Project ideas - Genealogy
Royal Descent finder
Royal Descents of famous people
tracks most recent descent from an English monarch.
- I use two main online databases:
- Brian Tompsett in University of Hull.
See ID no.
- Leo van de Pas in Australia.
See ID no.
- The user selects Hull or Australia.
- The user inputs the ID number of the person whose ancestry they want to check.
Up to the user to find this ID number.
- Command-line maybe like:
rd hull royal00203
rd hull 203
rd au I00019674
rd au 19674
- The program searches the relevant database for lines from this person to any of a list of
- It returns the shortest such line found (least number of generations).
- It displays the line like
with HTML links on the names back to their entry in the database.
- Need to parse the returned page in order to find link to father and mother.
- See Parsing XML / HTML
- HTTP requests should be spaced out. Say 2 per second.
- Information should be cached in local filespace
so don't have to repeat the HTTP if did it before.
- To restrict the search (e.g. Victoria would have over 10,000 ancestors)
we proceed as follows. First do an indefinite-length search on ancestors until one Royal descent is found.
Let us say this is at 12 generations back.
From now, on, search no more than 12 generations back.
Let us say we then find a further Royal descent at 6 generations back.
From now, on, search no more than 6 generations back.
And so on.
So with Victoria we would find a Royal descent at 2 generations
and would then search no line longer than 2 generations, and the search would end quickly.
- Australia database has
which downloads multiple generations in one HTTP request.
This could be used to speed things up.
- Option to relate person to
other lists of monarchs
(e.g. French monarchs).
Auto-generated "Hypertext Burke's Peerage" text
The standard format for computerised family trees
The standard format for paper family trees
is probably the
The aim of the project is to write a
converter between the two.
Program takes genealogy database
and outputs it in my
"Hypertext Burke's Peerage"
The converter would take as input a family tree
and output the information as
"Hypertext Burke's Peerage" pages as seen on my site.
One of the challenges for the software
would be to automatically detect where to break
the narrative to a new page - something Burke's
and I currently do by hand.
Simulation - Genealogy of the West, 500 AD to 2000 AD
Computer simulations suggest the entire West descends from common ancestry in historical times (maybe even AD):
It is known as fact
(not mere simulation/estimation)
that vast numbers of westerners descend from
Your aim would be to do something similar
to Rohde's computer simulation
to answer the question:
Is the entire population of the West descended from Charlemagne?
So can make it easier/harder for people to mate outside of their social classes / geographic location / religion.
Are we all descended from Charlemagne anyway?
Simulation - Genealogy of the World, 2000 BC to 2000 AD
For the entire world
, the common ancestor may well be pre-historic.
Do literature search to find out was anywhere in the world
really hermetically sealed off for long periods?
Tasmania? Pacific Islands? Papua New Guinea?
Would need to study latest thinking on boat technology, sea levels,
Vikings in North America, SE Asians going into Australia, etc.
If places were almost sealed off, then the rare incomer's DNA would be lost,
and in genetics it would look hermetically sealed off.
But in genealogy, we need hermetically sealed off
in order not to be descended from people.
Simulation - Genealogy of Ireland, 500 AD to 2000 AD
model features of Irish history
- the Norman invasion, the plantations, emigration,
the Catholic-Protestant division,
the Pale v. Connaught, etc.
Your computer simulation would aim to answer the following questions.
- When did the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA)
of everyone on the island (*) live?
Does everyone on the island (*) descend from Norman settlers?
Does everyone on the island (*) descend from Elizabethan settlers?
Does everyone on the island (*) descend from Cromwellian settlers?
Does everyone on the island (*)
have Protestant ancestry?
Does everyone on the island (*) have Gaelic Irish ancestry?
- Does everyone on the island (*) have Irish Catholic ancestry?
- Does everyone on the island (*) have Irish Catholic ancestry
after the Reformation?
(*) Apart from recent immigrants.
Simulation - Descending from X without inheriting DNA from X
Computer simulation to examine
Descending from someone without inheriting any DNA from them
You cannot inherit DNA from all your ancestors.
There are too many, as you go back far enough.
Eventually you have ancestors you have inherited no DNA from.
They are still your ancestors though.
Geneticists study DNA that survives, that you have inherited from an ancestor
and is still there today.
Genealogists are interested in:
Do you actually descend from Charlemagne,
even if you have inherited no DNA from him.
What do geneticists say about probability of inheriting no DNA from an ancestor?
Perhaps there are theoretical models but
no computer simulations?
Answer the question:
How far back do you have to go before probability greater than 50 percent
that you have inherited no DNA at all from an ancestor in that generation?
I suspect the answer is in historical times.
Same question with 90 percent, 99 percent.
Who's Had Who by Richard Curtis, Simon Bell and Helen Fielding, 1987,
apparently lists people who have slept with people who have slept with people, and so on.
Follow the "Married" and "Relationship" lines to be certain.
Use caution with the "Encounter" lines.
Do not follow the "On-Screen Romance" lines.
- For example:
- Nancy Reagan
- Clark Gable
- Ava Gardner -
- Marilyn Monroe
- In fact, half of Hollywood, and a huge number of music stars,
from the early 20th century right to today,
can connect eventually to the above Reagan-JFK chain.
If we knew all the facts,
once a chain reaches a big enough size, will it extend
indefinitely into the human past
(i.e. back millions of years)?
- Sexual Exposure & STI Risk Calculator
- "Sex Degrees of Separation"
Run a computer simulation of sexual encounters
(from once-off to marriage) in society.
In normal society, do chains exist that go back millions of years?
What percentage of the modern population is on a chain that goes back millions of years?
As you go back in time, chains join the start of other chains,
and are then seen as part of one huge chain.
Is there a limit, say 500 years, where there is only one huge interconnecting
chain that goes back before
500 years, and you are either on it or not?
That is, two chains can't go back separately
before 500 years without connecting at some point.