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Plant your own family tree right here, today!

Twigs will build a complete family tree (er, Twig) and host it for free on this server giving you, your family and friends instant online access.

Not sure what your Twig might look like, check out some of the current @Twigs in the sidebar.

Configuration Options


  • +Pages
    Census Table
    External Links
    Bonkers Report
    Visitor Comments
  • +Tabs
    Ancestors List
    No Generations/Ancestors List


    You can choose to enable the Generations tab, the Ancestors List tab or neither. You cannot enable both. The only difference between the two tabs is which numbering system is being used. The Generations tab uses the AGNUS numbering system, and the Ancestors List tab uses the Ahnen numbering system. Read more about these at Yet Another Genealogy Numbering System. If either tab is enabled, then the Ancestors Distribution Map tab will also be enabled by default.

  • +Properties
    Remove Unused Records
    Force Thumbnails
    Enable Location Maps
    Match Location Substrings
    Show Certainty Assessments
    Show Estimated Birth Years in Timelines
    Show Qualified Dates in Timeline


    Remove Unused Records Removes unreferenced records. This will delete unlinked Source records as well as Individuals.

    Force Thumbnails When no image thumbnail is found, it forces using the source image as the thumbnail by shrinking it proportionally. This can slow down page load speeds when large numbers of thumbnails appear on a page. Then disabled, the default thumbnail image will be used instead.

    Enable Location Maps Adds a Goolge map to every location's profile page.

    Match Location Substrings When no coordinates can be found for a location description with any of the external geo-mapping servers, the description is assumed to be invalid. The location is stripped of its least significant detail and the resulting substring is re-checked. For instance, if "Park Place, Denver, Colorado, USA" cannot be found, "Park Place" would be removed and coordinates would be found for "Denver, Colorado, USA". Enabling this option will result in more location matches so that more maps will be available and more location pins will appear on heatmaps. Enabling this option will also result in invalid locations being modified to one that is valid. If you do not want your invalid locations modified then this option should be disabled.

    Show Certainty Assessments Shows the derived certainty assessments alongside every claim. See the FAQ for more information on certainty assessments. Certainty Assessments are derived from the sources referenced for each claim and are important for your visitor to gauge the surety of your claims. Disabling this is discouraged.

    Show Estimated Birth years in Timelines When Deep Scanning is enabled, the estimated birth years will appear alongside other dates in your timelines.

    Show Qualified Dates in Timelines Qualified dates, being approximate, data ranges or otherwise, will appear alongside other dates in your timelines.

  • +Age Thresholds

    Select which options you prefer. Note each of the below listed options helps determine how dates in your database are to be handled.

    Assume Flourishing For All Vendor Specific Events
    Force Using Closest Estimate


    Assume Flourishing For All Vendor Specific Event Types allows you to specify that any events of an unknown event type that occur while a person is living also occurred while the person was flourishing. This is useful if you've added new event types to your database. Do not check this option if you use these new event types for children.

    Force Using Closest Estimate will signal Vivify to assign the closest estimated birth date calculated when conflicting dates prevent it from establishing a clean estimate. This will result in less than accurate estimates and should only be used when want all persons to be resolved regardless of their accuracy.


    Set the age thresholds for the following items to best match your GEDCOM data. By default, the most common ages are defined.


    Maximum Child Baptism Age is the maximum age at which a person was baptized or christened as a child. Adult christenings are not considered in this context.

    Minimum Marriage Age is the minimum age that a person could have been married. Betrothals and Contracts are not considered in this context.

    Maximum Wife's Marriage Age is the maximum age at which a woman could have been married.

    Maximum Age Between Spouses is the maximum number of years of age between spouses.

    Minimum Child Bearing Age and Maximum Child Bearing Age are the range of ages within which a woman could bear children.

    Minimum Flourishing Age and Maximum Flourishing Age are the range of ages that a person is considered to be an adult and would be found containing adult attributes and events such as Nobility Title or Occupation.

    Maximum Age (Life Span) is the maximum age at death of a person.

    Maximum Event Age Error is the maximum error expected between an event and their known age. A common phenomenon in genealogical records results in persons being listed at the time of an event with an age that is not accurate. Making this value too narrow may prevent Vivify from being able to resolve conflicting dates preventing it from establishing an clean estimate.

  • +Census Table

    You may select to include all qualifying persons in your report, or you may manually enter the ID of the person in your database whose ancestors are the only persons you wish to be included in your report.

    Include All Qualifying Persons

    You may select to autodetect census years or you may manually enter just those years you are interested in.

    Autodetect Census Years

  • +Bonkers

    See Bonkers to review the complete list of conditions Bonkers currently detects. Some of these conditions are optional. Select which options you prefer.

    Show Misformatted Dates
    Show Persons Missing One Parent
    Show Persons Missing Both Parents
    Show Unmappable Locations
    Show Impossibilities Only (hides improbabilities)


    The following properties affect the probability calculations.

    Use Estimated Birthdates For Probabilities
    Match Alternate Given Names For Duplicate Children
    Ignore Non-overlapping Timelines For Duplicate Children


    Set the date thresholds for the following items to best match your GEDCOM data. By default, the most common dates are defined.


    Dead if Born Before Year is the earliest year a living person could have been born, before which is considered improbable.

    Dead if Married Before Year is the earliest year a living person could have been married, before which is considered improbable.

Advanced Configuration Options
  • +External URLs

    You can configure external URLs to hotlink to your photos, thumbnail, and source images located on another server. Some servers like Dropbox, Facebook, and Flickr allow hotlinking to publically shared photos. You could setup your genealogy database editor (RootsMagic, Family Tree Maker, etc.) to point to these media files directly, in which case, you can leave the fields below blank. However, if all of your photos reside in a common folder located on your server, such as might be the case with Dropbox, then you only need to include the filename in your database and can then include the external URL folder here. This allows you to move all of your media files to another server without without having to modify your GEDCOM file, you would only need to change the external URL you've setup here below.

    All GEDCOM Multimedia records (OBJE) support the FILE field which is where your media file path or name will be stored. It is not uncommon to set these to point to your media files located on your local drive so that your genealogy database editor can them on its profile pages and charts. Obviously, my web apps can not locate these files from my server, so they support an additional GEDCOM extension, _PATH, that if found will be used in place of the FILE field. This allows you to set the _PATH fields to your external URLs and leave the FILE fields set to your local media files. _PIC, another GEDCOM extension, is used to specify the external URLs of your thumbnails. If no _PIC field is found, the _PATH or FILE field will be used instead.

    The following diagram shows the syntax of how these might appear in your GEDCOM file.

         1 OBJE
           2 FILE c:/folder/pics/walt.png
           2 _PATH walt.jpg
           2 _PIC walt-thumb.png

    The chart below shows the various ways you might configure your External URLs.

         External URL                _PATH                              _PIC
         [leave blank]               http://domain.com/folder/walt.jpg  http://domain.com/folder/walt-thumb.jpg
         http://domain.com           /photos/walt.jpg                   /thumbs/walt-thumb.png
         http://domain.com/          photos/walt.jpg                    thumbs/walt-thumb.png
         http://domain.com/photos/   walt.jpg                           walt-thumb.png
         http://domain.com/sources/  src.jpg                            src-thumb.png

    Source image thumbnails must be located at the same external URL as the source images. Photo thumbnails can optionally be located at a seperate URL.


Twigs is as a free web service. It uses the same GEDCOM Parser that is used by VGedX Online, my 100% compatible GEDCOM validator. Twigs, however, supports a special expanded GEDCOM dictionary that will recognize numerous vendor specific events and date formats.

Your Twig once built, will be hosted by this site until such time as you delete it. Whenever you visit this page you will see a link to your Twig, and another to your latest Twig's build report. Your Twig will also be listed in the @Twigs section of the sidebar. @Twigs includes the 10 most recent Twigs built. These Twigs have the added benefit of being periodically updated to include the latest features, bug fixes, and style changes. Each time you update your Twig, it will be returned to the top of the @Twigs list. The most active participants' Twigs should remain in the list. I expect soon to create a new page listing all the current Twigs.

Twigs differ from Trees because they enforce hiding living data and privatization rules. They also force estimating birthdates, which are critical to determining accurately whether or not a person is likely to be still living. Twigs also lets you optionally add a Comments tab to (almost) every page in your Twig. Your visitors can easily leave you a comment to provide feedback which is a great way to get people involved in your research. When enabled, a Recents Comments menu item is also added to your navigation bar so that you can view your visitors' comments in one central location. Its also a great way for you to add a quick note or link to a profile page. All Twigs also have a Contact page automatically attached to their navigation bar so that visitors can send them an email message directly. These emails are currently coming from my email address, tjforsythe@gmail.com so make sure they don't end up in your spam folder. Your email address is never published. Before anyone can post a comment or send you a message, they have to get through my security checking which seems effective. I have been using my commenting system for about 5 years and have only received 2 spam emails so far, though I do get hundreds of spambot rejects every day. I plan to extend some of the commenting features in the future such as letting you delete old comments that no longer apply and ban ips.

Leave a Comment
  • Tim Forsythe
    12 Feb 2014

    Phillip, glad to hear

    12 Feb 2014

    Tim Forsythe, I want to thank you for your free website, publishing my genealogy. This a wonderful service for not-so-technical folks like myself, THANKS.
    Phillip Pitzer

  • Tim Forsythe
    02 Feb 2014

    Mark, Thanks man.

  • Mark Trevithick
    02 Feb 2014

    What a fabulous set of tools. The ability to look at the Census data for example is invaluable for adding persons to a specific shared event. TWIG is a wonderfully clean presentation of data.

  • Tim Forsythe
    21 Nov 2013

    Corey, sorry man, no, heavily guarded secrets and all. :)

  • Tim Forsythe
    21 Nov 2013

    Darren, I'm not aware of any utilities that will do that, but you would think that this comes up occasionally. It could be tricky, because some people might want "fitz Alan" and others "Fitz Alan". A generic hack would be to use a regular expression search-and-replace to capitalize all letter in between the slashes including those letters at the beginning, and after a space or apostrophe.

    Having said that, this would be a perfect addition to Clunk: the GEDCOM fixer: http://timforsythe.com/blog/clunk-the-gedcom-fixer. It sounds like it would be easy enough to implement in the generic, non-configurable form. Unfortunately, I'm bogged down at the moment and couldn't get to this very soon. If you need a quick solution, I'd suggest the regular expression method.