Roles are used to recognise the parts played by people other than the principal in an event. In a will, for example, there is the principal who has made the will, and then there are the witnesses, the executors, the beneficiaries and other people who may be mentioned.
Roles can also be used to control the sentences that appear in narratives about the person.
When you give roles to the other people in an event they appear in the Associates window (TMG7 only) which shows you the person’s relationships.
These are examples from my own growing collection of tags and roles.
A census tag can be created for each year. UK census tags can be created for each year a census was taken. Roles for the 1841 census are restricted to Head and Present or something similar but for later censuses you can start with Head, Wife, Son, Daughter, Mother, Father, Mother-in-law, Father-in-law, Sister, Sister-in-law, Brother, Brother-in-law, Boarder, Servant, Apprentice and Labourer and move on from there.
Death tags can include roles for the Deceased; the Informant of the death; those Present at the death; and the Widow or Widower and Children to allow the event to be recorded for those left behind. The Burial tag can also include Witnesses of the burial and
Immigration tags can include roles for family members – Head, Wife, Son, Daughter and Mother; or single men or women – Single. Further differentiation can be used for assisted vs non-assisted immigrants using roles rather than separate tags.
Land purchase or transfer can include roles for Purchaser, Vendor, Co-owner, Heir or Inheritor.
The Marriage tag automatically includes two Principals which can be converted to Bride and Groom or Husband and Wife. You can also include Witnesses, the Best Man, Groomsmen, Bridesmaids, the Celebrant and those Present at the wedding.
Probate files can have large numbers of people involved and roles can be created to account for them all, from the Deceased and Administrators of the estate to signatories of all the bits of paper in the file – Affidavits and Statutory Declarations and all the others.
A Will might have roles for Witnesses to the will; Executor and Executrix; Beneficiaries or Heirs; and combinations of these to cater for cases where the executor is also a beneficiary.
Some of my people were captains and crew of whalers from Massachusetts in the early 1800s so I created a Voyage tag with roles for Captain and Crew.
Roles for sentences
You can also create roles that reflect your state of knowledge about the person. A simple example is a role in the Death tag that has a sentence that says that you don’t know when the person died, or that you only know it was after a certain date.
Unknown might give a sentence like “The date of death of [P] is unknown”.
Before might give “[P] is likely to have died before [D] <[M]>”.
After might give “[P] is likely to have died after [D] <[M]>”.
The Wholly Genes forums has a topic on sentence structures, which necessarily includes roles you may not have thought of using.
Terry’s Tips has a good tutorial on roles.
Theresa Ghee Elliot’s website gives examples of sentences within roles.
Reigel, T., A Primer for The Master Genealogist, published by the author, 2008. Very highly recommended for all but the very expert user.