GeneologyJHere at ASH we offer an IT Extension course on family history called “Electronic Genes”. My colleague Amy had been using a Windows emulator to run a piece of free-but-closed, Windows-only software called PAF (Personal Ancestry File). The limitations of this “free” software were apparent as budget season arrived last week and we had to explain/justify the cost of paying for emulation software to run “free” products like PAF. The course was not designed to be software specific, so a change was clearly possible. A chat with Amy produced a short list of desirable features for the software used in this class:

  • The course software needed to be easy to explain and use.
  • The course software needed to create Gedcom files (.ged) for interchangeability.

I added to this short list the requirements that the software be usable on more than one platform then we were ready to head off to SourceForge.net to see what we could find. A short search later I found GeneologyJ, a Java application that meets every one of these requirements. GenJ is a multi-platform FOSS geneology tool that generates .ged files in an easy to navigate environment. Amy and I will be having a closer look at this tool next week and I hope to report that she is supportive of making the switch to GenJ next semester. 🙂
Introduction · GenealogyJ