Showing posts with label genealogy programs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label genealogy programs. Show all posts

28 November 2011


     Findmypast Ireland is an online database of Irish vital and genealogical records. It is not a free service, but has subscription plans and pay-as-you go options. In November, Findmypast Ireland introduced a free family tree builder (registration required). I have been "playing around" with the program and offer these observations:
1. I know many, many family history researchers, even very advanced genealogists, who keep paper records only and  do not have their family history data on a computer program or online. Since I have used genealogy software programs since they first appeared, I consider genealogy tree building programs indispensable. Using genealogy programs is easiest in the early stages of one's research, so I would advise beginning family historians to use a program in conjunction with their paper files from the start.
2. The simplicity of the Findmypast Ireland family tree builder is both a strength and a drawback. The "bells and whistles" on many of the programs today make my head spin. I find most genealogy programs today to be almost unnavigable. The Findmypast family tree builder is so simple, I don't think it will scare away beginners. If you are looking for a free, simple way to record your family data, their builder is a nice way to begin. The format is easy and uncluttered, and the learning curve for using the builder is almost zero.
     The simplicity is also its main drawback. While I like the clean interface and the lack of daunting controls and formats, I would like to see a bit more attention paid to fields for source citations. I don't see a way to upload a GEDCOM file to the builder. I believe I will have to type in my names and data one-by-one. This task might be too daunting for those of us who have been collecting family history for a long time.
     Findmypast Ireland promises to expand the capabilities of the program. I hope when they do so, they can find a way to keep the interface simple and easy to master. I would hate to see such an easy to use program become a quagmire like many of the other programs.
3. Your tree will be available to you online. It is not a program that is downloadable to your own computer.
4. I don't see privacy safeguards. Please consider privacy considerations before entering the name of or data for any living person.
5. So, if you are a beginner looking for an easy way to begin recording your Irish family tree online, I would advise looking into this builder. It might work for intermediate researchers also who don't mind taking the time to fill in the data fields.  I don't think I myself will have the patience to take the time to fill in the data for all my ancestors I intend to monitor the site as it expands its capabilities to see if the builder becomes one I can use.
(Disclaimer: I am not associated with findmypast Ireland nor have I received any compensation for this review. The comments above are mine and are based on my experiences using the Findmypast Ireland family tree builder.).