At a family gathering not long ago, thinking out loud, I suggested the web would be the best place for the updated family tree. Knowing full well that ideas alone don’t get anything done—I felt obliged to put the theory into practice.
It took me a while to get going while I wrestled with a number of different database and software solutions. Eventually I was struck by the most obvious and straight forward way to do it – a wiki. The approach I settled upon, and the system I have spent hours transcribing names and dates into, have together produced a wonderfully simple, elegant solution to the problem of presenting an online family tree.
Aaron Swartz’s greatly underrated Infogami is the core tool that brought the key elements together. A bare bones wiki that uses the equally clean Markdown syntax for structuring text. I have used the built in blog to document my progress with the project so far. In keeping with the theme of simplicity I have structured the tree with something closely resembling the technically named, but beautifully elegant, Hypertext Indented Narrative advocated by Mark Humphrys. There is of course still plenty to do before I start worrying about customising the templates or making it pretty – Infogami provides plenty of scope for me to address such niceties later.
My hope is the simplicity of Infogami and Markdown will make it easy for other members of the extended Boermans family to correct my typos, as well the errors and omissions in the printed documents I have copied.