I am in the market for another genealogy program. I
have been a faithful user/subscriber of/to Brothers
Keeper for a very long time, but I have one major fault
with it: I cannot get a certain report format without
a stupendous amount of work. I have asked John Steed
for years to add the feature and either it is too
difficult or he has other priorities. Anyway, here is
the format and the requirements in order of preference:
1. A listing of my direct lineage genealogical data
by surname line, that is by male spouse if there are
surname variations or surnames are missing or not used.
2. Each line listing should be in descendant order.
3. The data for each individual should include, as a
minimum (customizing would be nice):
LAST NAME, first name; #; b. date, place; d.
M(1). date, place; LAST NAME, first name;
#; b. date, place; d. date, place [parents; #s]
M(2). date, place; LAST NAME, first name;
#; b. date, place; d. date, place [parents; #s]
4. The children should be indented under the
appropriate spouse. For non-direct lines, it might be
optional to just list the number of children, but this
is questionable and is relatively easy to edit later.
5. The exact format is optional, but some indented or
generation-separating indicator is preferred. For very
long lines, maybe generation numbers, but for short
lines indented is best.
6. It would be nice to have a convenient way to
update the list without having to reprint the entire
list (when I originally did this it was about 150 pages
long). I decided that it was prudent to start each
line on a new page, even though sometimes there was
only two people on a page (lots of blank paper was nice
when researching, also). That was so I could number
the pages decimally, i. e., page 124.3 of 150, when I
was able to add people to my line, and not have to
totally redo the page numbering and index.
7. Index by surname and variations. This is, of
course, easier to construct than the others with a good
word processor, which is where my list ends up.
8. Export data in .WPD format. Oh, all right, I am
joking here, but at least have the option of .TXT
or .RTF. I find .RTF a pain when imported into a word
processor as each line/page retains the original
formatting and it is difficult to make global changes.
9. BTW, it must import/export GEDCOM files; or,
ideally, BK6 data files <GRIN>.
When I did this years ago (and was never able to find
the time to keep updated) I was able to create a very
nice loose-leaf binder full of all the _essential_
information that would be needed when doing research.
With the word processor I could add little important
bits of information, like immigration details, etc, and
avoid all the relatively useless (for my immediate
research purpose) notes like references and anecdotes
(dont get me wrong, I sort of like this part best!).
All I needed was my trusty blue binder and a pen and
off I would go. It was so nice.
Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.
Apologies for the long msg.
Sincerely, Jim Mayor <jmayor(a)sover.net>
Jim> I am in the market for another genealogy program. I have been a faithful
user/subscriber of/to Brother's Keeper for a very long time, but I have one major
fault with it: I cannot get a certain report format without a stupendous amount of
I think you should check out The Master Genealogist. As far as I can understand it,
the format described by your items 1-5 is roughly like "Register format" - the
standard format used by the "New England Historical and Genealogical Register"
rendering lines of descent. TMG can format your data into "Register" and
other intelligent formats, as well as produce all manner of customized lists. It also
makes pretty nice charts. BTW TMG "Register" reports can be formatted into
WordPerfect, Word, or just about any wordprocessor format you desire.
I qualify my recommendation, though, because it may be you don't want to produce a
standard genealogical report (organized by generations and descendancya), but rather
want, in effect, an alphabetized list of "family group sheets." TMG has
capabilities for producing customized reports, but I haven't myself tried to use it
just this way, so if you are married to the idea of one particular customized format,
you may still be disappointed.
TMG is also one of the few genealogy programs more or less adequate for recording
sources (and automatically producing formatted footnotes) in a scholarly manner. You
do not have to use these features if you don't want to, though you certainly should
want to if you have any notion of reporting your work to others. The standards for
acceptable genealogical reporting have rised dramatically over the last decades.
TMG is also fully capable of importing/exporting GEDCOM, as well as formats which can
be exchanged with the major spreadsheet and database programs.
That said, I have a lot of criticisms of TMG. It is the most mature genealogical
program and one of the most sophisticated, but I do not like the Windows interface.
I, like you, have repeatedly complained to the developer, Bob Velke, over the years,
and nothing has been done about its most glaring faults. Chief among these is that
the default text size is quite illegible unless you have a 23" monitor or sit with
your nose to the screen. Yes, since it is Windows, you can tinker with the font and
font size parameters to get something usuable but it takes me six mouse clicks for
each new window of text because the program isn't smart enough to remember how I like
things set up. As a professional systems designer myself, I consider this quite
unacceptable. I also predict it will finally get fixed when Bob himself is pushing 50
and starts to understand what happens to old eyes.
I gather you would like to have some method of sorting by rationalized surname
(collapsing all the known spelling variants into one category). I am not aware of any
genealogical software (including all the internet resources) which does this
adequately. I have designed my own genealogical program which does address this
problem, along with its many other unique innovations. I only wish I had another
lifetime so I could have developed it and be able to offer it to you now. If I did
have my program, though, I would still export my data to TMG for the sake of its very
strong report features, and I am sure you will find it a vast improvement over BK. I
made the switch from BK to TMG about 10 years ago.