Not to mention the improved family group sheet that keeps up to 24 kids on the same sheet with their parents and displays a photo of each as child and adult across two sheets to cover both orientation and procreation family groups! It took a couple years…now just to see if it is too late to start the business for those interested in the true next generation of family tree charting, organizational forms and legacy preservation…
check out the Emergency wallet card – everyone and their kids should have it on their person these days!]]>
2. Reports should have an option of being updated. When I am writing a family book, and have customized my reports the way I want them, I would like for them to be able to be updated without changing all my settings. I am thinking about after I die, I would like my family members to be able to easily update the book without having to know what all the settings were. This is particularly important, say for the birthday and anniversary calendar, so any new descendants of particular individuals would show up.
3. I would love a second notes field. One for the research notes, where I abstract all records, research questions, etc., type confidential things that shouldn’t be published, and a separate one where I can write a biography, and things I want to print in the book.
4. I want the ability to add photos to genealogy reports, not just descendant / ancestor charts.
5. I would love to put the entire report in a word processing format, so that I can add photos and delete confidential things, and just pretty up the report overall. And then be able to update with new info, and convert it back to adobe.
6. I would like research log to be able to tie directly to individuals. That way, I can easily see what else I need to find about a particular individual, or family, or location.
7. I would like a genealogical dictionary, one that lists all individuals and their biography, in alphabetical order.
8. I have to ditto what someone else said, if someone died without marrying or having children, I would like a way to notate that.
9. Also dittoing what someone else said, “met” is not a good word for non-marriage relationships. There are many single parents out there.
10. Also right now when you add a separate page with family story, historical background, etc., in a book, it has to go at the end of a report. I would love to add the story in the report, to break it up, and add more interest.
11. Right now, the slideshow only works on an individual basis. I would like to do this on a family, or every individual basis, and add music, etc,]]>
I’ve also added an installation of DocuWiki to capture information that is more narrative (see http://www.roblog.com/familytree/wiki/frank-v-cowlishaw) and descriptive information about significant villages or areas that span many individuals.
It would be great to have a system that has a “traditional” structured database-style system, but that also has a wiki for stories and narratives. The two should cross-link so individuals and families mentioned in the wiki link (automatically or, more realistically, manually) to their database entries, while database entries show wiki pages that mention the individual, family or location.]]>
Any serious genealogical analysis tool has to consider the broader relationships between people, not just immediate family relationships. These would be sponsors in baptisms, witnesses to wills, other folks immigrating with a person, etc. TMG supports these, but it is very tedious (lots of button pushing and menu selection) to enter all the data. FTM and Legacy don’t even tie all the event participants together (separate entries of the event for each person, for the most part). I’d like to see a system that is truely source driven. You would first enter the source information, and then enter specific content information (say all the data for a family in a census) into a single form designed for that type of document/event. Then the software would be smart enough to take all the data and enter it in the conventional form in the database by individual/family/events, making all the necessary linkages. It should even be smart enough to accurately identify the potential overlap of this new data with existing data (i.e., perhaps the family is already in the database from a different source). When I say “smart enough” here, I mean much more accurate than existing software attempts to identify duplicate people in a database.
Essentially, genealogy software should be nudging users to follow good research practices, and not just provide easier ways to download and lump together all sorts of information from unknown sources. The Genealogical Data Model effort moves in this direction, but without the necessary intelligence built into the process to streamline and assist with entry and organization of the data, it would be way too tedious for most people to tolerate. The complexity of the system has to be hidden from the user… who should only have to follow a straight forward and simple process.
I’d also like to see better use of graphical interfaces in analyzing and manipulating data. The sample program you described in your blog last year is a good start.
Although it’s mostly eyewash, I think the software should keep up with modern user interfaces for consistency and look/feel. Just looking at the appearance of the latest TMG version shows its age. On the other hand, having to support long-time users who probably can’t afford to upgrade their hardware tends to limit how innovative the software vendors can be. It would take bold steps of introducing a new product line, and cutting off further development of older packages.]]>
I like how everyone’s getting into maps and timelines; one thing I’d like to see here is the ability to apply a begin AND end date to events that go on a map. Thus, you could enter the fact that John Smith lived in Cincinnati from May 1890 to June 1895 before moving to St. Louis from June 1895 to the end of his life. A static map could plot these two points, but how about the ability to play out the map over time and see family migration patterns as the years advance? Just something I’ve been thinking about.
Anyway, great question. I wish there was more consumer debate on the pros and cons of genealogy software and the features we would like to have.]]>
I use TMG and I love it. But it would be great if it:
1) Drove carpool: I could spend that 90 minutes a day transcribing documents,
2) Cooked: I could eat gourmet meals while surfing ancestry for just one more census record.
3) Did laundry: With all that free time, I could scan all the documents I currently have into my computer.
I already use it to catalog all the documents in my filing cabinet. I can set up a custom source type, so I can already comply with Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Evidence Explained”, I can easily create an ahnentafel report (with sources, and exhibits). With the new version, I can not only track my ancestor and his sources, and name variations, but I get a window showing me everyone he associated with too. I have an extensive research log, so when those microfilm I just ordered come in, I will know who to look up on those films and will be able to track my research as it progresses. Which helps when I keep having to stop and do laundry. LOL
Great grandpa go by different names every day, I can track all of them and use them in reports if I desire. I can also source where each name came from and even attach a note to myself about the name. This memo can print or not, it’s up to me.
I can have as many events for a person (that print or don’t) as I want to create, and I get to name them. Not only will I see the names for those events in the Person View, but I can also see the role I assigned that person, so I know that grandpa had a WILL event, and I know in that event he was the Administrator without having to open the WILL tag and see. I can hover over the WILL event, and see the transcription I typed in without having to open the tag. Every event can have a source, an exhibit (or group of exhibits) in multiple file formats, text that prints or doesn’t print, date, place and multiple witnesses. Each witness can have text that is particular to that witness, so if I want the WILL transcription to print with the testator, and only the information about the portion of the estate each heir received to print with the heirs, I have the ability to do that.
Seriously, TMG does most of the things I want it to do now. I do have a wish list for it. But most of the requests I have seen so far, TMG and it’s companion product Second Site can do already. I know some people think it’s hard to learn, but frankly, I found it fairly easy to learn the basics. As my needs grew, I learned more about the options and it grew with me. As I read some of your requests for things I consider so basic to a genealogy program, and have been using in TMG for years, I can’t help but wonder if the learning curve might be smaller in TMG than the yearning curve is in FTM.]]>
It would also be nice to get a county report. When I find a new county source or search a county website I would like a list of everyone in my database from Lincoln County. The same would be great for a cemetery. If I visit a cemetery (or county) I want a list of everyone buried in Oakdal cemetery or Lincoln county. It would be nice even if the entries did not look the same (“Podunk, Lincoln, Illinois, USA” gets collected with “Lincoln County, IL”)
Migration maps would also be great tied in with google earth or Live maps.]]>
Tap on custom report, choose individuals to include. Pick yourself then hit ancestors. For “items to include,” choose dates of birth, death, locations for both. I think that will give you what you want although you cannot limit the number of generations.
I hope that helps.]]>
I would love to be able to have hyperlinks within the charts and within the notes, so that if I reference a guy in the notes of someone else, I can create an active link that will take me directly to him. I’d like colors and fonts so I can use them to reflect different types of data or possible optional choices for information. It comes down to flexibility, I guess. I want more of it.
I’d like the option to sort by place (specific place, like a particular farm in a particular parish in England, say, or a defined township in a county in Ohio, so I can grab all the people from this township even if they don’t ‘look’ related.
Thanks for the opportunity to think about what would really make a program worth switching for!]]>
Some of the items mentioned that I know Legacy allows:
1. Create WP editable pages w/field codes embedded for a name index & TOC.
2. Creat Ahnentafel with just names, dates & places for just the ancestors, no children, notes, etc. (Report options are very flexible and you can get as much or as little as you want on a report.)
3. 2 data bases can be open and you can drag/drop between them.
4. Has 3 separate sets of notes – General, Research & Medical. Also has capability to enter text in double brackets [[ ]] to indicate that text is private. Reports & gedcom export both have options to either exclude or include private notes and include or exclude general, research and/or medical notes.
5. Descendant reports have the # for direct line ancestors of the primary person (who can be changed as needed) in bold and underlined to make it easy to follow a particular line.
6. Legacy reports are very flexible. You have many options on what to include or exclude in each report. Legacy also has great custom reporting using a search feature with up to 3 critera for a search and then a report creation from that list using whatever fields you need. I used to spend a lot of time saying “I wish FTM would create a report of just . . . .”
7. You can indicate a person did not marry and had no children or that a couple had no children. This info appears in reports and on their screen. “Never married and had no children” appears in the field where a marriage date would be entered. “Had no children” appears in the spot where the 1st child would be listed.
There are probably some things I would like that Legacy doesn’t do – but so far I haven’t found any.]]>
The original program I decided on over ten years ago was Philip Brown’s “Family History System” – partly because of its unique “relative report”. It was the closest thing I had seen to the concept of an Everything Report that I wanted. But, FHS’s method of data input was not the easiest to use, and I ultimately purchased Reunion for Windows as my base program. Reunion later sold off its Windows version to Sierra who turned it into Generations. That was bought by Genealogy.com who eventually dropped it and the other two programs they purchased: Family Origins and Ultimate Family Tree leaving the market open for their flagship program: FTM.
Generations eventually became unusable for me, because it was buggy once Windows XP came along and there were no more updates coming.
But Generations and all the other programs were all input-based programs. What I want is an output-based design. After all, isn’t it your data and the presentation and use of it that’s most important? What’s wrong with software that develops the report first, and then allows direct input onto the report, rather than the cumbersome forms-based data entry inherent in all of today’s programs.
Isn’t that what WYSIWYG is all about? Imagine using a word-processor where you have to go to a separate form-based system to enter you sentences one by one and then generate the report to see the actual document. It wouldn’t work. But that’s what today’s programs do.
It’s time for something better.]]>