What is up with Amiglia? Genealogy has become an interest of mine in the past five or so years, so a site that allowed the entire family to contribute to the family tree by adding GEDCOM files ( the universal standard for genealogy files ), calendars, photos, stories, and even family recipes, seemed like a great idea. A site that did all that, plus interfaced with Flickr and Riya (an online photo application with face recognition) seemed even better. It looked fantastic on the site tour, especially the interactive family tree. The demo site worked fine, so it’s really beyond me why I can’t get it to work in either Firefox or Internet Explorer. I got off to a good start with Amiglia when I uploaded four generations of my family in a GEDCOM file with no problems whatsoever. Except that the site refused to display the family tree, or even a list of names. Being the fickle 2.0 user that I am, I decided to move on.
Although genebase bionet builder isn’t nearly as feature-laden as Amiglia, what few features they do have work, and work consistently. I’ve been a member there since mid-May, when I found out about them through their partnership with the DNA Ancestry Project. (From what I gather, the DNA Ancestry Project is similar to The Genographic Project run by National Geographic and IBM.) Genebase is pretty bare bones. There’s no GEDCOM import feature so each member of your family tree has to be entered by hand. For me, this is a deal killer since I’ve managed to trace my paternal line back to the 1500s, as well as the maternal and paternal lines of my husband’s family. As you can imagine, that adds up to a lot of people, especially when you factor in that until recently, families were typically pretty large. (My husband’s grandfather was one of 13; his grandmother, one of 11!) There is an interesting interactive photo album, but I haven’t given that a try yet. (I already have Flickr, although it would be really cool if they’d integrate with them.) Genebase is integrated with DNA Ancestry Project, though, and allows one to order kits and view results from within the Genebase app. One of the things that I find really aggravating, though, is that even though I’m the one that entered the stinking family tree, it won’t allow me to add a picture for each person. I have to invite them to join, and then they can do it. Never mind that I’m pretty much the only member of my maternal family that even knows how to turn on the computer, much less upload a photo. Genebase is still in beta, so I hope they’ll address this in a future release.
For now, I’ll stick with GenCircles.com, the companion website to my favorite genealogy software, Family Tree Legends. It’s (FTL) not integrated with Flickr (yet) but that’s pretty much the only feature it’s missing. (FTL does have a great scrapbook feature, though, for adding images, scans, multimedia, and music files. It’s supposed to let one publish to a Family Tree Legends homepage, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.) It does, however, have comprehensive and attractive reports, is easy to use, a well-designed interface, and close integration with the Internet, including a SmartMatch feature that lets users that share relatives to merge their information. This collaborative feature has helped me more than once to advance my genealogical research.
I could use a SmartMatch about right now, too. I’m stuck – no, I’m sorry – ancestrally challenged – on my maternal grandmother’s line. Have been for five years. Sigh. Oh well, back to chasing my own tale.