Randy's Genealogy Program Wish List

by Randy Wilson (randy@axon.cs.byu.edu), September 1998.


As I've done genealogical research over the past several years, I have seen that technology has helped make the process much easier, but I am frequently impressed by how much better we can still do. Although computers have helped people organize and share data, it seems that deficiencies in current genealogical software is keeping us from saving people as much time as we could, and may in some cases cause data to be lost or confused by not making it easy enough to include all the information we have available. For example, we sometimes have to cram our data into fewer characters than we need, or we fail to specify the source of our data because doing so is too time-consuming and takes up too much hard drive space.

Current Software

After having used Personal Ancestral File (PAF) on the Mac for several years, I have been pleased with its stability and some of its features, but there are quite a few features it lacks, many of which would be simple to implement, and others of which are non-trivial. I have tried demo versions of other genealogy programs as well, and some, such as Reunion, have several features that I would like, including handling photos, printing editable charts, etc. But even Reunion is missing some features handled well by PAF, such as handling of LDS ordinances in a straightforward fashion. In addition, many of the features I would like are not currently available in any genealogy program.

Below is a wish list of features I would like to see in a genealogy program. Although I would like to write the program myself ("If you need something done right..."), I currently don't have nearly the time it would take to complete the project. I hope that by making this list publicly available I can encourage others to incorporate these features into existing or new genealogy programs.

I would be interested in hearing which of these features are already available in currently-existing programs. I would also like to hear from anyone who feels like they would like to incorporate these features into their software or start a new software project. That way if anyone else expresses a similar interest, I can link you together and make sure we aren't duplicating work. I would be happy to work on some of the trickier algorithms and on porting stuff to the Macintosh, as well as help with the initial design and other aspects of the project.

Your Ideas Wanted

If you have any other features that you have wished for, please send me an e-mail and I'll probably add it to the list with credit given to you, if you wish.

Cool Genealogy Program Features

Click on any item for a detailed explanation.

Mail questions or suggestions to randy@axon.cs.byu.edu

Last updated 7 September 1998.