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ourFamily•ology Software Review
2/22/2010
Learn how this new web-based genealogy software stacks up.
Price: $18 a year for 100MB storage, $35 for 300MB, $50 for 600MB and $75 for 1GB
 
 
System requirements: Internet access
 
Demo/trial version: free 15-day membership
 
Biggest draws: collaboration, update the same person in multiple files simultaneously
 
Drawbacks: site navigation, sluggish operation, charts and reports
 
Ease of use
The site needs streamlining so key options are easier to find and access with fewer mouse clicks. Some features are in unexpected places, such as Charts and Reports under the Analysis tab.
 
The heart of the program lies under the Tree tab, where you can navigate around your family tree in Family or Pedigree view. To edit an individual, you have to go to Family view and click on the Edit link beside a parent or child.
 
The site offers several help options: Click the question mark at the top of a page to open a pop-up help window. Click the Support link in the upper-right corner of any screen to access tutorials, a help index and a form to submit a technical question.
File management
 
You can build your family tree online or import a GEDCOM file with data from another genealogy program. Select Configuration from the Administration menu to create a new tree or to export and import files. When exporting your family tree, you can’t select certain branches to include in the GEDCOM file—it has to include your whole tree. You can merge duplicate people in a file.
 
Create as many trees as you want, as long as you don’t exceed your allotted storage space. OurFamily•ology has an innovative feature for keeping multiple files updated. If the same person appears in more than one tree, you can “link” them so that changes in one file are reflected in the other files.
 
Charts and multimedia
Click an Edit link in Family view to go to the individual Edit screen, where you can upload a primary photo for the person. It will appear in Family and Pedigree views. You can add more photos by selecting the Media tab in the Content section of Family view or by selecting Media from the Content tab’s Smart Menu. Photos are organized in web albums, which can be viewed on your published family website.
 
You can create a basic pedigree chart showing up to nine generations and a bowtie chart showing a person’s ancestors and descendants. Charts can be saved as JPG or PDF files.
 
Documentation and publication
On the individual edit screen you can link sources and document images to an individual’s events. The program has no customized templates for different kinds of sources. To add a general source to a person, go to Family view, select the Sources tab under Content and click Add. You can’t edit or view a person’s general sources on the individual edit screen.
 
Under the Analysis tab, you can create several lists and a few very basic reports, including a pedigree chart, an Ahnentafel chart and a Family Fact Sheet.
 
As a web-based genealogy program, ourFamily•ology offers some advantages over desktop software. You can invite up to five contributors to collaborate on your family file and an unlimited number of visitors to view it. In addition, ourFamily•ology has an innovative color-coding system that rates each person in your file based on the attached sources so you can see where you need to focus your research.
 
Searching
To find a name in your family file, search the name index on the right side of the Family view screen or click on the People tab. You can’t search external databases for names in your file.
 
The verdict
A newcomer, ourFamily•ology has a long way to go to catch up with established desktop genealogy software, but it shows promise as a tool for collaborating with relatives on an online family tree. The developers report that many enhancements are in the works.
 
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