Sunday, February 28, 2010

The St. George sneak peek went great.

We had a great time showing Family ChArtist to the St. George Expo attendees. The response was great and program worked well. Everyone can't wait for next Monday.
The crowd was wonderful. As always. It is always so fun to get to see all the good friends that we have at these conferences.
We had very little down time. Kim and I did get one second to talk to each other.
We pressed our son into helping with printing since we were so busy. It was exciting to have his help. And he was excited to be able to help. Let's hope it stays that way.

Somehow Geoff Rasmussen ( and Paula Vilburn ( and I all lost our voices. It couldn't be germs shared between Arizona, Hawaii and Utah. I guess it was all the talking.
We used Mark Tucker's video on a loop, but we're still working out the bugs of having a booth with the new product. We were able to show people one at a time at the computers, but I'm afraid we missed alot of people that way.

We're going to get a bigger screen to show the video and do demonstrations for more people at a time. We'll probably follow RootsMagic, ( who were able to teach lots of people at their booth with their new screens. I'm not getting to meet as many new bloggers/tweeters as I used to, most of them are all good friends now. But I did get to meet Rebecca Trujillo Batty ( for the first time. What a sweetheart she is. I'm so glad to have her as a new friend. And Holly does such a great job as usual. It is so fun to watch all the great giveaways at the end of the conference. There is so much to win at her events. Computers, trips to the SL library, Software, and of course Generation Maps gift certificates. Kudos to Holly not only helping people to do genealogy better, but also for making it such fun. Hope to see you at one of these great events soon. It is always such a party.

Family ChArtist--Religious symbols

Since we started out with New FamilySearch access, we thought at the beginning we would begin with a bunch of LDS graphics, but we have lots of other religious graphics in the program now, and plans for lots more graphics of all kinds as we ramp up with other companies. There are all sorts of options when you work in the transparency and color control that Family ChArtist has. We plan to keep the graphics in Family ChArtist fresh and add new things all the time. If you have any requests, let us know.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Family ChArtist--LDS temples

To go with our New FamilySearch certification, we have put a whole bunch of LDS temple graphics in Family Chartist. So, if you are LDS, you might be interested in these: (If you are not, there are lots of other religious graphics too. Coming to a blog post near you soon.)

There are over 300 different temple graphics that you can use all different ways. And with the other graphics, you can even use them without the normal genealogy chart.
So get ready to check it out. We have lots and lots of options for you.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Family ChArtist--Twitter and Facebook and Genealogy Wise pages.

We've got the Twitter account and Facebook Page and GenealogyWise Pages up. I'm feeling a contest coming on. Check it out:

Go become a fan, or follower and I'll tell you what, We'll do a drawing on the morning of the 8th for a 25$ gift certificate in each of those groups.

Good luck

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Family ChArtist--Colors and Fonts

A quick note on a couple of simple features.

First: Color
Besides being able to choose lots of backgrounds and embellishments in all sorts of color combinations, you can also change the colors of the title font and genealogy chart font.

Then Box Styles:
You also have a couple of types of boxes to choose from: white, transparent box, and no box.

And then we've given you some of our favorite fonts. You can see how different fonts change the feel of the genealogy chart.

So you are completely in charge of how you display your family. Be thinking about which you want to use. March 8th is coming right up.

Exciting days and angels, and late blog posts.

Well it's been quite a day.

I left for St. George early this morning. Kim and everyone else were planning to come down later in the day. I was making good time and I was feeling good about being a bit early. The car was running great. About three hours into the trip, the car started to lose power. Slowly, Slowly, I watched the speedometer fall until I had to pull over to the side of the road. And the car died. Smoke billowing out of the front and everything.

Though stressed, I just started to laugh. It just topped the cake. With everything going on, rolling out Family ChArtist this weekend in St. George and all sorts of other things that have happened the last couple of weeks that you wouldn't even believe, there was just nothing else to do but laugh. Perhaps it shows that we are on the right track when we run into problem after problem. Such is the life of a genealogy company.

After an hour wait, and being towed into the nearest city, the mechanic had "wonderful" news. The radiator cap was completely off and the motor was completely burned out. Apparently when Kim took the car in to have the oil changed last night, the mechanic there didn't put the radiator cap back on.

When I called Holly Hanson (Family History Expos) to tell her that I wasn't going to make it with some of the stuff she needed, she didn't hesitate. She immediately sent her wonderful husband Chris with the truck and the trailer, on a several hour trip to pick me up.

Now Holly was at the conference center organizing everything for the approximately 1500 people expected this weekend. The company that runs her website had complications this week and not only has the conference website been down the week before this conference, but all of the backups were lost and it looks like she has nothing to reconstruct from. At the very least you would have thought she would need the help of her husband this afternoon. But Holly is just that kind of person. She didn't even think twice. She just sent him off to rescue me. So I now officially nominate her for sainthood. She is already an angel.

Eventually everyone got to the conference center. Everything is set up to go and we are ready for a good night sleep. Wish us good luck. It can't get much more exciting.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Family ChArtist--Great pricing and multiple delivery options.

This post isn't going to show more beautiful charts. But it does talk about something that I know most people are interested in. MONEY. How much is this going to cost me?

Well first--How does FREE sound?
We decided to do something fun with this application and let you go ahead and use it with your printer at home. So when you order an 8.5x11 the pricing is FREE. You just go through the order process, and instead of getting a chart in the mail, a save screen comes up like this:
You just save the .jpg file(good quality file) to your computer and then you can print it or use it however you want. I can think of all sorts of uses for beautiful 8.5x11 charts. Scrapbooking, Family History Books, lots of things. How are you going to use it?

Then, with 16x20, 20x24, 24x30, 24x36, 30x40, and 36x48 we knew that most people don't have large plotters and printers at home, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible to make larger charts as well. Luckily, we're a printing company (that works out well ;-). So we can take care of that for you. You just click the order button, fill out your information and lickety split, the chart arrives in your mail rolled in a tube.
And because we are a printing company we can give you 8 options for different types of paper.
  • --20lb Bond Paper. A bond paper that is about as heavy as typing paper. It is not archival, perfect for research charts that are going to be written on and added to. Not heavy enough for good picture quality. Imprecise color.
  • --24lb Presentation Paper. A quality presentation paper that is about as heavy as typing paper. It is archival, bright white, UV coated, perfect for charts with decorative elements.
  • --40lb Professional Paper. A quality presentation paper that is about as heavy as cardstock paper. It is archival, bright white, UV coated, perfect for charts with decorative elements.
  • --Glossy Photo Paper. An archival 80lb heavy glossy photo paper. The gloss makes photos appear crisp and clear. Printed with archival inks.
  • --Parchment Paper. An archival 60 lb cardstock weight paper. Antique looking with a marbled beige color. Not particularly good for photos as the marbling shows through the image. Only available up to 24x36 inches wide.
  • --Vinyl Banner Medium weight vinyl, suitable for outdoor use. (I have seen it used for tablecloths and placemats.)
  • --Artist Grade Canvas. A heavy matte archival artist's canvas. The canvas giclee printing process is the same archival quality as a fine art reproduction from an art gallery. A rich, beautiful medium for a classic looking genealogy chart. The light texture helps lower quality antique pictures look cleaner.
  • --Stretched Canvas. Artist Grade Canvas above, stretched on stretcher bars like a piece of art. Ready to hang.
Then... With anything larger than an 8.5x11 chart we give you two options. Besides printing, you can also order a .pdf (high quality file). That comes in an email to your email account just minutes after you order it. The price for a pdf of any size chart is $34.95. You can take this file to your local printer--say if you needed something today--but you'll probably end up spending more than if you just had us print it.

And then... As always with any genealogy chart Generation Maps prints, any extra copies are 1/2 price. Yep, always been that way here. Then, you can create charts for your brothers and sisters, Mom and Dad, favorite Aunt, partner in crime Cousin. Great gifts that mean something, inspire your family with your family's heritage, and helps encourage other genealogists in the family.

And we keep you informed of the pricing while you create your chart, with a handy little box down in the right corner. So you'll always know what you are getting into. Great genealogy charts at great prices.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Family ChArtist--Even if you don't like genealogy

You've probably noticed in some of our samples, there isn't really any genealogy there. What's up with that? Is this a genealogy program or not?Well, we wanted to give you some extra functionality. Over the years we've seen genealogy charts done lots of different ways, and while we have plans for offering different layouts in the future, we've also left it open for you to do other designs.Photo collages are often popular in family history too.I'm waiting for the first person who will do a canvas giclee from one of our backgrounds or embellishments without any text at all. At our giclee prices, you can see that those would make great home decor for much less than you would get at your local boutique or art gallery.
And of course, as always, the new website will include options for printing your modern or antique photos as canvas giclees. They are a beautiful way to display your family history. The texture of the canvas is very forgiving to a grainy family history photo or a copy of a copy of a copy. And the canvas is so archival you can even run it through the washing machine. But more on paper options and pricing tomorrow.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Family ChArtist Video

I've never been so flattered/nervous/excited. Mark Tucker has graciously made us an introductory video. I'm so honored that he's so excited about the new program. He has a wonderful graphic mind and for him to like Family ChArtist is just one of the greatest compliments I could ever hope for. And he is such a capable teacher he made it look great. Thank you so much Mark. Take a look.

You can also access the video on YouTube.

Family ChArtist--Release Date and Press Release

Well folks, It's decided, we're committed.

March 8th at 12 noon MST.

All new website, All new Family ChArtist. The press release is below. A few sneak peeks at other functionality that we'll be talking about this week on the blog.

For Immediate Release:
Generation Maps announces release date for Family ChArtist.
New website will help you quickly and easily create beautiful genealogy charts.

Cedar Hills, Utah. — February 22, 2010 — Generation Maps today announced the release date for Family ChArtist, an exciting new genealogy chart creation tool. Family ChArtist is a new web application that will make creating and designing beautiful genealogy charts easier and faster than ever before. Family ChArtist is being showcased this weekend at the Family History Expo in St. George, Utah ( and will be released to the general public with an all new Generation Maps website at 12 noon Mountain Standard Time on March 8th.

Impressive and Easy to Use Features:
HIGH QUALITY GRAPHICS: Generation Maps offers modern, classic, colorful graphics to beautify and enhance your chart.
FAST AND EASY: First time users can create beautiful charts in just a few minutes. Previously, chart printing required purchase, installation and juggling of various design software programs, online databases and file formats. Family ChArtist has combined all these elements for you and allows you to simply create what you want over the web.
GENEALOGY CAPABILITY: Family ChArtist is FamilySearch Certified, applying information straight from FamilySearch to your chart. FamilySearch information can be edited as necessary. Your family genealogical information can also be entered using a Gedcom or manual entry. Generation Maps is working toward future integration with other software and picture database systems as well as genealogy software companies.
FLEXIBLE OPTIONS: Generation Maps has created Family ChArtist with powerful, user-friendly features. You can adjust the same graphic in many different ways, using transparency, rotation, and scaling controls, to create exactly the look you want. Attractive new enhancements can also be added to each graphic to create very different charts. Family ChArtist is flexible, allowing you to add or correct information about yourself, siblings, cousins, stepfamilies, and other relatives. Additional personal information such as prominent characteristics, careers, etc., can also be included.
INEXPENSIVE PRINTING: Any 8.5 X 11 chart you create can be printed FREE on your home computer. High quality professionally printed charts range in size from 16”x20” to 36”x48”. Inexpensive draft copies on standard bond paper start at $19.95. Other printing options include presentation, glossy photo and parchment papers, as well as beautiful canvas giclees. You can also purchase a .pdf file for $39.99, and minutes after you place your order you will receive an email with a link to download your file for later use. As with all Generation Maps charts, extra copies are always HALF PRICE. Order copies of your chart to give to your children or other family members as meaningful gifts.

Become an Artist
Family ChArtist has been designed with each customer in mind. You are the artist. With beautiful graphics and embellishments it is easy to create something personalized for your family. You choose the layout, information to be included, size, paper, color, pictures, borders, backgrounds and artistic design. Each chart is a direct expression of your individuality.
“I think the best feature of this new program is the wide range of wonderful graphics,” says Kim Hovorka, CEO of Generation Maps. “We have chosen modern, classic, colorful graphics that can be used to beautify and enhance your chart. Images include a wide range of religious and patriotic symbols, LDS temples, flags, classic, modern and vintage embellishments and backgrounds. Users can even upload their own pictures, scans of documents or other images to decorate their charts.”

Free Offer for Scrapbooks and Albums.
With Family ChArtist, you can create an 8.5 X 11 chart free of charge and save it to your computer to print whenever you choose. If you decide you want to print a larger size for your home, just order from the same menu and your chart will be printed and shipped to you promptly. Whether you are decorating your home, creating a family book, looking for a special gift for someone you love, or bringing your heritage to life for a family gathering, Family ChArtist will help you fashion a beautiful expression of your family’s history for your surroundings.
To find out more about Family ChArtist and its outstanding capabilities, go to Janet Hovorka, development director for Generation Maps, will be sending out a new blog post each day until the official release of Family ChArtist. Each ChartChick blog post will feature different functions and design options on the new site. Users will find creative chart suggestions and ideas to help them use Family ChArtist when it becomes available March 8th.

About Generation Maps
Generation Maps was established in 2004 to help families express their heritage in an attractive way for all to see. Generation Maps charts provide a visual reminder of your family’s history and help establish feelings of love and confidence that come from knowing who you are and that you are part of a family. Generation Maps charts can awaken individual potential embedded in one’s inherited traits and nurture emotional healing through understanding a family’s history. Family ChArtist will carry on the Generation Maps tradition by offering a new, simplified, personalized way to create decorative charts that promote family traditions and unity.
Generation Maps is still the premier printing service for any kind of genealogy chart you can imagine. In addition to the new Family ChArtist program, Generation Maps continues to offer a multitude of custom chart printing services, including both decorative and working genealogy charts. Custom decorative designs come with an online preview system that gives you personalized attention and feedback until the chart is exactly the way you envisioned it. Working charts are oversized, inexpensive, family reunion-type charts that display your entire file in one place. You can write on and add information to working charts. Generation Maps has printed working charts up to 800 feet long with information for over 30,000 people. In addition, Canvas Giclee Fine Art photos are available at Generation Maps for a very competitive, reasonable price. All charts can be printed on any of 8 paper choices, plus canvas. Free consultations are always available at

For more information, visit or, or email

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Family ChArtist--FamilySearch Certification

Ok. Next feature..... Importing information options:Yes, we have a second certification for Generation Maps from new FamilySearch. We have obtained certification to use the new web app with the new FamilySearch Family Tree. The LDS church has been slowly rolling out a new collaborative database which you already know about if you've been reading this blog. The database has been rolled out successfully to the members of the LDS church over the last two years and it is planned that this next year it will be rolled out to the general public.

We have been printing custom charts from this database for a couple of years now and can still help you with that as well. But you can bet, that as we were developing this tool, we wanted to incorporate FamilySearch certification especially so that beginners could use it as a starting place to be able to build a chart.

But the kicker is this...
You don't have to rely completely on the integrity of the information in the database. You have complete control over all the information on the chart. Just enter your username and password for the database, pick out the person you want to start with, and we'll import the information available in the database on your family tree. And then if you see anything in the data that you want to change, simply click on the person and edit the information in the Editing Panel. Click on the Apply button and you are good to go.

Right now, 1) Gedcom import and 2) FamilySearch import, along with 3) manual entry are the only ways to bring information into this new database. But we are already laying the groundwork for being able to bring in all kinds of other information in the next phases of this application. We are working with several other collaborative database providers, picture repository providers, and even software companies to be able to import files from their products. We're hoping to make this THE place to come for gorgeous charts.

Watch for the release date and press release tomorrow. Yee ha. We're getting there.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Family ChArtist--GEDCOM import and manual entry

So how do you get your genealogy information into Family ChArtist?

To start with, we are releasing Family ChArtist with a few ways to bring genealogy information into your chart. Two of these are GEDCOM import and manual entry. (we'll talk about more tomorrow)

On GEDCOM import, it's easy. Hit the "Upload a GEDCOM" button and the system brings up your Open File dialog box. You just pick a GEDCOM from your files and it will import into the system.

Now--in case you don't know, a GEDCOM is a common base file for genealogy information. Every genealogy computer program will export a GEDCOM, the function is usually under the file menu. Often you use GEDCOM to move information between different genealogy softwares or databases. I sometimes call it the ASCII file of genealogy. It is just a standard file that holds the genealogy information that you've created in your genealogy computer program.

The cool thing about this application is that the GEDCOM import is lightning fast. My mom's 7,000+ person file imports in about 2-3 seconds. Then you get the "Select a person" screen shown here. Simply pick the person you want the chart to start with and click ok. Your chart will appear on the screen. Ba da Bing.

You can rest assured that your genealogy information doesn't go anywhere as per our regular privacy policy. In fact, once you choose the person you want to start the chart with, we just take the information out that we need to make your chart and the system doesn't store your GEDCOM at all.

Or, if you haven't gathered your genealogy information into a computer file, just hit the manual entry button and start from there. You don't have to type all the birth marriage and death information in for each person. Just put in what you want to and the chart will be created with the information you provide.

We're just getting started. Oh it's so hard to wait until you get to see this...

Family ChArtist--Come get early access in St. George

Guess what?! If you are coming to St. George next week for the Family History Expo you are going to be able to use Family ChArtist there before we release it. And not only that, we'll have computers available and a plotter right there to be able to print you a $10 draft, or even a final archival copy of your chart. We haven't even begun to roll out all the great features of this new application here on the blog, but it is easy to use and you'll be able to jump right in and walk away with a printed copy of your research. And we'll be right there to show you around.

So now you have even more reason to come join the party. Holly and her team at Family History Expos always do such a great job of showing us all a good time. Come have some fun with us and take the new website for a spin. See ya there.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Family ChArtist--Adding Additional People

For today's post, I want to tell you about another cool feature. We call this button "Add Extra Person (Sibling, Spouse, etc.)." You can add a person and drag them to any position on a chart. We do lots of charts this way right now with our custom chart service. But now you'll be able to do it yourself.

The most popular thing we do now is add all the children of a family at the beginning of the chart. That way you can take advantage of our 1/2 price extra copies and make copies as gifts for brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles.
Take a look at some of these.. You can add all the children of the family to either of our basic layouts.

That works for anywhere on the chart though. You can add brothers and sisters throughout the chart, aunts and uncles, cousins, step families, etc.

Or, on the bowtie chart you can actually take that first person and move them around too. Above or below their parents. You can even take that starting person out and have the chart start with a couple. A wonderful wedding gift.

There are so many wonderful features of this new web application that I'm excited to tell you about, I've created a few posts that I've scheduled for the weekend too. And then Monday we'll be sending out the release date. Stay tuned.