Thursday, November 20, 2008

Test Drive of Family Historian 3.1 - Post 3: Reports (Part 1)

After the announcement on last Wednesday, I downloaded the free trial copy of Family Historian 3.1 and installed it on my computer, and then loaded a 20,000 plus person GEDCOM file into it. I want to demonstrate some basic screens, charts and reports in this series of posts.

The first post in this series is here - it demonstrated the basic navigation in the program using the Records Window and the Property Dialog box. The second post is here - it demonstrated some of the charts that Family Historian 3.1 can create.

There is a Tour of Family Historian 3 at for those interested. It includes basic navigation using the Records Window and the Interactive diagrams and Smart Trees. If you are interested in this program, then you should take this Tour.

In this post, I will show several of the reports that Family Historian 3.1 creates.

The "Reports" menu item includes a number of Report types. I want to describe the "Narrative Reports" first in this post. The choices in Narrative Reports are "Ancestors by Generation," "Descendants by Generation," and "Individual Narrative." I chose "Ancestors by Generation." The report I received looked like this - a 298-page ahnentafel report with vital records, children, notes, sources, etc.:

The user can use the "Options" controls on the right side of the page to control the report content and formatting. Formatting is controlled by the "Format" tab - fonts, text sizes, heading styles, etc. The "Main" tab controls what is in the report, including the number of generations, names, events, sources, notes, children, spouses, etc. I wanted an Ahnentafel List (just the ancestors, no notes, children, etc.) so I modified the "Main" tab as shown below:

When I hit "OK" I got what I wanted (only 23 pages, although it listed other spouses of each person):

The "Descendants by Generation" Report looks similar - here's the first page of a 19 page report:

Here's the 8th page of a 19 page Descendants report:

The user can save a report by clicking on the "Save Report As" on the right-hand menu - you can choose an HTML page, an RTF format or a TXT format. The user can print the report from the "Print" button on the right-hand menu.

These reports are generated very quickly. There is sufficient format and content control to satisfy most users.

I will describe some of the other report capabilities in the next post.

1 comment:

GordSK said...

Hi Randy -- I really appreciate your reviews / evaluations / comments on the (new to me) Family Historian (FH) program. I'm looking especially at a program with more/ better features than my FTM 2005 - and so far, FH looks like a hit by all measures.

I also like that there are free programs associated with FH to assist with fixing problems with FTMs [and others] GEDCOM export files < > and with recording Census data and image files far better than FTM < >

I've been a FTM user since 1997 (about Ver 3) but have had serious reservations about continuing. My last upgrade was to FTM 2005. I bought FTM 2008 but luckily had not installed it when all the design "faults" began to appear. I've previously been looking at switching to RootsMagic or TMG but shortfalls with export /import problems with all my FTM notes have inhibited me up to now.

If I face myriad problems, workarounds and manual data re-entry by migrating from FTM2005 to FTM2008 / FTM 2009, then perhaps my time and effort would be better spent converting to FH.
Fortunately, I have no "books" in my FTM to convert, nor is the current FH lack of PDF any hindrance to my decision.

If you can find the time to assess
the GEDFIX program(s) and the Gedcom Census program, these "add-on" Test Drive posts for FH will be of great value to all your readers in the same predicament as I find myself -- deciding if and when to switch to FH from one's current program.

One thing I've found very useful as I mulled over the many aspects of this decision is to read (& / or join) the User Group forum/ blog/ wiki for any contemplated "new" program. These are great sources of information about feature/ option shortfalls, deficiencies and for looking at "wish list" items for things not in the program that users want.

The FH User Group "entry page" is here < >.

Thanks again. Keep up the great work on your blog!// Gord in Regina SK, Canada