Research Notes

The following pages constitute the collected research notes for the creation of STEMMA®. I’ve tried to assemble these in a coherent fashion so that they might be used as a resource for similar work elsewhere.


The work is not claimed to be exhaustive but they originally occupied over 80 document pages and covered a huge range of topics related to family history data. They contain many links to other resources, and also make many independent points and observations that should be considered.


Note that the STEMMA specification, as written up here, is still a working research project and does not yet address every point raised in these research notes.


In addition to the subjects listed below, there is also an exploration of the many cultural variations around the world, including a short introduction to globalisation from a computer software perspective.



Relation to Citations


Data Control

Data sensitivity

Data protection

Copyright, and informal permissions and prohibitions




Machine-readable date values

Machine-readable calendar specifications



Dual dates (aka Double dates)



            Representation of transcription anomalies

            Representation of original emphasis, footnotes, marginalia, etc

            Adding alternative meaning/spelling to transcribed text

Proof and GPS

Conclusion sharing





Simple or protracted

Hierarchical events

Relation to Persons and Places

Inheritance of event properties

Relational constraints between events



Partially controlled vocabularies for tag values

Custom properties, including units

Schema extensions



Name structure

Sorting, collation, case conversation

Formal and informal presentation styles

Alternative names and spelling

Time dependency

Personal Name Authorities


Physical data formats

Data Model versus Serialisation Format



Distinguished from Location and Postal Address

Place Hierarchies

Alternative names and spelling

Time dependency

Place Authorities  




Transmission format


Sources & citations

Simple and complex citations

Citation elements

Discursive notes
Citation styles & modes

Citation Templates


Structured narrative

Mark-up (presentational and semantic)

Linking text to text, and text to data

Original attributes used for emphasis

General reference notes


® STEMMA is a registered trademark of Tony Proctor.