30 March 2008

Famillion: Exaggerated claims

In his latest Nu? What's Nu? (Avotaynu's E-zine of Jewish Genealogy) for March 30, Gary Mokotoff has written about Famillion's new venture with the Haaretz newspaper in Israel and details the social networking company's exaggerated claims.

Famillion Partners with Haaretz

Famillion, the new kid on the block in the area of Internet family history services, has announced a partnership with the major Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, to provide an “innovate Jewish genealogy service” by providing a new genealogy and social network search engine aimed at connecting the Jewish people worldwide. The initiative aspires to bring together Jews from all over the world and help them construct the narrative of the Jewish people through the stories of millions of families.

This is yet another example of the exaggerated claims of this company. A visit to their site at Famillion.com shows they are focusing on having subscribers build their own family tree online, as can be done at MyFamily.com; merge family trees, as can be done at OneGreatFamily.com; and discover new family and friends, as can be done at ____________ (you fill in the blank).

The existence of this company was first reported in Nu? What’s New? in Volume 8, Number 12 (June 17, 2007) issue. At that time, the company claimed it will have mapped the entire Jewish population of the world by the end of 2007 and the entire Western world in about two years. Inquiries to the company at the end of 2007 to determine if the project is on schedule have gone unanswered.

Famillion is the brain child of Dan Rolls who states at the site that the organization started when he and his wife “produced their family trees through standard genetic testing.” Now that is innovative; a true first. I know of no genealogist who has produced their family tree through standard genetic testing.

Other claims at their site include:
* The Famillion system is the only genealogical system that allows you to find unknown pathways to any other person in the world.
* You may find yourself chatting with Angelina Jolie.
* The Famillion technology offers you a unique, online, family social, network opportunity to discover your genealogic frontiers using the tools of tomorrow.
* The Famillion cutting-edge system goes beyond the boundaries of time, culture, country and language by merging information from the historical generations of all its members.

It is a shame that Haaretz couldn't see through those rather silly claims. All the paper had to do was ask a Jewish genealogist - there are more than a few in Israel!

Many of us have been giggling about the company's publicized plans to map the entire Jewish population of the world by the end of 2007 (recently revised to end of 2008) and the entire Western world in about two years.

Back issues of Nu? What's Nu? can be read here; you can also subscribe.

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