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BMD(B) or BD(B)M Format for Journal Reports?


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#1 johnbrobb

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 06:24 AM

I, for one, am disappointed that v7 does not provide an option to produce Journal reports with the initial, vital records, paragraph in the standard journal-format order: birth, death (and burial), then the marriage, or marriages, as separate paragraphs. This has been the style used by virtually all of the major journals (NEHGRegister, NGSQ, TAG, etc.) for decades. TMG persists in outputting the vital records tags in the order Birth(group), Marriage(group), Death(group), Burial(group), all in one paragraph, and my plea for such an option several years ago continues to be ignored.

TMG's eccentric version might seem more logical, since it follows the chronological sequence, but it muddies the introduction to the sketch in practice. There is a reason for the standard journal convention. The sketch is about a subject's life, and the reason all the vital stuff is presented up front is to provide a framework or overview of the whole of that life. If chronology were all there were to it, the death- and burial-group tags would come last in the sketch. I think anyone who reflects on this can see that a life laid out that way, in strictly chronological order, would be much harder to grasp as a whole. That is the reason for the standard convention.

Starting the subject's sketch with birth and death information alone (and usually in one sentence) provides a concise definition of his lifespan, tells us where he started and where he ended up, and thus provides a uniqure identification of who he is. We begin to think of him as John Smith born in 1710, or John Smith from Kent, or whatever.

Next, in progressive chronological tranches, we are presented with the constituents of the subject's life. First, the all-important marriage framework, with multiple marriages in chronological order, and at least one separate paragraph for each, and only then the set of other events of his life, in their chronological order. Finally, we are given the children of the marriage(s), in chronological order of their birth.

By placing the death information after the marriage group tags, which often requires a great deal of text, running to multiple paragraphs, it loses its connection to the birth information, and the introductory lifespan framework of the subject is lost. Ironically, the "Concatenating Sentences" section of Help uses the concatenation of successive birth and death Sentences as an example, and this would indeed be the most valuable use of this feature, except that TMG's Journal format precludes any such concatenation because the succession is interrupted by the marriage group tag(s).

The result of not having at least a Journal Report option to output vital records in standard journal format, is that I have to hand edit in my wordprocessor the opening paragraphs of each and every Journal sketch I produce. I hope that other users who would like to be able to conventiently produce journal reports which are standard in this important respect will join me in requesting such an option at an early future date.

#2 genejunky

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 11:27 AM

Hi all:

I recently developed a genealogy manuscript. I could never have written the paper without the organizational support provided by TMG, but it was not long, so I used my word processor.

With that work under my belt, I decided to try my hand at narratives in TMG. Last night and this morning, members on the list helped me figure out how to structure certain settings so that more research-oriented tag memos wouldn't interfere a flowing narrative. I also learned how to group the "vitals" together, which was great. Unfortunately, even though I might be called a narrative newbie, I _really_ wanted those vitals in BDM sequence, I realize now that is not possible in TMG.

Maybe I should have begun a new thread, because I wouldn't describe TMG's output as eccentric, nor do I think that BMD is "logic driven" in this context. (To the contrary; and I found the BMD was not reader-friendly when the principal had been married more than once.)

I'm always impressed by those who discuss advanced sentence structure and "flowing narratives" on the TMG list. I wonder if others just don't recognize the conflict between BMD and multiple marriages (try on three).

Maybe it's the "author" with-in, but that particular paragraph seems _so_ important. It is the _one_ paragraph of each entry I'd like "just right." Likewise, it is the one paragraph of each entry I'd like formatted consistently.

So, after a "one-night stand" with narratives, I'm on hold. So hoping to learn if a change is possible. Soon? Wishful thinking? Color this my new number one wish list item. --GJ
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#3 Michael Hannah

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 01:03 PM

So, after a "one-night stand" with narratives, I'm on hold.

Gene,

As you know, this difference from the new standards for this paragraph in such standardized reports has been mentioned by many TMG users. However, I would not suggest that you "hold your breath" for a change in the report format. As simply a fellow user I have no insight into the upgrade plans of Wholly Genes, but there is no telling how long it may be, or whether. In the past there has never been any kind of announcement of specifics or timing on new TMG releases or what they will include. That would seem to be especially true of the report writer module as previous notices indicated that this module is from a third party and not written by Wholly Genes, thus not under their control. However, my wish?/hope?/expectation? is that there will be some? kind of upgrade to the report writer in the near future since it does not currently work with Vista in 64-bit mode (but does work in Vista 32-bit mode). Whether an upgrade for 64-bit mode will also modify the nature of standard TMG reports is unknown. We can hope, but I wouldn't put myself on "hold".
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#4 Terry Reigel

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 01:08 PM

I wonder if others just don't recognize the conflict between BMD and multiple marriages (try on three).

I don't see a conflict at all. A person is born, married (sometimes more than once) and dies - those are probably the key events, and that's the order in which they occur.

Where I do see a conflict is putting the death before the marriages - that seems totally illogical to me. It never occurred to me that anyone might want to do that until I've seen a few mentions of it recently here and on TMG-L.

Obviously, different people see this differently. :)
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#5 genejunky

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 02:01 PM

Hi Terry:
Thank you for responding to my inquiry.
You wrote, "Where I do see a conflict is putting the death before the marriages ..."
I hope we can respectully disagree on this point.
Here's a multiple marriage BMD: "William Jones was born ... He married Sally ... He married Judy ... William died ... Judy died."
.... When I hit the second, "He married,"--I stop and ask myself, "What happened to Sally." My poor old brain wants to know what happened to Sally before I learn about Judy. In other words, in the case of multiple marriages, BMD doesn't strike _my_ brain as very logical.

This sequencing works better for me: "William Jones was born ... William died .... William married Sally ... Sally died ... William married Judy ... Judy died ..."
And this even better: "William Jones was born .... William died .... William married Sally ... She was born ... She died ... William married Judy ... Judy was born .... Judy died ...."

If I'm inputting data from a report someone else has sent to me, one of the latter two formats would also work better for me. When I add a related person from a source, I usually add their birth and death at the add person screen all at the same time. Then open the add person - spouse screen and add that person birth, death, and the marriage date, again, entering that spouse's information all at the same time; ditto the second spouse. --Oh for the inner workings of one brian.

Hope this helps to explain what I intended by logic, which I probably should have described as my logic. Thank you again for responding to my inquiry. --GJ
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#6 Terry Reigel

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 02:21 PM

Hi Terry:
Thank you for responding to my inquiry.

You're welcome. :)

You wrote, "Where I do see a conflict is putting the death before the marriages ..."
I hope we can respectully disagree on this point.

Of course.

Here's a multiple marriage BMD: "William Jones was born ... He married Sally ... He married Judy ... William died ... Judy died."
.... When I hit the second, "He married,"--I stop and ask myself, "What happened to Sally." My poor old brain wants to know what happened to Sally before I learn about Judy. In other words, in the case of multiple marriages, BMD doesn't strike _my_ brain as very logical.

Well, I can see that. First, I always make multiple marriages explain themselves - "...He married first Sally ... He married second Judy..." I think that helps. And, I don't put the death of the spouse in the narrative. I've toyed with it but never adopted it. I can see where that would be a problem.

On the other hand, this doesn't make any sense to me either:

"William Jones was born ... Salley died... William died ... Judy died.... He married Sally ... He married Judy."

and that's what you would get if the order shifted to BDM.

What you are actually asking for is much more complex than that. Today, the tag order in the first paragraph is birth, marriage/divorce, death, burial. Within those groups the sort data controls. So, if you have the spouse's birth or death tag appear, it appears with the subject's birth or death tag.

This sequencing works better for me: "William Jones was born ... William died .... William married Sally ... Sally died ... William married Judy ... Judy died ..."
And this even better: "William Jones was born .... William died .... William married Sally ... She was born ... She died ... William married Judy ... Judy was born .... Judy died ...."

So what you are asking for is: birth of subject, death of subject, marriage 1, birth of spouse 1, death of spouse 1, marriage 2, birth of spouse 2, death of spouse 2...

Where would you have the death of spouse 1 if they divorce and the spouse lives long after? How would it work if you don't have the order of the marriages? What should happen if they divorce marry again, with and without marrying someone else in between?

I really don't think that the option to put BMD first (BDM) is compatible with having the spouses' dates appear in the narrative, at least not without a clear definition and then a lot of restructuring of how this feature works.
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#7 genejunky

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 02:28 PM

Hi Michael:
You wrote, "We can hope, but I wouldn't put myself on "hold"."

Thank you for responding to my inquiry. My interest in the topic wasn't based on the "standard" set by anyone else. I suppose it would have helped me in the last project if I could have directed TMG to format the first paragraph in the way the editor wanted it formatted, but my comments here were not motivated by the standard of another.

It just happens that the individuals I used to test the narrative reports both had multiple marriages. One was married twice, the other three times.

If the existing TMG format works for you, as it does for Terry, and I'm sure many, many, many others --then this isn't an issue for you. I don't see myself, however, undertaking a large narrative project from TMG knowing that I would fiddle and fiddle and ultimately want to edit the opening paragraph entered for each principal.

Thank you again for responding to my inquiry. --GJ
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#8 genejunky

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 03:11 PM

Thank you again.
You wrote, “"William Jones was born ... Salley died... William died ... Judy died.... He married Sally ... He married Judy."
I agree.

Since I know just enough about programming to be dangerous, I’ll go ahead and get myself in trouble. <G>

Is the “full” set of facts for the principal and his/her spouses possible? – BD M(earliest) … M(next earliest), where the marriage is defined as the marriage and spouses name, spouse’s birth, spouse’s death?
“William was born …. William died …. William married Sally … Sally was born … Sally died …. William married Judy …. Judy was born …. Judy died …. “

It’s basically the principal’s birth and death data, followed by the earliest chronological marriage, and that spouses birth and death data, then by the second chronological marriage, and that spouses birth and death data. …And as I write that, ol’ brain says ….but TMG doesn’t sort “marriages”; so—after it generates, “William married Sally…,” would it be able to “find” Sally to continue with “Sally was born ….”

You wondered about divorce. Under the simple but “full” facts, above, if the date of death is known for the divorced spouse, it would be reported. You wondered about the situation where one spouse had long survived. Ditto, if their death was known, it would be reported.

Is TMG able to “remember” the name of that spouse from a particular marriage to generate the birth and death details?

You wrote, “How would it work if you don't have the order of the marriages?” How does it work now? It seems to me that if you don’t know the order, you don’t know the order.
You wrote, “What should happen if they divorce marry again, with and without marrying someone else in between?” – Alas, I don’t have many of those in my tree, but how does the program report that data now. Do you think the dominos from those complications would be worse under a the “full” set of data than it is currently?

I’m not “on hold” because I don’t believe in editing data---I’m just hoping for the situation where I don’t have to edit the entry for every principal.

Chicken from the spit awaits. While I'm gone, I just know I'll be wondering about how many in my file did divorce and remarry--and I don't know about it yet. --GJ
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#9 Michael Hannah

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 04:11 PM

I don't see myself, however, undertaking a large narrative project from TMG knowing that I would fiddle and fiddle and ultimately want to edit the opening paragraph entered for each principal.

Hi Gene,

You mentioned you are just beginning to experiment with the narrative reports in TMG. There are lots of ways to tailor the narrative reports, as you are beginning to discover. :D You mention the desire for a custom opening paragraph. My preferred way to accomplish this is to create a custom tag or set of tags that generate the output you want in that first paragraph and modify the Sort Dates on those tags to sort before all other tags for that person. Then just set the options on the report to output all the tags you want to print in chronological order rather than forcing the Primary BMDB tags into a first paragraph. You can save the report definition that selects these special custom tags to output for this report and de-selects the "standard" tags that they replace. With some of the new special TMG sentence variables like [:NP:] and [+] you can cause this set of tags to concatenate all their output into a single sentence, and/or force paragraph breaks with [:CR:]. I think you will find this custom tag(s) method gets you closer to what you want than the option on standard reports to output the Primary BMDB tags first.

One of the best examples of narratives with opening paragraphs and other such features is from Terry where he used custom tags and various advanced sentence features of TMG to come close to a fully publishable narrative report. See his web site here for his description of what he did to accomplish that.

Is TMG able to “remember” the name of that spouse from a particular marriage to generate the birth and death details?

Well, no, but then again, yes. :rolleyes: Each Event tag allows you to specify which Name Variation tag will be used for that Principal and/or Witness in the sentences to be output by that tag. For example for a woman with multiple marriages, if you have entered Name-Marr tags to define her married names, then you can set tags for all events between her first and second marriage to use her first marriage name. Events after her second marriage can be set by you to use her second marriage name. You are in full control. TMG does not automatically "remember" anything (I am very pleased to say), it just outputs exactly what you specify. As for having (for example) the wife's birth and death details in the husband's narrative, while not part of plain narrative reports that can be accomplished by making the husband a "witness" (probably with a custom role and custom witness sentence) on her Birth and Death tags. Many people do something similar by adding the parents as custom witnesses to their children's Birth tags so they can have a custom witness sentence to mention the child's birth event in the parent narrative. Using this witness method is easier for children since you generally want the date of the child to occur at that event's chronological point in the parent narrative. You may need an additional custom tag for the wife's birth to be able to sort it where you want in the husband's narrative (and vice versa) which is likely to not be in his chronological order.

Let us know exactly what you would like to output and I am sure a number of us users will offer a variety of suggestions on how to customize TMG to produce what you want. :)
Michael
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#10 genejunky

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 06:24 PM

Michael,
Thank you for responding to my inquiry. --GJ
GeneJ
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#11 GenerationGoneBy

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 06:45 AM

Not going to discuss the order of tags printing, because I don't use TMG's journal report and have no clue how it prints.

But if you want:

Bill was born, Bill married Judy, Bill married Sally

And you want an explanation of what happened to Judy change the sentence structure:

Bill was born... Bill married Judy.. After his first wife's death, Bill married Sally... After divorcing Sally, Bill married Mary Ann... Bill died.



That's pretty easy to do with roles.

#12 genejunky

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 08:48 AM

Hi Teresa:
Thank you for responding to my inqury.

Teresa wrote, "change the sentence structure..."

A sentence structure change would report in all the journal entries related to that marriage tag, correct?--Even though the change/notation only directly applies to the journal report in which dear old Bill is the focus person? If they had both been married before, well, would make that sentence even more complicated.

If Sally is the focus person, aren't the facts about Bill's second marriage are ancillary to her data (as is the case with a FGS)? Likewise, when Judy is the focus person, I'm guessing the facts about Bill's marriage to Sally are ancillary (as in a FGS).

If I'm right, then including the information about the prior spouse or a marriage termination for Bill, Sally and Judy is a partial solution to problem, but it creates two others--for possibly many, many entries in a file.

Im probably asking for more than just the marriage fact to be explained. In Bill's report, I'd like to know when his wife/wives was/were born and died. It might be a material change to the way current reports are developed, but I don't know if that possible because generating that spouse's birth and death information requires TMG to look at the tags in that spouse's information.

Thank you again for responding to my inquiry. I'm hoping that others will chime in, too. --GJ
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#13 Jim Byram

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 09:49 AM

It might be a material change to the way current reports are developed, but I don't know if that possible because generating that spouse's birth and death information requires TMG to look at the tags in that spouse's information.

Right and no report works like that.

Data is output by subject 1, subject 1 spouse, subject 2, subject2 spouse, etc.

To intertwint the two, you need tags under the subject that output the information about the spouse that you wish.

You can do that but, from my perspective, it's not worth the effort. That's not to say that you shouldn't set up your data any way that you wish. With custom tags, you can turn them on or off when appropriate and generate any output that you wish. Also in the Journal, you would want to turn off the BMDB paragraph and have all output on a chronological order so that you can control the output.

#14 GenerationGoneBy

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 10:53 AM

GJ,

If I didn't want the same data reported about Sally, then I wouldn't change her sentence structure.

Make the Groom sentence say: After divorcing his first wife, Bill married Sally.
Make the Bride say: Sally married Bill.
Yes, it's complicated, but that is what custom sentence structures are good for.

#15 genejunky

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 11:00 AM

GJ,

If I didn't want the same data reported about Sally, then I wouldn't change her sentence structure.

Make the Groom sentence say: After divorcing his first wife, Bill married Sally.
Make the Bride say: Sally married Bill.
Yes, it's complicated, but that is what custom sentence structures are good for.


Hi Teresa,

Thank you for responding to my inquiry. --GJ
GeneJ
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#16 Terry Reigel

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 11:02 AM

Im probably asking for more than just the marriage fact to be explained. In Bill's report, I'd like to know when his wife/wives was/were born and died. It might be a material change to the way current reports are developed, but I don't know if that possible because generating that spouse's birth and death information requires TMG to look at the tags in that spouse's information.

TMG's Descendant Journals already includes an option to show spouse events. However, they appear in a separate section following that of the subject, not intermixed with those of the subject are you are talking about. If you don't have this option turned on the spouse's events do not appear, because the spouse is not, after all, a descendant. So, I'd think one would generally want to use this option. If one does, having the same information twice seems to me a bit redundant.

There is no such option in the Ancestor Journal, I suppose because at least one of the spouses (if there are more than one) is already an ancestor and will appear immediately following. So again, the information is redundant, except for cases of multiple spouses.

Today the most obvious way to get spouse birth and death information in the subject's section as you would prefer is to enter the subject in the spouse's birth and death tags, as a Witness. You can create a witness sentence to say whatever you like, so getting the wording you want shouldn't be a problem. But the trouble is, witnessed events do not appear in the first paragraph.

To do what you want to do today I think you would have to turn off the BMDB first option and create custom tags to organize the spouse birth and death data where you want it. This would, as you point out, require duplicate data entry. It would be messy at best.

An enhancement to do what you want would require new features not presently offered. I have no doubt it could be done, but it would have to compete with other new features users are interested in for development effort.
Terry

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#17 genejunky

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 12:51 PM

Hi Jim and Terry:

Thank you for responding to my inquiry.

You wrote, "Descendant Journals already includes an option to show spouse events. However, they appear in a separate section following that of the subject, not intermixed with those of the subject are you are talking about."

Yes, on the "Miscellaneous" tab--but if you select one of the standard style formats (NEGHS, etc.; general tab), those same Miscellaneous tab options are not available to the user. I'm assuming this was to the point of Mr. Robb's comment,--he would like TMG to produce a standard flow to that "first" paragraph for these standard style formats. I'd just like the option of being able to access that same flow, whether or not I select a standard style.

You wrote, "Today .... enter the subject in the spouse's birth and death tags, as a Witness ... create a witness sentence ... witnessed events do not appear in the first paragraph. ... turn off the BMDB first option and create custom tags to organize the spouse birth and death data where you want it. This would, as you point out, require duplicate data entry. It would be messy at best. ..."

All of which, as you suggest, would be both "messy" and makes any project just that much larger. Possible that just re-writing it all in a word processor might be less painful.

Terry wrote, "An enhancement ... would require new features not presently offered ... could be done .. would have to compete ... other new features."

Which may be Mr. Robb's point. If providing NEGHS, NGS, etc. as an output style is listed as a feature, it should work. I hope that, despite the many fun, new feature to be developed, WG will take a look at this old feature and find that making it work well is equally or more important.

Thank you again. --GJ
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#18 Jim Byram

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 01:07 PM

The spouse events option is only available using the custom format style. The spouse events option was not available for many years.

To get spouse events with one of the pre-defined style formats, you select the predefined style format and save the options. Then you open the options, select the custom style format and select the spouse events option. This results in none of the options being changed from the pre-defined style format other than adding spouse events.

I doubt that the general report model of outputting text for only one subject at a time will ever be changed.

The order of events in the BMDB paragraph could be added as an option without much difficulty.

Basically, the primary thing that the specific styles refer to is the numbering scheme used in the Journal report and, secondarily, to which options are selected.

I don't particularly like any of the styles as defined and have always used a custom style.

What gets TMG in trouble is the naming of the styles as Register (NEHGR), Record (NGSQ) and The American Genealogist (TAG). For example, Elizabeth Mills takes great exception to the second style being called "Record (NGSQ)" since the report output differs in significant ways from the actual journal style. It would be much better to rename the pre-formatted styles as 'Style 1', 'Style 2' and 'Style 3'. Then the styles would make no pretensions about corrresponding to the styles used by particular journals. Help could then point out which style is similar to the style used by which journal.

Edited by Jim Byram, 14 December 2008 - 02:57 PM.


#19 Terry Reigel

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 01:37 PM

You wrote, "Descendant Journals already includes an option to show spouse events. However, they appear in a separate section following that of the subject, not intermixed with those of the subject are you are talking about."

Yes, on the "Miscellaneous" tab--but if you select one of the standard style formats (NEGHS, etc.; general tab), those same Miscellaneous tab options are not available to the user. I'm assuming this was to the point of Mr. Robb's comment,--he would like TMG to produce a standard flow to that "first" paragraph for these standard style formats. I'd just like the option of being able to access that same flow, whether or not I select a standard style.

Gene, I don't understand what you are trying to say here. I assume the "spouse events" option is not available with the standard styles because it's not part of any standard style.

The original request in this thread was simply to reorder the BMDB events to BDBM - that's much different than your request to add the birth and death dates of the spouse(s).

Terry wrote, "An enhancement ... would require new features not presently offered ... could be done .. would have to compete ... other new features."

Which may be Mr. Robb's point. If providing NEGHS, NGS, etc. as an output style is listed as a feature, it should work. I hope that, despite the many fun, new feature to be developed, WG will take a look at this old feature and find that making it work well is equally or more important.

Again, I was talking about your request to add spouse birth and death information, not simply re-ordering the existing information. True, the re-ordering would take some development and testing resources, but I'd think not nearly as much as your request to add totally new data to the paragraph.

I don't have any information about which order the cited journals specify for that paragraph, so won't speak to whether it should be changed. My only stake is that if it is changed that I hope it remains optional, since the proposed order is so illogical - I'd not want to be forced to use it.
Terry

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#20 genejunky

genejunky

    GJ

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 10:46 PM

Hi Terry:
A summary of the sequencing that an editor requested of me follows this message. It's the same sequencing some other published "current day" genealogies have used. Believe I'm out on this topic--GJ, illogical and all.

Bill was born ... s. parents names .... Bill died ... Bill married Sally ... Sally was born ... dau. parents names ... Sally died .... Bill married Judy ... Judy was born .... dau. parents names ... Judy died.

About Bill ....

Children with Sally .... [each numbered and presented the format of the first paragraph above, with the obvious exception that Bill and Sally's names were not repeated as the child's parents]

Children with Judy .... [each numbered and presented the format of the first paragraph above, with the obvious exception that Bill and Judy's names were not repeated as the child's parents]
GeneJ
iMac i7 (late 2009), OS X (10.6.2); Parallels 5; MS Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)




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