Become a Better Researcher

Our research problems are unique and our genealogy software, to be useful, must be flexible enough to match our respective problems and our respective methods. The Master Genealogist is that software, but power and flexibility has a down side. The more options a program has, the more decisions the user must make. This year, the Tri-Valley TMG User Group will explore those options and make some of those personal decisions. Would you like to play along with us? Do each month's assignment, and if you like, e-mail it to us at: We'll post some of the completed assignments on this blog each month. Let's hear it for choices!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Including Adopted Children in a Report

This is one of the questions that came up during the December meeting. "How do you include adopted children in a report?" (or substitute "step-children" or "foster children")

The ramifications of including adopted/stepchildren in a report are very interesting, but the "how" is not difficult. From the child's person screen, make the link between the child and the adoptive/step/foster parent primary. Highlight the tag; then, click the asterisk on the toolbar, or click the asterisk on your keyboard (shift-8), or select Edit > Toggle Primary.

Although this does allow one to include children other than biological children in a report, be warned that the result does not match genealogical standards for compiled genealogies. For  a discussion of the proper arrangement and numbering of biological, adopted, and stepchildren, see Joan Ferris Curran, Mailyn Coen Crane and John H. Wray, Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin (Arlington: National Genealogical Society, rev. 2008), 17-25.

An unedited example shows a few of the problems encountered, if the user doesn't plan for them during the data entry.

This report has minor problems that one can live with, but there are two big problems that must be fixed.
  1. Arthur Gifford married Isabelle Amelia Carpenter first, but the family group containing his biological daughter is listed second. Why? Evidently, the order of families in a Journal report (and in a family group sheet report) is determined by birth dates of the children, not by the date the parents' union occurred. The proper order of families is: 1) biological children in chronological order (but don't ask me about legitimate vs. illegitimate); 2) adopted children in chronological order, or the order they entered the family - but be consistent; and 3) stepchildren. Fix: Adjust the sort order of the respective children's birth dates, if that doesn't create further problems.
  2. There is no differentiation between his biological daughter, Lorene Gifford, and his stepdaughter, Evelyn Chubbock. The database does differentiate, but that differentiation doesn't appear in the report - and that could lead to big problems when this report is disseminated. Fix: Rewrite the Child Intro line (a.k.a. "Children of" statement). This can be done by editing every report, or one can use the ChildrenNarrative tag. That is the subject of the next post. :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment