Mapping God’s Bloodline

Follow the genealogy of Jesus from the creation of Adam and Eve through Noah, the tribes of Israel, King David, and finally Joseph and Mary. Zoom out for a broader perspective or zoom in to examine finer details.

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 About this Image

I began with some key genealogical information found on complete-bible-genealogy.com and am working on adding more detail available at marshallgenalogy.org.  I’m seeking out new ways of visualizing this data because I’ve always been dissatisfied with the usual tree-like representation.  That method works great  if you’re only dealing with a few generations at a time, but beyond that it gets messy.  Just how messy is it?  Take a look at one of my first attempts to show it all in one space.

First attempt at visualization

I made this using a tool called Gephi which is great for deep analysis of complex networks, especially social connections.  Instead of a social network, I mapped blood relationships.  But, not all of them ended up in the final view.  The first filter I applied was to show only the male parentage, for two reasons: 1) the Bible generally lists longer genealogies by fathers only, and 2) interconnections with spouses and mothers create an intricate web which makes it far too difficult to follow on a large scale (as shown above).  The second filter I applied was to remove any person whose ancestry could not be traced all the way back to Adam and Eve.  These people and connections appear as distracting “floaters” like those shown below.

Floaters - families which can't be conencted back to Adam and Eve

Floaters – families which can’t be connected back to Adam and Eve

None of this is to say that spouses, mothers, and “floater” families are unimportant.  If they were, I doubt they’d be listed in the Bible at all.  Rather, the intent here is to make long, complex chains that link from God the Father to God the Son easier to follow and understand.  For many people, visual displays are easier to comprehend than a list of names spread across multiple books of the Bible.  But, not every kind of visual display does the job.  Besides the filters I’ve mentioned above, I experimented with different layouts.  One idea was to straighten everything out so that different tribes could be easier to recognize.

Straight Layout

In many ways this defeats my original goal, which was to reduce the wasted space caused by traditional forms.  The incredible amount of white space in this image gives one a difficult time in even finding a node (person) and traversing a vast distance from one person to another on a computer screen.  In the end, I settled on a more compacted arrangement which is largely (but not totally) automatic using Gephi’s “gravity” settings in a Force Atlas.  To see the details, you can use the zoom-able interface (thanks to Zoom.it, which I highly recommend) above or order prints.

  • http://www.biblereadersmuseum.com/ Bradford

    This is very interesting work you are doing. I’ve been following your blog ever since you started MetaV. Thank you for sharing your hard work!

    • http://www.soulliberty.com Robert Rouse

      Glad to hear it! There’s plenty more in the works. This is only the beginning.

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  • http://www.beingfilled.com/ Chuck McKnight

    Very cool!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sara.sirmopoulos Sara Sirmopoulos

    This is so awesome! It seems like a tedious task, thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pavel.rudometkin.3 Pavel Rudometkin

    Thank you so much for sharing! Definitely helpful!

  • Rodrigo Quezada Reed

    Thanks a lot again for such a beautiful and useful work, Robert! :D

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