Thursday, August 13, 2009

Family Tree Builder 4.0 - Post 2: Getting Started

After downloading Family Tree Builder 4.0 from the MyHeritage website, and uploading a GEDCOM file into the software (see Family Tree Builder 4.0 - Post 1: A First Look), I started exploring.

The program opened with the person with ID number 1, who happens to be the third wife of Robert Seaver (1608-1683), for whom I have, and history provides, no name. Here is the starting screen:

Those colors are pretty drab, so I decided to check how to change them to something, um, more fresh. Above the central window with the person boxes, there is a "Styles" button. I clicked on that and explored the settings, and selected a Background color (yellow), then the "Gradient" Style, and the colors for males (lavender) and females (pink), from color palettes:

I clicked "OK" and had a fresher look on the screen:

Now I want to change the Home Person to myself from the third wife with the unknown name. I used the People Index in the left frame and selected myself. I explored a bit (I could use the Help function but that's no fun!) and finally found that if I right-click on a person, that a popup menu provides some options, including "Set as Home Person" under the "Person" item, as shown below:

In the screen above, three generations of ancestors, and three generations of descendants, can be viewed. The user can select one, two or three generations to be shown using the lside scale above the family tree.

There are two major menus for the program, as shown in the screen view above.

* The top row is the classical Windows-type list of File, Edit, View, Person, Famly, Charts, Reports, Favorites, Research, Publishing, Tools and Help.

* The second row, of icons, includes New, Open, Save, Back, Forward, Home, Tree, Photos, Matches, Research, Charts, Reports, Maps, Publish, Premium, Language and Help. Most of those are pretty intuitive. The "Home" icon takes you to your Home Person. The "Tree" icon takes you to the family tree view (as in the screen shot above).

I wanted to see how all of the information from the GEDCOM upload came through,so I wanted to navigate to my grandfather, Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942). There are two ways to do this. One is to find him in the family tree and click on his name. The user can navigate generation to generation using this method, but it is a bit cumbersome to jump more than three generations back or forward. The horzontal and vertical scroll bars can be used to show persons off the screen view.

The second way, which I chose, was to find him in the People Index in the left panel and click on him:

I noted that the People Index frame can list names in alphabetical order by first name or by last name. The screen above shows it by "First Name." To choose Last Name, just click on the column heading "Last Name." The index can be listed by ID number, First Name, Last Name, Birth Date, Death Date, Relation (distance from the Home Person - I'm guessing it's the number of generations up the ancestors and down the descendants), and Last Modified. You can move the columns around by dragging and dropping. The People Index list can be minimized or maximized or sized by the user. This is a very handy list. I wish that it had spouses listed too - I don't know if items can be added to the Index list or not. I checked the Help function and did not find this ability.

In the next post, I'll explore how to access the information about a person in the database. After that, we'll do some data entry.

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