Birth and death as events modeled as events or profile attributes in genealogy

They are born and die as events for a person in a genealogical profile or as attributes of a person. What are the pros and cons of each approach?


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if you think that every event has artifacts, they should be events, so you can have all the documents associated with them, etc.

On the other hand, can you imagine a record of a person that does not have birth / death dates as attributes? you would not want to join events that give you birth / death so you can sort by those dates.

so there are pros and cons, but there is also an idea that you can have both. if you are willing to live with a database that is not fully normalized, you can have them as events and for each person with birth / death events, copy these values ​​into attributes.

remember, of course, that you can have multiple birth / death cases for a person, entries that may be in conflict, in which case only one of them specified by the user is for birth / date will be copied.



"Events" in genealogy (and in genealogy software) are generally thought of as being at a given time and place. They can be events for an individual, for example. Birth, death, baptism, naturalization, emigration, etc., or for a family (husband / wife), for example. Marriage, participation, divorce.

"Attributes" (or "facts") are usually considered true, for example. Scholastic achievements, tribal origin, occupation, religious affiliation, title.

This is how they define GEDCOM and how they try to get programmers to program them.

Personally, my concept of "events" is a transition in a change of state, for example a transition from before someone was born until they are alive. It shouldn't be short, but it can take a long time, for example, World War II was an event, and events may contain other events (such as specific battles in World War II).

Another example is hair color, which is considered an attribute. But someone can be born with blonde hair, fall out and be replaced with brown hair, and then as they get older it turns gray before falling out again. Hair color are attributes that are true for a certain time and are "fuzzy" as an event occurs that changes it from one to the other.

My concept of "attribute" is that they have periods of time. An attribute is a state that can be changed by events. for example "Occupation" changes with the "Quit" event and "Unemployed" takes over until the "Get Hired" event occurs.

Thus, the attributes are between the events, and the events separate the different attributes.

Basically what I'm saying is that in my genealogy program, I really don't distinguish between events and attributes. I treat them the same. Any of these can include a date or time period, and events usually include a place, and attributes are usually missing.

Because of their similarities, I don't see the need to model them separately.



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