The future of genealogy is becoming more apparent everyday. First, there is the exciting announcement by FamilySearch, which Dick Eastman describes rather well. Basically, FamilySearch is offering free help to archives and other institutions to digitally reformat their collections in order for the information to be available for free (or for a small price) to the public on the internet. In addition to the new FamilySearch coming out soon and their microfilm digitzation project, FamilySearch is revolutionizing genealogy.
In the family tree visualization front, I stumbled across a little known “genealogy explorer” that Vertigo just released. I’m truly blown away by this program. It has many features that you can find on your standard genealogy database programs, but my favorite, and probably most useful innovation, is the time slider. According to Tom Sneath’s blog, (which has a nice intro to the program by the way) the time slider feature allows “you to go back in time and see the family tree as it existed at an earlier point in history. As people are born or marry into the family, they fade in, which makes this really powerful as a way to share your own family history with others.” A word of warning, this program is not meant to be a full fledge genealogy program. It is, however, a sample of a “new end-to-end reference sample for WPF.” Yeah, I don’t know what that is either, but it sounds cool. It sounds like a program for other developers to expand on. Can you imagine future genealogy programs like Family Tree Maker or even FamilySearch having an interface like this?
This not only allows you to view your data, but truly see family dynamics across time. Until then, this will only be a tool to supplement your genealogy database program. This is a must download for cool and somewhat useful genealogy programs.