After two years spent studying Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained, our group needed a break. We decided that there is no better way to discover all that The Master Genealogist (TMG) can do than to explore its powerful custom report writer. If you would like to participate in the Tri-Valley TMG User Group's adventures as we examine the best ways to input data to make full use of TMG's wide range of reporting possibilities, please feel free to comment and share your ideas.

The Tri-Valley TMG User Group is associated with the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society (L-AGS), and we meet in Pleasanton, California. Information on our meetings - location, date, time, and topic - is always available on the home page of the L-AGS web site. Our three-hour meetings are actually hands-on workshops in which up to fifteen computers are connected to a digital projector allowing customized personal assistance to attendees. In the past, the group has systematically studied Lee Hoffman's Getting the Most out of The Master Genealogist, Terry Reigel's A Primer for The Master Genealogist, and Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained.

For further details on the reports we create, please visit our website. The section dealing with TMG reports begins at the page, "Exploring TMG's Report Menu."

Start following our new blog, "The Continuing Adventures of the TV-TMG User Group." This will detail our 2014 project.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Creating Holiday Calendars: Part One

Most TMG users recognize the name of John Cardinal, the creator of several TMG companion programs: the TMG Utility, Second Site, and a little program called On This Day. The latter program reads a TMG database and displays anniversaries that occurred on the same date as the current date. It was designed as a reminder program, but it can also be used to create calendars. It is very easy to use. Read about it and find the download link on John Cardinal's page, "On This Day."
  • Step One: Control the individuals appearing on the calendar.
    • Run a "List of People" report. The filter can be designed to include any group you wish. Example: "Is an Ancestor" combined with "ID number."
    • If you want only deceased individuals, combine this filter with "Living" flag equals N.
    • If you want to add descendants, check that box at the bottom of the Report Filter screen and enter the number of generations. Example: to include siblings only, the number of generations is one.
  • Step Two: On the Report Options screen, go to the "Secondary Output" tab.
    • Hopefully, you have created a Temporary flag in your database. Check the "Change flag" box and change the Temporary flag to a designated value. Now run the report. (If you don't know how to create a new flag, instructions can be found in, "Creating and Customizing a New Flag.")
  • Step Three: Close TMG and open On This Day.
    • Select your TMG database under the File menu.
    • The Filter menu allows you to select primary events only; select the vital events you want to include: Birth, Marriage, Divorce, Death, and/or Burial; and select the flag label and value you created when you ran your "List of People" report.
  • Step Four: Set the output under the Options menu. Calendars can be output to an HTML file (web page) or to Microsoft Outlook. Since I'm not quite an Outlook novice, I send mine to an HTML file. If you're an experienced Outlook user, experiment with creating an Outlook calendar.
  • Step Five: On This Day can create month-by-month calendars. Select the month and year under the Date menu, "Choose Date" or Ctrl-D and click OK. Assuming you've chosen the HTML output, the file will be created in the directory you designated.
  • Step Six: Print the resulting web page. If you have a PDF program that allows you to edit PDF files, print the page to a PDF file and edit the result, inserting photographs, changing fonts, etc. If you're familiar with HTML, you can change the appearance by editing the HTML file before printing the web page.
Unedited PDF examples of the months of January and February 2013 can be seen by following these links.
In sum, this method is quick and easy. You can include or exclude any combination of people you desire, and you can include any combination of birth, marriage, divorce, death, and burial events you choose. The resulting calendars are severely limited in formatting options, however. Improving the calendar's appearance requires some knowledge of HTML or a good PDF editing program.

Let's investigate the second method.

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