WorldConnect Project: What It Is And Its History

The WorldConnect Project is a set of tools, which allow users to upload, modify, link, and display their family trees as a means to share their genealogy with other researchers. The program used to day has a genealogy of its own.

In the early days of 1994 and 1995, there were very few genealogical databases online and only a few genealogy related websites. A group of people joined together to discuss the possibilities and the GenWeb group was formed. Under the direction of Gary Hoffman a mailing list was begun and provided the forum by which these early programmers discussed their ideas. The archives of these messages can be found at

Frode Kvam was one of the earliest experimenters in putting genealogical data on the web. He constructed a GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMmunications) to HTML converter program named ged2html.c and made it freely available to others.

Sometime before June 1994, Victor Abell began experimenting and used Frode Kvam's source code to create his ged2cgi program. This method, written in the C programming language, converted a GEDCOM file to a simple file format with multiple index files. Mr. Abell followed in the tradition of Mr. Kvam and made his programs available for others to use. A description of his work is still available for reading at

In October 1994, Brian Tompsett wrote a program named GED2WWW that was based on Victor Abell's work. See for more information.

In March 1995, Tim Doyle began experimenting with putting his genealogical data online. He examined Victor Abell's programs and used them as an example to implement his concept. His idea was to have a set of programs that directly accessed an unmodified GEDCOM file using pregenerated index files. He named his suite of perl scripts the Indexed GEDCOM Method (IGM). Tim also made his programs available to the genealogical community. Details about this software can be found at

In May 1996 Randy Winch started working with the IGM programs. He enhanced them by adding DBM indexing, pedigree charts, descendancy charts and gedcom subset download. He converted the programs into the C programming language to help reduce server load, and later completely rewrote it in the programming language C++.

RootsWeb announced the launch of the World Connect Project on November 10, 1999 after staff members and users submitted 5.5 million records during a four-week beta-testing period. The WorldConnect Project continues to grow, and currently (January 2004) has more than 312 million records — a cumulative total of family trees in the WorldConnect Project and in the family tree programs on (our sister company), It offers researchers the single largest collection of family trees on the Internet.