Modern Software Experience


Awards 2006

I’ve looked at a lot more programs than I’ve written reviews about, but I have not looked at enough programs to really list a best and worst for 2006 yet. Still, a few product and companies are certainly worth mentioning.

Best New Product 2006: TNG Network

The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG) is a web-based genealogy program. The TNG Network is a central database of genealogy sites, just like GENDEX used to be. There are more than a million names in it already, and it links directly to the site with more data. The TNG Network is not just GENDEX-like, it actually uses the GENDEX standard, still supported by various software packages, so you do not need to be using TNG to use this site.

Most Disappointing Genealogy Software 2006: GenoPro 2007

Family Tree Maker 16 is not the major update the name change from Family Tree Maker 2006 might lead you to think, but the major disappoint of 2006 was GenoPro 2007.

After keeping us waiting for years, GenoPro 2007 now provides Unicode support, uses XML, and offers a Software Development Kit (SDK), but who cares about all that or its genogram capabilities once you know its shortcomings?
GenoPro gobbles so much memory that it can only handle small files, its auto-layout is messy, it does not support even the most basic reports, it lacks easy navigation, and it creates invalid GEDCOM files.
GenoPro was not designed as a serious genealogy program, but as a genogram drawing program for fairly small family diagrams, and adding a few genealogy features just does not cut it.

Most Disappointing Company 2006: Pearl Street Software

Pearl Street software is the maker of Family Tree Legends and the keeper of the GenCircles web site. Users had been unable to get any support when the news got out that the owners had abandoned their paying customers to move on to other project, and that Pearl Street Software was for sale.

Update Aug 2007: in December, Pearl Street Software was bought by MyHeritage, but support for Family Tree Legends did not return. MyHeritage bought GenCircles for its SmartMatching technology. They made Family Tree Legends a free product, but have shown no interest in maintaining it.

Best Genealogical Organisation 2006: Advertising Standards Authority

The Advertising Standards Authority protected the genealogical consumer by upholding claims against Ancestry’s less than honest and truthful advertising. Ancestry’s add in a Scottish magazine claimed to offer "Everything you’ll ever need to research your family tree in one place", although the site does not offer access to Scottish censuses at all and does not make available images, transcripts or copies of parish register records either.