Monday, September 24, 2007

Interfacing with NFS - Part One Addendum

In my previous article Interfacing with NFS - Part One I reported:
"...that PAF is a dead animal. They [FamilySearch] understand that some will still use it, so they will still support it. BUT, if you want to have you genealogy database interact and sync with NFS then you need to move over to a commercial product to do so."
At the time of that writing I did not have confirmation on what Ohana Software was trying to engineer to keep the heart of PAF still beating. John Vilburn the owner and developer of PAF Insight and Ohana Software sent me the following:
"There is one big correction I would like to bring to your attention. If you are using PAF and PAF Insight, you do not have to move to another genealogy product to keep your database intact and in sync with NFS. FamilyInsight, which is the successor to PAF Insight (by the same company) will sync your PAF database with NFS. FamilyInsight will be a part of the free update program for current PAF Insight users."
John has also left the following comment on my blog:
"Renee quoted the speaker as saying "BUT, if you want to have your genealogy database interact and sync with NFS then you need to move over to a commercial product to do so." You do not need to move away from PAF to sync with NFS. If you currently use PAF Insight and you are within your free update period, you can update for free to FamilyInsight when it is released (or in beta). It will sync your PAF file with NFS (in both directions). FamilyInsight is the successor to PAF Insight and will look and feel like PAF Insight, so you won't have to learn a new program."
So you can still see that even though PAF is dead, meaning no new growth, enhancements or development from FamilySearch will be added to it, there is a commercial developer continuing to give life support to PAF for those that can't let a loved one go. Ohana Software will provide you during your PAFInsight free update period an upgrade to Family Insight. (I just can't find anywhere on the website how long the free update period is.) If you already own PAFInsight you have a no-cost way to sync with NFS when it comes in your area. Customers in the St. Louis Temple District are already beta testing FamilyInsight for us.

Like I did in my previous article I want to give MY personal opinion on PAF Insight / Family Insight.
  1. John has made a wonderful, useful product that has helped thousands of members with numerous issues in their PAF databases makes corrections to their files.
  2. It is available for free to all FHCs. You can try it before you buy it. Some of my patrons never buy it and come to the FHC to use it all the time. We LDS genealogist are frugal people to a fault.
  3. Right now it is a MUST for people submitting names for temple ordinances to first use PAFInsight (or similar products) to verify if that work has previously been done or not.
Many have wondered what will happen to PAF Insight when New FamilySearch comes online. I have been one of them. You hate to see the demise of two very nice products with the end of one partner, it's been such a great relationship. Even though PAF gives every indication of no brain waves it kind of feels like FamilyInsight is just a new "machine" to keep the dying PAF's heart beating a little longer. Come on when are we going to announce it finally dead and gone!

I just don't get it. Why do people hold onto a dead animal and then put all these attachments on it. On Bob & Reb's Genealogy Blog they did an estimate that it cost them $182. 25 to purchase add-ons, (i.e. PAFInsight, PAFWiz, etc.), to make PAF do what other commercial products can already do. It might cost you $24.95 to purchase PAF Insight but the full commercial genealogy programs run from the starting price of $29.95 to the Gold Edition of The Master Genealogist for $59.00. I would much rather have the whole package from one provider than bits and pieces here and there. I've never heard of anyone being bounced between programs for support issues, but it feels like a waiting evil to happen.

I haven't given FamilyInsight a spin but I really hope with all the talent and ability John has that he will consider making his own genealogy software program that will get some more competition out there. He has probably dissected PAF in greater detail than anyone out there. He has the name recognition and loyal followers to help him pull that move off. If you really want PAF's heart to continue beating you need to transplate it into a new host. Life support is only going to last for so long.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day


Anonymous said...

I don't know where I read it but I am quite sure I read somewhere that Family Insight will work directly with GEDCOM files and does not need PAF to operate. Maybe someone knows more about it.

Anonymous said...

The "free update" period for PAF Insight/Family Insight is 1 yr. from date of purchase (at least that's what I understand from Ohanasoftware's web site purchase page:
Includes license and one year of free downloadable updates.

Renee Zamora said...

Thank you so much I had heard something like that but I wasn't sure.

Anonymous said...

FamilyInsight is not being beta tested in the St. Louis Temple District or anywhere else - at the moment. But it will be soon.


Anonymous said...

You stated, "Even though PAF gives every indication of no brain waves.... Come on when are we going to announce it finally dead and gone!" and "Why do people hold onto a dead animal..."

Let me venture an opinion. PAF is an LDS Church program. It is also a very good program. While there are newer programs with more bells and whistles, PAF is still a very good program with a few bells and whistle of its own. And members of the LDS Church feel an intense loyalty to anything the Church produces. It has been taught in Sunday School classes and Family History Centers for years. A lot of people are very comfortable with it and see no reason to change. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I don't see it as being dead.

With the advent of the new FamilySearch, many of these PAF users, who are comfortable with PAF 5, are going to feel the first limitation in PAF that is serious enough to make them start looking for a fix.

You stated, "If you really want PAF's heart to continue beating you need to transplant it into a new host."

I am the author of Ancestral Quest, the program on which PAF is based. (I probably know PAF better than anyone.) PAF's heart has always also resided in Ancestral Quest. Ancestral Quest is being upgraded to allow a PAF database to interface with the new FamilySearch.

You mention how many add-ons a person must purchase "to make PAF do what other commercial products can already do." Frankly, simply owning the newer version of Ancestral Quest will do all of that in a single program. It will be like owning and upgraded PAF with most of the features of the add-ons. And a PAF user can continue to use PAF if that is more comfortable.

Anonymous said...

Gaylon Findlay,

Thank you for writing what you said. You said just the right thing for people like me who cannot speak so well for themselves. I do have "intense loyality" to PAF. Family History to most LDS members is not about the bells and whistles. It is about having the necessary information documented and having the ordinances performed for those in our own families who have died. PAF makes is easier and faster. I started collecting family history information in 1979, the day after I was baptised a member of the LDS Church. I had to either write or type information over and over again into different forms. I starting entering my family history information into PAF about 6 months after the first version came out. From then on, I had to only enter the data once. I am grateful to have the PAF program, and I hope that the Church does make it possible for PAF users to upload a GEDCOM if they want to.

Pappo - Darwin said...

It is important to know that you CAN upload a GEDCOM from PAF to new FamilySearch.

Linda said...

I will share this as I feel it is important for us all to know--and to be watchful of what we lead others to do. Anyone can have preferences, anyone can have favorites and want to add many different things. It is wonderful what technology can do. We must start people somewhere and I am so glad to have counsel on this and be able to focus on direct counsel as to where I lead others.

Dear Sister Olds,

Thank you for writing to FamilySearch Support. It is an unfortunate rumor that PAF is not going to continue to be used and supported. PAF is not dead and is still being supported. PAF training should continue. When there are product changes, you will certainly learn about them through official church channels. Please do what you can to end the rumors.
Thank you.

FamilySearch Support

Tracy Hall Jr said...

Although the new FamilySearch does allow uploading of GEDCOMs, it is strongly discouraged unless the patron is certain that none of the information being uploaded duplicates information already in the new FamilySearch. I did a random comparison of 50 records each in two huge PAF files (Hale Family and Hall family)and found that 96%: 48/58 (Hall) and 98%: 49/50 (Hale) of the individuals were already in nFS.

So for 2nd+ generation Church members, you can be sure that almost all of your PAF individuals are already in nFS.

Every record uploaded to nFS becomes a permanent new record, taking up storage space forever and requiring great additional manual effort to combine it with other duplicates.

So the commercial "web search affiliates" are providing a desperately-needed alternative to GEDCOM upload by enabling 2-way synchronization that will put only new information into nFS.

As a long-time satisfied user of PAF Insight I will certainly give FamilyInsight a close look.