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

I am very far behind on my reporting blogs, but I'm skipping several months' reports to follow up on our December meeting on creating calendars with TMG data - just in case you might want a nice Christmas present idea.

What should we look for in an ancestral event calendar?
  1. We want to be able to specify a subset of our TMG database. The focus is likely to be the person to whom we're giving the calendar, but who do we want included in the calendar? Ancestors only? Ancestors and their siblings? All spouses? All descendants? Deceased individuals only?
  2. What events do we want to include? Just births? Births and marriages? All vital records?
  3. Do we want to include ages, if the people were still living? Or do we want to include the year the event occurred? What about relationship to the focus person?
  4. What about pictures? Do we want one large picture per month? Or do we want to insert small photographs in empty spaces in each month? Or do we want both?
  5. What about the cover? Just a title? A photograph of the focus person? An ancestral box chart?
  6. How about formatting the calendar? Will we need lots of formatting options like font size and color?
  7. Of course, creating the calendar should be as easy as possible!
We came up with three possible methods, none of them ideal. As one would expect, the simplest method offered the fewest options. The method providing the greatest number of options was also the most complicated - and it took the most time. Each method will be covered in an individual blog and will include a two-month sample example. If you have questions, feel free to contact me. Happy gifting!

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