CH-BAR has contributed 222 photos by Carl Durheim, taken in 1852 and 1853, to Wikimedia Commons. These pictures show people who were in prison in Bern for being transients and vagabonds, what we would call travellers today. Many of them were Yenish. At the time the state was cracking down on people who led a non-settled lifestyle, and the pictures (together with the subjects' aliases, jobs and other information) were intended to help keep track of these “criminals”.

Since the photos' metadata includes details of the relationships between the travellers, I want to try graphing their family trees. I also wonder if we can find anything out by comparing the stated places of origin of different family members.

I plan to make a small interactive webapp where users can click through the social graph between the travellers, seeing their pictures and information as they go.

I would also like to find out more about these people from other sources … of course, since they were officially stateless, they are unlikely to have easily-discoverable certificates of birth, death and marriage.

  • Source code: downloads photographs from Wikimedia, parses metadata and creates a Neo4j graph database of people, relationships and places
  • project/graphing_the_stateless.txt
  • Last modified: 2015/03/12 13:02
  • by loleg