STEMMA Project

These pages describe a generalised data model and source format for genealogy, family history, and micro-history (STEMMA®). This might be used for multiple different purposes, such as:


  • Definitive source format for historical data.
  • Import/export or exchange format (including over the Internet).
  • Database load-format.
  • Backup format.
  • Historical “document” format (see STEMMA Mark-up).


This R&D project came about because I didn’t want my family history data locked in to any single commercial product. Plus I didn’t believe that existing data models were able to represent my data completely and accurately because of its micro-history approach. STEMMA incorporates biological lineage (as in family trees), structured events, and rich-text narrative to go beyond family history to address the micro-history of arbitrary people, places, groups, and events.


Genealogy and family history irrespective of whether you consider them to be the same or different are part of the bigger circle of micro-history alongside One-Name Studies, One-Place Studies, personal historians (as in APH), military history, house histories, etc. Trying to compartmentalise these pursuits can be artificial when we’re looking at history, so why shouldn’t there be a single, consistent approach to their data representation?


The STEMMA data model may be a source of inspiration to other people or groups with the same goals, primarily because it was developed independently and with minimal influence from other models and products.


This documentation constitutes V3.0 of STEMMA, and supersedes previous specifications.

® STEMMA is a registered trademark of Tony Proctor.



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Content created: 2 January 2012. Last updated 21 October 2014.

Tony Proctor is currently a software architect working from rural Ireland.


Copyright © 2014. STEMMA is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

® STEMMA is a registered trademark of Tony Proctor.