Origin of the project

How to visualize a family tree when, after months of research, it has grown significantly?

Any genealogist finds himself, one day or another, confronted with the inexorable geometric progression which doubles the ascendants each generation (2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, etc.). In the tenth generation, there are potentially 512 ancestors who jostle on the top line. And it is even worse with the descendants who can be thousands to pile up on the last lines. As for the cousins, the other descendants of the ancestors, they quickly become innumerable after a few generations.

Of course, in reality, these numbers are not so catastrophic; it is indeed very rare to be able to go up all the branches so high, and a fortiori to go down again, without falling into dead ends (incomplete registers or others). However, there are still many people to make coexist on a sheet of paper.

Ingenious inventors have deployed a wealth of imagination to solve this problem and there are many solutions on the market for quite large genealogies, but they struggle to give a global vision.

Especially since the presence of implexes, due to marriages between cousins ​​and ultimately not so rare when we step back in time, complicates the problem by generating an inextricable tangle of branches that cross and re-cross.

Why, therefore, be confined to two dimensions when a third dimension could considerably enlarge the space of representation and simplify these problems? Exploration of the tree would be greatly facilitated by rotation functions allowing it to be seen from all angles. This is the idea that originates this project.

The idea, in itself, is not new and some attempts were made at the turn of the 2000s. If they did not have the expected success, it is probably because they arrived too early on a market yet not mature: personal computers were limited in power and still very rare. Today the situation has changed; there should hardly be any genealogists who work only like in the good old days. Home computers, much more powerful, are almost everywhere and always connected. Internet and web techniques have progressed and make it possible to offer a great functional wealth without installation. In short, all the conditions are met for the adventure to be tried again.

The project

3DGenV is not strictly speaking a genealogy software; there is a lot of it and much excellent. 3DGenV is a complement to these pieces of software by offering functionalities for viewing and editing three-dimensional family trees.

This positioning as a complement rather than a competitor was a deliberate choice that will easily be understood by those who have already faced the problem of synchronizing a family tree managed in two different pieces of software.

3DGenV is based on the GEDCOM file format well known to genealogists and supported by almost all pieces of software.

3DGenV can be used to generate ancestry trees, descent trees or mixed trees (ancestry and descent) over any number of generations.

Moreover, the generated tree is not fixed and all the objects can be moved or hidden. The display can be limited to a given period and a viewpoints manager allows to store interesting configurations. The modified tree can be saved to disk.

Finally, 3DGenV recognizes the right to make mistakes since all orders can be canceled and reinstated at will.

A word from the author

After retiring I, like many, felt the need to look back on my past, to find my origins. This is how I came into "genealogy".

Modest genealogist I was able in a few months to go back to the 17th century thanks to the richness of the online archives which allowed me to find practically all the acts. The question then arose of visualizing my family tree and thus began to germinate the idea of ​​making a three-dimensional representation of it.

Knowledge of ones origins gives new impetus. It is in the future that we will spend the rest of our lives, but we have to populate it with challenges and hopes so that it is not just a present endlessly repeated. So, after spending many years as Head of R&D and then CSO of a large software publisher (Mega International), the desire took me to rediscover the joys and pangs of software development and to take up the challenge of giving substance to this idea by transforming it into a project.

After four years of work, doubts and questioning, this project has come to an end and is only waiting for the verdict of the large community of genealogists. However, this is not the end of the adventure since this first result calls for others, which come naturally, and therefore other challenges to be taken up ...

Jacques Mercey