Centurial – Evidence-based Genealogy Software

I’ve been looking at a piece of software called Centurial and it is quite interesting in its approach to doing genealogical analysis. The design of the application is quite different from anything I’ve seen in my 25+ years of playing with genealogical software.

The main features are correlation of source materials to instances of persons in such a way that there is little doubt that they refer only to each other. Centurial has a scrollable and zoomable visual “network” view so you can see the relations of persons to each other. Sources are entered in a very nice way, according to the E. S. Mills Evidence Explained format.

There is a space in the analysis pane to enter a proof argument but there is currently no way to output that information in any manner, other than copy and paste; not even to a basic HTML document. You can, however, export a GEDCOM file with the tree you’ve built for transfer to a GEDCOM-based program such as Family Tree Maker or Brothers Keeper.

The Centurial author discusses the differences between his data model and the GEDCOM model on the website referenced below. His website has some small amount of documentation but otherwise you are on your own to figure out how to use the program.

One of the few drawbacks I noticed is that it takes some time to import and convert an average GEDCOM file. For instance, my regular-use GEDCOM is only about 2.5 megabytes and the converted project file is about 25 megabytes. That is a serious size difference. I haven’t looked at the insides of the project file to see what’s what, but I suspect that there is a heckuva lot of XML markup in there.

Centurial is written in English with a European flavor. You may want to view the three tutorials on YouTube before you download and start working with Centurial. They will explain quite a bit about how the author uses it and the potential use cases you may have for it.

Overall, I think Centurial is quite an achievement software-wise. It is not really intuitive but then genealogy itself isn’t all that easy. As it has only been around for a couple of years, I doubt many people have heard of it, though. I recommend it for intermediate or advanced genealogists.

Centurial is available here: https://www.centurial.net/, and is free at the moment although it does require registration and some data collection by the author. It is also a Windows-only product (7, 8, or 10) and requires a recent version of the .NET framework. Personally, I’d like to see a Linux version as well because that’s what I use most of the time.

Sunday’s Obituary – Louis Doran, Sequim and Yakima

from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Louis James Doran, 67, former Sequim and Yakima rancher, died Tuesday at Swedish Hospital in Seattle after five months’ illness.

Mr. Doran was born in Dubuque, Ia. He moved with his parents to Sequim 61 years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Doran operated a dairy ranch in the Sequim area until five years ago, when they moved to Yakima. They came to Seattle after he became ill.

Surviving are the widow, Mrs. Winona H. Doran; a foster son, Paul L. Stauffer of Alameda, Calif.; five sisters, Mrs. William Wilson of Bremerton, Mrs. Margaret Phelps of Heppner, Ore.; Mrs. Harold Sprague of Centralia, and Mrs. J.R. Denney and Miss Gene Doran of Seattle, and two brothers, Bert Doran of Port Angeles and William Doran of Sekiu.

Funeral services will be at 9 a.m. Friday in the Arthur A. Wright and Son chapel, with burial in Port Angeles’ Mount Angeles Cemetery at 2 p.m.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 15 December 1949

Updates to the Wyeth Family Project

One of my current projects is to document the Wyeth family of New England through the 1600s to the 1900s. The progenitor of the family was Nicholas Wyeth, born in England and emigrated to Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts during the early part of the Great Migration. He died in 1680. He was my 10th great-grandfather.

The genealogy itself, while only partly documented, is coming along nicely. I’ve been touching it off and on for several years now. Parts of this genealogy I’ve lifted off of the Internet. I’ve been looking for documents to back up the assertions made in that version. Some of the undocumented materials seem to be based on personal knowledge and recent events, so there should be documents online.

The genealogy as it exists right now is about 25 8.5” x 11” inch pages with footnotes. It is in a fairly strict NEHGS Register style. I plan to post it somewhere in the future, but not just yet since there is unfinished business with the more recent family sketches. Since it is a fairly short document, perhaps growing to 50 or so pages, I’ll probably not publish it on Amazon or Lulu, where my other publications are available.

One of the more interesting parts I’ve found is: Ruth Shepard, who married William Wyeth (1657-1703), was not the daughter of Thomas Shepard, born say 1635-1637 and died at Milton, Massachusetts 26 September 1719, and Hannah Ensign, born probably at Scituate, Massachusetts circa 1638 (baptized at Hingham, Massachusetts 6 July 1640) and died at Malden, Massachusetts 14 March 1697/8. [Robert E. Bowman, “Ensigns Revisited,” The American Genealogist, 73 (October 1998), 249.] Who she was seems to remain a mystery.

Some of the families covered, in particular the New England families, I’ve fairly completely documented, but trailing the others will be a challenge. Since they seem to have dispersed across the country, some to Washington state and some to the western states, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Notes on Ancestris 10 – Formerly GenealogyJ

I’ve been looking at Ancestris, a free (GPL’d) genealogy program written in Java. It runs on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux systems.

There is very little documentation with the program and it takes a bit of working with to figure out some of the features included. For instance, when I ran the GEDCOM compliance checks it came out with a categorized list of items in one pane and a linked editor in another pane.

There are three editor panes to choose from. One fairly simple, one fairly complex, and one for directly editing the GEDCOM.

The GEDCOM check feature goes beyond just compliance with the standard and includes some plain old sanity checks. Some of these checks are for settable values and ranges so you can tighten or loosen them at will.

Lifelines, another free genealogy program, has a more robust set of sanity checks. Checking compliance at GED-Inline is also a better, albeit more terse, option.

The general reporting capabilities are lacking, compared to other free and commercial genealogy programs. There is only the option to output to a website, for instance. The styling of the report is fairly simple.

Ancestris is available on the web at http://www.ancestris.org. It is updated often as it is a work in progress.

Sarah Agnes and Nettie Christina Mellen, Sisters Born too Close to Each Other

According to my volume of Descendants of Simon Mellen, c. 1636-1694, pages 195-196, two sisters were born within 8 months of each other. Sarah Agnes Mellen was born 13 November 1869 and Nettie Christina Mellen was born 15 July 1870.

There is an incorrect date for one of the two.

The source I gave, Cutter’s Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, volume 4, page 2171, shows the dates given above.

Checking the Massachusetts vital records on the NEHGS website, americanancestors.org, for Cambridge, I find that an unnamed female surnamed Mellen was born on 20 November 1869. This is likely to be Sarah Agnes Mellen.

Nettie Christina Mellen, on the other hand, according to the NEHGS records, was born in July 1871, and died 14 July 1872, aged one year. There was no day given in the date field of the birth record.

Sunday’s Obituary: Silas T. Holsclaw – Seattle

S. T. Holsclaw Funeral Today

Funeral services for Silas T. Holsclaw, 5907 45th Ave. S.W., will be held at 2 o’clock Thursday afternoon in West Seattle Christion Church.

Burial will be in Forest Lawn Cemetry under direction of West Home Funeral Parlors, with committal service by the Knights of Pythias.

Mr. Holsclaw, 83, was a veteran of the Spanish-American War. He died Monday after an illness of three weeks.

A native of Boone, N.C., he came to Seattle fom Grangeville, Idaho; 32 years ago. He was a retired carpenter and shipwright.

He was a member of the West Seattle Christian Church, the Knights of Pythias and the Dokies, a branch of that order.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Margaret D. Holsclaw, and a sister, Mrs. Emma Henson of Boone, N.C.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 15 December 1949.

 

Sunday’s Obituary: Hazel C. Atkinson – Seattle

Mrs. Atkinson Dies

Mrs. Hazel C. Atkinson died at her home at 13717 6th Ave. S.W. Thursday after a two-year illness. Born in Hazen, N.D. 33 years ago, she came to Seattle in 1942. Surviving are her husband, Dan, dispatcher for the Consolidated Freightways; three children, Patricia, Douglas and Viki Janeal; her mother, Mrs. Forrest McDonough of Clakston; five sisters, Mrs. Albert Kassens of Seattle, Mrs. Clark Nelson of Moscow, Idaho; Mrs. Ralph Pratt of Grangeville, Idaho; Mrs. George Claycomb of Boise, Idaho, and Mrs. John Glover of Placerville, Calif.; four brothers, Travis McDonough, Twin Falls, Idaho; Jack, Lewiston; Clyde, Clarkston, and John, Boise.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday in Yarington’s White Center Funeral Home.

Atkinson_Hazel_SeattlePI_19491218

Atkinson, Hazel, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 18 December 1949