Modern Software Experience


A polaroid of your author

I am a Legal Native Alien; a dual nationality English-born Dutchman living in Leiden, the holy city of American genealogy. I am also a computer scientist who remembers the Internet before the web, when Apple welcomed IBM into the PC industry, and C++ was new-fangled.
New technology isn't a challenge, but a way of life - I have a few white-grey hairs to prove it.

Old-time Windows developers know me as the author of the original Undocumented Windows, the first ever book on Windows internals. Nowadays, genealogists know me as a genealogy innovator and the creator of the Genealogy Framework, the basis for scientific genealogy.


Major themes of this site are genealogy, technology and their intersection in genealogy technology. The site encourages innovation and best practices. Articles offer information, innovation, education and opinion, including product reviews, industry analysis, prognostication and occasional attempts at humour.
A local focus is provided by web technology reviews of Dutch political web sites prior to elections, and reports on genealogy developments in Leiden and the Netherlands.

Hot industry news is tweeted. The site focuses on quality reporting over both quantity and speed, but that has not prevented it from from publishing major genealogy industry scoops, including FamilyLink's GenSeek,'s Mundia and the Geni API.
In the few years that this site has been around, it has become one of the most popular and respected genealogy blogs. It is widely regarded as the leading genealogy technology blog, and I receive more market analysis and product development consulting requests than I am able and willing to accept.



The site is created in accordance with web standards, and regularly covers web technology and best practices. Content ranges from first looks at new products & technologies and how-to articles to tips & tricks.

There is a variety of hardware and software reviews. There are quite a few articles on Twitter, Google Wave and other web sites and technology.
This site introduced the idea that 3D photography can replace grave rubbing, and covered visual search engines in 2008, starting the use of TinEye by genealogists.


The site introduced in-depth reviews of genealogy software, based on intensive sessions with the product or service. More than one review has prompted product improvements.
The GeneAwards and GeneaBlog Awards introduced on this site, have inspired other organisations to start somewhat similar awards. The originals remain the most desired and respected ones.
Reviews, annual GeneAwards and the Confucius Challenge are complemented with articles on genealogy industry issues, developments and trends, backgrounders and how-to articles encouraging the use of technology and social media for genealogy.


genealogy software testing

Introduced a much-needed focus on basic features of genealogy software, such as the ability to import and export GEDCOM.
Introduced capability and performance comparisons to genealogy software reviewing. Developed and shared genealogy software tests.

web technology

Several articles have introduced new best practices and techniques, including Permalink Best Practice, Smart Short Linking and a JavaScript-free technique for detecting Chrome Frame. The Quote Index introduced a new blog page format.


Extended Fan Chart and Fan Chart Plus introduced new charting formats.
Adapted Ahnenlist introduced a new report style and the numbering scheme to support it.

I promote genealogy best practices, but am not content to merely promote current best practice. This site has improved ideas about citing sources by forwarding the notion that you should cite genealogies, but should not cite geneathologies or geneatheologies.

genealogy technology

A series of articles on social genealogy introduced basic social genealogy metrics.
The first-ever series on FTW TEXT not only documents the issues, but provides approaches and solutions for dealing with it.
Many vendors struggle with detecting GEDCOM files, because the instructions in the GEDCOM specification itself are wrong; GEDCOM Magic provides correct instructions.

The Same Name Children Consistency Check article introduced a new, but much-needed consistency check.

scientific genealogy

Several articles explained what's wrong with traditional genealogy, exposed how traditional genealogy dogmas contradict each other, then introduced the Genealogy Framework as the basis for scientific genealogy. The first dozen articles exploring various facets of scientific genealogy can all be found this site.


The Colophon documents the tools and technologies used to create this site.