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"LifeLines" can also refer to a 3-generation 167,000 participant population-cohort longitudinal Dutch/Belgium health study and biobank begun in 2006.
LifeLines logo.png
Original author(s) Tom Wetmore[1][2][3]
Developer(s) Larry Hamilton and the LifeLines Team [4][5]
Initial release 23 September 1992; 24 years ago (1992-09-23)[3]
Stable release
3.1.1 / 17 March 2016; 13 months ago (2016-03-17)[6]
Written in C
Operating system Unix-like, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
Available in English, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Polish, and Swedish[7]
Type Genealogy software
License MIT license

LifeLines is a free open-source genealogy software tool to assist family history research. LifeLines primary strengths are its powerful scripting language and the ability to easily import and export information in the GEDCOM format. It was the first open-source genealogy program for Unix.[8] The Lifelines scripting language is now supported by several other open-source programs.[9]


Lifelines version 1.0 was written by Tom Wetmore in the fall and winter of 1990/91 for his private use. Lifelines version 2.0 was released 23 September 1992 to the public.[1][3] Lifelines version 3.0 was released 12 October 1994.[10]

Lifelines was maintained by a team of volunteers. Work on it seemed to be discontinued, but it continued to be available in the Debian distribution of Linux and its descendants such as Ubuntu. In April 2016 it received a new lease of life when the code was moved to GitHub and a new release numbered 3.1.0 was issued.

LifeLines uses a text-based curses interface. A couple of experimental GUI interfaces were in development, but lacked the stability and core functionality to make them suitable for release.[11]


  1. ^ a b LifeLines genealogy software:Key Info - "Lifelines was written by Tom Wetmore circa 1991-1994 and he has now placed it under an MIT-style license."
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-11-26. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  3. ^ a b c On 23 September I announced the existence of LifeLines on the soc.roots/ROOTS-L list,... Archived 2010-07-07 at the Wayback Machine. LIFELINES NEWSLETTER 1, 4 October 1992, T. T. Wetmore IV, ed.
  4. ^ LifeLines - Project Member List
  5. ^ LifeLines FAQ - By Larry Hamilton - November 22, 2005
  6. ^
  7. ^ LifeLines genealogy software:Key Info - "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."
  8. ^ Windows XP Versus Linux: A Genealogist’s Viewpoint - By Dick Eastman - 2001 - "Lifelines was the first genealogy program to become available for Linux."
  9. ^ Open Source Genealogy Software - By John Finlay - 2005
  10. ^ LifeLines 3.0.1 Available, From:"T.T.Wetmore", Date:12 Oct 1994, LINES-L Archives
  11. ^ FAQ#23. Will there ever be a GUI for LifeLines?

External links[edit]