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What’s Left for 1.1 - Mon, 21 Oct 2013

Well, I got a few things out of the way and my slate has now been cleared until RootsTech in February. So now I can concentrate again on getting Version 1.1 of Behold out before the end of the year.

These are major changes that I’m making for 1.1. I think they are necessary and innovative, but it’s a radical departure from the way any existing genealogy program currently displays data. I’m hoping (and expecting) that people will embrace the new format, but I won’t know for sure until I release it and get feedback. I think I’m going down a one way street. I’ve convinced myself that this has to be done, and I’d be crushed if it became necessary to revert back.

So what is the “this” that I’m talking about. Well, there are several departures from the norm here.

First, I’m getting rid of the “family” data section. Currently, Behold displays partners together. One partner comes first, then the other partner, and then comes their data together. The latter is traditionally called the “family” data. It includes information about the two of them together, such as their engagement, marriage, residence, children, divorce and family notes.

What will be in Version 1.1 is that the family information will be repeated and added into both partners’ data. This is necessary to be able to see the joint events in each person’s timeline. The context needs to be there, and the context isn’t there when the information is separated. You may think this will cause duplication, but in this case it is good, as the events will now be in the context of the lifetime of each of the two individuals, allowing customization of that information for each person.

This first step will result in the formation of event timelines for each individual. You will immediately be able to see each person’s life clearly displayed for you.

Second, these individual timelines will incorporate the important events of significant others. Spouses, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, grandchildren, grandparents, uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces will all be included into each individual timeline. The births, marriages, deaths and certain other selected events are important to the research of any individual, as these events shaped their lives and influenced what happened to them. Where these events are in a person’s timeline gives you clues and insights, such as easily seeing that a person emigrated shortly after their parents passed away to join their older brother who emigrated earlier.

Third, at certain important events in each person’s life, the significant others who were living at that time will be listed. When a person is born, you’ll want to know that they had 3 older siblings. When someone is married, it’s important to know if their parents and in-laws were living and maybe attended the wedding and which siblings may have been there. Were any siblings married at the time? Were there any nephews or nieces who may have been the child in a picture of the wedding party that you’ve never identified. And at a person’s death, those who were living will be displayed. You’ll be able to match these people up to those listed in the obituary and try to figure out why certain people were or weren’t listed. All of these are wonderful thought provokers for you.

Implementing these three things into Behold will gives a comprehensive overview of every person’s life and lots of insights about who may have attended or had knowledge about the events of their lives. With this information, you’ll be led directly to the people you’ll want to investigate to get more information about your primary person of interest.

If that’s not enough already, let’s add a couple more things:

Let’s always display the person’s relationship: older brother, mother-in-law, aunt/m (aunt through marriage), and let’s include their age, and their years of marriage at the time of each event – all important information that gives you even more context.

Let’s then offer (with a toggle to turn on and off) the detailed information and notes about the relative’s events, along with the sources of that event. Putting the sources of related events of significant people in line with the events of your person of interest will be quite incredible. It will keep you bombarded with clues and ideas until the cows come home.

So that’s what I’m trying to get into 1.1.

I was hoping to get consistency checking into 1.1 as well, but I’d sooner get all the above out first and get a chance to hear the reactions to it. Then I’ll make consistency checking the key feature of Version 1.2.

The consistency checking in Behold will be so neat! The design of the timeline of events, as described above, provides all the dates and ages of every person’s relatives. These can so easily be checked for consistency, and inline warnings – highlighted right there in the Everything Report where you’ll want to see them -  will display the problems to you. There will be no need to run a report. This will always be there for you – exactly where you’ll want them.

When Version 2 comes out with editing, you’ll be able to correct the inconsistencies as soon as you see them, right there in the report, just by typing the correction and watching the warning vanish - simple as pie. I expect this may become known as one of the most amazing features of Behold.

That’s the plan. Now I’ve got to finish 1.1. There’s not much left if you look at my Future Plans page. It’s just a matter of doing it.

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