This charter sets out the main aspirations and basic rules of the History Research Environment project (the ‘HRE project’).


The aim of the HRE project is to create an open source platform-independent application for the serious or professional historical researcher.


The goal is to create an application that can be used equally effectively in a wide variety of historical research contexts, including but not limited to genealogical research.

Compatibility with TMG data

HRE will provide an upgrade path for genealogists with data held in The Master Genealogist (‘TMG’), previous sold by Wholly Genes. HRE will by design import TMG v8.05+ data, although it cannot be guaranteed that non-standard usages and workarounds of TMG will be supported.


For the main code, we use the GNU Affero General Public Licence or any later version (the ‘Affero GPL’). All contributing developers must agree to release their code under the Affero GPL.

Pre-written utility or other routines that we might want to incorporate into HRE must be licensed under the Affero GPL or any wholly compatible licence. Documentation is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence (‘CC BY-SA 4.0’). A clear API will be provided to encourage the creation of third party plug-ins. Plug-ins are not an integral part of HRE, and can be privately distributed under any licence. They must access HRE via the published API.


History Research Environment Limited is a company limited by Guarantee registered under the laws of England and Wales. Its purpose is to provide a central vehicle for any legal matters. It holds project funds and acts as the signatory for any project contracts.


Working teams

The community is split up into various working teams, each with its own email list. Each team is expected to show independent leadership, but also to liaise with other teams as necessary to ensure consistency. The moderator of each mailing list has the responsibility of ensuring that discussions are effective and remain on topic. They may close down threads and/or block individuals for disruption at their discretion.

Management Group

The Management Group is responsible for overall project management (including management of the working teams), for high-level project plans, and for liaising with the company directors. It expects individual working teams to make their own decisions to the extent possible, but reserves the right to override decisions if necessary for the benefit of the project as a whole. The views of the project’s founder, Robin Lamacraft, carry significant weight, but he is not to be treated as having a formal right of veto.

Relationship between community and company

The HRE project is intended to be community-led, and the company exists to support the project, not vice versa. In matters of policy the community’s considered view should generally prevail unless that would involve the directors taking any act that would infringe the duties imposed on them by law as company directors.