Thursday, December 21, 2006

Interesting Thoughts

For the past couple of years we've been thinking that Genealogy and Web 2.0 were made for each other. Here's an interesting post on the O-Reilly Radar blog about genealogy and Web 2.0.

A colleague brought the effectiveui ( site to my attention. There are some really interesting concepts in their UI that we hope to play with as we start making our push toward a more interesting timeline.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Timelines can be an interesting way to help people understand their genealogy. In the past year I've come across several interesting efforts to build community sites which use a timeline metaphor. and are two interesting examples. These sites are both focused on building timelines surrounding stories and events happening today and in the very recent past (from a user's own memories). BBC has also done some interesting timelines. Two that I think are extremely interesting from a design perspective are Timeline: Persecution and Genocide Under the Nazis 1933 - 1945 and Kings and Queens Through Time.

One of the focus areas for some prototyping we plan to do in the near future is an effort to allow users to explore timelines of their ancestors that combine a richness of data into an easy to understand format. This is really hard to do. To give you an idea, here is the type of content we'd like to pull together automatically for any random ancestor a user would like to learn about.
  • Genealogical events and associated records for an individual
  • Genealogical events and associated records for an individual's family (parents, siblings, spouse, children)
  • Modern day and historic maps showing the geographic locations of these events (think Google Earth or Google Maps)
  • Historical events that would have impacted people in that place and time
  • Historical events that might not have impacted the person but which have impacted their ancestors
  • Historical texture (fashion, sports, transportation, entertainment, etc.) throughout the ancestor's life

What would you like to see in a timeline like this?

Have you seen any interesting timelines that would be worth looking at before we start?