Next Generation Genealogy: The Story Takes Center Stage


  1. TheHeritageTourist
    TheHeritageTourist March 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm .

    Ah, Michael. Change is Good. This story is very encouraging, to me. This is what I’ve been looking for. Technology is great, but it is still a tool. Telling the story is the most important thing. And, we need to tell one story at at time. Wonderful news of the start of something good… something more good.
    Keep those reports coming. 😉

    1. caelm
      caelm March 26, 2013 at 2:27 pm .

      Technology is just a tool. Everyone has a different learning or organizational style. Tool usage is no different. There will not be one perfect technology that fits all needs. I mentioned two of the best sites that I liked at RootsTech. For some, a pen and paper will never be replaced for storytelling.


  2. Mariann Regan
    Mariann Regan March 23, 2013 at 8:47 pm .

    I enjoyed this post! I so much agree that “A good story can’t be prompted; it unfolds and grows.” It’s fascinating to see people working to interface narrative with technology.

    You might like to contact @LynnPal just to get some links with her favorite parts of her Family History Writing Challenge. It was for the month of February. A big challenge! Here, stories were unfolding (with much effort) in a collaborative environment, supported by the encouragement and attendance of many other human beings and writers. You might be interested in the metaphor of Story from this angle!

    1. caelm
      caelm March 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm .

      I see your comment about stories unfolding with much effort. One of my criteria for looking at story based technology was that it didn’t prompt me. I wanted to write the way I like to write. There were a number of technologies that provided story prompts – to encourage the interviewee to tell their story. Those prompts could just as easily help propel a writer through a story. I worry about the results being formulaic.


  3. Tammy Hepps
    Tammy Hepps March 24, 2013 at 12:39 am .

    Thank you, Michael, for your kind words and support. It was wonderful meeting you at RootsTech and I appreciate the time you took to get to know me & Treelines. Can’t wait to see your stories on the site. :-)

    1. caelm
      caelm March 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm .

      I hope to give Treelines a test drive over the next month. An in depth review of storytelling technologies would be worth writing about.


  4. Travis Peterson
    Travis Peterson March 24, 2013 at 8:46 pm .

    Michael, this is Travis Peterson, the founder of halftale and I appreciate the mention. I did want to clarify that we intentionally (we did not “miss”) cut out genealogy from our site. Genealogy, or the tracing of lines or descent, is already made possible by familysearch, ancestry, myheritage, and many others. At the conference I heard many complain that these genealogy websites are already too scattered. I don’t intend to draw those lines of descent nor can I do them any better. I intend to record the unrecorded and build a family legacy starting. We want to aid the family (parents and children) to write their story starting today, not when they have passed on.

    Granted, our website is not ready to launch and the vision might be hard to see. We had a great conference and we were able to listen to the customer and I know we have something everyone will want to use. My favorite quote from one other Rootstech attendee was, “I have been looking for something like this for 10 years.” And we can’t wait to finish it.


    1. caelm
      caelm March 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm .

      Technology is very personal. Folks want tools that fit their style. I like tools that give me a workspace to do as much as possible. Others like separate tools for everything they do. I don’t envy the decisions that developers need to make to satisfy the needs of their clients. Halftale is a great product (which is why I mentioned it out of the dozen that I reviewed) – it just wasn’t the right tool for me. I look forward to giving the site a test drive and writing more.

  5. Taneya
    Taneya March 26, 2013 at 1:51 pm .

    Thanks for the post. When I heard of Treelines winning, I immediately signed up for a Beta account. Last night my invitation came and I created my first story. It was so very cool! I hope to be able to share it soon.

    1. caelm
      caelm March 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm .

      Let me know what you like about Treelines and I’ll quote you in a future article about storytelling tools.


    2. TheHeritageTourist
      TheHeritageTourist March 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm .

      Glad to hear it. I’m looking forward to the opportunity, as well! 😉

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