I went to Salt Lake City last month for the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference to pick up some genealogy news.
There were new versions of three genealogy programs released at the conference, Legacy Family Tree 6.0, Roots Magic, version 3, and Family Tree Maker 2006.
Many useful additions have been added to Legacy Family Tree in the 6.0 version (www.LegacyFamilyTree.com). This version has built-in research guidance, a new publishing center, DNA recording option, and a U.S. county verification report. The county verification report is invaluable. It checks your entire file to “verify that the U.S. counties you have used were in existence for the time period you are using them.”
Roots Magic, version 3 (www.rootsmagic.com) has two new features that stand out. It now allows direct integration with GenSmarts and the making of custom CD’s to share with family members. This CD feature allows the inclusion of a read only version of Roots Magic on the CD to view the contents. Other news from Roots Magic is that they recently purchased Personal Historian, a software program which helps you write personal histories, memoirs, and biographies.
There are several new or improved features worth mentioning in Family Tree Maker 2006 (www.shops.ancestry.com). The source management, Web search and merge features have all been improved. New features added are the family facts and research tips and an internet backup. Be aware that the internet backup will cost after the first three months. The genealogy related software, AniMap 2.6, U.S. County Boundary Historical Atlas (www.goldbug.com), was also released at the conference. This version was produced to correct the problems that the program was having with Windows XP and is almost identical to version 2.5.
Undoubtedly the biggest news at the conference came from FamilySearch.com. An improved Web site was launched during the conference. It also announced it is starting to convert microfilm to digital images that will be posted on the Web site. The records scheduled to be digitized will include U.S., Canadian, and Pacific vital records, British parish records and South American vital records and census records. This project will be ongoing and will take at least 15 years to complete.
Brigham Young University (BYU) is working with the Family History Library to digitize published family histories. Approximately 5,000 family histories are now posted on the Web site at http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/ and about 100 are being added each week. There also is a link to each individual book from the online catalog at FamilySearch.com.
George Morgan and Drew Smith announced a new project. In September they began “The Genealogy Guys Podcast” (www.genealogyguys.com). This is a 30 minute podcast which is published each week on genealogy related subjects. If you would like to be on the cutting edge of technology, you will definitely want to check out the podcast.
The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) had a booth in the exhibit hall. ISOGG (www.isogg.org) was founded in March 2005 as a support network for genetic genealogists. The mission of this organization is to educate on the use of genetics as a tool for genealogical research. Their Web site has a variety of instructive information on genetic genealogy.
As usual, there were lots of books for sale in the exhibit hall. I added two books to my collection, Unlocking Your Genetic History by Thomas Shawker and Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Ann Turner. Shawker’s book is an informative guide to family medical and genetic heritage. Smolenyak and Turner’s book explains how genetic testing can help you research your ancestry.
The FGS conference in Salt Lake City was a huge success with over 1400 persons in attendance. It turned out to be a personal success for me when I found my great-grandparent’s Irish marriage record during one of my visits to the Family History Library.