WeRelate:Proposal for on-line genealogy

Your feedback is requested on this proposal

The following is a proposal for storing pedigree data on WeRelate. Our goal is to use this article as a requirements blueprint, asking people who are interested to help us identify the most important features of the new system. If you have any ideas, suggestions, criticisms, or whatever, please edit this article or its corresponding talk page. We want to refine this requirements blueprint over the next several weeks, and begin implementation in May.



Personal Pedigree

  • You upload your pedigree to the WeRelate server. You are the only person who can view/edit data in your uploaded pedigree. This is because your pedigree might contain information on living people, which you don't want to publish openly.
  • You can navigate and edit your pedigree using an on-line Macromedia Flash-based pedigree manager. Using Flash means that the application is very interactive, just like a Windows or Mac-based application. You don't have to wait for the server to respond every time you want to navigate around your pedigree. (For technical people: check out the new Flex 2.0 beta. It's nice - nicer than Ajax in my opinion.)
  • If you want to use your pedigree off-line, you can download it to your desktop. The pedigree manager inserts IDs into the downloaded gedcom for each of the non-living people in the pedigree, where the IDs correspond to the (version of the) wiki pages generated for the non-living people. This allows you to be able to re-upload your pedigree later and re-sync with the generated wiki pages.
  • If you want to share your pedigree with a family member, you can download it to your desktop and email it to them. If they later upload the pedigree to WeRelate, the pedigree manager will use the IDs in the gedcom to connect their pedigree to the same wiki pages that your pedigree is connected to. So they will see your changes to those pages and you will see theirs. You might even be able to add a rule that auto-accepted all of their changes.
  • Another benefit of downloading your pedigree and sharing it with a family member is that they would have access to the living people in the pedigree. I'm thinking though that sharing changes to living people between you and those family members you have given your pedigree to would not be supported. If you wanted to share changes to living people you would have to re-download and re-email your pedigree to them.
Question: One reason for not supporting sharing changes to living people is that change sharing only happens through the wiki pages, and we wouldn't create wiki pages for living people. So if we wanted to support sharing changes to living people we would need to come up with another mechanism. There's also a privacy concern if we allow people to too-easily share living data with others. But it does make sharing pedigrees containing living people between trusted members of the same family more difficult. What do people think?--Dallan 13:18, 15 April 2006 (MDT)

Wiki Generation

  • We generate wiki pages for all of the non-living people in your pedigree. Each of these pages are added to your watchlist so you will be notified of any changes. Anyone can search, view, and edit these wiki pages.
  • We also generate wiki pages for all of the families which include non-living people. Again, each of these pages are added to your watchlist; anyone can search, view, and edit these wiki pages.
Question: Would we want to generate wiki pages for families as well as individuals? One option is we generate wiki pages only for individuals, where the individual wiki page contains links pointing to the individual's father, mother, spouses, and children. A second option is we generate wiki pages for individuals and also for families, where the individual wiki page points to the family wiki pages to which the individual belongs (in which he/she is a child and in which he/she is a parent), and the family wiki page points to the individuals (father, mother, children) that are part of the family. Families could be viewable / editable in the on-line pedigree manager in either case. The first option for wiki page creation seems easier to maintain because there are fewer wiki pages (no pages for families - all relationship links on the individual pages). The second option makes it easier in the case of an individual having children with multiple spouses, which children the individual had with which spouse. (In the first option, all of an individual's children would be linked to from the individual, and you would have to follow the link to the child's wiki page to see which spouse the child belonged to.) What do people think?--Dallan 13:18, 15 April 2006 (MDT)
GEDCOM Families: I'm not sure really which is better. A problem with having family wiki pages is that now you not only have to merge all of the people, you also have to merge their families. However, I have noticed that GEDCOM uses the "Family" data structure. I wonder if we could find out the original reason for choosing to go that route? --Npowell 19:32, 15 April 2006 (MDT)
I would suggest not worrying too much about historical reasons for things as we try to make this decision. Just try to do what makes the most sense. The developers of the new FamilySearch system struggled for over a year with the question of whether to store separate family objects in the database or store relationships between individuals and generate families dynamically from the individual relationships. There are advantages both ways.--Dallan 21:22, 15 April 2006 (MDT)
I vote for no family pages because it seems like a lot of extra effort for little benefit. Most people already have notes attached to individuals anyway - family pages would just be a duplicate to keep track of and keep in sync (on top of the likely 1000s of individuals in any given pedigree). On the other hand, it would be much better to show the spouses of an individual with the appropriate children, and it occurs to me that it should be possible to remove children from a family, without leaving them still the child of the other spouse. But even if that requires the programming behind the scenes to track families, it seems like that's a separate question from the display.--Amelia.Gerlicher 17:30, 11 May 2006 (MDT)
  • "Casual users" can create and edit wiki pages for people as with any other type of wiki page, without needing to use the on-line pedigree manager.


  • There is a "send/receive" button in the on-line pedigree manager that allows you to synchronize your pedigree with changes that others have made to the generated wiki pages. You will be able to see all of the changes to the wiki pages since you last time you sync'd, and you can either accept them, which updates your pedigree, or you can reject them, in which case your pedigree will differ from the wiki pages. Although you can reject wiki changes, we encourage you to use the wiki pages and the corresponding talk pages to reach common consensus with others on the "best" data to use. In the event that a common consensus cannot be reached, the wiki pages will allow multiple opinions.
  • An automated agent continually scans the database looking for "duplicate" wiki pages - pages that are likely (>90% probability) about the same person. The agent edits these pages to point to the probable duplicate and suggest that they be merged. The merge suggestions show up during the next sync that someone does to the pages.