Terry's TMG Tips

Creating a "Related-by" Flag

This page updated 22 Feb 2008

Version note: Applies to TMG 8 & 9

One of the more popular custom Flags created by users seems to be various versions of what's commonly called a "Related-by" Flag. While exact definitions vary, the basic idea is that the Flag shows how each person in the Data Set is related to a base person. Levels of detail vary; for example all cousins may be lumped together, or they may be identified in some fashion by how close they are to the base person's ancestral line. Likewise, the ancestors may be identified by generation, or simply as an ancestor. In other cases the flag may indicate by which grandparent a person is related to the base person.

The most common application for a Related-by Flag seems to be to control Accents. This allows the user to see at a glance how a given person is related to the base person (see my article on Accents for more detail). The Accent system itself provides for marking all ancestors of a person, for example, with a simple filter. But use of a Related-by Flag allows much more detail to be depicted.

Related-by Flags are described in TMG's user manual, and various users have described different ways of creating them. Lee Hoffman's article outlines a method with with a somewhat different definition. He uses the Book Manager feature so the flag can be recreated easily, which would be helpful if you don't want to keep it current as you add people.

Both my definition of the Flag, and my method of creating it, are somewhat different than the others, so I'm describing them in this article.

What's Required to Create a Related-by Flag?

There are four basic steps in creating and using such a Flag:

  1. Deciding what you want the Flag to depict. Review the various suggestions, and consider how you want to use it. Each person can have only one value in a Flag, so if a person has more than one relationship to the base person(s) only one can be depicted, unless you create combination values (e.g. great-grandfather and second cousin twice removed). Such combinations quickly get unmanageable. While a Flag can have over 30 different values, you can quickly create more states than you can devise memorable color combinations to display in the Accent system. If your situation is complex, consider having multiple Flags, as I describe here. I've described below the values I choose, and explain why I made these choices.
  2. Create the Flag(s) and allow the values you have decided upon. See my article on Flag Basic Concepts if you need a better understanding of the basics of Flags. I describe below in detail how to create the Related-by Flag(s).
  3. Set the Flag for each person in your Data Set. While in theory you could do this manually, if you have more than a few of dozen persons this quickly becomes tiresome and error-prone. The methods described below and Lee's article linked above are more practical for real Data Sets. If you use a Flag definition different than one described in the posted articles, you will need to apply logic to develop a step-by-step approach along the lines of those described. It's not difficult, but sound logic, carefully applied, is required.
  4. Maintain the Flag as new people are added to your Data Set. You could ignore this step, and re-create the Flag settings using the methods originally used whenever enough people have been added to be worthwhile. But I find it easier and more useful to set the Flag for each person as they are added. The easiest way to do this is to add the Related-by Flag to the Add Person screen. Click the Setup button on the Add Person screen, and go to the Flag tab to add the flag. Then, the Flag can be set for each new person as you enter that person.

Terry's Related-by Flag Defined

As I mentioned above, each user may define the Flag a bit differently, based on just what they want to accomplish with it. My main objective was to keep track of who was in the direct line, and for others, how far off it they are. I find it easy to get bogged down entering data for distant cousins, so I've made a rule to try to stick to ancestors, siblings, and their children, the spouses any of these, and the spouse's parents. So my Related-by Flag is designed to show me easily when I've wandered farther astray.

My wife and I are seventh cousins, so we share many relatives, but their relationships to the two of us is generally different. While it might be possible to design a system using something like ancestor of mine, ancestor of hers, ancestor of both, that seemed too complex to be workable. I was especially concerned about remembering enough Accent color combinations to keep such a system straight in my head. So I decided to create two Flags, one for me and other for my wife. I easily switch between them using custom Toolbar buttons, as described in my article on Accents.

Here are the values I use on each of the Flags:

Value Meaning Notes
A Ancestor An ancestor of the base person, the base person and descendants. Perhaps a better name for this value is "direct line." Since the base persons are me and my wife, I don't find a need to mark us separately. Nor do I find a need to mark the descendants separately – I know who they are.
S Sibling A sibling of an ancestor, including half-siblings.
C Cousin Any blood relative more distant than those above, including those related through only one parent. Since I want to identify the children of Siblings, I could have created a separate value for them. But I find that the appearance of the Sibling as the parent on various screens is sufficient, and no separate marking is required.
M Marriage A person who is not a blood relative, but is married to any of the above. This includes spouses of Siblings and Cousins, and "other" spouses of Ancestors. Persons linked only by marriage to one who is marked as M are not included; that is, the second spouse of the spouse of a Cousin is not included.
P Parent The parent of a person marked as M.
? Unknown This includes anyone not marked with one of the above values. I don't include a "not-related" value because I'm generally not positive (the relationship could be undiscovered) and I've not seen any value in distinguishing between unknown and not related.

Creating the Flag

Once you have decided what values the Flag is to have, creating the Flag itself is pretty simple. Here are the steps:

If you want to see the Flag settings for each person, or manually change the Flag after a person is added, you need to open the Flag Window. It is not open in the default layout. You open it by clicking the Flags Window toolbar icon – – or use the Windows > Flags menu. If you want it to always be open, adjust the size of some of the other windows to make a space for it, and save your new layout. To save a layout, click the Save Custom Layout toolbar icon – – or use the View > Layouts > Manage Layouts menu to open the Layout Manager. Give your layout a name and click Save.

Setting the Flag for Existing People

If you have a very small number of people in your Data Set, you could set the appropriate values of the Flag for each person individually. But for most users that would be a very daunting task. Fortunately, the List of People report, with its ability to use its Secondary Output to set Flags for the persons included in the report, can do the job for even a very large Data Set fairly quickly. What's required is to use appropriate Filters to select the correct people for each step.

The process requires a number of steps, and the exact steps depend on how you define your Related-by Flag. The processes described by most users make use of one or more temporary Flags to store interim results. The process I describe here uses only the actual Related-by Flag, and instead takes advantage of TMG's ability to save Filters to easily repeat steps to get the desired final result.

In the sections below I describe step-by-step how to set my Related-by flag for everyone in a Data Set, using repeated runs of the List of People Report. Since some of the relationships depend on others, we need to proceed in a carefully arranged pattern. For example, identifying the parents of spouses depends on knowing the spouses, which in turn depend on knowing the ancestors, siblings, and cousins. But because of the way the List of People report's filters and secondary outputs work, we actually need to set the Flag for these most distant relationships first. Here's how it's done:

Step 1 - Finding the Parents of Spouses

First we will set the Related-by Flag for the Parents of the Spouses of Ancestors, Siblings, and Cousins. Along the way we will temporarily set the Flag for others, but we'll correct that in later steps.

  1. Open the List of People report (Reports > List of ... > People) report definition.
  2. Click the Options button, and on the Report Options screen, go to the Secondary Output tab. On that tab, check Change Flag, select your Related-by Flag, and select "P" as the value in the next field.
  3. To avoid waiting for the actual list of people to be drawn each time, you may choose to check the "Suppress output to screen..." option. If you prefer to review the people being selected at each step, don't check that option. In either case, click OK to close the Options screen.
  4. If you didn't check the "Suppress output to screen..." above, make sure that the selection in the "Print to" box is set to Screen.
  5. In the "Subject(s) of the report" box, select "Filtered group" and then click the Add button under the field for the filter name. Since we will use this filter several times, give it a useful name, say "Ancestors" in the "Save Filter As" field at the top.
  6. Create the following three line filter by using the drop-down lists and typing in the ID# of the base person, or using the binoculars button to find it in the Picklist:
Field Subfield Operator Value Connect
ID number   = Equals 123 OR
Is a Descendant   of ID# 123 OR
Is an Ancestor   of ID# 123 END

And below, under "And then add their" check Descendants, and set the number of generations a bit higher than the total number in your Data Set. Note that the filter itself defines the "direct line" and the added descendants term adds all the Siblings and Cousins. Click OK to save the Filter and return to the Report Definition screen.

  1. Click "Create Report" to generate the report and save the report definition. If you have checked the "Suppress output to screen..." option in step 3, you will go directly to the question about changing the Flag. Otherwise, you will see the report first; if so, after reviewing it, close it and you see the question about changing the Flag. In either case, click Yes to that question, then click No to the question about updating the Last Edited Date. You have just temporarily marked the "direct line," Siblings, and Cousins as "P."
  2. Next we are going to add the Spouses. Open the List of People Report again, and create a new Filter by clicking Add under the field for the Filter name as before. Give this new Filter a name, say "Additions." Create the following Filter:
Field Subfield Operator Value Connect
Related-By   = Equals P END

Below, under "And then add their" check only Spouses. Note that this filter collects everyone marked as "P" in the previous step, and the added spouses term then adds the spouses. Click OK to save the Filter and return to the Report Definition screen.

  1. Click "Create Report" and close the report if you've not suppressed it. Allow the Flag to be changed. You have just temporarily marked the Spouses as "P" in addition to those previously marked.
  2. Finally, we are ready to mark the Parents of the Spouses. Open the List of People Report again, with the "Additions" Filter still selected. Click Edit under the Filter name, and change the "And then add their" option - remove Spouses, and check Ancestors for 1 generation. Click OK to close the Filter, and Yes on the "Are you sure?" question.
  3. Click "Create Report" and allow the Flag to be changed.

We've now finished the longest procedure, Setting the Related-by flag for the Parents of the Spouses of all Siblings and Cousins (and any "other" Spouses of Ancestors) to "P." In the process, we've also set many others to "P," which we will fix in the following steps.

Step 2 - Finding the Spouses

Next we will set the Related-by Flag for the Spouses of Ancestors, Siblings, and Cousins. Again we will temporarily set the Flag for others, which we'll correct that in later steps.

  1. Open the List of People report again. Click the Options button, and on the Report Options screen, go to the Secondary Output tab. On that tab, under "Change Flag, change the value from "P" to "M." Click OK to close the Options screen.
  2. In the "Subject(s) of the report" box, in the drop-down list next to "Filtered group" select the "Ancestors" Filter.
  3. Click the Edit button, and change the "And then add their" option to Descendants, and set the number of generations a bit higher than the total number in your Data Set. Again the filter itself defines the "direct line" and the added descendants add all the Siblings and Cousins. Click OK to save the Filter and Yes on the "Are you sure..?" box.
  4. Click "Create Report" and allow the Flag to be changed. You have just temporarily marked the "direct line," Siblings, and Cousins as "M."
  5. Now we are going to set the flag for the Spouses. Open the List of People Report again, in the drop-down list next to "Filtered group" select the "Additions" Filter.
  6. Click the Edit button, and change Value field in the filter to "M." Also, change the "And then add their" option to Spouses. Click OK to save the Filter and Yes on the "Are you sure..?" Box
  7. Click "Create Report" and allow the Flag to be changed.

Now we've set the Related-by flag for the Spouses to "M" in addition to the Parents who were marked as "P" in the previous step. In the process, we've also set many others to "M," which we will fix in the following steps.

Step 3 - Finding the Cousins

Next we will set the Related-by Flag for the Cousins. Again we will temporarily set the Flag for others, which we'll correct that in later steps.

  1. Open the List of People report again. Click the Options button, and on the Report Options screen, go to the Secondary Output tab. On that tab, under "Change Flag, change the value from "M" to "C." Click OK to close the Options screen.
  2. In the "Subject(s) of the report" box, in the drop-down list next to "Filtered group" select the "Ancestors" Filter.
  3. Click the Edit button, and change the "And then add their" option to Descendants, and set the number of generations a bit higher than the total number in your Data Set. Again the filter itself defines the "direct line" and the added descendants add all the Siblings and Cousins. Click OK to save the Filter and Yes on the "Are you sure..?" Box
  4. Click "Create Report" and allow the Flag to be changed.

Now we've set the Related-by flag for the Cousins to "C" in addition to the Spouses and Parents who were marked as in the previous steps. In the process, we've also set others to "C," which we will fix in the following steps.

Step 4 - Finding the Siblings

Next we will set the Related-by Flag for the Siblings of the "direct line." Again we will temporarily set the Flag for others, which we'll correct that in later steps.

  1. Open the List of People report again. Click the Options button, and on the Report Options screen, go to the Secondary Output tab. On that tab, under "Change Flag, change the value from "C" to "S." Click OK to close the Options screen.
  2. In the "Subject(s) of the report" box, the Filter should still be "Ancestors." Click the Edit button, and under the "And then add their" option to change and set the number of generations for Descendants to 1. Click OK to save the Filter and Yes on the "Are you sure..? Box
  3. Click "Create Report" and allow the Flag to be changed.

Now we've set the Related-by flag for the Siblings to "S" in addition to those who were marked as in the previous steps. In the process, we've also set the "direct line" to "S," which we will fix in the last step.

Step 5 - Finding the Ancestors

Finally we will set the Related-by Flag for the Ancestors, or more correctly, the "direct line."

  1. Open the List of People report again. Click the Options button, and on the Report Options screen, go to the Secondary Output tab. On that tab, under "Change Flag, change the value from "S" to "A." Click OK to close the Options screen.
  2. In the "Subject(s) of the report" box, the Filter should still be "Ancestors." Click the Edit button, and under "And then add their" clear all the check marks. Again the filter itself defines the "direct line" and no one is being added. Click OK to save the Filter and Yes on the "Are you sure..?" Box
  3. Click "Create Report" and allow the Flag to be changed.

Now we've set the Related-by flag for the Ancestors to "A" in addition to those who were marked as in the previous steps. We're done! You probably want to use the flag for setting Accents - see my article on Accents for more on that.

If, like me, you want a second Related-by flag for another base person (in my case, my wife), repeat the entire process, changing the ID# in the Ancestors Filter, and the Flag name in the Secondary output and in the Additions Filter.


ReigelRidge Home Terry's Tips Home Contact Terry

 

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