Friday, February 9, 2007

Genealogy for everyone

I have been trying out Gramps (Linux genealogy app) for some time.
First I entered my nearest family and all the names they could remember.
Then I entered a number of names, dates etc from a family tree booklet I had.
Then I searched the net for some of these names, and found some of them in other people's family trees.
The I searched the net for GEDCOM files (+filetype:ged) that contains these names.
By this time, I had some people from the Middle Ages that could be found in Wikipedia.
Childish, but cool, to say that I am descended from Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Alfred the Great and the Norse gods.

This started me thinking:
  • I would never have been able to do this without the net.
  • The further back you go, the more people are descended from them, the more likely they are to be famous, and the more likely you are to be able to find (genealogical) data about them
  • The more data that finds its way onto the net (databases), and the more structure the data has (Semantic net?), the more this holds.
There are already some wiki-like efforts underway.
In the future, I think most people in Europe and America will be able to search from their relatives around 1900 and get a very big family tree, and most people will be able to say that they are descended from kings or other famous people around the year 1000.

No comments: