I have for a long time been interested in family history, both from the point of view of personally knowing who and where I come from, and from a more geeky data-management perspective.

My main project for the last few years has been a LaTeX-formatted book and hand-drawn family tree, both of which live online at

For that, the system was something like this:

  • Draw a family tree by hand in Inkscape
  • Have sections for each person in a LaTeX-formatted document hosted on GitHub
  • Add all source material either to Commons, Wikisource, Flickr, or Figshare (unless it's already stored online somewhere reliable)
  • Use standard LaTeX citation tools (i.e. thebibliography) to cite that source material
  • Add information on wikipedia:Wikipedia:Notability notable topics to Wikipedia (with citations of course)
  • Print and bind/frame the research to give to multiple family members, so they can stick it in a drawer, forget about it, and thus perhaps help it be of use to some random people far in the future.

That's a great way of doing it, for the most part, and I'm pretty happy with the results (although of course they're never fully complete).

But these days I have switched to using self-hosted MediaWiki websites with the Genealogy extension installed, mainly because of wanting to have all the source material together in one place and not spread out over the web on Flickr etc. (It's also more satisfying to have an Open Source system, in which I know that users' data is being harvested by the corporate owners for the betterment of their advertisement-selling.)

So now I put the main research on ArchivesWiki, and have subsidiary private sites for the material that needs to be shared with only family members.