Family History Game Launches on Facebook

Family History Game Launches on Facebook

Move over, Farmville. A genealogy-themed game is now available for play by the general Facebook population. Family Village lets you create a pedigree chart (or input data from the FamilyLink Facebook app) and “immigrate” ancestors from the chart into your Family Village. You can outfit them in historical attire, assign...

Move over, Farmville. A genealogy-themed game is now available for play by the general Facebook population.

Family Village lets you create a pedigree chart (or input data from the FamilyLink Facebook app) and “immigrate” ancestors from the chart into your Family Village. You can outfit them in historical attire, assign them jobs, and build out the village with houses, landscaping and more (including heritage-related items like international flags and the Eiffel Tower).

The game also searches several websites for free genealogy records related to the information in your pedigree chart, and let you import those records into a family library. You can invite Facebook friends into your village to check out the library.

Partnerships with additional providers of genealogy records and other content are in the works, says Jeff Wells, CEO of Family Village developer Funium. He cautions, though, that the game is “not a research tool.”

You can play Family Village for free, with the option to spend actual cash (in the form of “game dollars”) on some of your ancestors’ purchases. For example, every ancestor gets a newspaper printed on the day he or she was born. You’ll view the headlines, and you can buy a copy of the whole thing.

The game adheres to Facebook privacy standards, wells says, with privacy settings you can adjust.

Wells got the idea for Family Village when his family didn’t share his excitement over his genealogical finds. “We wanted to do something that would end up being a segue way for people who don’t have the interest to get involved in family history,” he says.

According to Wells, 300 million people play social games each month, and 3 to 4 percent of those players spend money on the games. He’s hoping genealogists’ spouses and teenagers will get interested in Family Village and learn more about their heritage.

Will you play Family Village? Do you think it’ll appeal to those already into genealogy, or will other people get hooked on it, too?

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  1. I installed the game when I got an email about it. I checked it out but quickly got frustrated with all the steps you have to go through just to get started. Maybe I’m just not enough of a ‘gamer’ to stick with it. I might give it another shot if I see that its really catching on and other people into genealogy are raving about how much fun it is.

  2. Maybe a few players would come to "real" genealogy thru this game; I would be afraid that to the game players, it’s just another fantasy world and would have no crossover to actual genealogical research.
    It IS an interesting concept, tho, and I wish I had time to play it, but I’m too busy with actual research.

  3. To me genealogy, which started as a hobby some 60+ years ago, is a serious pursuit. When done correctly, it is very time-consuming and doesn’t lend itself to playing games. I’ve been on Facebook for a couple of years — not to play games, but to connect with the younger generations of extended family, in which I have been very successful (over 250 of them). Some of these family members – only in their teens – now come back to me with questions about earlier generations. One "cousin", a farmer in Australia, has a daughter, age 14, on Facebook, who wanted to know if others in the family were or are farmers. I was able to assure her that there were more farmers than any other occupation, until the 20th century, and that there are still a few farmers in the family. Now she comes back and asks more specifically about her ancestors. This is one way to get the younger generation interested.

  4. I am so busy with the REAL search for Family History information that I wouldn’t even think about joining this sort of game. It would be foolish for me to waste my time that way! This is NOT for SERIOUS researchers.

  5. I must agree with most who have already commented here. I have been researching our Family for 35+ years and it is very time consuming. Family members that I have meet through this journey were done so through other genealogy sites. The younger members of my family either contacts me directly or goes on-line and searches the Family Tree that I have posted. They can view the lines, see clippings of news articles, pictures and so on. Facebook is another form of communicating but playing games for us researchers is out of the question.

  6. I agree with the other folks commenting that genealogical research is serious, time consuming, and expensive to obtain record copies. I started in the 1980’s. I have seen through my time the benefits of my work. Children in my area have family history projects around the fourth grade. Relatives children use the information for their projects, and I always leave a part of the compilation on a chart for them to do as they have to have input into the project as well. They learn so much. It makes all my hours in dusty, musty old records worth every minute. But I do have to say that I do try to lighten up, and have fun with the project as well. I would be willing to play a game for short periods of time as long as I did not compromise others security. I like the fact that you will search records for me to see any relevancy to my line. Good luck with the game!