Tuesday, 6 April 2010

phpgedview Genealogy

I thought about starting a family tree a while back and finally got round to starting something this week. One of my criteria was that I wanted it to be web based so that I could access it from anywhere, keeping it in the 'cloud' so it wasn't tied down to just one computer in my home and also to have the ability to give other people the ability to log in and edit the database.

I thought my parents might like to contribute what they know towards it, so the web based option will work well. I can create them a log in and they can edit it online from where they are.

I am not quite sure yet the best way to find out how to trace your ancestors, but I am sure that will come as I get into it and start asking questions, as obviously, many people do it. I am not sure how big my family gets, but I know my wife's side is very big, and has origins in rulers of Ethiopia, so that will be interesting to discover.

I know that some of my wife's family have already done a lot of this work, but I am not sure at the moment if I want to just ask them for info or unearth it myself. Seems pointless just filling it in from someone else's hard work.

Anyway, the software I am trying out is phpgedview. This installed VERY easily on my Ubuntu 8.10 web server. Just a case of extracting the zip into your chosen directory and running the config page.

I have no experience with genealogy software, but I like the way this works, with the ability to add a lot of detail about each individual and it is very intuitive as to how all these people are linked. It kind of forces you to only add people who can be linked to existing individuals in the database, avoiding having floating individual who are not connecting to anyone and therefore not part of the 'tree'. As an admin though, one can add unlinked individuals if necessary.

I have had little time to play with it yet, so not sure how it can be customised, if at all, but the good thing is that it is built on a GEDCOM database, which is a standard for most genealogical software. So my database could be exported into another genealogy package.

It allows you to view various charts and download reports of individuals, families etc in PDF or HTML format for easy viewing or printing.

So far so good, hope to build up a comprehensive database.

My set-up can be viewed here but I think the viewing of details is limited by non-members. I am still to work out the details of privacy levels.

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