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LifeLines, second generation genealogy software
original author
Tom Wetmore
LINES-L discussion list established 1992 by Cliff Manis, now owned by Marc Nozell
The official manual is now included in the distributions. Nonetheless, here is a snapshot:
3.1.1 Manuals
3.0.62 Manuals

Updated report scripts are now included with the Lifelines kit.
all reports posted on LINES-L by Vincent P. Broman
genealogical charts in PostScript by John S. Quarterman
  previous versions
old repository at no longer works
3.0.5 Windows95/NT port by Paul McBride
- description of changes
GenWeb site by Scott McGee
WW-Person by Herbert Stoyan
GenServ home page by Cliff Manis
Dan Hirschberg
Denis Roegel
Petter Reinholdtsen

Quick Links

Github: Source Code | Reports | Issues
Documentation: FAQ | Manual

Key Info

  • Lifelines was written by Tom Wetmore circa 1991-1994 and he has now placed it under an MIT-style license. Tom no longer works on lifelines, but does occasionally participate on the LINES-L mailing list. His original website was but is no longer valid. Historians can visit the wayback machine if they desire to see it.
  • The long running mailing list for Lifelines is To subscribe, send a message to and put in the body of the message
    The list archives are at
  • Information is stored in a GEDCOM format. If you don't know what that is, you may have a little difficulty getting started. I'd recommend that you export a GEDCOM file from your existing genealogy software pagage and import it into lifelines. If you don't have one handy, grab a GEDCOM from one of the genealogy sites. I recommend
  • IMHO, the real power of lifelines is its scripting ability. There are a number of lifelines reports (aka scripts) that generate all manner of output -- Ahnentafels, ancestor/descendant reports, groff formatted ancestor reports, beautiful LaTeX books of all ancestors, PostScript fans of ancestors, and many others. All the reports are included with LifeLines.
  • Internationalization and localization: Native language support has been added for a number of languages, including Danish, French, German, and Swedish beginning with the 3.0.29 release.
  • As an open source project, full source is available. The files may be browsed directly on the web (via the Github links at the top of the page).


For a complete list of planned work items, please refer to the task list, but here is a short list.
  • Work on an X-based GUI (volunteer to help!)
  • Better documentation with translation (volunteer to help!)
  • Improving access to sources, events, etc (underway)
  • UI and DB APIs for extensibility

O/S specific notes


Brief Installation notes.