Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Working with Family Tree Builder 2.0 - Post 2

Family Tree Builder 2.0 is FREE software that can be downloaded to your personal computer from http://www.myheritage.com/family-tree-builder.

I described the Family Tree Builder 2.0 software in my post "Family Tree Builder software (from MyHeritage.com)," and showed the basic open, upload, person and edit screens in my post "Working with Family Tree Builder - Post 1."

In this post, I want to show some of the Chart and Report options available to the user.

When you click on the "Charts" icon, the choices are "Ancestor Chart," "Descendant Chart," "Fan Chart" and "Close Family Chart." You can get horizontal or vertical charts. On each chart, you can use the "Options" button to select how many generations you want, box design, box colors, font size, line widths, information for each person, background, and many more choices.

I selected an unlimited number of generations for Isaac Seaver, and got the chart below (shown only partially 3 pages high and 3 wide - there would be 60 pages to this chart if I printed it out - 4 pages wide, 15 high).

Next I selected a Fan Chart of Ancestors of Isaac Seaver, and limited it to 8 generations. This chart is only 6 pages (3 pages wide, 2 high) if printed out.

Then I requested a vertical Ancestors Chart with only four generations, and got this - only two pages wide.

A descendants chart (limited to 4 generations) looks like this - only 5 pages wide.

The "Reports" icon options include "Book Report," "Family Group Sheet," "Relationship," "Ancestors," "Descendants," "Timeline," and "Descendant Summary."

I will discuss the Book Report in another post.

The Family Group Sheet has a nice, clear format, as you can see below. The "Options" button allows you to define what information you want on the Family Group Sheet, the photo (if available) the font type, size and colors to use, and Sources.

However, as you can see, the name of the father and mother are not located in the right line for some reason. This happened with every person in my database for some reason, and is an error that will probably be corrected soon!

A Descendants Report can be written in a number of report styles - I chose the MyHeritage Standard (which looks to me like the NEHG Register format). The "Options" button permits the user to define the content and format of the report. However, Notes are added to the Report after the list of descendants, and the Notes do not give a Descendants number for each person's notes. My preference is to have the Notes interspersed with the families, rather than at the end of the report. Hopefully, they can make this an Option.

The Ancestors Report is written in a fixed style - in each generation, the persons in that generation and their parents are also listed. This is not a "pure" ahnentafel report - that would not list the parents of the persons in each generation, but would list them in their own generation. This is a real duplication of information that is not helpful. My preference is to have a nice, clean list of ancestors, numbered 1 to n in the Ahnentafel (Sosa-Stradonitz) system.

The "Options" button permits the user to define the content and format of the report. However, Notes are added to the Report after the list of ancestors, and the Notes do not give an Ancestors number for each person's notes. Again, I would like the Option to put the Note for each ancestor in their Section of the report.

The Relationships Report provides a list of everyone in the database and their relationship to the selected person. For my 19,024 person database, it generated 307 pages in several minutes, and it is really pretty useless. The list is in the order of number of steps from the selected person - a grandson would be two steps, a grandfather would be 2 steps, and a wife of a 3rd cousin would be 9 steps (5 up to the common ancestor, and 3 steps down to the 3rd cousin, and one more step for the wife - I think that's right...). Any long list like this should be alphabetical, in my opinion, so that a certain person can be found.

What would be of more help would be the selection of two specific persons in the database and be able to determine the relationship between them.

The Timeline report for a selected person covers the facts concerning the selected person - birth, baptism, marriage, death, burial, and any other fact in the Facts section - census, land, probate, etc. I like this chart a lot!

The next post will cover the Book Report portion of the Reports icon.

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