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

Using the NarrativeChildren Tag

"How do you make changes in the journal report's Child Intro line?" (a.k.a. the "Children of" statement) There are many situations in which TMG's basic standard Child Intro line, "The children of John2 Smith and Mary Jones were as follows:" or its standard variations, doesn't work. Among the most frequently encountered problems:
  • You want to use the preferred standard format: "The children of John2 and Mary (Jones) Smith were as follows:"
  • You want to vary things a little: "The only child of John2 and Mary (Jones) Smith was:"
  • You want to qualify the list:
    • "The children of John2 and Mary (Jones) Smith have not been determined."
    • "John2 and Mary (Jones) Smith were the parents of seven children; only the following four have been identified:"
    • "The known children of John2 Smith and Mary Jones, ordered according to John's will, were as follows:"
  • You're dealing with a single parent and the phrase, "and an unknown spouse," is actually very wrong: "The child of Mary2 Jones (father unknown) was:"
  • You're dealing with an adoption:
    • "The adopted child of John2 and Mary (Jones) Smith (said child's biological parents unknown) was:"
    • "Adopted children of John2 Smith (said children born to his wife Mary Jones by her first husband, Thomas1 Brown) were as follows:"
  • You want to include stepchildren raised in the family: "The stepchild of John2 Smith, child of his wife Mary Jones by her first husband, Thomas1 Brown, was:"
The solution is TMG's NarrativeChildren tag. Two online pages discuss the use of this tag. Study both, as each provides more information than this blog.
Begin with Terry's page. His discussion of TMG's standard "Children of" statement, with its programmed variations, is very important. If you don't understand what is built into TMG's report-writing, you won't know what customizations you need to create.
Terry's discussion of the NarrativeChildren and its possible roles is more basic than that found in the WhollyGenes Forum post. The latter has some wonderful - and complex - examples. Although the example shown below was created with different NarrativeChildren roles, my preferred customization of the NarrativeChildren tag is much simpler - and is illustrated in the next post.

Pre-edit Journal report showing improved Child Intro lines

Since the NarrativeChildren tag is so versatile, why not use it all the time? Are there any problems? Yes, there are a few. You will need to decide for yourself, whether or not, and how, to use this tag.
  1. No superscript generation indicator is generated with the NarrativeChildren tag. This means that indicator needs to be added during the final edit.
  2. There is no way to create appropriate NarrativeChildren tags when the same couple has both biological children and adopted children and/or stepchildren.
  3. Things can get very confusing if you try to create NarrativeChildren tag roles for both the biological parents and the step/adoptive parent combinations for the same child.

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