Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making Family Tree Builder Reports - Post 1: Ancestor Report

The official press release from MyHeritage about Family Tree Builder 5.0 was distributed to genealogy bloggers today - you can read it at Geneabloggers here.  The MyHeritage Blog has more images here.  I posted MyHeritage Announces new (free) Family Tree Builder5.0 Software on Monday after receiving a press release (I thought) that had no warning not to post it on it.  My apologies to the MyHeritage team for jumping the gun on this.

I am always curious to see what kind of charts and reports that a genealogy software program offers.  I posted about the new genealogy charts offered by MyHeritage two weeks ago, and they are included in Family Tree Builder 5.0 also, in Checking out the new MyHeritage Charts.

What about reports?  Here are some screens for the MyHeritage Reports, and in this first post, specifically the Ancestor Report.  This is the report that I create the most often.  With the program open to my database, I navigated to Norman Seaver, then clicked on the Reports button on the menu row and saw this drop down menu:

The menu options are Book Report, Family Group Sheet, Relationships, Ancestors, Descendants, Timeline, Descendant Summary, Addresses, and Export Custom Report (new).  I clicked on Ancestors to get a report for the Ancestors of Norman Seaver.

A report was created, but I wanted more information in the report.  So I clicked the "Options" button at the top left of the screen, and saw an Options menu:

There are three tabs in the Options menu:

*  General (Include patrilineage, include notes at end of report, Only include facts in report language, Show ID numbers of people, Show all generations, Limit number of generations to:).  I chose 5 generations for the report.

*  Fonts (Report elements, Font properties, and Preview)

*  Sources (Include sources, Use short sources).  I chose to not use short sources, and to use sources as footnotes (the other options were as endnotes or Do not include sources).

The top of the first page of the report looked like this:

For each ancestral person, only the ancestral person's vital Facts are shown, plus "other events (like christening and burial, and) the person's parents are identified.  No children are shown, or other spouses.

The bottom of the first page looks like this:

At the bottom of each page are the sources corresponding to the sourced Facts. 

Even though I requested that the Notes for each person be printed, they do not reside in the report with the person.  They are printed in the report after the list of the ancestral persons.

I found Norman Seaver's Notes printed on page 12 of 32 (after his parents, but before his parent's ancestors):

I noted that in the entire report, the females were denoted by Givenname Marriedname [Maidenname] rather than the American and English convention of Givenname (Maidenname) Lastname. 

I wondered if they had used the right Ancestor Numbers (some call them Ahnentafel Numbers, or Sosa-Stradonitz numbers) in earlier generations, so I added two more generations, and the software does not use the Sosa-Stradonitz numbering system!  For instance, Robert Seaver (1608-1683) is the second great-grandfather of Norman Seaver and is number 16 in the report and on a pedigree chart, and since I don't know his parents names, the number3 32 and 33 in an Ancestor Numbered report should be blank.  However, the report assigns #32 to Isaac Wilson, the father of #18 Nathaniel Wilson.  This problem (well, I have a problem with it!) has existed all through the Family Tree Builder software reports since they started using the My Complete Genealogy Reporter system.

So, to summarize, the Ancestors Report in Family Tree Builder 5.0 has these "flaws" in my opinion:

*  The Notes for the ancestral persons in the report should be included with the Facts for each ancestral person rather than in a separate section.

*  There should be an option to include information about the children of each ancestral couple, and also information about other spouses of each ancestral person.

*  The numbering system in the report should conform to classic pedigree chart and Ancestor Numbering Systems (e.g., Sosa-Stradonitz).

These issues may not bother some researchers.  However, for me, the program does not follow standard genealogy conventions with the numbering system and ancestral report information sequence, and the report, as generated, is pretty useless to me.  No other genealogy software I've seen produces an Ancestors report like this.

We'll look at some of the other reports in later posts.

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