Terry's TMG Tips

Using Roles to Manage Multiple Marriages

This page updated 23 Mar 2014

Version note: Applies to TMG 8 & 9

We often find the need to record information about individuals with more than one marriage. TMG allows you to create an unlimited number of marriage tags to record these events, so the straightforward approach would seem to be to simply enter a new tag for each additional marriage. But this approach, if you use the standard Sentence Structures, can result in a less than satisfactory account in reports, along the lines of:

She married John Smith 25 Jan 1853 in Johnson City. She married Sam Jones 3 Mar 1861. She married Roger Ward in Rush Creek.

One can modify the Sentence Structures of the individual Marriage Tags manually to avoid this. However an easier solution, in my view, is to create some custom Roles for your Marriage Tag Type. Then when you encounter a second or third marriage, you just select the appropriate Role with a mouse click or two. If you are unfamiliar with the use of Roles my Roles Tutorial may be helpful.

Here is how I modified the standard Marriage Tag to solve this problem. I left the standard Sentence Structures for "Principal," "Witness," "Bride," and "Groom" unchanged. I added the following new Roles, with the Sentence Structures shown:

Role                            Sentence
First [P] married first [PO] <[PARO]> <[D]> <[L]><, [M]>
Second: [P] married second [PO] <[PARO]> <[D]> <[L]><, [M]>
Third: [P] married third [PO] <[PARO]> <[D]> <[L]><, [M]>
Fourth: [P] married fourth [PO] <[PARO]> <[D]> <[L]><, [M]>


  • Enter the bride and groom as Principals, as usual.
  • When you know that for either (or both) Principals this is a second or later marriage, click on the drop-down arrow to the left of the ID Number of that person, and select the appropriate Role.
  • If you have marked one or both Principals as having had more than one marriage, go to the first marriage of that person and change that person's Role to "First."
  • Once you have changed the Marriage Tag Type to add these roles, you can not only use it for new marriages you enter, but you can also go back to existing Marriage tags and apply the new roles to them as well


  • I've used the traditional language of "married first," "married second," etc. You can of course modify these sentences so they appear any way that pleases you.
  • For help with creating the Sentences involved, see my article on Modifying Sentence Structures.

A less common situation that does occur occasionally is that a couple marries, divorces, then marries again. Simply entering two Marriage Tags works but produces somewhat strange narrative text. To address this I have created another Role to deal with this situation, as shown here:

Role                            Sentence
Again [P] remarried [PO] <[D]> <[L]><, [M]>

Note that when you enter two Marriage Tags for the same two Principals, only one of them can be made Primary. As a result, this solution works only with report types that can include non-primary Tags, such as the Journal and other narrative reports. Even then you must not use the "Primary Tags Only" option. The second marriage will not appear in reports that can use only Primary Tags, such as the Indented Descendent Chart, Pedigrees, and box charts.

Downloading this Tag Type

You can modify your existing Marriage Tag Type by copying the Roles and Sentences from this page, editing them as you prefer. Or, you can download and install a copy of my Tag Type using the Tag Type Import function.

If you choose to download you can import in either of two ways:

I recommend that you use the download only if you have not used and do not intend to use any of the "auxiliary" Roles, and that you have it replace your existing Marriage Tag. Otherwise, I recommend that you manually add the Roles described above.

If you do want to proceed with the download and import process:

  1. Down load my custom Tag Type file here: Terry's Marriage Tag Type

  2. The file formats used for exporting and importing Tag Types was changed with TMG version 8.05. This import can only be used with that version or later. If you are using version 8.04 or earlier you should install the free upgrade.
  3. You have a choice about where to save the file. You can save it in an easy-to-find location, such as on your desktop, and then locate it when you import it in Step 3 below. Or, you can save it in your TMG "Export" folder, which is were TMG first looks for it. I recommend that location if you might want to import the Tag Type again into different Projects. The default location of the Export folder is shown below, but it may differ on your system if you have customized your file locations:

Default Folder Location
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
C:\Users\{user}\Documents\The Master Genealogist v7\Export
Windows XP
Windows 2000
C:\Documents and Settings\{user}\My Documents\The Master Genealogist v7\Export
In yet another misguided attempt by MicroSoft to be helpful, Internet Explorer insists on changing the file extension when you save the file, making it unusable. The best solution is to use a "real" browser, such as Opera or FireFox. But if you prefer to use Internet Explorer you can solve the problem by correcting the extension as you save the file. To do that, when the Save As dialog opens, change the "Save as type" drop-down at the bottom of the screen to "All Files." Then edit the File name just above, changing the ".zip" at the end to ".xtt" (for eXchange Tag Type).
  1. Open TMG, then use the Tools > Tag Types menu command to open the Tag Types screen. On that screen, click the Import Button, and on the Import screen that opens select the "terry's marriage tag.xtt" file. If you have saved it someplace other than the Export folder, you will have to navigate to that location to locate it. Click the Open button, and the Import Tag Type screen opens:Import Tag Types

In that screen, you may choose to either:

For further details on exporting and importing Tag Types, see my article Exporting and Importing Tag Types.

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