Non-Traditional Genealogy

I’ve hummed and ha-ed about making this into a blog post because it’s just my notes so far.  It may not make a whole lot of sense to anyone but hopefully someone will get in touch who can further my thought processes or help me come up with an end result.

I’m a member of Hackerspace Adelaide so I’m already into the ‘hacker’ mind set.  ‘Hacker’ isn’t a dirty word.  Someone who breaks into people’s computers, websites etc and steals their data is known as a ‘cracker’.  You’ll see another definition of hack below.

These are my notes:

Hack – to change use of, make new from old, build, rebuild, modify, to give added features, make it do something it was never intended to do

Genealogy – data, facts and figures, photos, documents, stories, people, audio, video

Traditional genealogy – produce a family tree, charts, a book, maps, tree on a website, give talks, write articles

What can I produce from the large amount of data I’m generating?

– mashups
– visualisations
– interactive maps
– physical interactive things
– virtual interactive things

This whole thing is about bringing data to life for an audience and for me too!!

What data can be drawn from a .gedcom file other than a family tree?

.gedcom is a text file therefore much data can be pulled from it.

How do you take data from a .gedcom file to create something other than a family tree?

This is the big question here at the bottom, how can I take data from a .gedcom file to create a visualisation or a mashup or any of the other things I’ve listed.  I have a couple of people I can pose this question to but I wanted to put it on my blog to see if I get any other responses and to see if anyone else is doing similar work.


Some explanatory links:

Technology Hacker


Genealogy Research On The Web Utilizing Organised Guidelines – A senior research paper by Anna Sterling.

2 thoughts on “Non-Traditional Genealogy

  • January 8, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Love your thought process Kylie and I’ve been a big proponent of the “hack” concept – something that is really needed in the genealogy space. Check out my new site called Hack Genealogy ((a href=””> which has been tackling this issue since July 2013

    • January 8, 2014 at 7:41 am

      Thanks Thomas, I’ve been reading the ‘How I Hack Genealogy’ posts!!! Looking forward to hearing you speak in Adelaide in February!


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