This page Updated 14 Aug 2005
Version note: Applies to TMG 7 & 8
TMG has very powerful filter features that enable the user to collect various information for a wide variety of tasks. Filters are available to select groups of people, events, sources, citations, and more. This article focuses on people filters those used to select groups of people. People filters are used in the List of People report, and to display a selected set of people in the Project Explorer and the Picklist. The main body of the people filter is the same for all three applications, but there are differences in the options offered at the bottom of the filter in each application:
Our discussion here will primarily deal with people filters as used in the List of People report, as this seems to be the area most commonly found confusing. Often confusion results when attempting to create a List of People to mark certain individuals with flags, perhaps to use with accent colors, or to export them to a GEDCOM file, or in creating a new TMG Data Set or Project. These are very useful applications of people filters, but until you get used to them, using these filters can be confusing.
A common problem new users have is selecting the descendants (or ancestors) of an individual. Often, the intent is to include all the spouses of this direct line, along with the parents and perhaps other spouses of those who married into the direct line. So the obvious thing to do is create a filter like the one below.
But when you look at the result, you find that the starting ancestor and his or her spouse are included as are the descendants for 10 generations, but the descendants' spouses and their parents are missing. Why?
To understand why, look carefully at the filter definition. First, the filter tells TMG, look for the people defined by the area marked by the blue line - that is, the target ancestor. Next, in the area marked by the red line, it says to TMG, add their (the target ancestor's) spouses. Then it says, add their (the target ancestor's) ancestors. Finally, it says add their (the target ancestor's) descendants. Notice that it never says to add the spouses of the spouses, nor the ancestors of the spouses. Each section of the "add" portion at the bottom refers back always to the people identified inside the blue line.
Of course, the desired result can be obtained. As is usual in TMG, there are several methods, with the best depending on the exact result desired. Three of them are described below, starting with the simplest and progressing to more complex methods capable of dealing with more complicated groups of people.
If one wants just the descendants and their spouses (no parents of spouses, or other spouses of spouses) the easiest solution is to change the main part of the filter to include both the target ancestor and the descendants. That way the "And then add their spouses" term applies to both the ancestor and the descendants. The following filter will do that:
ID number = Equals 523 OR Is a descendant of ID# 523 END
Note that this method does not permit limiting the number of generations of descendants.
If one wants descendants, spouses of descendants, and the parents of the spouses as well, using a Focus Group may work.
Start by opening the Focus Group (Window > Focus Group, or click the Focus Group icon on the toolbar). If there is already anyone in the Focus Group, clear them by clicking the Remove All button. Then collect all the desired people in the Focus Group. Some typical steps, depending on exactly who is to be included:
Add the target ancestor. The easiest way is to navigate until that person is visible in any window, right-click on the name, and select "Add to Focus Group."
Add descendants. Select the target ancestor in the Focus Group, check "Descendants" in the box on the right (clearing any other items checked in the box), set the number of generations, and click the Add Others button.
Add spouses of the descendants. Select everyone in the Focus Group (click the "Select All" button). Then check "Spouses" in the box on the right (clearing any other items checked in the box) and click the Add Others button.
Add parents of spouses. Select everyone, then check "Ancestors" in the box on the right (clearing any other items checked in the box), set the number of generations if you like, and click the Add Others button. Note that this will also add all the ancestors of the target person and those of all his or her descendants, unless you select in this step only the spouses of the descendants rather than selecting everyone, which is very difficult to do if there are very many of them.
Once you have collected everyone in a Focus Group, you can use that group in Step 4 of the Export Wizard to export to a GEDCOM file. Or, you can use the Focus Group as the Subject in a List of People report for a variety of tasks, including using the Secondary Output of that report to set a Flag or create a new Data Set or Project.
This is a more robust method, providing more flexibility in limiting the number of generations and including parents of spouses and others, but it requires several steps, using a temporary flag. The idea is to create a group of people marked with a flag, then add spouses, etc., until you get the right list. Then use the flag to create the GEDCOM, new Data Set, or whatever the objective is. The steps required are:
1. Create the Flag
To create a flag, use Flag manager, accessed from File > Flag Manager on the main menu. Click Add, and enter a Label like Scratch (you can't use Temp because it's reserved for the system). Enter values N,Y for no and yes. N is first so it's the default, and the flag will be set to N for everybody at the start. You can ignore the Description area. Click OK twice to return to the main screen.
2. Use the List of People Report to Select Desired People
Now you use the List of People (LoP) report several times to change the Scratch flag to Y for the people you want to include. Open the LoP report definition (Reports > List of... > People) and click on Options. On the Secondary Output tab, select "Change Flag" and select your Scratch flag in the first drop-down and "Y" in the second. You next make a series of "runs" with this report, using different filters, to collect all the people we want. Each time you add people to the group marked in the preceding runs.
The following is a typical set of steps, but which ones are required in a specific case depends on exactly which people you want to include. Being successful depends on thinking clearly about just who you want to include, and how they are related to one another. You must proceed in a logical order, because in each step you add people who are related to all those selected in the previous steps.
2a. Mark the Direct Line
Assuming we are looking for the descendants of an ancestor, set the filter to:
ID number = Equals 523
(or whatever the ID number of the ancestor is) and at the bottom check Descendants, and enter the number of generations needed.
Let TMG generate the report. After you verify that you've got the right group, close the report and click "Yes" when asked to change the flag. You are next asked if you want to change the "Last Edited Date" for these people. I can't imagine why one would choose anything but "No" for this option, so I would suggest turning it off in Preferences > Program Options > Reports.
2b. Add Spouses, Ancestors, and Descendants
Next, you take the group of people marked in step 2a above, and add the others that you want to include. To do this, make as many additional runs of the LoP as needed to add the people you want. Each time the secondary output remains as before, but the filter is:
SCRATCH Equals Y
(substituting the name of your flag if different) and you change the items at the bottom as required. Some likely possibilities:
- First, add the spouses by checking only the Spouses box on the Filter and running the report.
- Then, you might want to collect any ancestors of the spouses by checking Ancestors and setting the number of generations to one.
Note that this will add the parents of everyone already in the group. That's not an issue for the descendants of our target ancestors, since their parents are already included. But if the parents of the target ancestor and spouse exist in the Data Set, they will be included too see why it's important to think carefully about each step?
- If any of the spouses had multiple marriages, and you want to include them, make another run with Spouses checked again.
- If you want to include others, you can make additional runs, each time adding the desired group by specifying how they are related to those existing, but being careful to consider all the people who will be added in each step.
- You can also manually change the Scratch flags to Y for some people if you want to add (or delete) a few odd people that are hard to define with a filter. Open the Flag window, navigate to each of those people, and double click on the Scratch flag and change it's value.
3. Use the Flag for Your Desired Final Output
When you are satisfied that you have the right list, use the Scratch flag for whatever your original objective was. For example, if you wanted to create a new Data Set or Project, use the Secondary Output of the Lop report to do that, using a filter of:
SCRATCH Equals Y
If you want to create a GEDCOM file, use the same filter in the Project Explorer. Then, select everyone in the Project Explorer (click on the first person, scroll to the bottom of the list, and hold shift while clicking on the last person). Then use the Export wizard (File > Export...) and at Step 4 select the second option (the one with the name of your Data Set) and below that, select "Selected people on the Project Explorer."
The Second Edition of my sell-out book, A Primer for The Master Genealogist, is now available.
Details are can be seen here.
Copyright 2000- by Terry Reigel