating that into software? Amazing!

EE was published around August 2007 and Legacy 7 was released in June 2008.  I know that Geoff Rasmussen put in many hours during those months reading and re-reading EE, thinking about it, talking with ESM, translating citation models into software requirements, creating templates, and then testing them. I dare say that Geoff is in an elite class of a few that know this book backwards and forwards. Ken McGinnis and Dave Berdan spent many hours coding SourceWriter and the other Legacy 7 features.

With SourceWriter, a genealogist can more easily find the appropriate template among so many and then fill in the blanks with the needed information.  There is no question of which citation information is needed for the document that you are citing.

Quite possibly because of the innovative work of the Legacy team, other genealogy software applications now support or will soon support EE source templates.  If my 2009 genealogy predictions come true, more and more genealogy applications (desktop and online) will support these templates.  They will become a new standard.  So does that mean that this feature is an incremental change with side effects or a transformational change?

Let me end with a story.  For many years I have thought about EE‘s predecessor, Evidence!, and how it could be implemented in software.  When EE  was published, I got more excited as I saw how the QuickCheck Models could be translated into software requirements.  It would take a lot of effort and time, but the time felt right.  I would catch myself thinking about this over and over, doing preliminary designs in my head.  One day I was driving home from work listening to a DearMYRTLE podcast interview with Geoff.  He was leaking some information about Legacy 7.  When he said something to the effect of “source citation models following Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained” I literally cried out “Nooooo!”  They had beat me to it.

I have since met the Legacy team and consider them as friends.  This is the first time they have heard this story.  They have had no warning about this post and will likely be surprised that they are the winners of the second ThinkGenealogy Innovator award.


  1. SourceWriter is an amazing feature. I just upgraded to Legacy 7 and was overjoyed with the ease of use of this new tool. The templates gave me a greater sense of confidence when entering source evidence.

    Comment by Jim Olson — 14 Jan 2009 @ 2:44 pm

  2. Congratulations to Geoff and all those who work so hard on Legacy software. I have been using Legacy for many years and never realized how far ahead of the pack they were until I met other genealogists and they told me about their genealogy programs–I was shocked how far behind Legacy the other programs are. I am a faithful customer and pat myself on the back for choosing Legacy!

    Comment by Debbie Halley — 14 Jan 2009 @ 5:25 pm

  3. [...] Tucker, publisher of the ThinkGenealogy blog, today awarded Legacy Family Tree version v7 with the ThinkGenealogy Innovator award. He wrote, [...]

    Pingback by Legacy v7 awarded ThinkGenealogy Innovator Award — 14 Jan 2009 @ 7:51 pm

  4. Amazing, indeed! Congratulations to Geoff and team for being first-to-market with this revolutionary feature. RootsMagic’s timetable (currently in beta) would’ve probably been considered somewhat impressive if not for how quickly Legacy was able to integrate it. (RM does get some slack due to the fact that a number of new features in addition to the EE and other templates are also being incorporated into the new release and that it’s undergone a major rewrite.)

    Well-done also to Legacy for helping to promote a healthy competition among the top several software applications. Here’s hoping that we see more of Mark’s forward-thinking suggestions for what genealogy software should do in these packages before long.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Jan 2009 @ 1:15 am

  5. [...] from Birth/Death Certificates to FHL Microfilm?  Mark posted on his ThinkGenealogy blog that Legacy 7 does this, but not everyone uses Legacy 7.   I myself am more of a cloud computer and the advantages [...]

    Pingback by Taneya’s Genealogy Blog » Blog Archive » My Dream Citation Tool - EasyBib + Genealogy — 29 Mar 2009 @ 9:56 am

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