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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Newest update on synchronization with New FamilySearch

I must say that the initial release of RootsMagic 4 was not all that impressive. But the latest version 4.0.2.1 is really great. Virtually all of the complaints I had about the program have been fixed and resolved and the interface with New FamilySearch is now elegant and highly useful. The update creates a real issue with whether or not to use the program as my primary database.

Recently, I have been asked to teach Ancestral Quest, Legacy and RootsMagic at the Mesa Regional Family History Center. I have found all three programs to be highly useful, good implementations of the concept of a genealogical database and none of them clearly superior to the others. However, now the race has gotten a lot more complicated. I have to concede that the way RootMagic has evolved, makes it the clear leader for the time being. However, before making any final judgment, I would assume that Ancestral Quest will also change in the not too distant future and I know that Legacy has planned a release that will work with New FamilySearch later this year. So the race is far from over.

Here are some of the factors that are yet to be resolved. First and foremost, New FamilySearch is not available to everyone. In fact, it is not yet available to the entire membership of the LDS Church. Second, New FamilySearch itself is in transition and is not a final release product. These two facts make any interface with the final program tentative to say the least.

Generally in the genealogical community, there is also a rather dramatic recent emphasis on source citations so that apart from any present interest in New FamilySearch one of the big factors in the choice of any program is how it handles sources. All three of the above programs have implemented new source citation systems. But there is one drawback, New FamilySearch has not yet implemented synchronization of sources. So how the programs use sources is still up in air.

Now, if you presently do not have access to New FamilySearch you may be asking why you should care at all. The answer is quite simple. New FamilySearch will undoubtedly become the largest and most massive collection of interactive family history information in the world. It may never be a valid source in the technical sense, but it will certainly contain more information on more families than any other database, Ancestry. com included. The New FamilySearch program itself is elegant and simple to use. Right now, the data is out of control and almost useless. But programs like those implementing synchronization (right now Ancestral Quest, Family Insight and RootsMagic) show the potential of this huge resource in the not too distant future.

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