About a year ago, I decided that my little universe needed its timeline cemented. I’d already adjusted it several times, and it was getting hard to keep straight. So rather than have to redo it yet again, I decided to do it right, and figure it out by generations rather than arbitrary dates. From the beginning.

I wrote a good chunk of my info down on paper before realizing that making corrections was going to be a royal bitch. And it needed corrections. So, after an abortive attempt at organizing things in a plain old text file, I started looking online. First I checked out timeline programs, none of which were really suited to my purpose. One that I downloaded would only work for dates in or after 1900–not wonderful when you’re dealing with years ranging from 191 to 730. But I did get a lead on what would actually help me here: genealogy programs.

The one I found is simple, inexpensive, and capable of exporting data to the majority of other programs out there. However, there are three main features that I find inconvenient for my purposes. I don’t anticipate that any future versions will allow you to change the calendar the program uses, but that’s what my text file is used for now. And not allowing same-sex marriages probably wouldn’t cause too many problems in the real world, much, but it’s kind of important in my world. The most annoying bit is the way it deals with children out of wedlock. They show up in a descendant tree, but if the parent whose family you’re looking at later married, the child will show up as being from that marriage. If you do an ancestor tree, the later marriage doesn’t show up at all unless you have it in Verbose mode, which is a pain because then everybody has their marriage information listed, making it very redundant and cluttered because just about everybody on the tree is listed twice.

In the interest of finding something I could customize the bejesus out of, I went DL’ing earlier this week. The open-source program looked promising, but since I can’t program and I don’t feel like sharing my data with Kelson yet, I ditched it. The other one I got is great fun to play with, and (drumroll) it allows same-sex marriages! I don’t know if it’ll give some kind of fatal error trying to save a file with that in, because the demo doesn’t let you save, but I’m willing to risk it. Even though if you tell it to display information for the parents of a child of one partner, it’s anybody’s guess whether it’ll back up to the biological parents or the married couple. It’s also very good about children out of wedlock; one of the standard display formats shows all unions by default.

But the original program might be even better if I figure out how to use ResEdit without trashing my computer. The manual says you can create new types of events and links between people. Can we say “Alternate Marriage” event link?

One thought on “Family matters

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