Terry's TMG Tips

Data Entry - a Tutorial

This page updated 12 Dec 2011

Version note: Applies to TMG 8 & 9

TMG is highly flexible, offering the user extensive control over almost every aspect of data recording, display, and output in reports, charts, and websites. But with that flexibility comes a variety of screens and data fields that sometimes leaves new users a bit bewildered. This tutorial is designed to help new users feel more comfortable with the basic tasks of entering and editing data.

For purposes of this tutorial, I assume that the reader has either imported data from another genealogy program, or has used the new project wizard to enter basic data about a few people, and is now ready to edit that data or add new information.

This article has three main parts, with several topics in each:

Topics Included in this Article
Part 1 – Understanding Tags
All Data is Entered in Tags
A reminder that all data about a person is entered in Tags
Name Tags
Entering Names
Relationship Tags
Tags that connect parents and children
Event Tags
Recording Births, Marriages, Deaths, and other events
Advanced Data Entry
Allowing additional types of data to be entered
Part 2 – Working with Tags to Edit or Add Data, or to Add People
Editing Existing Tags
How to edit data in existing Tags
Adding New Tags
How to add a new Tag to an existing Person
Adding New People
How to add new People to your Project

Along the way I'll offer a number of suggestions and tips that may be useful in entering data into TMG. But before we start, we need to understand the basic data block in TMG - a "Tag."

All Data is Entered in Tags

A very basic concept used in TMG is that virtually all information about each person is entered in "Tags." Tags define the person's name(s), relationships (parents and children), as well as all events, including birth, marriage, death, and any other events or facts we choose to record. For a further discussion of this concept, see my article on TMG Basics.

The Tags for a person are listed in the Person View of the Details screen:

Details screen

Three special Tags appear in the upper section:

In the "tag box," or main area, of the Details screen we see all the other Tags recorded for this person, including:

Now we will look at the three main types of Tags, and see how data is entered in each type.

Except where otherwise noted, all the examples here are use the "Beginner" Data Entry mode, which hides some more advanced features to make the screens simpler. That is the default mode. You can change between Beginner and Advanced mode in Preferences, under Program Options > Data Entry

Name Tags

The Tag Entry screen for Name Tags contains six areas for user input:

Tag Entry screen - Name

All the other fields are for advanced features, such as Name Styles, or custom sorting of the name in the Picklist and Project Explorer. Consult Help for details on them.

Enter names in mixed case, like Jones or McClure. If you want to see them in all upper case in screens or reports, leave the default settings, which display in upper case, or change the settings to see them as you enter them.

Parent/Child Relationship Tags

The Tag Entry screen for Parent/Child Relationship Tags contains five primary areas for user input:

Tag Entry screen - Relationship

Event Tags

Event Tags include many different types of tags, including Birth, Marriage, Death, and "Other Events" which include types like Occupation, Census, Note, Will and many more. This example is a Marriage Tag. The Tag Entry screen for Event Tags contains seven primary areas for user input:

Tag Entry Screen - Event

A Reminder screen opens for Tags using commonly used Tag Types to help us enter the appropriate data in each field. For example, here is the one for the Occupation Tag Type:

Tag Type Reminder screen

For more on Reminders, see my article on Using Reminders.

This concludes the review of the three main types of tags. We've left out some more obscure types, such as History tags, which are not generally used by beginners.

Tip Entering Repeated Place or Other Data

We often find that we need to enter the same information that we have previously entered elsewhere, most obviously for place and citation information. TMG offers two tools to make this easier, and help avoid spelling errors and inconsistencies. The functions work in almost every data entry field in TMG - try them and I think you will find them most helpful. To use them, place the cursor in the desired field and press the indicated key:

F3 – Repeat Function – recalls the most recently used value in that field. Press again for the next prior value, up to 15 prior values. Or, press Ctrl-F3, and a list of up to 15 prior values will appear and you can select the desired value.

Special rule for citations: The Source # and Citation Detail fields are recalled together. Using F3 in either recalls the values for both.

F2 – Search Function – searches for all values previously used in that field. Once the list appears, type a few letters of the desired value, and the list will scroll; select the desired value when it come into view.

Special rule for places: Place the cursor in the lowest level you want to recall before you press F2. Then, when you select your desired value, all higher ranking places with be filled in as well.

Tip Consider Switching to Advanced Data Entry Mode

Several time above I referred to the Advanced Data Entry Mode. The default Beginner mode simplifies the data screens by hiding some fields that would appear on them in Advanced Mode. Here is a Tag Entry screen for Event Tag in Advanced mode:

Tag Entry screen

Perhaps the most useful features available only in Advanced mode are:

For a complete list of features enabled in Advanced mode search Help for "Advanced." To switch between Beginner and Advanced modes, go to Preferences > Program Options > Data Entry.

Now that we have explored the various types of Tags, we will look at how to edit or add new Tags, then how to add new people to your Project.

Editing Existing Tags

To edit any existing tag, we open it's "Tag Entry Screen." We do that by...


Once the Tag Entry screen is open, you can edit any of the fields, as depicted above for each of the three major types of Tags.

Adding New Tags to an Existing Person

Now let's look at how to add a new Tag for a person. First, navigate to the desired person. Then either...

Tag Edit Toolbar

Tag Edit Toolbar

Any of these actions will bring up the Tag Type List:

Tag Type List screen

Chose a Tag Type that is appropriate for the data to be entered and click the Select button, or just double-click the desired Tag Type. This will bring up a Tag Entry screen, as shown in the preceding sections, where you can enter the desired data.

For certain commonly used Tag Types, such a Birth, Marriage, Death, and Burial, you can open the Tag Entry screen directly from the Add menu or with a keystroke. For example Ctrl-B opens the Birth Tag Entry screen. The keystrokes appear in the bottom section of the Add menu. They also appear on the list of Tag Types, as shown above, where "(^B)" indicates that Ctrl‑B opens the Birth Tag.

Adding New People

So far we have discussed editing existing Tags, and adding new Tags to people already entered in your Data Set. Now we will cover adding new people to the Data Set.

If the new person is related to someone already in our Data Set, we navigate to that person first. Then click the Add Person button:

This brings up the Add Person Type screen, in which we specify how the new person is related to the person currently in view on our screen:

Add Person Type screen

In this case we are going to add a daughter of Martha Jones, so we click the Daughter button.

You can also select how the new person is related directly, by selecting the relationship from the Add menu.

If the new person is a child of an existing person, as in this case, we are asked to specify who the other parent is on the Select Second Parent screen:

Select Second Parent screen

This screen lists the spouse(s) of the current person, and generally we just select the correct spouse. We might also select "None" if we don't know who the parent is or we don't have that parent entered in our Data Set. Or, if the other parent is entered but not shown as married to the current person, we can select them by entering their ID# in the field below "Identify another person," or select them with the Search button button.

We now see the Add Person screen. The Add Person screen is a sort of short-cut screen that allows us to do a number of things from a single screen, including:

We can look at the screenshot below to see how this works:

Add Person Screen

When we click the OK button we will enter the following data into our Data Set:

The new person will become the focus person when the Add Person screen is closed. You can then add other tags if you like, or edit any that were added by the Add Person screen.

By default, the Add Person screen creates only the tags listed above. However, by clicking the Setup button in the lower left corner of that screen, you can customize the items displayed to fit your needs. You can make the following changes to the default settings:

For details, see my article on Customizing Your Workspace.

Related Articles

This concludes the tutorial on basic data entry. Other articles on related topics that may be of interest:

TMG Basic Concepts – creating a "mental model" of how TMG records your data.

Tutorial on Sources – how to create and cite sources.

Projects and Data Sets – important to understand if you import data from more than one file.

Working with Layouts – setting up your workspace to suit your needs.

Susan Johnston's article The Bubba Browne Data Set is a well-done outline of basic data entry tasks, with a humorous twist. It was originally written for an earlier version of TMG, and she has updated it, leaving the changes apparent so newer features are noted.

ReigelRidge Home Terry's Tips Home Contact Terry



Copyright 2000- by Terry Reigel