Monday, August 10, 2009

Making an Ahnentafel List in Family Tree Maker

Our Saturday Night Genealogy Fun assignment was to create an ahnentafel list of our great-great-grandparents, and many "players" successfully created a nice list and posted them on their blogs or in comments to my post or on Facebook.
However, those who tried to use any version of Family Tree Maker (up to 2009) were unable to easily make an ahnentafel list using FTM software.

How do I define an "Ahnentafel List?" It has exact ahnentafel numbering (similar to a really big pedigree chart), names, birth date and place, death date and place, and marriage date and place for the ancestors of a selected person. No notes, no facts, no children, etc. This is a genealogy industry standard report!

I use ahnentafel lists in place of a pile of pedigree charts. I have over 2,000 known ancestors, and my ahnentafel list is about 50 pages long. That is much easier to navigate, and to take with me in a notebook, than many pedigree charts, or a large printed genealogy report.

Family Tree Maker (all recent versions) creates an Ahnentafel Report very nicely - but it does not permit the generation of an Ahnentafel List as described above. It should be able to - but it doesn't! The capability should be added to the program in the next release.

When the only genealogy software I had was Family Tree Maker, I made the Ahnentafel Report and then edited it in my word processor to eliminate the children and the notes. With over 2,000 ancestors, this was a major time waster task.

Family Tree Maker 2009 offers an Ahnentafel Report and a Simple Ahnentafel Report. In an Ahnentafel Report, the user can include preferred facts, private facts, person notes, research notes, private notes, Fact notes, and sources. I created a 5-generation Ahnentafel Report for my father - with preferred facts, person notes and sources (I clicked on the Items to Include icon), as shown below:

The resulting Ahnentafel Report was 64 pages. Cutting out the Preferred Facts, Person Notes and Sources, the resulting Ahnentafel Report is shown below:

Note that it has all the Facts (since I deleted Preferred Facts), adds the "More About" facts (where does that come from?), adds the Reference Number (huh? why?), and is only 19 pages. It still has the children. I WANT an Ahnentafel List with only the names dates and places for my ancestor's birth, marriage and death.

There is a check box on the Ahnentafel Report screen that says "Use short biographies (B,M,D only)." When I click on that, I get a shorter five-generation Ahnentafel Report - only 14 pages:

But it still has the children listed, and there is a separate paragraph for the marriage. It's not what I Want.

What about the Simple Ahnentafel Report? It looks pretty much like the Ahnentafel Report. Here is the 5-generation screen shot with Preferred Facts, Person Notes and Sources:

This report was 57 pages - why is it different from the Ahnentafel Report? Ah, it lists only the Birth, Marriage and Death Facts, not the other preferred facts.

Eliminating Preferred Facts, Person Notes and Sources using the Items to Include screen results in this report:

This Simple Ahnentafel Report is still 15 pages, and still lists the children. It includes "More About" the children and also includes the names of the parents of each person in the Ahnentafel list.

While this is a nice Ahnentafel Report, it is not the Ahnentafel List that I want with just names, BMD dates and places for my ancestors.

Every other genealogy software program that I've seen (Legacy, RootsMagic, The Master Genealogist, Personal Ancestral File, Brother's Keeper, The Family Historian, Family Tree Builder, Reunion, etc.) has the capability to create a simple Ahnentafel List. Here is the screen shot of my five-generation ahnentafel list generated by RootsMagic 4 (it took less than five seconds!):

That is exactly what I want! The other programs create something similar.

How can Family Tree Maker modify their program to create a simple Ahnentafel List? Easy - add more check boxes to "Include only BMD Facts," "Include children," "Include parents," "Include More About" information, etc. to the "Items to Include" screen.

Surely, that cannot be difficult, can it?


Carol said...

I sure hope it won't be difficult Randy, because I don't see any other way to do it for myself other than in Word either. I guess it's time to bombard, er, suggest to FTM to add the checkboxes. Or, think about changing genealogy programs.

One of the reasons I have stuck with FTM is the ability to search Ancestry right from the program and my family file. Do any other programs do that?

Ginger Smith said...

Hi Randy, I was also pulling my hair out trying to get this report to work in FTM 2009. I thought I was doing something wrong, or "missing" something, then I just thought something wasn't working right with my software. A lot of times I create a report and export to Word and then it loses a lot of formatting and text.
I'm looking forward to reviewing rootsmagic at some point in the future.

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

I'm pretty sure earlier versions used to do that - maybe FTM 16? I remember printing those at one time.

I was trying to make a simple pedigree chart yesterday, and had a heck of a time getting it to do what I wanted. Seems like they took away many of the "include" options. Can't figure out how to add the spouse of person #1 in a pedigree chart - any ideas?

Cousin Russ said...

Randy -- Might I suggest that you submit an Enhancement Request for the List. The only Ahnentafel that is available is the Report.

I don't remember the List that you provided in Any Version of Family Tree Maker, not have I seen it requested before, for Family Tree Maker. And I do try to pay attention to new feature requests.

I see the Difference between the List and the Report.

Thank you --- Russ

Cousin Russ said...

Randy - I may blog about this, but I spent a little time with Family Tree Maker Version 2009 and your Ahnentafel List.

Question: after using the Simple Ahnentafel Report, using the Items to Include and remove everything by Date and Location for the Name, Birth, Marriage, and Death Item, I get close to your report.

The difference is that the Existing Ahnentafel Report includes the Children. If there was an Option to EXCLUDE the Children, would that be closer to what should be in the Ahnentafel List?

Just checking. Thank you. Russs