Monday, July 30, 2012

RootsMagic joins FHISO effort to improve genealogy standards

I've written before about efforts to improve genealogy standards (The Future of Sharing and Genealogy Standards, Another Look). It was in 1995 that the last real standard of GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMmunication), version 5.5, was released. Most genealogy programs support a draft release which was released in 1999, even though it was never finalized, called GEDCOM 5.5.1. So it's been at least 13 years since any standard has been created that has been used for genealogy.

Earlier this year, the GEDCOM X effort was announced, but it is not yet used in any products. The other major effort, started earlier, but without the support of FamilySearch which originally created GEDCOM, is the Family History Information Standards Organization (FHSIO). Originally called BetterGEDCOM, it is an effort started by genealogists to create a new open standard for exchanging genealogy information.

In May, FHISO announced that had joined as a founding member of the organization. Personally, I was hesitant to attribute as much as you might think to that announcement, as nothing in the announcement mentioned support in FamilyTreeMaker (their desktop genealogy application) nor itself.

Yesterday, however, it was announced that RootsMagic had also joined FHISO as a founding member. As a major provider of genealogy software, it's great news that they've joined this effort to create new standards. Without support of genealogy software companies, none of these efforts will be worth much.

Hopefully we'll see other genealogy software companies like Millenia (Legacy Family Tree), Leister Productions (Reunion for Mac) and Incline (Ancestral Quest) will also support this effort, as well as open source efforts like GRAMPS.

UPDATE: On August 15, it was announced that WikiTree has also joined FHISO as a Founding Member. Good to see. I'm a fan of WikiTree, and its support of FHISO can only be a good thing.

Monday, July 9, 2012

FamilyTree DNA Summer Sale

DNA Inheritance
FamilyTree DNA is having another sale, this one until July 15th which is this coming Sunday. These sales are always a good way to get started in genetic genealogy, or to bring relatives into it. For men, the price of entry is $59, which you can always upgrade later. Oddly the less expensive mtDNA tests for both men and women are not listed in the sale, and in fact I no longer see any option for the cheapest mtDNA test. It seems FTDNA has opted to start mtDNA testing at what was their second tier test, the mtDNAPlus test, which is $159. In many cases, however, women will have more success with a Family Finder autosomal DNA test, which is on sale at $199 (instead of $289) and is probably the better option.

I've written before on Using Y-DNA and mtDNA for Genealogy, and I guess I still need to write something more comprehensive about autosomal tests like Family Finder. In short, Family Finder will let you find relatives who are up to your 5th cousins, male or female, as long as they have also been teted. It's much more of a statistical test than the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, however, in that if you have a solid match on one of them you can be sure there is a connection on that line, while with Family Finder it's based on the statistical likelihood and can be thrown off in its estimates if you have cousins who married, etc.

Of note, this the first sale that I've noticed the Y-DNA 67-marker test can be upgraded at a discount to the 111-marker test ($109 instead of $129).

Sale prices are listed below. You don't need any special codes to get the prices, all prices are changed this week when you go to the site. Note that if you were to just go to the site without being a member of a DNA group, the before prices below would in many cases be even higher (Y-DNA 37, for example, is normally $169, $20 more than buying through a group, and Comprehensive is normally $837, is $797 for groups and is $617 during this sale. So go to FamilyTree DNA and buy some kits before Sunday.

Current Group Price
Y-DNA 12
Y-DNA 37
Y-DNA 67
Family Finder
mtFullSequence (FMS)
FF+ Y-DNA 37
FF + mtDNAPlus
Comprehensive (FF + FMS + Y-DNA 67)


12 to 37
25 to 37
25 to 67
37 to 67
37 to 111
67 to 111
mtHVR1 to Mega
mtHVR2 to Mega

So go to FamilyTree DNA now and save some money.