Graphical representations of genealogy


I have this thought, and it was brought to mind again by an article on Wired which linked to this artists (Jason Salavon) work with the US census data. Basically, he took the US census data over 200 years and created an image with a ribbon of color representing each county.

My idea is similar, kind of. While thinking about projects to do for my history and maps class this semester, and while talking with a colleague, I wondered how one could graphically represent ones genealogy. Most of us in the United States have ancestors that came from somewhere else. Many of us have ancestors that came from multiple somewhere elses. Looking at my ancestry alone I claim Arizona, Colorado, Utah, England, Sweeden, Germany and I’m sure several other places I don’t yet know of. One thought as to how to do this would be with a world map and lines and dots representing locations and familial connections. The lines and dots would be in gradients of color, each color representing a date. I tried doing a mock up in Photoshop quickly, but it wasn’t working right. I’ll have to do it in Flash, since that behaves like I expect. Flash might be a better platform anyways, because the map is then dynamic and can be dragged, zoomed, and dots and lines can be given data associated with them.

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0 thoughts on “Graphical representations of genealogy

  1. Jeremy Boggs

    May wanna check out Geni, which provides a few ways to visualize genealogical data you input. Nice little service.

    Would be great to represent the geographical/spatial movement of folks on a family tree, to see where they lived/traveled, when they lived close together or were separated, over time. Would be nice to have all this data in an XML file per person that you could aggregate through an interface like a map.

  2. ammon

    I’ve checked out Geni. It’s a pretty neat little service.

    I would definitely have the genealogical map deal in an XML format. I haven’t had time to play with the idea, or create a mock up, but I’m thinking it might have to go in a Flash/Yahoo Maps/XML type package.

    Maybe I’ll have some time this week…