About

This blog is not about creating my family tree. This is about creating family tree software for everyone.

My name is Phil Moir, and until the start of 2013 I was the technical lead for Genes Reunited, one of the leading family history websites. I was extremely fortunate to have found myself in a position to work in an environment where I can indulge two of my personal passions, writing usable and useful software, and family history. My Aunt Moira introduced me to genealogy when I was in my late teens (a few years ago now) and ignited a long term interest.

One of my personal missions working on Genes was to make life easier for the general genealogist, but also make it useful for the expert. That was still a mission I wanted to continued. But back in March 2013 I was asked to join the team responsible for delivering the “family tree” tool for the family history websites owned by Findmypast Limited (formerly DC Thomson Family History which was formerly brightsolid), which includes the FindMyPast brands and Genes Reunited amongst others. I was later appointed technical lead for the Family Tree team, and continued the mission I had on Genes within the this team. That is, to make it usable and useful, for both beginner and expert alike. The seed had been planted and shoots had already appeared, having gone live on FindMyPast in mid 2013 and we enjoyed two solid years. The process was to be one of evolution, and improvement and change was happening quickly and often. But then the company focus changed and all work on the tree stopped after hints first appeared in January 2015. It litterly ground to a halt. The tree team were disbanded and most left, including at the start of 2016, myself.

This blog is my personal insight into Family Tree products both on the desktop and online and my own tips on how to get the very best out of them when recording your own family history. I have been quiet throughout 2015, but now that I am not restricted from my interests I aim to continue to look at the market and what things come up.

2 thoughts on “About

  1. First posted to support team on GR 27 June 2014
    Can you tell me why are people who have trees not entering the surname but being allowed to enter date characters punctuation marks in the surname column. And those who have this not correcting the data so as to allow others access to search for this data.
    Phil being advised by them to correct asap

    “The problem is endemic for although this relates to numbers the punctuation marks and any other marks are being used in the same way.
    Nicky Doran
    Head of Customer Services , DC Thomson Family History
    ndoran@dctfh.com
    Is aware of this”

    • Hi Stephen, I do understand what you mean, and believe me it is quite frustrating trying to deal with data that can be perceived to be invalid. However, having worked on GEDCOM processing for a couple of years now, we have to be able to handle anything that may be present in an importing GEDCOM, and that can literally be almost anything. In addition, we have Arabic, Urdu, Chinese, Western European and other character based trees now being created so it becomes a lot harder to limit people to controlled Latin character base input fields. Further to that, some people include references after surnames, so it could be really frustrating if you took those options away. The best option is to leave the input fields open to each user, so that they can choose the data entry format of their choice.

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