SALT LAKE CITY — Family history research is now a game.
Funium, a maker of Facebook games, recently released Family Village, a game that helps players explore their family history while building an online community. Using census records, newspaper articles and other verified data, players can examine historical records and store them in their personal game library as they build fortunes, houses and businesses, and immigrate family members to their village.
More than 8,000 are already playing the game on Facebook. On the Family Village Facebook wall, players post the names of famous ancestors and some of the interesting details from their lives. Charlotte Westby learned one of her relatives, John Westly Hardin, the cowboy son of a preacher in Texas, was a gunslinger who shot several men in his short life. Courtney Milner traced her roots to U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant as well as several early LDS Church leaders.
Funium CEO Jeff Wells said the game was developed with the help of thousands of volunteers. A tutorial, enhanced family tree viewer and in-game challenges help provide participants with an engaging experience.
“Most computer games eventually lose their luster for players who reach some prescribed goal," said FamilyLink founder Paul Allen. "Even FarmVille average usage is starting to shrink. Conversely, Family Village engages players with not only Facebook friends but living relatives in a quest to discover their ancestors and family history.”