Tech Review:

Many of us have had the duty of going through stacks upon stacks of papers and minutia when a loved one has passed.  The filing cabinets of records, documents, and the flotsam that a person has collected over their life can be a daunting task for those who are left to sort through them.  Worse, is when you have a crisis that calls for an important document which has been conveniently been put away for safe keeping that you can now not locate.  What if there was a program that could help you keep your life, your family, you documents, and your history together in a way that is easy to pass along to the next generation?  Would you jump on it?  I know I have.

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AboutOne is an online and mobile application designed to keep you and your family organized all in one place.  As a genealogist I was intrigued by the features that make this an amazing product for keeping a complete and accurate current family history that I could pass on.  Think of it, you can give your descendants a day-to-day view of what your life was like.  It nearly equivalent to finding that elusive family bible or treasured diary we all wish we had access to.

In this application you can keep the family calendar, inventories for insurance, list of all residences, medical histories, education accomplishments, and much more.  The feature that impressed me as a genealogist is that I could then create a complete report for each family member based on the details I had entered.  If I wanted to see everything for either of my children the report would give me all the details of their life that I had entered in one go.

The daily journal feature also caught my attention.  I am a horrible journal keeper, and I have tried many times over the years to keep one consistently to no avail.  However, this program not only gives you daily writing prompts to fill out but it will also sync with your Facebook account.  When synced, all posts to your wall on Facebook are downloaded to AboutOne.  You can then choose to add them to your journal as a memory or not.

I am not sure how many of you create family newsletters, but if you do you will be excited to know that AboutOne has a newsletter creation option.  From the information that you enter at the site you can choose what to include in your custom newsletter.    Point, click, and done. Stories, pictures, movies, accomplishments all entered with the click of your mouse.  I wish the newsletters I have created in the past were this simple and easy to create.

If this sounds like something you would like to check out further I encourage you to try their free trial version.  With it you have up to 1 GB of data, can add 6 family members, 25 entries, contacts, emergency management directions, access to mobile apps, sharing capability, and Suze Orman Identity Protection.  After you try it and you decide you would like to do more there are two upgrade options: Premium for $5 a month and Premium Plus for $10 a month.  Very reasonable for what you get, and what you can do with it.

At RoosTech this year AboutOne and FamilySearch partnered together to create the AboutOne Elite Advisory Board for FamilySearch.  This board will be working to make this software even a better fit for genealogists everywhere.  Members of the board will work with the software, give feedback, and in an outside-in development strategy create a product that will meet our needs.  Be on the lookout for more information over the next few months with a possible release of early next year.

Just remember, telling stories of our ancestors is just as important as telling our stories for the future.  How are you documenting your life for your descendants?

About Shannon Combs Bennett

Shannon Combs-Bennett, owner of T2 Family History, is a speaker and author based out of Virginia. She enjoys teaching about a wide range of topics from DNA to methodology. Currently Shannon is the Creative Director for The In-Depth Genealogist. You can learn more about her at

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