Why Lineascope?

Because there’s a lot of bad genealogy data out there and it’s spreading faster and faster. The main cause is that most genealogists don't know how to do real genealogy. It’s not their fault, really. No one showed them how and even if they were shown, until now there hasn’t been any software that made it possible let alone easy.

Since the beginning of the use of computers in genealogy, they have been used to capture conclusions about events, characteristics, and relationships and the sources used to reach them. That’s well and good as far as it goes. Unfortunately, there is more to a solid conclusion than a list of sources. To build a solid case you need to analyze sources, information, evidence, and the quality of each in context. You need a different tool for that.

Lineascope’s purpose is to help genealogists build solid proof by pragmatically applying the genealogical proof standard. The Genealogical Proof standard is a simple, five-step process for building a solid case especially when there is no direct evidence. Lineascope is designed and built to help you use the Genealogical Proof Standard process:

  1. Conduct an reasonably exhaustive search for all information that is or may be relevant to the question being researched
  2. Capture a complete citation for all information used
  3. Analyze the collected information
  4. Resolve conflicting information
  5. Arrive at a sound conclusion and write it in a proof statement

While you could use Lineascope on previously completed research, there are at least two better ways to get started. I recommend using Lineascope in two cases:

  1. When planning and conducting research—before the need for the genealogical proof standard is established—use Lineascope as a research planning and logging tool. If it turns out that you have sufficient direct evidence, primary information, and original sources and none of it conflicts, do the genealogy happy dance! Capture your conclusion and sources in whatever genealogy database you’re using, store a PDF of the event sheet (or characteristic or relationship sheets when they’re implemented) then move on to researching the answer to the next genealogical question.
  2. When you’ve done research, using Lineascope or not, and found conflicts or a lack of high-quality sources, information, and evidence, use the analysis sheets in Lineascope and the genealogical proof standard to help you build a solid case. You do that by methodically citing sources, extracting information and evidence, analyzing the quality of it all, resolving conflicts, reaching a sound conclusion that answers the research question, then writing the proof statement. Finally, enjoy the fact that you’ve got a concise, solidly documented case that any good genealogist would be envious of.

I think that if you use the tool in those cases and respective ways, you’ll be amazed by the power and relative simplicity. Even more powerful is the opportunity for other researchers with whom you share your work.

There’s an incredible amount of poorly researched "facts" freely available on the Internet and it’s growing exponentially. Imagine finding a death date for an ancestor you’ve been looking for in someone else’s online tree. Without Lineascope, you’d look at the sources cited then do all the research and reach your own conclusion. Now imagine that the genealogist used Lineascope and the genealogical proof standard. You could have access to an event sheet like this sample from my lineage. The event sheet is one of the reports at the tips of you fingers when you use Lineascope. Take a look! It lists the citations and quality of all the sources, the information obtained from each source and its quality, the evidence the researcher asserted from the information and the quality of that evidence, and a proof statement addressing any conflicts and describing the rationale for the concluded birth date. Would you have to repeat the research? No! You’d be able to look at what was done and decide whether you agree or not. That’s my vision for your research, your collaboration, and for Lineascope.

What is Lineascope?

Lineascope is an online application for capturing, analyzing, and presenting chains of genealogical information and evidence. It’s also useful for planning and tracking research. Soon, it will also document and present genealogical relationships. It doesn't replace your current genealogy database; it supplements it.

Lineascope is a work in progress. It’s not done, but it works and solves real genealogy problems. I've learned a great deal about both the problem domain and the needs of family historians who tried Lineascope. Most importantly many were reluctant to have their data online only.

This reluctance led to lack of use despite many people liking where I was going with the application. I'm now considering a version (Lineascope 2.0 if you will) that will stay local to your computer.

If I build it, I’ll release it before it’s complete so that you can benefit from using it as it’s developed instead of having to wait a year or two for the finished product. And, since you have input on its development, the end result will be an amazing solution to your genealogy research needs!-->

You see, one of my principles in creating this tool is to build it with constant feedback from you. As a result, I’m working in short iterations, building functions, getting feedback, then adapting what’s built and future plans accordingly. So changes will be small and frequent.

The roadmap below will give you an idea where I think it’s going in the near term.


  • Adoption, foster, and godparent relationships
  • List siblings on individual sheets
  • Make parent suggestions smarter
  • Differentiate between proven and unproven names on the individuals page
  • Ability to delete events and proofs
  • Cause of death characteristic
  • Marriage relationships
  • Display and print family group sheets
  • GEDCOM export of compatible data elements.
  • Sort events table chronologically