We’re a couple of diehard genealogy junkies. When we were first getting into genealogy, we wanted some sort of software to help us with our research. While we found many great applications for creating family trees, we were looking for something more. We wanted something that amplified our research efforts—something that really understood the research process. We were tired of curating mythological family trees. We wanted something that felt more real. So we wrote down everything that we hoped for in a family history research application and brainstormed how we could build it. What we came up with was a different kind of animal: Geungle.
Geungle is a platform for scholarly genealogical research, sometimes referred to as generational history. Its core is based on the genealogical research process. Its goal is to help do and share quality, transparent research that measures up to the genealogical proof standard. Because it understands and encompasses the research process, Geungle enables collaboration in ways that have never before been possible.
Built Around the Research Process
Geungle works the way research works. Just as in research, you start with a question. Then, you search for answers. As you search, everything you do is tracked as part of your context of your research. As you find little bits of information that could possibly contribute to an answer, you build a case. Eventually, you arrive at a
soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.
These cases are little bundles of research. They can be shared and used to help answer other questions. They can be grouped into projects. You can have many cases open at the same time. Whatever the case [sic], you can always look back and see how you came to a conclusion. And thanks to Geungle Archive, you can trace a conclusion all the way back to the original sources (or digital surrogates). From beginning to end, Geungle is there to support your research—throughout the whole process.
A Holistic Approach
The past is made up of more than names and dates. In fact, it is the little things about an individual’s life that make all the difference in genealogical research. Often, it is only by understanding these little things that we can break through research barriers.
But what about my family tree, you say? Yes, you can have that too. In Geungle it is like a report or overview of your conclusions—a snapshot of your research at a certain point in time.
The bare bones of names and dates are important, yet my family is more interesting than a book full of statistics (at least I think so). Geungle puts flesh and blood on those bones and gives a real understanding of who that person was and how they fit in their world. I want to know their stories and come to know my ancestors. Isn’t that what family history is all about? Knowing our ancestors helps us understand who we are and how we fit in our world a little bit better.
Built On Standards
The field of genealogy is inherently interdisciplinary. We want genealogical data to be available in interdisciplinary ways; accessible, for example, to historians or social researchers, and not stuck in proprietary genealogical data formats. We support open data. Standards are an important means in achieving that goal.
Geungle is built upon open standards from several different communities:
- Digital Archive
- Have you ever needed a safe place to store your digital surrogates? Geungle Archive is a standards-compliant digital archive.
- Here we find many of our source documents, so why not integrate?
- Knowledge Management and the Semantic Web
- Your family is more than rows in a relational database. Geungle understands the relationships between your data and can infer connections to the world of the past and the present.
- We are looking forward to collaborating with the FHISO. We also can’t forget GEDCOM—for importing those useful (or less-than-useful) sources known as family trees.
We hope that by building Geungle on open standards, genealogical research will be more accessible and help make true research collaboration a modern reality.