Some comments on the motivation and goals of the yology project.
Members of my extended family have put a lot of effort into gathering and researching genealogical records and family histories. I have an interest in both learning what’s there and contributing further to it, but I think the tools for that are really lacking. I am motivated to use my skills with computer / software technology to make that genealogy data accessible, and help to organize on-going efforts.
My first focus is to work on the Slade and Lofgreen family lines, currently available on SladeGenealogy.org. The current state of that site: pages of family history narratives, and pages of generated pedigrees (consisting of 10,000′s of separate html files). That data represents the compiled data at a single point in time, but it is now out of date. It involves a fairly laborious process (for my mother, at least) to re-generate and upload the updated data. Also, the ‘official’ compilation is kept in GEDCOM files passed around between my mother and other members of the family — the collaboration model is really tough.
I want to re-organize the SladeGenealogy.org site, and make it much easier to make updates. To do that, I intend to replace all the static files with a dynamic database-driven app, likely implemented with Rails. I want to explore some ideas for the pedigree layout and navigation, add some additional views (timelines, descendents, etc). Also integrate the personal and family histories more directly. Finally, I want to encourage other members of my extended family to get involved, to enjoy learning more about their ancestors, and to encourage them to contribute to the effort.
The needs I have for that site are not unique. I think there are quite a few similar sites out there, plus many people that would like to compile (and share) their genealogies, if the tools made it easy enough. There are quite a few existing online services to help with research and publishing genealogies. However, I think many of them miss the mark, and many of them are premium (for-pay) services. So, I hope to share my efforts with others, by making my code open-source. I also hope to be able to leverage the efforts of others in the open-source community.
So, with this post, ‘yology.org’ is born. I’m not sure exactly where to begin, or how fast I’ll be able to move, but here goes…