My Family History

Bamber Gascoigne's TimeSearch got me thinking about my family history project again.

The Family History project started with the idea of putting some family photos on the web, together with some meta data about the photo. Most had a list of subjects but only very occassionally a date. I had the idea that if the birth dates of the subjects were added, and the age of just one subject could be guessed, the system could infer the date of the photograph, and hence the age of all subjects. With birth and death data included, a timeline could be extracted for a person, including birth, deaths and marriages, photographs and even world events.

The resultant eXist/XQuery/XSLT prototype is here.

What would be nice would be be able to combine such personal histories with events in world history, or to compare the timelines for famous people with that of a family member. A simplistic approach would be to deep link into history sites and this is what the prototype has done, creating links like

These generated links are not as clever as those in TimeSearch, which I would guess are hand edited.

This is simple to accomplish, but its rather one-side - my site can link to another, but it can't mashup the data with my own. A mashup requires an API and a published format for exported content. I suppose we might look at hcalendar as one possible format but it would need extending it to support tags. RSS is another possibility.