Terry's TMG Tips

Adding Given Names to Short Footnotes

This page created 16 Mar 2006

Version note: Applies to TMG 8 & 9

This article describes how to modify standard source types to include given names of authors, subjects of records, and other persons who are normally shown with surnames only in source notes after the first.

This is part of a series of articles on minor changes all users might want to make to the standard Source Types provided with TMG. These changes are designed to enhance the operation of the default Source Category for new Projects, those drawn from Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence!: Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian.

If you want to try these suggested modifications and are not familiar with editing the Output Templates of Source Types, you may find my article on Working with Source Templates helpful.

The Issue

Many style guides, including Ms Mills' book, call for the author of articles, books, e-mails, and other source documents to be identified by full name in the first source note, and by surname only in subsequent footnotes. Then, in bibliographies, the full name is used, but with surname first. TMG carefully follows this guidance when the name of the author, editor, etc., is entered in the recommended format, that is, as surname, comma, then given name.

This works well for many cases. But when dealing with multiple e-mails or other documents from members of your own family, the resulting listing of multiple sources whose authors have the same surname is less than helpful. In such cases, users generally modify the standard source templates so that the "short footnote" also includes the author's given name. I have seen several methods employed to do this, including:

Both these methods have disadvantages, in my view. The first requires entering the name into the output template, which I think should be avoided if possible. The second requires either creating a separate Source Type for cases where the given name is desired, or always entering the name twice, regardless of whether the given name is required.

The Solution

There is a better way, I believe. That is to create a new Source Element, whose use is optional, for the given name in the short footnote. It can be added to every Source Type which may on occasion require a given name in the short footnote. The full name is always entered in the normal Source Element for Author, Compiler, etc. The given name is entered again in the custom Element for only those Sources that require it.

This change is a bit more complicated than the others suggested in this series, but once it is done application is easy. It requires two steps:

The following discussion tells how to do each step.

Creating the Custom Source Element

We want the name of the new Element to suggest it's use. I chose the name "SF Given Name," for "short footnote given name," but you can use any name that reminds you of how the element is to be used. To create a Source Element:

  1. Open the Source Elements screen, from the Tools > Source Elements menu
  2. In that screen, click the Add button
  3. In the Add Source Element screen, enter the name of the new element in the first field - I entered "SF Given Name"
  4. Choose an "Element Group" from the list. This is important. You need to choose a group that will not be used elsewhere in the sources in which you will use this new Element. Some suggestions, based on the usage of Element Groups in the standard Source Types:
Group Comments
File Reference Used in only 3 obscure Source Types: Electronic File, National Archives Film/Fiche, and National Archives Manuscript.
Page Used in only 3 Source Types: National Archives Film/Fiche, National Archives Manuscript, and Obituary/Newspaper Item.
Version Used in 4 Source Types: Ancestral File, Manuscript (Filmed for Distribution), National Archives Film/Fiche, and Ship Passenger List (Filmed).

Of course if you have customized some of your Source Types, or created custom ones, you could have other conflicts with these suggestions.

  1. Click OK to close the Add Source Element screen, close the Source Elements screen, and you are done.

For more details on working with Source Elements, see my article Working with Source Elements and Groups.

Adding the New Element to Source Types

You now need to add the new Element to each Source Type in which you may sometimes what to include the given name of the author in the short footnote. Here's how you would modify a Source Type to do that:

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Source Types to open the Source Types list.
  2. Select the Source Type you want to modify, and click the Edit button.
  3. In the output template field for the Short Footnote, insert your new Source Element, in Conditional brackets, before the existing element for the author, editor, or whatever:

For example, here is the standard Short Footnote template for the "E-Mail Message" Source Type:

[AUTHOR], "[SHORT TITLE]," e-mail to [RECIPIENT]<, [DATE]><, [CD]>.

After adding the new element, it looks like this:

<[SF GIVEN NAME] >[AUTHOR], "[SHORT TITLE]," e-mail to [RECIPIENT]<, [DATE]><, [CD]>.

It is important to include the conditional brackets, so that if you don't want to include the given name, the template works correctly without it. It is also important to include the space after the element, within the conditional brackets, otherwise there will be no space separating the given name and surname.

Click the OK button to save your changes.

After entering a given name in one of your sources that uses the Source Type you just modified, you may want to go to the Output Template tab and click the Preview button to check your work. Or run a report that uses that source and check your work that way.

If you want to make the same change on other Source Types you use, repeat the above steps for each of them.

The steps above change the default Template for the Source Type, and thus are effective for all Sources you have entered in the past, or enter in the future, using this Source Type. But there is one important exception. If you have modified the Output Template of a Source of this type "locally," that is, in the Source Definition screen for that Source, it will not be changed by editing the Source Type – it no longer uses the default Template. You will need to make the same edit for those Sources individually if you want to change them.


The new Element will now appear on the General tab of the Source Definition screen of any Source of the type you have modified. Note that the label of that element is enclosed in conditional brackets, indicating that its use is optional.

For Sources where you want the given name to appear in the short footnote, enter it as you would like it to appear. The normal name element will supply the surname, so you don't need to repeat that.

For Sources where you do not want the given name to appear in the short footnote, simple ignore the new element, and the source notes will appear as they did before you made the change. This means that you do not have to make any revisions to existing Sources, other than any in which you might want to now add the given name in the short footnote.

Users of Second Site should be sure that the "Short Footnote Name Format" on the Data > Sources screen is set to "Surname." If this option is left in the default setting, "GivenName Surname," the given name will be duplicated in the Short Footnote.

Other Topics in This Series

Removing "Hereinafter cited as..." – removing that unneeded phrase

Accommodating Copies of Sources – dealing with copies of original sources

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