Today's "The Genealogue" features a wonderful article and new way to build your family tree [I know...this looks like a really neat project for your kids, or next family reunion using old CD's or DVD's and flex wire. Right?]
Matthew D. Sallin wants to replace the vertical family tree, which is quite limiting and focuses more on direct ancestral lineage with more broader and widening range. One he calls the "family hedge". Folks who know me know that my family genealogy files would resemble this, if my programming only would print in this fashion! Showing more of the broader family than the lineal. [Multiple wives, multiple step-siblings, adoptions, etc.] I come from a diverse background and would LOVE to get hold of some programming that would, indeed, provide this kind of a base for our files!
Sallin states: "It's a combination between a social networking application (like Friendster) and a networking experiment using data visualization. It uses a "Hedge" metaphor rather then a tree metaphor: traditional family trees are vertically oriented, showing a direct line from your ancestors up to you in present day. Such trees are limited in scope because they only consider the direct bloodline that results in you, and siblings and their spouses and children are excluded from this view. Conversely, a family hedge is radially oriented, expanding in all directions."
You can read more about his application here.
I really think this could catch on! Let us know what you think!