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ZellTree's future

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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 more.
  • 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 helpful!
  • 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 it".
  • 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 one person!
  • 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 have turned.

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 information. 

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!

 

The names ZellTree, SolarSense Designs,  and all works within this website, are copyright 1998 thru 06 Dec 2009 by Ron Klotz Zellhoefer.   Permission is given to copy & print for private archival purposes only.  Republishing of DATA ONLY (not webpages!) to other websites is permitted IF credited to Ron Klotz Zellhoefer and ZellTree.  Please, let's verify and collaborate first!