Thursday, May 17, 2012

Swinging from the vines or reaching for the stars?

I have upon occasion (here and here and here, for example) expressed my frustration with current genealogy software. Those of you lucky (cough) enough to have spent time with me personally have heard me rant vent express my opinions. Some of my frustrations are the result of my own haphazard efforts, but many result from the challenges of analyzing and recording cluster research projects.

Imagine my reaction when almost the first words out of Elizabeth Shown Mill's mouth last Saturday morning at her NGS 2012 session Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management & Analysis expressed her own frustration with the limitations of genealogy software vis-à-vis the research process? I was not restrained. Fist pumps were involved.

There is a light on the horizon, however. Or a vine to cling to, using the metaphor Katie and Chris Chapman of Pentandra have chosen for their new software, which will be released to beta testers this summer. Geungle, as in it's a jungle out there (which certainly reflects my research at this point), aims to provide a software platform for genealogical research and analysis that complements rather than constrains the research process.

I met Katie and Chris in the NGS 2012 exhibit hall after blogger Linda McCauley (who has heard those rants) told me forcefully that I must visit their booth. She was right. Rather than struggle to adapt existing software to fit their own research needs, they have opted to build a new cloud-based program that will integrate mobile apps, tools for analysis and reporting features that reflect genealogists' actual research work flow. Katie mentioned the ability to take a picture in a cemetery with your smart phone and add it directly to your Geungle database. I asked about linking individuals that are not related by family but by business partnerships, or as neighbors, and was assured that would be possible.

At this point they expect to have a free demonstration model with limited storage capabilities and a subscription-based version for individuals. They hope to include a professional version, as well.

I was completely smitten with their enthusiasm and vision. Completely. I want them to succeed! To the point of all but begging that they allow me to be a beta tester. They are wisely limiting testing in the first stages but (full disclosure here) relented and included me as a beta tester. They hope to start testing in July. Meanwhile, I am sending positive thoughts their way.

One more full disclosure note - I did send this to them to review for accuracy. I'd hate to have my muddled thoughts attributed to them!

Photo credit - From Flickr: Some rights reserved by Accretion Disc


  1. How did you get that photo of my back yard?

    This sounds fabulous and I'm looking forward to learning more! Can't wait would be the best way to describe it. ;>

  2. Great recap. I am certainly looking forward to hearing about your first impressions when they get it to that point. Definitely sounds interesting, I only wish they could have had a bit of a demo available at the conference although I understand their desire to "get it right" rather than to get it done quickly!

  3. I can't wait to hear what you think! This is very exciting ... except for the fact that I JUST got done moving my entire tree, individual by individual, from FTM to RootsMagic. Not looking forward to doing that again ... let us know about the transfer-ability too!

  4. Susan, do you give begging lessons? ;)

  5. I am waiting, hands outstretched, to catch their vine. Can't wait to hear your review!

  6. Sounds interesting! I don't think there's any software that gets it right yet - maybe this will be the one!

  7. Was that you I heard shout "Amen!" from behind me? Keep us posted on their progress!

  8. I'm pretty fond of RootsMagic, but I'm certainly open to trying new things.

  9. I'm trying to picture Linda talking forcefully....did she shake her head and point her finger at you? :) We will be able to attach/connect non-family members? Interesting!


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