Below is a series of 14 videos to demonstrate how SILKin is used. The first video should be helpful if you are not sure whether SILKin is the right tool for your project.

Table of Contents

  1. What is SILKin good for? (47Mb)
    • What SILKin does well, and what it doesn’t
    • Data gathering and analysis is the focus
    • SILKin handles non-genealogical factors (e.g. clans)
    • SILKin detects data errors, synonyms, and umbrellas
    • SILKin suggests kin term definitions
    • Not a general genealogical database program
  2. How to download and install SILKin on your computer (63Mb)
    • System requirements
    • Installation procedure
    • Folder structure of a proper installation. Don’t mess with it.
    • How to launch and quit SILKin.
    • Possible security warning when first launching
  3. Basic concepts used in SILKin (21Mb)
    • Context (target culture)
    • Persons
    • Marriage (union = 1 couple)
    • Family tree chart
    • Ego and Alter
    • Dyad
    • Kinship system
  4. More concepts used in SILKin (16Mb) and Even More concepts (43Mb)
    • Kin term vs. kin type
    • Serial numbers
    • Restrictions on the spelling of kin terms
    • Multiple charts and links
    • Polygamy
    • Non-genealogical relationships.
  5. Editing a chart (43Mb)
    • Opening a context
    • Removing a person from a family
    • Dragging items to new location
    • Snap-to-grid
    • Enlarging the chart
    • Entering detailed information
    • Date formats
    • Kin terms and “no__term”
    • Comments
    • Surname (or date) normally captured.
  6. More about Charts (35Mb)
    • Colors of items
    • Linking kinsmen
    • Labeling with kin terms
    • Editable vs static
    • Removing a person from a family & consequences
    • Deleting persons & unions
  7. Multiple charts and Links (39Mb)
    • Demo of creating new chart
    • Editing chart name
    • Using links.
  8. Printing charts (28Mb)
    • Changing the fonts on charts
    • Changing the labels
  9. The Help system (16 Mb)
    • The mini-browser
    • Menu of Help topics
  10. Suggestions (53Mb)
    • What is a suggestion?
    • Acting on suggestions
    • Umbrellas and synonyms
    • Potential errors
    • Library of known kinship systems
  11. User-Defined Properties (50Mb)
    • What is a UDP
    • Why do we need them?
    • Demo of creating a UDP
    • Adoption UDPs
    • Clan UDPs
  12. Special Relationships (139Mb)
    • How SILKin handles adoptions
    • Should adoptions be recorded explicitly or not?
    • Clans and special factors
  13. Entering and editing definitions (57Mb)
    • Horn Clause syntax
    • Editing an existing definition
    • Creating a definition
    • Comments on definitions.
  14. Advanced operations (47Mb)
    • Editing preferences
    • Editing the context
    • Exporting and importing files


  • There is an extensive set of Help/Tutorial pages (under the Help menu) that should enable you to use the software without any formal training.
  • Some sample files are provided to illustrate SILKin’s use.