Modern Software Experience


largest family tree

If you are of Western descent, your genealogy stretches back a few hundred years. If you are lucky, you have some ancestors who were relatively important, and your genealogy stretches back a bit further. Although it is often said we practically all of descend from Carolus the Great, few can document it.

In China, about 2 million people have a family tree stretching back than 2500 years, to none other than Confucius (孔夫子; Kǒng Fūzǐ). The Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee (CGCC) has been busy updating the Confucius family tree, last updated in 1930. Back then, the tree already had 560.000 members Today, it has more than 2 million. The longest lines in the tree span 83 generations.

Work on the new revision of Confucius’ lineage started in 1998.Kong Deyong, himself a 77th-generation descendant of Confucius established the committee in Hong Kong. Hundreds of branches were set up around world to assist the massive undertaking.

The publication the committee is preparing is only the fifth revision of the lineage. It was first updated during the rule of Emperor Tianqi (1621-1627) of the Ming Dynasty, under Emperors Kangxi (1661-1722) and Qianlong (1735-1796) of the Qing Dynasty, and most recently in the 1930s.

This fifth edition is the first edition to include women, ethnic minorities and descendants living outside China. The fifth edition carries the approval of Kung Te-cheng, the 87-year-old holder of the millennium-old Yan Sheng Gong (Lord of the Saint Blood) title, who presided over the compilation of the fourth edition.

The Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee is aiming for publication in 2009. The committee managed to document various branches that had been lost for more than thousand years. Even at 2 million descendants, the lineage is far from complete. Kong estimates the number of living descendants at more than 3 million, some 2½ million in China and half a million in the rest of the world.


I wonder what software the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee uses.
I guess they use some custom database program, as most commercial genealogy software on the market today does not seem up to this task at all. To record this tree, the software should be Unicode-based, and that rules out most of the well-known American programs. The software should have no trouble dealing with a few million individuals, but a lot of current software cannot even handle a file with hundred thousand individuals. It should be efficient, but quite a few programs feel as if they are running on twenty-year old hardware. It should be frugal with memory, but many programs seem to treat RAM as some infinite resource.
Practically every program fails one of the requirements for this task .The only program I can think of that is Unicode-based, reasonably fast and not wasteful of memory is PAF, but I doubt it can handle this.


Xinhua News keeps posting updates about the Confucius Genealogy. See links below.