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Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - Wed, 21 Jun 2006

Next Wednesday, I’ll be talking to the Winnipeg PC User Group about Behold. Their Genealogy Special Interest section meets once a month and I’ve been asked to speak.

I’m looking forward to this. I’ll be able to bounce around the concepts of Behold with a group of computer-savvy genealogists in person. It will be interesting to hear their opinions and comments. If anyone reading this blog lives in or near Winnipeg, feel free to come and attend.

It has been a long time since I’ve talked on computer genealogy. Ten years ago, I belonged to the Genealogy Special Interest Group of the Muddy Waters Computer Society (Muddy Waters is the Cree translation of “Winnipeg”). The SIG disbanded after about two years, but I see the parent society is still around. Back then, I made four presentations: I gave a demo of Reunion, I showed the group the Genealogical features of America Online, I presented the topic “Genealogical Source Documentation: Where the h— did you get that?”, and (believe it or not) I did a demo of a very early prototype of Behold.

That prototype was written in Fortran. It had no user interface whatsoever. All it did was read a GEDCOM as input and then output a quite-good Everything Report. I asked everyone in advance of the meeting for a copy of their GEDCOM and I printed a personalized Everything Report for each of them. I was overwhelmed by the positive response to that, and this was what really kick-started me on my goal (now ten years later) to make Behold a real program.

Other than collecting still-to-be-organized masses of notes, information, e-mails and other family materials, I have not done any real work on my own family tree in about 8 years. But in my main family research binder, I still have an old yellowing, edges-folded copy of a 75-page printout from that early version of Behold, which I still use today as the first document I go to when I have a question about my family.

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