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A Basic Journal Report (Descendants)

If you're the family genealogist, you probably get frequent requests for copies of your research. Rather than sending a GEDCOM file and losing control of your research, it would be nice to have an easily-produced narrative report that provides the basic information most casual researchers want. TMG's Journal reports can produce just what you might want. This report definition was created at our January 2012 meeting.

Report Definition

Report Definition Screen

The image on the left shows the Report Definition Screen for this report. The report definition name is "TVTMG_Journal_Descendants_Basic." These reports are simplified if the subject is defined as "Use the Current Focus Person." Of course, you'll need to navigate to the desired subject before running the report. The Report Destination is a Word file. Other reasonable file options would be a PDF file or an RTF file.

Report Options

There was much discussion about the various report options. Side comments on the possible decisions are shown in italics in the following paragraphs. You may choose radically different options for your Basic Journal report.

Report Options: General Tab
  • Note that the default report title was kept. [F] will be replaced by the primary name of the report's subject.
  • How many generations do you want to send your correspondent? We left this number at 5 generations. This produces too many people in my Case family reports, so I reduce this to 3 generations.
  • We chose to use a standard style, the Record style, something that approximates the articles seen in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ). Choosing a standard style eliminates some of the format choices.
  • Don't forget to check "Include blank surety"! If you routinely include sureties when entering data, note that you can examine the quality of your information by checking a higher surety threshold and printing the resulting report.
  • This report will include the researcher's name, prepared date, e-mail, and website at the end of the report. That information is entered in Preferences in the General screen under Current Project Options.

Report Options: Page Options Tab

This screen allows the user to define page number style, location and text, tab indent size, justification, and graphic lines in the header and/or footer. We left everything blank.

This is a short report, but for long reports, page numbers should be included. It's also nice to include your name and contact information on every page, rather than at the end of the report. If you include the page number at the bottom of each page, you can include your contact information (set by choices on the General Options tab) in the header. If you place the page number at the top of the page, the contact information can be placed in the footer. Graphic lines make the report look a little more professional.

Report Options: Fonts and Colors

TMG ver. 8x allows new choices in font and background colors, as well as the option to "Honor screen Accent color definitions." Our basic report does not use colors. Note the icon my screenshot calls the "Copy" icon. Setting these font and color options is simplified if you set the "Text" options first, then copy those options to all the remaining lines by clicking this icon. Then, format only those entries that differ. We used the Times New Roman for all the fonts, but changed the size and style for the Exponents and the Titles.

Report Options: Sources

Yes, our basic report includes our sources - entered as footnotes. The option to include them as endnotes was vetoed by one of our members. "I want my sources seen. If they're included as endnotes, most of my family will simply throw them out." Good point! We included relationship sources and chose to combine consecutive footnotes. Although the "Memos" tab is not illustrated in this tutorial, we chose to include memos in the endnotes section. This basic report does not have many memos that aren't included in the sentences.

Although combining consecutive footnotes is a perfectly good option, TMG ver. 8x currently will not allow the user to disable "ibid." at the same time. It may have been a bug, but this could be done in TMG ver. 7x. TMG does not use ibid. as required by both Mills and the CMOS, so my personal preference is to always disable it. There are two ways to handle this: 1) always turn off ibid. on the Output form tab when defining sources in your Master Source List, or 2) don't combine consecutive footnotes in your reports. In either case, your formal reports will probably require editing after the initial TMG output, something most serious researchers would recommend anyway. To see the problem I'm describing, read the footnotes in this sample report. Can you tell to what the various ibids. refer?

Report Options: Exhibits

We are including primary images for each person in this report. They are embedded, but the layout needs to be edited in Word to optimize the appearance of each page. TMG ver. 8x allows the user to include event exhibits, citation exhibits, and source exhibits, as well as person images in these reports. Note also that we could resize the exhibits from this screen.

Report Options: Tags

This is a very basic report, so we chose a limited set of tags: baptism, birth, burial, death, divorce, immigration, and marriage.

Report Options: Miscellaneous Tab

Most of the formatting options available on the Miscellaneous tab are set when you choose a specific style on the General tab. Note that we chose to omit excluded and sensitive data. One other consideration is whether or not to suppress details for living people. Once a report leaves your hands, it's out of your control. Do not include details on living people! We chose to use the text, "Living: Information withheld," for all persons still living.

Report Sample

Sample Report

This report was generated with the Tri-Valley TMG Users Group's enhanced sample database. Clicking on the image will open a PDF copy of the report. Before the PDF file was printed, the Word document was edited to optimize the placement of the images.