Tag Archives: genealogy

Two genealogy software discounts

The previously mentioned discount on the new version of MacFamilyTree, which was originally scheduled to end only July 31, has been extended to August 11. Get MacFamilyTree 7 for $29.99 (normally $59.99) in the Mac App Store. MobileFamilyTree for iOS (works on both iPhone and iPad) is similarly discounted, and available in the iOS App Store for $7.99 (normally $14.99). These prices are set in the respective stores, no need for any discount codes. Note that MacFamilyTree is available for download as a demo if you’d like to try it out first.

Evidentia, mentioned in my round-up of Evidence-based genealogy programs, is having a sale of its own, in honor of their first print advertisement for the application coming out. During the month of August, the price will be discounted 20%, from $24.99 to $21.25. The prices are already discounted in the web store, no need for any discount codes.

Collaborating without having to be in sync

I’ve mentioned the Family History Information Standards Organization (FHISO) previously. It is one of two organizations, along with FamilySearch (with their Gedcom X effort), trying to define future data formats for genealogy. 

Back in March, FHISO announced an open Call for Papers in order to solicit ideas for future genealogy standards. This is the first step in the FHISO’s efforts to create new standards.

Yesterday I submitted a paper, titled Asynchronous Collaboration: A Proposal, which outlines my ideas for facilitating collaboration between different researchers, while not forcing researchers to fully merge their databases. The key here is that people can accept family trees from other people, without having to merge their entire tree into their own, and with a query mechanism for figuring out conflicts, or requesting additional information like sources and media related to individual records.

This proposal submitted to FHISO and published on my other blog, Lexigenealogy, which is where I now publish my more technical genealogy writings, as well as other technical work related to lexicography.

Keep in mind that this is a fairly technical proposal. It’s not really light reading. If you’re interested in the technical aspects of genealogy, and in furthering the creation of new technical standards, I think you’ll find it interesting.

If you’re interested, hop over to Lexigenealogy and take a look.

New Memorial Plaque Database

In the the run up to next week’s IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Boston, expect various groups to be releasing new databases to help Jewish genealogists. One new database that was just released is JewishGen’s Memorial Plaque Database. Organized by Nolan Altman, the database is an attempt to gather all the information on memorial plaques found in synagogues and other Jewish institutions. Many synagogues plague a plaque on their wall for each member who dies, to record their yahrzeit date (the day a family member says kaddish for them). These plaques contain very important information for Jewish genealogists, including the person’s name (in the US usually in English and Hebrew), and in most cases the name of the father of the deceased (at least in Hebrew).

When synagogues close, these plaques with their unique information are frequently thrown out, although sometimes are put up in other synagogues or institutes. Collecting the information from these plaques now is a great effort, and something whose time has come. There has been discussion for years about collecting this information from various people involved in Jewish genealogy, so kudos to JewishGen for taking up the gauntlet and getting the project started.

Section of a memorial wall from Lowell, MA

For the launch of the database, there are nearly 30,000 names listed. These come from the US, Israel and Canada. About half of the names collected so far come from the Boston area, whose local Jewish genealogy group made an effort to collect the names in the run up to the conference, and collected 16,000 names from 30 different institutions.

If you’re interested in photographing and indexing the memorial plaques in your local synagogue, you can do so and contribute the data to this effort. Synagogues who want to contribute this information to the database can add information about their synagogue to the memorial plaque web site, in order to get traffic from those people searching for family members.

My only concern with the database right now is that the images they provide are not big enough to read the information directly from the photographs. Many times relatives are grouped together in these memorial walls, and it would be useful to see the images in higher resolution so one could read all the plaques and see who is located nearby on the wall. Hopefully this can be remedied in the future.

For more information, go to the web site, or contact the project coordinator, Nolan Altman.