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.

New Version of Lifelines

There is a new version of lifelines on github, 3.2.0 alpha. It is a 64-bit conversion of the venerable genealogy program and scripting language.

So far it works fine for me on Fedora Linux 30.

Here’s the link: Lifelines on Github.

NPM