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!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Recapping the July Meeting - Part Three

 You've played with all TMG's indexing options, and you now have an index you like. How can you make your manually coded index entries match? Let's look at how Word sees TMG's indexing code. Our manual codes should match this format.

Word page showing indexing codes
The easiest way to show all the various codes contained in a Word document is the click the paragraph icon (highlighted by the red arrow in the image above). This illustration comes from a Word 2013 document. Your version of Word may not look exactly the same, but it will contain this icon somewhere. Important! Before populating your index, click this icon again to hide the codes. They add a lot of pages to your document.
  • The index code shown for the name Thaddeus Ward is: {xe "People:Ward:Thaddeus (1779-1863)"}. The colon separates index levels, so Level 1 is People (TMG's index name); Level 2 is Ward (TMG's surname); and Level 3 is Thaddeus (1779-1863) (TMG's given name and lifespan). If we hand code this in a TMG memo field, this is what we would enter. Word won't see any difference in the automatic TMG entry or the manual entry.
    • [INDEX:]People:Ward:Thaddeus (1779-1863)[:INDEX]
Place names are a little trickier to code, because we chose to include index entries by detail, city, and county. Thaddeus Ward died in Danville, Caledonia Co., Vermont. If we were manually coding this in a memo field, we would need to create an index entry for Danville and for Caledonia Co.
  • Analyzing Word's code for Danville, we see {xe "Places:Danville:Vermont, Caledonia Co."}. Again, index levels are separated by colons, so Level 1 is Places (TMG's index name); Level 2 is Danville (TMG's city); and Level 3 is Vermont, Caledonia Co. (TMG's containing place elements, largest to smallest). Here is TMG's manual entry for the same index code.
    • [INDEX:]Places:Danville:Vermont, Caledonia Co.[:INDEX]
Do you remember the Occupations section of the index? It was created by entering this index code in a memo field: [INDEX:]Occupations:Farmer (or other relevant occupation):Surname, Given Name (Year-Year)[:INDEX].

Manual index code for an Occupations index
You are not limited to People, Places, and Marriages indexes. If you choose, you can create some interesting indexes of your own. What would these look like?
  • [INDEX:]Ministers:Surname: Given Name (Year-Year)[:INDEX]
  • [INDEX:]Ships' Passengers:Ship name:Surname, Given Name (imm. Year)[:INDEX]
  • [INDEX:]Cemeteries:Cemetery (City, State):Surname, Given Name (Year-Year)[:INDEX]
TMG allows up to three levels of index codes, but if you choose to create an index with your word processor, you will be able to create additional levels.

"This is a lot of work!" you say. You're right. If you determine an indexing format you like, and you stick with it, adding index codes in TMG as you enter your data will streamline this effort. If you plan to vary your index content and format, you should consider skipping TMG's index and create your index, start to finish, with your word processor.

Ready to format your index? Head to Part Four of this meeting recap.

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