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Simple Genealogy Rules – part 1

August 27, 2013

The following is a simple excerpt from the coming Skills421 (www.skills421.com) Drools Training Course.

The Problem Domain

We are busy researching a family tree and have encountered a person by the name of Richard Walker from Thornhill in West Yorkshire in 1813.  Our task is to identify his immediate and extended family from the information we can gleam from Ancestry and Parish records.

The problem we are faced with is that nearly everybody in the area appears to be called Walker in the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s and we need to try and piece together relationships.  Parish records from the area provide scant information – name, date of the christening, fathers name and location.  On rare occasions we are provided with a mother’s name but very rarely.

Other than that we can sometimes find details of marriage date and location, birth date and location, christening date and location and death date and location.  Once we get into the mid 1800s we also have census records but not going back before about 1830.

So, our task is to try and piece together the most probable family tree from the information given.

Person

In summary, a Person can have the following attributes:

  • firstname
  • lastname
  • father’s firstname
  • mother’s firstname
  • date of birth
  • date of christening
  • date of marriage
  • date of death
  • location of birth
  • location of christening
  • location of marriage
  • location of death

To put the pieces together, therefore, we need to create a few simple rules that we can configure to try and put together a family tree.

Putting the Pieces Together – Father Son

  • the father must be 18 years older than the son
  • the father must have married 9 months before the son was born
  • the father must not have died before the son was born
  • the father must have been under 40 years old when the son was born

Additional rules that are a little more assumptive

  • the father and son must have been born in the same location or nearby

Putting the Pieces Together – Husband and Wife

  • the husband and wife must be approximately the same age
  • neither the husband or wife must be dead at the time of the marriage
  • both husband and wife must be 18 or over to get married

Additional rules that are a little more assumptive

  • the husband and wife must have been born in the same location or nearby

The Solution

Now we have identified our problem domain let’s move on to developing the solution. For this we are going to use the JBOSS Drools Rule Engine with Java and Eclipse as the IDE.

This is covered in part2.

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