Included in the list of innovations found in the Family.Show genealogy sample application is the surname cloud. Similar to the tag cloud that you find in many web application today (Flickr, LibraryThing, Technorati, etc.), the surname cloud lists the last names of all people in your database. This surname cloud lists names alphabetically with those surnames appearing more frequently appearing in a larger font size.
When you click on a name in the surname cloud, then the person list is filtered to only show those that have that last name.
I have yet to see a surname cloud in any other genealogy software.
This last week Family Pursuit Beta 1.0 was launched and I am excited to be among the testers. This web-based genealogy application promises tools to organize your research and collaborate with others.
The user interface is clean and consistent. A tutorial explains the application and there are help links available on every page. I was interested in how the company would fulfill their promise to “enable genealogy enthusiasts to involve family members who have never engaged in family history work. ” After spending a few hours using the beta, I think Family Pursuit, LC is on a path of innovation for genealogy software. Those more experienced with family history now have tools available to mentor beginners in the research process and work collaboratively toward a common goal.
It is early in the beta process and not all features are available. Overall, I like what I have seen so far and will share more details as the beta testing continues.
In July, I introduced the Family.Show genealogy sample application. One of the first things that you notice when you start Family.Show is that it doesn’t look like other genealogy applications. The black gradient background and rollovers show that a graphic designer has been at work here. After creating or opening a file you notice the main window with its clear graphics and animation. Selecting a person on the family tree marks them as the active person and the diagram updates to show spouses, children, siblings, parents as well as additional ancestors and descendants.
The selected person is marked with a star and includes name, birth year, death year, and age. Any spouse is marked blue and is joined with a solid green line that shows the marriage year. If the couple is divorced then the line is dashed and includes the divorce date. This image shows that Charles and Diana were married in 1981 and divorced in 1992 with Charles’ marriage to Camilla occuring in 2005.
I like how this family tree contains a lot of information but is still easy to understand. If the person is deceased, then the figure is outlined instead of solid. If a person has one or more children entered then an arc with small figures indicates this. Following the lines from a person shows ancestors and descendants. All direct-line ancestors and descendents are shown in red while siblings and collateral lines show in yellow. You can move the diagram around with the mouse and use the zoom slider in the bottom right to change the diagram’s size.
One of the most innovative features is the Time Explorer. This simple slider controls the year that the diagram uses to show the family tree. Moving the slider changes the age of people and dims marriages and births that haven’t yet occurred.
These are the main features of the family tree included in Family.Show. There are still more innovations in the application to explore.