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.
There are four basic steps in creating and using such a Flag:
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:
|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.|
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.
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:
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.
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finally we will set the Related-by Flag for the Ancestors, or more correctly, the "direct line."
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.
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