These are the additions and improvements coming for ZellTree.
|I first need to say that June 21st will see me become an
official "old person"as I turn 65. This forebodes several
things we all need to consider:
- My energy for all this work is fading
- My mind is not as sharp as it once was ~ it is harder today for me
to keep up with the new inovations in genealogy and webpage software.
- ZellTree individuals has increased from about 300 to almost 2600
- New discoveries along with new spawn can only increase the workload.
- The additions and improvements will probably make ZellTree much more
interesting and useful, but will certainly increase the workload even
- The costs incurred for software, web-server, documents and copies
has become a real strain on available resources.
Therefore, a time has come for beginning some transitions:
- First, we need "branch managers" at all levels. For
example, the Zilhaver branch alone has come to be a considerable
maintenance task. We know that there are folks among us who
maintain information on their own family groups, and they can be SO
- A special concern is Bavaria & Austria. There are hundreds
of Z's and probably thousands of Z-descendants there; not everyone
elected to leave their homes in those beautiful places! There is
an abundance of old documents in both church and government archives
which can serve to both enhance our family history, to fill in the
blanks, and to correct or confirm what is today "what we think we
know". So we need German-speaking people in Bavaria and
Austria to dig for the old documents, and scan them, and read
the old scripts and do translations to English.
- It's almost equally important that that documents also be translated
from English to German! The only difference here is that more
Germans understand English, but it's a matter of principal - the
"ugly American" thing. My father spoke both languages,
but never passed that on to me, so now this old man is trying to learn
German on his own, a very slow process, but I'm "gaining on
- From amongst the "branch managers", someone will emerge as
the data manager to replace me.
- We're going to need a new webmaster. There's no real reason
that the tasks of data management and webpage work need to be done by
- Finally, it seems appropriate that some portions of ZellTree become
"members only", with a subscription fee adequate to cover
the recurring expenses, or perhaps eventually turn to "for
profit" as so many of the big genealogy sites like ancestry.com
I forsee a day when we'll have gotten back in time another generation
or two, perhaps into the 1400's, but eventually there will be nothing more
to be found. It's doubtful we'll ever get close to 0000 A.D!
After that the process will be "filling in the gaps", adding the
new births to the family, and enhancing the store of online
|Very recently I received from Mrs Allegra Zick, wife of
Albert, my 1st cousin once-removed, her compilation of genealogy called
"Love Links". She did an incredibly good job on the
family history of rooted on Catherine Sophia Zellhoefer, twin sister of my
g.g.grandfather John Michael Zellhoefer. The most impressive
accomplishments were the inclusion of narratives for many of the
individuals, and PICTURES of the old people and places. Those
contributed so much to the usefulness and interest of her work.
Also, as I've mentioned elsewhere, pictures and scanned documents from
Mani Hertlein of Bavaria have served to help so much in my own enjoyment
and understanding of all this effort. I've put much of his
contribution on ZellTree with this update.
|So that gives focus for a new direction for
ZellTree. By publishing pictures and old documents to
ZellTree, we can greatly improve the "interesting factor".
It will preserve these old artifacts, conceivably for posterity, and
gradually reduce everyone's need to writing letters and send money for
this or that old document or photo. It's all part of the
ongoing process of getting all sorts of data online ~ ship's passenger
lists, county recorder indexes, migration data, the list goes on and on.
|So we're asking that YOU contribute not
only your pedigrees, but also dig in those boxes for old pictures, family
histories, bible records and documents and such. All you need do is
scan them, attach them to an email to me, and eventually we can make them
appear in ZellTree.
|As part of this process, I am working to
develop a database-driven genealogy application, and I'm already finding I
definitely need some expert assistance in this endeavor. I've been
saying that GEDCOM is not good enough ~ data gets lost and truncated ~
source documents and pictures aren't included. Seems this is
gradually moving to XML, but the process isn't entirely settled yet, and I
can already see that learning the new technology is probably beyond my
ability, energy, and available time. I have said that Legacy is the
best gen-app out there today, but I don't see that neither Legacy nor any
other genealogy application is anywhere close to accomodating all the
needs of genealogy today.
I forsee that a new application is needed, and think that could be
(very?) profitable. If you have talents which might help in this
venture, I just KNOW you'll get in touch!