If your family tree goes back far enough, you will encounter pedigree collapse or duplicate families in multiple branches of your family tree. Pedigree Collapse occurs when siblings or cousins have children so that multiple branches of the family tree originate from the same set of parents or grandparents.
Duplicate Family Linkages
The primary purpose of VyTräd is to organize and manage documents. The program is set up to hold documents in one directory for the first family of the duplicate family. Other branches that contain a duplicate family can be linked to the first instance of the family. In this way, the Directory List can display correct relationships of duplicate families without creating duplication of document storage.
When a duplicate family is selected in the Directory List, all operations relating to directories are targeted to the first family directory. If you click Open Directory on any directory for a duplicate family, the first family directory is opened. In that way if you are adding a document, it will be placed in the first family directory and document duplication will not be an issue. The same is true for copying the path name or adding directories. These operations will all act on the first family directory only.
You can create linkages among duplicate families after directories have been created. One way is to link a family to their parents’ directory that already exists as described earlier. Or the Link Duplicate Families menu item can be used to make two distinct family directories linked to become duplicate families. The following dialog is used to link two existing directories. Before clicking this menu item, you need to copy the path to the first family to be pasted into the text box on the dialog. Remember that if a family is already in a group of duplicate families, the first family is underlined in the Directory List. Click the Make Duplicate Family Link button to create the linkage. When the linkage is made, any files that are in the linked directory are copied to the first family directory. The names of the parents in the first family directory are placed in the linked directory. So make sure that the first family information is correct before creating the linkage. Click the Cancel button to exit this dialog without making any changes.
Importing Duplicate Families
The VyTräd Gedcom file import process will analyze your family tree and create any duplicate family links that exist. If duplicate families exist in your imported family tree, a file called “Duplicate Families.txt” will be made in the Root Individual’s directory. This file lists all duplicate families and the number of times they occur in each generation. This file contains all instances of family duplication in the tree regardless of the chosen import option.
Visualizing Pedigree Collapse
In addition to its primary purpose as a document management tool, VyTräd also acts as a family tree visualization tool that provides a unique and interesting view of pedigree collapse. For example, this shows Prince Charles’ ancestors King Christian VI of Denmark and Norway and his wife Sophie Magdalene. They are his six times great grandparents (twice) on his father’s side and his seven times great grandparents (twice) on his mother’s side. VyTräd offers a unique presentation of these relationships and the accompanying family complexities.
The GedCom file (royal92.ged) for the British Royal Family Tree is available here. You can play around with VyTräd’s import process and explore a little European history at the same time. Many other interesting GedCom files are also available at this site.