TMG News

A Publication for users of The Master Genealogist®

Volume 2, Number 2, Summer 1995

Editor: Lissa Soergel
HTML Design: Laura Wallace

Table of Contents


Federation of Genealogical Societies Seattle, Washington September 20-23, 1995
Central California Genealogical Society Conference Monterey, California October 14, 1995
GENTECH Conference Plano, Texas January 26-27, 1996
National Genealogical Society Conference Nashville, Tennessee May 8-11, 1996

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Coming Attractions

Summer is here and there is lots of TMG news in the air!

As this newsletter goes to press, we are putting the finishing touches on an update to TMG/DOS. This free update will be available for downloading soon from the various online services and our tech support BBS. All registered users will be notified by mail, and those without modems (or access to a user's group, etc.) may order the update disk by mail for a nominal charge for shipping and handling.

TMG v1.2a will include some bug fixes and a number of exciting new features which you have requested-including exclusion markers on citations (to suppress individual citations from printing), a "prompt for report filter value" option, improved PAF(tm) import, a better Optimize routine, improved memory management, and more. It also introduces a number of new output options and report types-including the most popular enhancement request, a Reverse Register report!

At the same time, we've been working very hard on TMG for Windows! Although we have not announced a release date, there was much excitement in the air when we demonstrated TMG/Win at the New England Historical and Genealogical Society (HISGEN) Conference July 13 - 15, 1995 in Boston, Massachusetts.

TMG/Win starts with the same strong foundation as TMG/DOS, including unlimited capacity for people, events, names, relationships, free-form text, structured sources, and citations. It is expected to offer ALL of the same power and flexibility as TMG/DOS-plus greatly enhanced multimedia features, multiple screen resolutions, unlimited flags, expanded Person/Family/Tree Views, a button toolbar, DDE output to your word processor, WYSIWYG print preview, and many other report options. Of course, it supports the same powerful research tools on which TMG users have come to rely, including history tags, timelines, relationship calculator, regnal date calculator, text editor, exhibit log, research log, and import from GEDCOM, PAF(tm), and Roots III(tm). Data files may be used interchangably between TMG/DOS and TMG/Win, so no conversion will be necessary!

Hang on as the evolution of TMG continues!

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User's Groups

by Cathleen Reid Velke, User's Group-Coordinator

Below is a list of local contact people for TMG user's groups.

CALIFORNIA San Francisco Neil Bell (510) 672-0250  
  Orange County Melinda Kashuba (714) 858-9793  
  Vista/N. San Diego Robert Cummins (619) 598-1726  
  Sacramento *      
COLORADO Colorado Springs/Pueblo Helen Robinson (719) 542-5937  
  Denver Earl Beaty (303) 494-8713  
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Wash., D.C./Virginia James Hill (703) 257-0067  
GEORGIA Atlanta *      
ILLINOIS Chicago Kent Bartram (312) 327-1446  
KANSAS Wichita Jackie Dusenbery (316) 652-7285  
  Topeka Tom Severn (913) 272-8867  
  Kansas City KS/MO James Stout (816) 322-0936  
KENTUCKY Mt. Sterling Lee Hoffman (606) 498-3192  
MASSACHUSETTS Framingham James Byram (508) 879-6588  
MICHIGAN Detroit Michael Kaericher (313)459-5386  
MISSOURI Kansas City KS/MO James Stout (816) 322-0936  
  St. Louis *      
MONTANA Busby Tim Cook (406) 592-3773  
NEW YORK New York City (Metro) Robert Gillis (201) 746-5885  
    Robert Smith (516) 669-6956  
    Terry Sterkel
NORTH CAROLINA Raleigh Gwyneth Duncan (919) 493-1133  
    Madlyn Jamison (919) 467-0747  
OREGON Salem George Dyer (503) 581-1146  
  Portland Julie Kidd (503) 238-5747  
RHODE ISLAND   Helen Bridge (401) 635-4143  
TENNESSEE Knoxville Martha Bond (615) 588-1132  
  Memphis Metro Susan Taylor (601) 895-6248  
TEXAS Dallas Jeri Steele (214)306-1596  
  Austin Douglas Huseman (512) 444-5220  
  Houston *      
VIRGINIA Wash., D.C./Virginia James Hill (703) 257-0067  
WASHINGTON Seattle/Takoma John Coates (206) 228-4180  
WISCONSIN SE Wisconsin Computer Genealogists Dick Amman (414) 632-4610  
NEW ENGLAND New England Computer Genealogists Cliff Watts (508) 366-5034  
AUSTRALIA Aspley, QLD Colin Cunningham (617) 263-3005  
  Newton, S. Australia Don Ide (618) 336-2336  
CANADA Alberta Bill Mumford (403) 933-2881  
  Toronto, Ontario Greg Stott (416) 698-9824  
GERMANY Isenhagen Bob Paulson 5139-27556  
NEW ZEALAND Hamilton Nicolette Hart (64 7) 856-5521  


Note: *This city has a group of users interested in meeting together, but a coordinator is needed. Please contact me if you are willing to serve in this capacity.

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Tracking Native Americans

by Tim Cook, Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Montana

I must admit that, when I was first asked how TMG had helped me in working on my wife's Cheyenne ancestry, I had never given it much thought. I had become so accustomed to how TMG does things that it just seemed to be normal. When I thought of how I had to manage before TMG, there were indeed many unique ways in which TMG had helped and continues to do so. Now, keep in mind that some of the ways I have used TMG are because of the customs and traditions of my wife's tribe. Each tribe is different from the others, so what I say about the Cheyenne may not be true of other tribes.

When Alvera married me, she had no idea that I had a grave illness called genealogy, for which there is no known cure. I saw in her heritage a new challenge-one which would eventually lead both of us to a new understanding of that heritage. My wife is a full blood Northern Cheyenne Indian who did not learn to speak English till she was in grade school and still speaks her language fluently. The Cheyenne, along with the Sioux, were the Indians who defeated Custer. They were the only tribe to have derailed the new trains as they pushed across the West. Alvera had often been told stories of her ancestry but never really was interested enough to research any of it. With me around, she had little choice but to help research because whereever we stopped, I was going to the court house, tribal office, or BIA office to look things up. Slowly, we began to gather in the various bits and pieces of her ancestry. Unfortunately, at first we did not have the assistance of TMG.

Our first genealogy program was and is a very good program, and I have little quarrel with how it works. It performed as it was designed to do, and I just had to adapt as best I could. With TMG I was able to adapt the program to my needs. Perhaps the biggest need was a way to deal with names. Modern Cheyenne names are pretty much like everyone else's in that there is a given name or names and a surname. However, when you get back to the time before the European way of naming was adopted, the Cheyenne way is just not easy to deal with in any other computer program I have seen.

Let's look at Alvera's great-great- grandfather. When he was a young man, he was known as Hairlessbear. When his brother High Backed Wolf was killed in a skirmish, Hairlessbear took the name High Wolf as a way to honor his brother. Yet this was not his only name change. It was customary to give babies a name; when they grew into young children, they were given another name; when they reached adulthood, they received still another name. If they did a great deed or were very brave in battle, they might have yet another name change. We know that Hairlessbear had other names, but we have not been able to track them down yet. With TMG we can have both names on the screen, show when this change took place, and when we find the other names he had, record them as well.

Another aid with names is the use of the exclusion marker in a name field. The name Hairlessbear is not really a given name or a surname. Wiith other programs I have seen, there was no way to deal with this in a clean fashion. With TMG I have been putting the Indian name in the surname field and then using the exclusion marker in the given name field. By this method there are no question marks printed with the name and it indexes correctly as well.

Another feature that has been very beneficial is the provision of custom tags. I can now track with custom tags those who were members of the various tribal societies, such as the Dog Soldiers or Bow Strings, to name two. There were several special Indian censuses done of the Cheyenne tribe in 1886, 1890, and 1891; I have tags to show who was on which census. With the person view of TMG, I can now see all the various events that have happened in individual lives without having to rely on extensive notes, which in most cases are hard to get to.

The best way that TMG has helped me is in its reporting. I have a flag set up in TMG called CHEYENNE. I have all of the Cheyennes and their spouses maked with this flag. I have been able to do a number of different lists of people and have shown them to various tribal elders. They were really glad to see something that would help them in their research and help them keep track of names and people that they too had found. I also showed them some individual narrative reports, and that was something that they really liked. There is no one place to go to find biographies of early tribal elders, leaders, and members. They thought this would be a great resource to use for future research.

What started out as a small project to research my wife's family is becoming a major study of the whole tribe. Currently, I have over 1,400 Cheyennes and their spouses in my data set, and I have no doubt that that number could double within a year.

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Customizing Narrative Reports: Controlling the Exclusion of Data in your Reports and Views

by Bob Paulson, Isernhagen, Germany

In order to give you full control over which information you want presented, both in reports and on the screen, TMG provides various ways for you to include or exclude portions of your data and at various levels. This article deals with the exclusion of data.

Several new options have been added to TMG v1.2 since the manual was printed. For completeness, all explicit exclusion options are described in the following list.

1. Field Level: Exclusion Markers (Reference Manual page 79)

By entering a single hyphen (minus sign, "-") as the first character of a field, you can suppress display of all information in the field. This is known as the exclusion marker. It is valid in a place field, a memo, a literal text exhibit and in all parts of a person's name (prefix, given, surname, suffix). For instance, you may know that John Smith's wife's name was Jane (you don't know her surname) and you may wish to include information to help you identify Jane as such, but not have this appear in reports. You could include the phrase

-with John Smith

in the suffix field of Jane's name. Then when you searched the Picklist, you would see this explanation next to her name in order to identify her quickly, but this information would not be printed in reports.

You could use this feature to exclude parts of a place, such as county, but if you want all mention of counties to be excluded from a report, it is much easier to exclude "[ ] County/Parish" from the report setup. Additional reasons for excluding fields, as pointed out in the manual, are to allow for more room to display other information in the Person View. Also, you can use this feature to exclude memos on a case-by-case basis: even if they are included in either a sentence structure with <[M]> or in the Job Manager (Memos/Sources), they can be selectively excluded by inserting the exclusion marker as the first character in the memo.

Overriding:  In reports, the exclusion marker may be enabled or disabled with use of the "[ ] Show Excluded Data" option in the report setup.

2. Tag and Tag Type Level: Double Exclusion Markers

Tag Level:  If you place a double hyphen "--" at the beginning of a sentence structure (e.g., in the <Sentence> field of an event or name), the entire sentence or output for an event or name will never print.

Example: --[P] was adopted <[D]> <[L]>

This is known as the double exclusion marker. It may be used for narrative reports (Genealogy Report, Descendancy Narrative, Ahnentafel, Linear Ahnentafel, Individual Narrative, Individual Detail and Family Group Sheet), charts (Descendancy Chart and Pedigrees), and for GEDCOM export. In this way you can control which events in a person's life do not appear in reports or become exported. For example, in my own Person View in TMG, I don't think my relatives would be interested in the myriad of residences I have had over the years, but my children might be when they inherit my data, so I have entered the double exclusion marker in the sentence field of several of the Residence events. There may also be cases where you do not want certain events which you consider sensitive to be reported-another good candidate for this feature.

Remember:  A single exclusion marker "-" at the start of a memo excludes only the memo, while a double exclusion marker "--" at the start of a sentence structure excludes the entire event. (Both of these exclusion options have the same meaning at the start of a literal text exhibit; namely, they exclude the entire exhibit from printing The difference is that the double exclusion marker may not be overridden, as described below.)

Tag Type Level: This double exclusion may be done for an individual tag (event) as described above, or it may be done at the tag type level, i.e., when entering the "global" or master sentence for this tag type (as described on page 163 of the manual under Sentence). You could, for example, inhibit all adoption events from printing in all reports using this data set. (This could also be accomplished by utilizing the Selected Tags feature on the Report Setup, but in this case would be valid for only a single defined report.)
Witness Sentences: In addition, double exclusion markers may be used in Witness Sentences, both for individual tags and for the tag type.
Overriding: In the interest of security, the use of the double exclusion marker may not be overridden in TMG v1.2, for all narrative and chart reports, as well as for GEDCOM export. Only list reports, such as the List of Events, will include these events. Also note that the tag in question is still evaluated in filtering contexts (all people for whom an adopted tag exists, for example).

3. Selected Text Level: Sensitivity Brackets (Reference Manual pages 79-80)

This feature is used when there are parts of fields, such as certain text in memos, place or name fields, or literal text exhibits, which you do not wish to print in reports. In this case, you would surround this text with sensitivity brackets {like this}.

I have also taken advantage of this option to control the level of detail on which I wish to report. For instance, on an Occupation event, with the standard sentence structure which includes the memo, I use the following in the memo field:

secretary {first for one person, later for an entire department. Here is where she met her husband-to-be John.}

Then, depending on the audience of the report, I can choose to either exclude or include this data, as outlined below.

Overriding: As for the single exclusion marker, sensitivity brackets may be enabled or disabled in reports with use of the "[ ] Show Sensitive Data" option in the report setup and be displayed with or without the brackets.

4. Selected Text Level: Hidden Text Embedded Code

This new feature is similar to sensitivity brackets in that it is used to suppress selected text from printing. It uses the eXternal process embedded code described on page 77 of the Reference Manual, with the new symbol "H" for hidden text.

Example: <<X"H;This text will never print">>
(where "<" and ">" are ASCII 174 and 175 respectively)

The reason you might want to use this rather than the sensitivity brackets is that it cannot be overridden, again in the interest of security. You may use it for adding comments to your text and rest assured that you do not need to remember also to specify an option on the report setup in order for the text not to print.


TMG v1.2 provides you with a well-rounded set of features and options for choosing how best to present your genealogical data--to have it your way, and to change it easily. This article has focused on only one aspect--the various methods of excluding parts of your data in screen display or printed reports: single exclustion markers, double exclusion markers, sensitivity brackets, and hidden text embedded code.

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Did You Know?

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Advanced Users - Font Sizes

A user asks:

On the first page of the printer setup screens, spacing may be specified as 10, 12, or 17 cpi. On the second page, font styles may be 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, etc., cpi. What are the rules for mixing spacing settings and font style settings?

Bob Velke answers:

TMG's report writer supports 10, 12, or 17cpi when printing directly to your printer. All of the horizontal measurements (margins, tabs, amount of data that will fit on a pedigree line, etc.) are based on that setting.

When you specify your printer, you may find that it supports fonts in all sorts of other sizes. TMG will list all of the fonts which are supported by your printer, and you may choose among them. The quality of the output to the printer, however, will depend on how closely the fonts you choose match the cpi by which TMG is bound.

So, for instance, you can choose 12 cpi and Courier 12, and everything will be fine. Or 17cpi and a "compressed" (17cpi) font.

But if horizontal spacing is set to 17cpi and you choose Courier 10 (a bigger font), you'll find that TMG allocates less space than the text really needs--and the result will be that the text is truncated when the space runs out.

Conversely, if TMG designs the report based on a horizontal spacing of 17cpi and you use a 20cpi (smaller) font, then you'll find in some paragraphs that TMG allocates more space for that text than it really needs. After wordwrapping the text appropriately, the result will be white space (allocated but unused space) accumulated at the end of the paragraph.

This typically manifests itself when you choose a proportional font and print directly to the printer. The amount of space used by a proportional font varies (proportionally), so it is hard to predict how much space it will take. You should generally plan for a horizontal spacing of 17cpi (the smallest), but you will still get a blank line every once in a while-depending on what is being printed.

Keep in mind that, since you can use different fonts for different types of data (surnames. given names, dates, etc.), the amount of space that a block of text will need is a function of the TYPE(s) of data being printed in that block and the font styles that are assigned to it/them. The average cpi of that block of text is what should match the horizontal spacing value.

But, you say, the average cpi is not something that you can easily predict! That's true. But, for instance, if you use 12cpi and Courier 12, then you can generally set endnote reference numbers ("exponents") to a smaller font without throwing off the spacing to a degree that would produce blank lines.

So why does TMG have these multiple features which can confuse you to the point of producing unwanted results?

The answer is simple: TMG does not presume to be a word processor, so it has some difficulty designing a page with fonts which vary from its 10/12/17cpi design. But output directly to a word processor will honor those font changes and spacing issues. You can generate a fabulous report with elegant font changes in all the right places-and the spacing will be PERFECT.

So this may be a case of giving you enough rope to hang yourself. If you understand that TMG's internal printer drivers are more limited than those of your word processor, then you will refrain from trying to get too fancy when you output directly to the printer.

On the other hand, when you output your final report for publication, you can go hog-wild with fonts and produce perfectly formatted reports in more than 50 native word-processor formats--a flexibility which is unmatched in the industry.

The alternative (for simplicity) would have been to limit TMG's word- processor output to the same functionality as its internal printer drivers. I didn't see any point in artificially limiting the program in that way.


When outputting directly to the printer, it is best to use a single fixed-pitch font which matches the horizontal spacing (10 cpi <-> Pica 10, 12 cpi <-> Elite 12, etc.). You are limited in this context to 10, 12, and 17cpi, which is about as much flexibility as you get with most programs.

If you are determined, you can use varied fonts and proportional fonts direct to the printer (if your printer supports them), but it may take a little tweaking and you may still get some blank lines in some places. When you change a font, the program will try to keep you on the straight-and-narrow regarding horizontal spacing.

When outputting to a word processor, you can do just about anything you want. When a font changes, the word processor will dynamically recalculate the horizontal spacing.

There is a little bit on this subject in ADDENDUM.DOC and much more by pressing F1 at the Printer Setup Definition Screen.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Ghost Wife

Q. Why does TMG say this man has two wives? When I look at his Person View, there is only one wife recorded, together with their eight children, but when I go to his Family View or Tree View, there are only six children listed. At the bottom of the screen it says "<Next> 1 of 2"--if I go to the next screen, I find the other two children, but no name for another wife. I know there was only one wife. I can't find any record for another one. How can I correct this?

A. This is a phenomenon which occurs when not all the parent-child relationship links have been made. It is likely that the two isolated children have been linked to their father, but not to their mother. TMG has no choice but to consider that the mother of these two children is unknown. (Remember, TMG never makes assumptions about your data!)

What to do:
Look at the Person View of one of the unlinked children. There is probably no mother listed in the Primary Parent Box. Jump to <Mother> and press <Enter>. Enter the mother's ID number in the appropriate field. Press <F10> to save. Repeat with the other child.
Some methods of adding people to your data set are more likely to result in ghosts than others. For instance, if you add a father to a child's record, then add a wife to the father's record, it is easy to forget to link the child with the mother. It is safer to return to the child to add the mother. The program will then prompt you to create a marriage record for the two parents. Subsequent children can be most easily and safely added to the family from the child's Person View by pressing ALT+P and choosing Brother or sisTer. Then the parent links will be made automatically.

Another cause of ghosts is the recording of a "marriage-type event" (marriage, engagement, marriage bond, divorce, etc.) with only one principal. Check all such tags to make sure that both principals are properly recorded.

History Repeats Itself

Q. I entered a History tag for an avalanche in Peru that affected a distant relative. Now that tag is showing up on tags that have nothing to do with that family or with Peru. Is my data set corrupted?

A. No, don't worry! Your data set is fine. If you will go to the first page of System Configuration (accessed through the Util menu), you will probably find that the option for History tags is set to ALL. When that setting is on, a given History tag will appear on the Person View of everyone in your data set whose lifespan encompasses the date of the event. What you would probably prefer is to set the option to WITNESSED ONLY. Then the tag will be seen only on the records of the person to whom you originally attached it and any other persons whom you may have added as witnesses to that event.

Buried Alive?

Q. Why can't TMG put basic tags like birth, marriage, death, and burial in the proper order, even when they are undated? I don't like to see a burial tag coming before the death tag!

A. TMG does not make any assumptions about your data. Each piece of information that you enter is regarded as evidence, not as fact. One of the strengths of TMG is its ability to accommodate conflicting evidence. This requires that all decisions about the meaning of your data be made by you, the user. You can force the tags to list in the proper order by using qualifiers (such as before and after) with dates, perhaps citing a source called Assumptions with a surety value of 0 to show that this is a guess on your part. The possibility of an invisible sort date is under consideration for a later version of TMG.

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Kin Flags

by Cliff & Lynn Watts, Westborough, MA

One of TMG's subtle liabilities is its ease of use. Adding siblings and other spouses to the database can soon produce a collection in which it's difficult to recall who's related to whom. We discovered several years ago that we're eighth cousins, so the sensible practice of keeping all of our work in a single database merely compounds the problem.

We tackled the most obvious aspect of this problem several months ago by creating two custom flags: LYNNANC and CLIFANC. We created a List of People report to screen based on a single-line filter testing Is an Ancestor of Person number 1 (or 2). A pass for each of us that changed each of the selected people's ANC flag to Y solved the first phase.

Over time we began to wish for a means of knowing on the Person View whether the person, if not ancestral, was at least related; so we added two more custom flags, LYNNREL and CLIFREL.

Getting these flags set to show relatedness is a two-step process. The first stage creates a List of People based on two filter tests:

Is an Ancestor of Person Number 1 (or 2) AND
Father ID# Is Less Than 1

This pair of conditions identifies the earliest recorded ancestor in every line. With that list identified, we wrote a value of N to the appropriate REL flag. (It was created with possible values of ?YN).

The second stage is another List of People based on the single test that LYNNREL Flag Contains N. Below it we specified Descendants for 250 generations (a ridiculously high value, but its only penalty is longer processing time) and had lunch while TMG pondered. With the list identified, we changed the appropriate REL flag to Y.

We hope that this idea--very useful to us--may give you ideas for helpful flags in your TMG databases.

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Beginner's Corner: CRW Log

by Bob Velke

If you haven't mastered the inner workings of the Custom Report Writer (CRW), this primer will help.

The CRW Log contains a list of report definitions or configurations. A report definition is made up of a report TYPE (Pedigree, Descendancy...) and a series of options which are set according to your preferences. When you design and save a report configuration, you make it available for later execution with only one keystroke.

We have provided a long list of SAMPLE report definitions to demonstrate the power of the CRW. To get right to work, you can simply highlight one of the samples, access the File menu, and choose Print. The CRW will then generate the report using the options which we pre-set for you in the sample.

But you won't experience the full power and flexibility of the report writer until you go beyond the samples. To change any of the options in a report, highlight the report definition on the log and choose Edit from the menu. You can then change the focus of the report (who the report is about), as well as many other options. Select Save from the File menu after making changes.

You can likewise create a new report definition from scratch! (It may be wise to avoid changing the samples until you're familiar with all of the options). From the CRW Log, choose New from the menu. You will first be presented with the list of report types which are supported by TMG (Pedigree, Descendancy, Ahnentafel, etc.), and then you will have an opportunity to modify any of the default settings. Give the new report a name which you will recognize and save it; it will now appear on the log so you can run it at any time!

Over time you may develop a long list of customized report definitions. Some may be designed to output maximum data or "fill in the blank" worksheets. Others may be quick and dirty lists to take to the courthouse. Still others may be more selective and designed for distribution to your relatives or for publication.

There is no limit to the number of report definitions on the CRW Log!

TMG NEWS is an exclusive newsletter for registered users of The Master Genealogist®.

The Wholly Genes logo, The Master Genealogist, and TMG are trademarks of Wholly Genes, Inc. All other trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.


The text of this newsletter can be downloaded free from our BBS or at regular online rates from Compuserve (GO GENSUP) and other electronic services.

This electronic version of TMG News may be distributed freely, provided that it is copied in its entirety and distributed only in electronic form.

Hard copy subscriptions are available by U. S. Mail for $15.00 for four issues per year. Add $5.00 postage for Canada and Mexico; $10.00 for other countries.

Contents © 1995 Wholly Genes, Inc.
All rights reserved.

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Back to Laura's Main TMG Page.

L.A.W. 19 October 2000