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!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

January Meeting Discoveries

A Note from the January Meeting

We started our exploration of TMG's Visual Chartform (VCF) by working through Robin Lamacraft's first three topics (see Robin's VCF Tips). Playing with the default values allowed us to personalize some basic descendant box charts. Then, we tried to create a descendants chart that showed cause of death, a bit of data I have entered into Memo2 in my death tag. Oh, no!!! It didn't work correctly - until we included the Memo1 field in the list of "Data Types."

Since I really didn't want Memo1 information in my chart, I started exploring and discovered that there is a bug in the VCF program. You can read about the problem in the Wholly Genes Forum under this topic. Fortunately, there is a work-around described by Virginia Blakelock. Something must be entered in Memo1, or the VCF misses the split. Virginia uses the '>' character, but I wasn't too happy with that option. Instead, if Memo1 is blank in my death tag, I enter sensitivity brackets, {}. This way, nothing prints in any report that I don't want printed. Does anyone see a problem with this?

Death tag showing sensitivity brackets in Memo1 field
With this little trick, I was able to print a descendants box chart that was color-coded for cause of death and included a more detailed statement of cause of death in the data included on the chart. Here's a JPG example of the resulting chart. Nice features like a legend have not been added. That is a topic for a future meeting.
VCF descendants box chart showing cause of death