genealogy records website?


Our library has a decent amount of experience with image collections and we are seriously looking to migrate from ContentDM to Omeka for both ease of use and the better license.

However, we are also planning to create web indexes of genealogy records such as obituaries, cemetery listings, church records, funeral home records, etc.

One of the developers on our project noticed that Omeka has custom fields and wondered if we could cater Omeka for a project like this and avoid having to work with multiple software programs for our digital history projects.

Our records would look something like this...

for obits...
lastname, firstname, dateofdeath, obituarydate, comments

for church records...
lastname, firstname, event, eventdate, recordbookpage

etc., etc.

We're working to install Omeka on our server now so many of our questions will be answered soon, but I thought I'd toss it out to the community on whether this is a direction we should even entertain.

If not, is there an approach you all have seen to this type of project that would work better?

Thanks for any input

Jerry Yarnetsky
Madison-Jefferson County Public Library

Hi Jerry,

Yes, you may customize your Omeka installation to better fit your library's needs.

First, let me mention that Omeka's core metadata cannot be modified to ensure interoperability with other Omeka-based projects and other systems using DCMI. (Those fields are in Step 2 of adding or editing an item from the archive.) But do not despair, there are other options.

You may add and expand your metadata through the types and type metadata (available in Step 1 of the adding/editing process). If you are interested in creating a new "item type", go to your /admin/ screen, click on the Types tab (/admin/types). On the right side, click the button, "Add an Item Type." From this screen you may create a new item type, such as "obituary," and create new metafields that correspond with that type.

An alternative to this method is to modify the core types available. Go back to the /admin/types screen, but this time click on the type you want to modify--let's say a document. In the next screen, click the "edit" button. From here, you can edit or delete the current metafields for documents, or add new ones. This distinguishes the document, for instance, as an obituary merely by adding other metafields.

Does this help to answer your question?

Yes, that helps a lot. Especially now that we can actually peruse the program. It took a couple days as we decided to pop together a fresh LAMP server.