Collaborative Family History

February 12, 2009

Visit Family Pursuit at the St. George Family History Expo

Filed under: Family Pursuit — Michael Martineau @ 6:29 pm

Come meet us at the St. George Family History Expo and be the first to learn how to connect to New FamilySearch through a Private Family Tree on Family Pursuit.  We will be teaching 2 classes on how to upload your research conclusions to new FamilySearch.

What:    Family Pursuit: Getting your Family Involved with new FamilySearch - Even in Utah

Where:    Entrada Room B

When:    Saturday February 28th, 1pm or 4pm

You can attend either class to learn more about how Family Pursuit involves your entire family, novice to expert, in family history research and connects you to New FamilySearch to add your family to the FamilySearch family tree database.

We also have vendor booths 213 and 215 in the free Exhibit Hall.  Stop by for demonstrations and more information.

About  the St. George Family History Expo:

Where:    5th Annual St. George, Utah, Family History Expo
The Dixie Center at 1835 Convention Center Dr
St. George, UT 84790

When:    Feb 27-28, 2009 – 8am to 6pm

Early registration is going on now for only $60, through Feb 14th.  Thereafter and at the door the price is $65.  Your registration allows you to attend two full days of classes from world-class genealogists and vendors of ground-breaking technology, like Family Pursuit.

For more information about the expo and to register, go to

February 9, 2009

Upload Photos and Documents on Family Pursuit

Filed under: Family Pursuit, New Features — Michael Martineau @ 4:45 pm

Family Pursuit is pleased to announce the release of the photo and document upload feature for Private Family Trees.  You can now upload photos and documents and attach them directly to individuals in your tree, allowing the entire family to view and download.  With photo and document upload you can:

  • Upload photos of family members and attach them to their record in the tree
  • Document your research with images of source documents
  • Upload scanned images of old photos, letters and other documents
  • Upload scanned images of research notes and logs and attach them to your research projects
  • Upload previously written histories and stories about your ancestors
  • Upload all file types including: PDF, DOC, audio and video files

All images are stored at full resolution making it easier for family members to read scanned documents such as birth, marriage or death certificates and census records.   Images and documents can also be attached to multiple individuals in the family tree as in the case of a family photo or census household record.

Uploading images and documents is only available in a Private Family Tree.

January 14, 2009

Family Pursuit Announces the Release of Private Family Trees

Filed under: Family Pursuit, New Features — Michael Martineau @ 1:41 pm

All the major problems have been worked out, so now it’s time for a press release!  We announced the following today:

Provo, Utah, Jan. 14 - Family Pursuit, a leader in online collaborative genealogy research tools, today announced the release of Private Family Trees.  Designed specifically for collaboration, this unique wiki-based website is now available for private use for the genealogist who is looking for a better way to work with others. Family Pursuit’s private family trees allow researchers to share not only conclusions, but their ongoing research, sources, extractions and theories with those invited to join the trees.  They are the perfect solution for sharing research with the entire family, interacting with other family genealogists, or working within a family organization or one-name study.

Some of the collaborative tools available for private family trees include:

  • Inviting an unlimited number of family members to join a private tree
  • Organizing and sharing ongoing genealogy research
  • Creating and assigning tasks
  • Sharing research logs and extractions
  • Adding living individuals
  • Keeping all information about living and deceased individuals private
  • Involving and mentoring family members
  • Participating in family discussions
  • Receiving notifications of changes made by tree users
  • Rolling back and forth any change made by any user
  • Advanced merging and unmerging

Along with these new private trees, Family Pursuit continues to offer its Community Tree which has been created for genealogists to share research with the genealogy community to reduce duplicate efforts, accelerate research, and network and connect with distant relatives.

“We have found that many genealogists feel more comfortable working privately with those they already know.  A Private Family Tree offers this security,” said Mike Martineau, founder of Family Pursuit.  “When genealogists feel confident in their research conclusions, they will be able to easily copy their conclusions to the Community Tree for others to view and add to. A Private Family Tree also allows the inexperienced genealogist to be privately mentored by more knowledgeable relatives.  We are excited to offer a bridge between those who are overwhelmed by the amount of research and those who want to help but don’t know how.  We look forward to continuing our progress in developing these important tools, and being a part of bringing more people into the work.”

About Family Pursuit

Started in 2004, Family Pursuit, a Provo, Utah company, provides web-based applications to accelerate family history work by providing a framework for genealogy researchers to work together in their efforts and to easily share their ideas, theories, research and conclusions. Family Pursuit enables genealogy enthusiasts to involve family members who have never engaged in family history work, bringing families together in sharing the rewarding experience of researching, exploring, and creating a personal understanding of their heritage. Visit for more information.

December 20, 2008

Family Pursuit now offers Private Family Trees

Filed under: Family Pursuit, New Features — Michael Martineau @ 12:59 pm

Some of you may have wondered what happened to us since we haven’t posted in a while.  We’ve been hard at work on the new private family trees.  Now that they are released, we’ll be posting more often on our blog.

The following is the announcement email sent to our current users and newsletter subscribers:

Good news! Family Pursuit now offers Private Family Trees.

Now you can apply Family Pursuit’s unique collaboration features within the privacy of your own family. Whether you are looking for new ways to share your research with the entire family, interact with other family genealogists, or work within a family organization or surname study, our Private Family Trees are the perfect solution for your collaborative needs.

A Private Family Tree has all of the features available in our Community Tree including:

  • organizing and sharing your ongoing genealogy research

  • involving and mentoring family members

  • creating and assigning tasks

  • sharing research logs and extractions

  • participating in family discussions

Features exclusively available in our Private Family Trees include:

  • adding living individuals

  • keeping all information about living and deceased individuals private

  • inviting an unlimited number of family members at no additional charge

Now you can have the best of both worlds – the security of a Private Tree and collaboration with distant relatives in the Community Tree – all using the same login.

Purchase a Private Family Tree for only $59.95/yr.

April 29, 2008

Early Success with GEDCOM Import

Filed under: Collaboration, Family Pursuit, Genealogy, New Features — Les Eldredge @ 9:59 am

In the process of building our GEDCOM Import, we have invited a few of our current users to a small, private testing website to help test our new features. These users have been extremely helpful in volunteering their time to test features and provide suggestions for improving the process. During the last round of tests, we encountered an exciting surprise. With a very small sample of users, we instantly began discovering numerous distant relationships with our users as we imported our GEDCOM files. Even more exciting, with the help of our watch lists we found new information from their research that we had not yet uncovered and offered new details for them as well.

Creating a collaborative genealogy community for family historians to connect to distant relatives and find new information through the process of sharing in our world tree has been one of our primary goals. GEDCOM import is an important part of achieving this goal and observing such an early success of its role has been very rewarding.

We have now released our current version of GEDCOM import to our public version of Family Pursuit. More collaborative features are soon to follow increasing your ability to connect and communicate with other genealogists, and share your research with close family.

February 6, 2008

Visit Family Pursuit in Saint George, Utah

Filed under: Family Pursuit — Les Eldredge @ 2:33 pm

Family Pursuit Conference SpecialWe will be demonstrating the Family Pursuit website at the Saint George Family History Expo on February 8-9 in booths 115 & 116. Drop by our booth to signup for a 50% off pre-release special. We will have computer stations set up for you to experiment first hand with some of our exciting new collaboration features. Also, founder Michael Martineau will be giving live demonstrations on using Family Pursuit to coordinate research efforts with others.

For more information about the conference, click here.

December 7, 2007

Exciting New Beta Updates

Filed under: Family Pursuit, New Features, Software, Technology — Les Eldredge @ 3:43 pm

Over the past couple of days, we have been busy releasing some incredible new updates to our Beta. The most notable change is opening the Beta to the public. That’s right, starting today, anyone may visit our website ( and sign on as a beta tester.

Another key feature just added is our new Watch List section. Within the Watch List section you can quickly glance through a list of individuals and research projects and view a history of all additions and modifications. When other users make changes, such as adding additional facts about an ancestor, posting responses to discussions, or completing a task, the change will be highlighted to notify you that the change has occurred.

In addition to our updates to the Family Pursuit Beta, we have also updated Our informational website now has a new design and more detailed information. We have also included video tutorials demonstrating many of our features in action.

Sign up or logon to the Beta today to try these exciting new features!

August 10, 2007

Family Pursuit Has Launched Beta 1.0

Filed under: Collaboration, Family Pursuit, Genealogy, Software — Les Eldredge @ 12:21 pm

Family Pursuit Beta 1.0On Wednesday afternoon, we officially released Beta 1.0 to all our Beta Testers spread throughout the world. Within seconds we had our first registered user, and our user count has been climbing nonstop ever since. Our Beta Testers have been fantastic at providing feedback, helping us identify trouble areas in our interface, providing suggestions, and conveying excitement. After so many months of development, it is so rewarding to see our users utilizing in our program to organize their genealogy research.

If you are signed up as a Beta Tester and have not received instructions for logging on to the site, click here to see the email we sent out on Wednesday. Some testers have reported problems with yahoo and hotmail placing our emails in spam and junk folders. Be sure to put email from and on your safe list.

April 17, 2007

Involving your Family

Filed under: Collaboration, Family Pursuit, Genealogy, Research — Les Eldredge @ 9:23 am

In our mission statement, we refer to specific tools within Family Pursuit which will “enable genealogy enthusiasts to involve family members who have never engaged in family history work.“ Largely this objective has stemmed from our personal experiences in our own families, however since we began sharing our software with numerous genealogists, there has been further encouragement from nearly everyone we demonstrate to. Each time we demonstrate Family Pursuit’s capabilities of welcoming new individuals into the research process, an expression of excitement and relief forms on the faces of our viewers.

The pursuit of family history is an amazing and rewarding adventure, yet there is so much to accomplish. How can we share the load if all of our family believes everything is already done, or that we are going to somehow accomplish it by ourselves?

A declaration in American Demographics revealed a statistic of 19 million active genealogists. But a more important statistic is the article’s reference to 113 million people having expressed an interest in genealogy. (Fulkerson, Jennifer. “Climbing the Family Tree.” American Demographics, Dec 95 vol. 17 issue 12 p42). The numbers of interest are there, even within our own families. But, even if we reach out to family members, how do we truly involve them when they don’t know where to start? The learning curve for becoming comfortable in genealogy research is a steep one, and often loses the attention of new comers.

Family Pursuit is bringing new ways to recruit your family members and plant the “Genealogy Bug” that has captured us all. These tools provide a doorway for individuals with no experience to work directly with you, under your guidance, to quickly get engaged. You will be able to share the work, lighten your load, and build relationships along the way.

P.S. – I came across the statistic I quoted in this article some time ago and was hoping to find a more current statistic, but my research was unsuccessful. If anyone has any up-to-date stats we would love to have you share them in our comments section below.

April 4, 2007

Source Analysis in a Collaborative Environment

Filed under: Collaboration, Family Pursuit, Genealogy, Research, Source Citation — Michael Martineau @ 12:28 pm

One of the focal points of Family Pursuit involves source analysis in a collaborative environment. We want to give people the ability to collaborate not only on researching their ancestors, but also on the sources that document their ancestors’ lives.

One of the problems we have faced as we have designed the Family Pursuit system, is how to manage sources in an environment where users are working together, each with their own notions on how a source and evidence provided by a source should be analyzed, classified and weighted. Many genealogists classify a source as original, primary or secondary evidence supporting a particular fact or relationship. Experienced genealogists know how important it is to carefully analyze their sources to determine the validity of the information contained in the source. They have taken the time to understand how to analyze sources and how to classify them. Thus, when they determine that a source provides direct primary evidence for a conclusion, they know what that means. Depending on their skill, they are consistent (hopefully) in their definitions of what primary, secondary, original, direct etc. means. What happens now when multiple people are working together, each with their own pre-conceived definitions for those terms? Often the differences in definitions are subtle, causing collaborating researchers to think they are talking about the same thing, only to find later they had defined the terms differently. Miscommunication of this type can lessen the effectiveness of a collaborative environment.

In the Family Pursuit system, not all of our users are going to be experienced genealogists. Not everyone will have read books or taken classes on the proper way to cite sources. Even experienced genealogists sometimes forget to consider pertinent details in their analyses of a source. How do we deal with this?

After consulting with experienced genealogists and published works on the subject, and after considerable thought into the subject, we have decided to largely remove those “words” from the vocabulary of Family Pursuit and approach the problem from a different angle. We believe we have developed a solution that will enable both experienced and novice genealogists to work together and understand one another. Time will tell, as we get feedback from our beta testers starting in June.

By the way, one of the books we consulted was Evidence!: Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills. I recommend this book, especially the section on “Fundamentals of Analysis”, to anyone wanting to become a better researcher.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress