Explore Family History In Facebook Game Family Village

By David Cohen 

Facebook gaming and genealogy are intertwined with Tuesday’s official launch of Family Village, a free Facebook game from Funium that had been in beta-testing since April 2011.

Family Village allows players to explore their family histories while simultaneously building virtual online communities, and Funium said play time averages 14 minutes, or nearly three times the industry average.

Players in the game build businesses and houses, help family members immigrate, and assign jobs, with Family Village matching that data with relevant real-world documents about living and deceased relatives, including newspaper articles and census records, which can then be printed, examined, or stored.

Family Village also offers real historical documents for purchase, alongside virtual goods .

New features of Family Village that are part of its official release include:

  • A more robust character editor that allows players to personalize their avatars.
  • The ability to create multiple villages across different time periods.
  • The option of collaborating on family trees with other family members.
  • Accessing more types of documents via search.
  • A family history museum, where information and documents can be compiled and stored.
  • The ability to generate user content, including the uploading of photos and documents.

Funium CEO Jeff Wells said:

We have been looking forward to this release. Family Village is uniquely positioned in the online gaming arena as the first social game with real-world value. Our game becomes more valuable to the player the longer it is played because of the increased possibilities for the discovery of family history research documents and family members. In addition to the interest received in the U.S., we are excited to penetrate international markets. Our game will have massive appeal in Europe and China, in particular, where family history research is a major cultural interest.