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Filters Made Simple -- Maybe
Although most of TMG's reports allow the user to print out everything in the database, that type of report
is seldom really useful. We want a report derived from a subset of the database: a selection of people, events,
or sources that meet certain criteria. The entire database is filtered based on those criteria. If you're
not familiar with basic Boolean logic, this brief guide may help.
TMG's filters allow two Boolean operators, AND and OR. Here's how these two
- All the people with the given name "John" in your database are represented by the blue circle.
- All the people with the surname "Smith" in your database are represented by the yellow circle.
- If you want to investigate the subset of all people called "John Smith", you want a filter that says, "Show
me 'John' AND 'Smith'." Do you see that the result is the small overlap in the center?
- If you want to investigate the subset of all people called "John", regardless of surname, and all
people called "Smith", regardless of given name, you want a filter that says, "Show me 'John' OR
'Smith'." If the person falls in the blue circle OR in the yellow circle, you want to see them.
- Contrary to our usual logic, the Boolean operator AND yields a smaller subset than the Boolean operator OR.
Filters can include both AND and OR, but be careful. When these operators are combined
in a filter, use parentheses to make it clear how the combination should work. Any actions enclosed by
parentheses are done first, and then the filter is processed from left to right. Take a look at the filter
(slightly modified) we used in our February meeting. Do you see how it works?
- Note that this filter combines AND and OR operators, so parentheses must be used.
- Note also the [?] in lines two and four. This means you will be asked to insert a date each time this
report is used. Let's assume a 1 January 1951 date for line two and a 1 January 1900 date for line four.
- The first line is: SSN... # of Tags = Equals 0. What is the result of this line? Any person who does not
have a SSN tag will "stick" to the filter.
- Next come two lines enclosed by parentheses. Death Group Date Does not come before [?] OR Death Group # of Tags = Equals 0.
What will result? Any person whose death occurs after 1 January 1951 will "stick" to the filter and, since
these lines are connected by the OR operator, any person without a Death tag will "stick."
- The two lines in parentheses are connected to the first line by the AND operator. That means that
anyone still left in the filter will be someone with no SSN tag who died after 1 January 1951 or who does not have a death tag.
- The last line is: Birth Group... Date Does not come before [?]. We can ignore people born long before the
creation of the Social Security Administration. Using the 1 January 1900 date, this means that only people born after
1 January 1900 will "stick" to the filter. This line is connected to the preceding lines by the AND operator.
- The only people left after all the filter lines processed meet these criteria: 1) They do not have
a SSN tag; 2) they died after 1 January 1951 or no death tag has been entered for them; and 3) they were
born after 1 January 1900.
Report Filter Screen