Stop, Look, and Listen, by Maureen Taylor

If you’ve ever wished for an easier way to record family memories without using a tape recorder or video camera, your wish just came true. is a new offering from The Generations Network that will change the way family history is collected. It’s free, fun, and fabulous.

It’s very easy to use. Within just a few minutes I was able to upload several pictures, dial a toll-free number, record recollections for those images, and e-mail that album to a family member. I’m not kidding. Like the product name says it was a snap and like a genie in a bottle–magical! My relative couldn’t believe it. All he had to do was click on the link in the e-mail to listen to my message and look at the pictures.

Snapgenie definitely has that “wow” factor. Here’s what you can do with it.

  • Upload approximately 100 pictures per “album.” This can be done in two ways. Either select the Power Upload button to upload all the pictures at once or select and upload images individually using the “Browse” feature. There are no editing tools in the program (yet) so use your photo-editing software first before adding pictures to your album.
  • Record up to an hour’s worth of memories per album using the toll-free number and access code that you’re given. All you do to move through the images is click on the forward arrows under the pictures. Click and record. You decide how long you want the message to be for each picture. Tip: I planned out what I wanted to say before I dialed the phone.
  • Share with as many family and friends as you like. Just type in their e-mail addresses to send them the album. They can even forward your e-mail on to someone else in the family.
  • There is no limit to the number of albums you can create.
  • Replay your album as often as you like.
  • Use the “Studio” feature to make changes. Delete or add pictures as well as re-record your voice track for the whole album or single images.
  • Add pictures, but don’t forget that you can also include digital files of documents to your album.
  • Here’s a cool tool. If you have a blog, you can use the cut and paste feature to obtain code to add your album to your blog. Family can then use your blog features like Comments to write additional information on the pictures.

Here’s an album of my family photo mystery. Click on the play button in the screen below to take a look and listen.

Snapgenie has taken family history sharing to a new level in this beta version of their product. According to Hoyt Priscock, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development for, there’s a lot more to come.
You can create your own Snapgenie show at ( and soon Snapgenie will be part of your family websites. It’ll turn them into what they ought to be–collaborative endeavors for sharing pictures, data, and oral history. Family members will be able to add their voice to your albums sharing what they know about the items on your site.

Watch for the following future developments:

  • Use the three-way calling feature on your phone to interview more than one person at a time.
  • Record the oral history of the family then illustrate the story later on by adding photos.
  • Family members will eventually be able to leave audio remarks, or voice comments, for each image–not just written comments.
  • Save your album. You’ll be able to buy DVDs of your creation to play on your computer or television.

As Priscock said, “Snapgenie’s a collaborative story-telling tool for the whole family.” I’m completely smitten. There are endless possibilities on ways to use it for genealogical purposes. Try it and see why it’s going to make a difference to your family history.

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Maureen Taylor, is The Photo Detective. She writes about family history and photography on her blog at

8 thoughts on “Stop, Look, and Listen, by Maureen Taylor

  1. I just tried it. Very nice! I can’t believe it will stay free, though. Storage space, maintenance, 800 numbers all cost somebody.

  2. Just a note of caution. When you send the album to someone, they are invited to forward it to anyone else they choose. So don’t send anything you don’t want to be made public.

  3. This would be great to share on my Blog Carnival coming up in a few days. It’s “Who is That?” I do a post once a month about mysetry photos and family histories. Please share this photo with us at the blog carnival.

    Just go to my blog and click on the “Blog Carnival” button. I will take you to where you need to register you article to be a part of the next blog carnival.

    I look forward to your participation in the carnival, which will be post on March 2nd. I’ll also glad put a little blurp in there about the Snapgenie. It looks exciting and I can’t wait to try it out.

  4. A heads up for anyone using WordPress: I had a couple hiccups putting this up at first, but I turned off the “visual rich editor” before I inserted the code to get it to work. To do this, first format your post like you normally would and then save it. Under your user profile, on the bottom left side of the page, under Personal Options, de-select “Use the visual rich editor when writing.” Then go back to your saved post, insert the code that SnapGenie gives you in the “Copy & Paste” option, and then publish it from there. Once it’s published, you can revert to the visual rich editor.


  5. I tried forwarding it to friends to see, but I got an alarming message as follows:

    A potentially dangerous Request.Form value was detected from the client (RecepientEmailTBox=”…

    Description: Request Validation has detected a potentially dangerous client input value, and processing of the request has been aborted. This value may indicate an attempt to compromise the security of your application, such as a cross-site scripting attack. You can disable request validation by setting validateRequest=false in the Page directive or in the configuration section. However, it is strongly recommended that your application explicitly check all inputs in this case.

    Exception Details: System.Web.HttpRequestValidationException: A potentially dangerous Request.Form value was detected from the client (RecepientEmailTBox=”…

  6. Sounds like the way to complete my long overdue family history. Maybe I’ll wait for the next version. Thanks for the heads-up. Nancy

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