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Creative uses of composite TMG charts


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#1 Mike Talbot

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:09 PM

Looking at posts to this forum over the years, many TMG users are not taking full advantage of the wonderful VCF charts generated by TMG. This marriage of TMG with VCF, elevates TMG above the other good genealogy programs.

With VCF you can make your charts look the way that you want them. You can move components around, select components from other charts and paste them into your composite charts, add or delete lines, pictures and text. You can even edit the text or change the size of individual standard VCF person boxes.

By moving components around, you can often make large charts fit on standard letter or legal size paper. For example, you can also add components like subject spouse boxes to standard VCF Ancestor Charts.

The attached chart was made to show two grandkids a bit of American history. It is a composite of selections from two VCF Ancestor and one Descendant Chart (I could also have used an Hourglass Chart, but this way seemed much easier). To this composite, four pictures and some text were added. It was the (fun) work of about an hour, including debugging my mistakes.

Significant time would have been saved if TMG generated the “Relationship Chart” to VCF (still on my long time “Wish List”).

Best wishes,
Mike Talbot

Attached Thumbnails

  • RevWarAnc.jpg


#2 Mike Talbot

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:25 PM

Another customized VCF chart used for historical genealogy research. Napoleon's mistresses and possible children are controversial.

See attached. A standard VCF would take about 4-6 letter size sheets for the same information. I hope to see more creative uses of VCF by others, on this forum. The more ideas, the better.

Best wishes,
Mike Talbot

Attached Thumbnails

  • napoleonDesc.jpg


#3 GenerationGoneBy

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 01:50 PM

I have trouble with VCF. I don't know if it's me, or my computer isn't powerful enough. Could be too much data, you know me. :o But those are beautiful. Maybe it's my ancestors. They aren't the most attractive bunch. :lol Actually they aren't that bad, but the images of them are. No one in my family has ever had any photographic abilities until my children were born, which doesn't help me much. Where was the good photographer when my third great grandfather started school? When he married? Heck I'd even take a funeral picture. :wub:

But i really do have problems using VCF. Not enough patience I guess. Though I did do a chart once for the kids and we taped it altogether. Took up all of the living room and was a little crooked, we didn't get good taping genes either. And some of my ancestresses have really long names which makes for a strange chart when it truncates her name in the middle and doesn't show the name she was known by on the chart.

#4 Mike Talbot

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:47 PM

I have trouble with VCF. I don't know if it's me, or my computer isn't powerful enough. Could be too much data, you know me. :o But those are beautiful. Maybe it's my ancestors. They aren't the most attractive bunch. :lol Actually they aren't that bad, but the images of them are. No one in my family has ever had any photographic abilities until my children were born, which doesn't help me much. Where was the good photographer when my third great grandfather started school? When he married? Heck I'd even take a funeral picture. :wub:

But i really do have problems using VCF. Not enough patience I guess. Though I did do a chart once for the kids and we taped it altogether. Took up all of the living room and was a little crooked, we didn't get good taping genes either. And some of my ancestresses have really long names which makes for a strange chart when it truncates her name in the middle and doesn't show the name she was known by on the chart.


Forgive me if I misunderstood your post. Perhaps you need more main RAM memory or to exit other programs (even including TMG) when you use VCF for editing charts.

VCF charts are very useful for emphasis or to make a point concerning a few generations. I limit VCF usage to 5 or 7 generations ancestor charts and usually to 4 generations descendant charts. A dozen or so gen. custom edited relationship charts are also frequently useful. VCF is much faster than I for such applications on my 5 year old computer.

Ahnentafel reports and descendant indented charts are much better and more paper efficient when dozens of generations are desired in one document.

Once, for a lark, I generated a 15 gen. VCF ancestor chart. VCF editing was slow and moving components was downright unusable for such a monster chart. But what use would such a large chart be, anyway? Where would one keep it or display it? How would you index it or find anything?

I, too, have some long names in my data and have never had one truncated by VCF. In my experience, VCF will keep adding lines for the name, ad nauseum. VCF will truncate a word in a name that exceeds the maximum box width. Depending on the user configured limit, this is usually well over 20 characters in a single word.

Best wishes,
Mike Talbot

#5 GenerationGoneBy

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 04:28 AM

Maybe I have it set wrong, it doesn't create new lines for my names. I haven't played with in it forever, so that may have changed.

#6 Mike Talbot

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 05:42 AM

Maybe I have it set wrong, it doesn't create new lines for my names. I haven't played with in it forever, so that may have changed.


Perhaps you are thinking of the Relationship Chart. It outputs to a word processor and does truncate names longer than one line.

Truncation of long names is one of the many reasons that I wish that the Relationship Chart would generate its output to VCF.

Best wishes,
Mike Talbot

#7 Mike Talbot

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 07:38 AM

Maybe I have it set wrong, it doesn't create new lines for my names. I haven't played with in it forever, so that may have changed.

Maybe there is a VCF chart configuration problem causing name truncation problems in your VCF.

The displayed charts in previous posts had the following settings. (Configure the Ancestor, Descendant and Hourglass Charts identically so that boxes look good when mixed in a composite chart.)

In TMG click on > Report > type of vcf Chart > Options:

Settings within Options tab:

.IDENTIFIERS: check: none

.TEXT: Names: Tahoma, 8, B; Data: Tahoma, 6, R (fonts used in boxes)

.BOXES: Width: 176 pixels; Height: 0 pixels

.IMAGES: Image width: 68 pixels; Image height: 72 pixels (these are maximums)

.OTHER: check: Allow word wrap, and, Remove blank lines

If there is a wide image and Image width and Box width are set too close in size, even short words might get truncated in VCF. Ditto if the font size is too big.

Good luck,
Mike Talbot

#8 RobinL

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 04:27 PM

There 2 known issues about the presentation of text strings in VCF.

a. Text (name, place name, memo, etc) can get truncated without warning if a single word will not fit in the specified box width (remember to subtract the the image width if Show Images has been been selected in Chart Options). BTW: the image width cannot exceed half the width of the box. That is, VCF has no automatic word hyphenating and wrapping feature and does not automatically wrap at a hyphen - it only wraps onto a subsquent line at "space" character. Typically, you need to add a space after a hyphen in a surname to allow this wrap to occur.

b. There is a bug in the third party software library used to build VCF. If outputing a long word in a text string and that long word just fits in the box width then that tool does not show the first character on the next line. There is an extreme version of this when a number of long words occur in a name, first detected when generating charts for European nobility!

Both of these can be avoided by sensible editing of hyphenated names and appropriate increase in width of the box width or any multi-line text such as chart titles or other annotations.
Robin Lamacraft
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#9 Mike Talbot

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 05:40 PM

There 2 known issues about the presentation of text strings in VCF.

a. Text (name, place name, memo, etc) can get truncated without warning if a single word will not fit in the specified box width (remember to subtract the the image width if Show Images has been been selected in Chart Options). BTW: the image width cannot exceed half the width of the box. That is, VCF has no automatic word hyphenating and wrapping feature and does not automatically wrap at a hyphen - it only wraps onto a subsquent line at "space" character. Typically, you need to add a space after a hyphen in a surname to allow this wrap to occur.

b. There is a bug in the third party software library used to build VCF. If outputing a long word in a text string and that long word just fits in the box width then that tool does not show the first character on the next line. There is an extreme version of this when a number of long words occur in a name, first detected when generating charts for European nobility!

Both of these can be avoided by sensible editing of hyphenated names and appropriate increase in width of the box width or any multi-line text such as chart titles or other annotations.


Thanks. All good advice.

Attached, another example chart with 5 ancestor gens. compressed to letter size paper. Subject siblings and spouses have been added.

Cheers,
Mike Talbot

Attached Thumbnails

  • TalbotLTfam.jpg


#10 Mike Talbot

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 07:06 AM

The attached VCF composite chart is tribute to America’s most productive WWII general. It is edited in VCF to fit on standard letter size paper.

When George S. Patton, Jr. graduated from West Point in 1909, he selected the cavalry for his service. This was to prove a momentous decision. As a cavalryman, he commanded a tank unit in France during WWI. There, he began envisioning and working on the armored tactics and strategies to be used in the future.

During WWII, Gen. Patton’s troops liberated more territory and suffered far fewer casualties per casualties inflicted on the enemy than those of any other Allied commander.

Best wishes,
Mike Talbot

Attached Thumbnails

  • patton.jpg


#11 Mike Talbot

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 05:44 PM

The brothers-in-law kings, St. Louis of France, Henry III of England and their wives (sisters) have many modern descendants. Attached are three related 5 generations VCF ancestor charts edited to fit on letter size paper.

Best wishes,
Mike Talbot

Attached Thumbnails

  • lou9fr.jpg
  • hen3eng.jpg
  • provenceSis.jpg


#12 Mike Talbot

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 05:38 PM

A five generations ancestor chart was required for some positions, centuries ago. These were called Seize Quartiers (after the sixteen persons in the 5th generation) in most European countries and often included heraldry. The most popular chart size is still 5 gens.

With a little practice, it takes less than 10 minutes to add boiler plate disclaimer (if needed), notes and compress the approx. 11x15” fully imaged 5 gen. charts as generated by TMG to letter size.

You can number your charts in VCF, if you like. These numbers can then be used to point the reader to other charts containing information on that individual. You can also show multiple spouses of an individual. One of many ways of doing this is shown on the attached charts.

The long names of the nobility have been mentioned in this forum, often. A few ways to reduce name length, for your consideration are:
. Use Arabic numbers for personal ordinals instead of the customary verbose and error prone Roman numerals.
. Show only the primary title within the name. Other titles can be recorded in note tags.
. Use abbreviations, whenever they are pleasing to you.
. Delete prepositions, blanks and articles from the name when their presence seems unnecessary to the meaning. Example: ct.Beaumont instead of ‘count/comte de Beaumont’. Be careful that this does not result in a word too wide for the box.

Consider keeping information in the native language of each individual. But, violate this guideline whenever it is convenient and desired. For example, I can’t even imagine trying to enter data in Russian, Greek, Japanese or looking up the equivalent of count in Rumanian (the real Dracula was a voivode, Rumanian equivalent of duke).

Remember, do it your way, even when genealogy is done as a serious hobby. But do realize that there are some standards that must be met if you do genealogy, professionally. There are many books on that topic.

Good luck,
Mike Talbot

Attached Thumbnails

  • ed3eng.jpg
  • hainautPhilippe.jpg


#13 Mike Talbot

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 04:23 AM

Warning: You may need to click on full screen in your browser to read the bottom of charts attached throughout this topic.

Good luck,
Mike Talbot

#14 Virginia Blakelock

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 05:06 AM

Mike -

All of these have been downsized down using the Resize Drawing option? I don't normally use that option since I start out with small print anyway, but I'll have to take a second look at Resize instead of manipulating boxes to fit. These charts are beautiful.

Are you using a palette chart for things like your numbers and name box? That's been a real timesaver for me.

Virginia
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#15 Mike Talbot

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 11:18 AM

Mike -

All of these have been downsized down using the Resize Drawing option? I don't normally use that option since I start out with small print anyway, but I'll have to take a second look at Resize instead of manipulating boxes to fit. These charts are beautiful.

Are you using a palette chart for things like your numbers and name box? That's been a real timesaver for me.

Virginia

Dear Virginia, Thank you. The VCF configuration settings for these charts are shown in a message, above. I use 10 and 8 point fonts in the boxes as mentioned there. Chart sizes are reduced by moving selections of components to more compact locations. No rescaling of the overall chart is ever done. The VCF default text entry, box style and color palettes are used, throughout. Each chart fits on letter sized paper when printed.

To add to this topic:

The attached three VCF charts feature a New Orleans born princess of Monaco, Marie Alice Heine. Her business and management acumen transformed Monaco from a relatively poor principality into a very rich one over a century ago.

Emphasis is placed on a few different ways to illustrate multi-spouses on VCF charts.

Remember, you may need to click on full screen in your browser to read the bottom of charts attached throughout this topic.

Best wishes,
Mike Talbot

Attached Thumbnails

  • monacoAlbert1Desc.jpg
  • heineAlice.jpg
  • monacoAlbert1.jpg


#16 Mike Talbot

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 11:27 AM

The attached charts may especially interest fans of old movies.

As a fan of ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Evita’, among others, the attached two VCF charts were chosen. The Flynn chart took about a half hour to rearrange his family and many romantic interests from a huge standard VCF descendant chart to fit on letter size paper. The chart on Evita Peron’s known affairs took only a few minor changes in a few moments to accomplish.

The data for these charts were compiled as a lark during droughts in finding data for more serious pursuits.

This post concludes my current plans for this topic, unless there are questions.

Enjoy the power and flexibility of TMG with VCF, do it your way,
Mike Talbot

Attached Thumbnails

  • flynnErrolDesc.jpg
  • peronEvita.jpg


#17 Mike Talbot

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 09:04 AM

Dear Virginia, Thank you. The VCF configuration settings for these charts are shown in a message, above. I use 10 and 8 point fonts in the boxes as mentioned there. Chart sizes are reduced by moving selections of components to more compact locations. No rescaling of the overall chart is ever done. The VCF default text entry, box style and color palettes are used, throughout. Each chart fits on letter sized paper when printed.

<snip>
Best wishes,
Mike Talbot


Oops, it should read:

I use 8 and 6 point fonts in the boxes as mentioned there.

Sorry about that,
Mike

#18 Mike Talbot

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 09:16 AM

Due to an oversight and at the risk of my credibility, I couldn’t resist adding one more chart. This one rightfully belongs with the Monaco group, presented in a previous message within this topic.

This chart contains no genealogy, but outlines an amusing, but unimportant (except, maybe to Princess Alice Heine of Monaco), slice of history concerning the courtesan La Belle Otero.

Otero is linked to her alleged impressive affairs with a non-standard TMG tag in the marriage group. The attached document is a standard VCF Descendant Chart, with a little modification that took only a few moments. That time does not include writing a mini-biography nor searching the Net for the relevant photos and posters imported into the chart. (Add a few fun hours, there.)

Again, enjoy VCF,
Mike Talbot

Remember, you may need to click on full screen in your browser to scroll and read the bottom of charts attached throughout this topic.

Attached Thumbnails

  • otero.jpg


#19 loribragg

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 06:09 AM

Once, for a lark, I generated a 15 gen. VCF ancestor chart. VCF editing was slow and moving components was downright unusable for such a monster chart. But what use would such a large chart be, anyway? Where would one keep it or display it? How would you index it or find anything?


I love this topic and just wanted to add a note: I did a genealogy for a friend when her daughter married. They have a huge family and I was able to go back about 7 generations on most lines. For the wedding reception I was able to gain access to a 42" roll printer and print a giant (42"x10 foot) chart with pictures that included all relatives that were attending the wedding plus some - and also show a few generations back to show how they were all related! I added a tag that showed their relationship to the bride and/or groom (which I had copied from the 'Automatic Relation tag' set up in Preferences/Options). I had pictures of most everyone!

It was the hit of the reception, if I do say so myself! So there are great resons for a really large chart - even if eventually you have to store it away. It wasn't 'easy', if easy is clicking a button and boom, there it is... but it was totally worth it in the end.

Also, I love your idea of putting regiment or country flags in place of the image when you don't have a face! I may steal that!

Do you find using the exhibit log difficult in TMG? I cannot seem to keep track of images that way.

Thanks for all the ideas and discussion presented here. Lori

#20 Mike Talbot

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:05 AM

I love this topic and just wanted to add a note: I did a genealogy for a friend when her daughter married. They have a huge family and I was able to go back about 7 generations on most lines. For the wedding reception I was able to gain access to a 42" roll printer and print a giant (42"x10 foot) chart with pictures that included all relatives that were attending the wedding plus some - and also show a few generations back to show how they were all related! I added a tag that showed their relationship to the bride and/or groom (which I had copied from the 'Automatic Relation tag' set up in Preferences/Options). I had pictures of most everyone!

It was the hit of the reception, if I do say so myself! So there are great resons for a really large chart - even if eventually you have to store it away. It wasn't 'easy', if easy is clicking a button and boom, there it is... but it was totally worth it in the end.

Also, I love your idea of putting regiment or country flags in place of the image when you don't have a face! I may steal that!

Do you find using the exhibit log difficult in TMG? I cannot seem to keep track of images that way.

Thanks for all the ideas and discussion presented here. Lori

Thank you for your thoughts and comments. I’m glad that some of the examples were useful to you. Wish that I'd seen your 42" x 10 feet ancestor chart with ties to some relatives of the wedding couple. Great idea!!!

There might be a few “sour grapes” in my comments on storing and displaying large charts. The 15 gen. ancestor chart that I tried to work with was 37 inches x 38 feet as generated. It took over one minute (VCF execution time) to move each selection of components. Having a few thousand selection moves to be made, you can see why it seemed impractical. I’m happy to edit for several hours to get a chart that I want, but several days are way beyond my endurance.

I cheerfully spent a couple of hours rearranging a 15 x 35 inches 7 gen. ancestor chart to 12 x 18 inches (my daughter’s printer). VCF execution was far faster than me on that size.

The Exibit Log seems to be fine and easy to use for genealogical purposes. But, the Exhibit Log is not good to use as a photo album organizer.

Let’s hope that we get some additional creative VCF ideas. I know that they’re out there.

Best wishes,
Mike Talbot




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