Thursday, March 16, 2006

Genealogy Meets Artificial Intelligence

(Interior of Sweetest Heart of Mary Church at Christmas)

I've been intrigued by the idea of artificial intelligence for years. So you can imagine how excited I was to discover genealogy software that has been purported to be just that. GenSmarts analyzes your family file (from any of the major genealogy software programs... Legacy, Family Tree Maker, PAF, etc.) and based on the data it finds, it gives you a prioritized list of what to research next and where to find the information. Sound too good to be true? Yeah, that's what I thought too.

I was skeptical at first but willing to give the trial download a try. It was easy to install, and easy to run. Simple actually. It was simple to run. And you know what? Amazingly, it does what it's designed to do. It analyzed my file of 2000+ individuals and gave me 220 suggestions for research, complete with links to relevant online databases where possible. I was impressed to say the least.

GenSmarts is not without its limitations, however. The biggest limitation being that it cannot make research recommendations for documents from foreign countries. For those of us who trace our ancestry to Poland it won't be much help. At least not for the individuals known to be from Poland. It can still be a big help for locating information/documents here in the U.S. though. And that could make it worth your while to investigate.

You can download a free trial at the company's website If you decide you'd like to purchase it, it's moderately priced at $24.95.