Bruce’s Filing Cabinet 4 – Informants and Sources

At the 4th Annual TMG Sydney Conference in April 2011 Bruce Fairhall, Convenor of the conference, shared with us his methods for using TMG as his filing cabinet. He gave us a four-page handout which he has kindly allowed me to share on the blog. This the the last of four posts.

MY INFORMANTS (Sources and more)

1. I have a TMG Flag called INFORMANT (default = “N”), and an accompanying TMG Tag called INFORMANT, with a sentence like: [P] was able to provide information about [M]

So a person who gives me substantive information about a family or topic, or is a source that may be needed in the future, is included in the database with all details such as address, phone number, email as Tags, and the Tag INFORMANT has that information in the MEMO field such as Halliwell Family History. Note the family name or ship name etc. is the first word in the Memo. For sorting, the INFORMANT Flag is set to “Y” so I can print out a Report sorted by Memo, thus printing all those who informed about a topic/family together. This is great if I want to find, for example, all those who gave me information on the Halliwell family.

My Report is a special LIST OF EVENTS

Filter called List of Informants.


Options for the Report Output: Heading/Length

1 MEMO = Interest/Expertise/55

2 Prin-1 Last, Given = Name of Informant/30

Prin-1 Reference = P1_ID/6



1. As stated earlier, my Sources utilise Lackey details, and I have each informant as a single source. I did start using a different Source for each individual letter, but this could overflow, and my point 3 (below) splits and defines separate letters/emails very easily. When endnotes/footnotes are printed in a TMG Report, the Memo field is printed as a part of the citation. Other sources are the BD&M for each state, BD&M for each relevant UK County and so on.

2. As Letters are my main source, in the Abbreviation I use the person’s name (e.g. Alex Hunter), in the full title I use Personal Correspondence from Alexander J. Hunter and Short Name is Alex Hunter. My sources are sorted on abbreviation, so another letter received from Alex Hunter is easy to source: I just press F4, F2, then type Al and it’s near Alex – select him and it’s cited.

3. Then in the Citation Detail field I put my file location, such as Letter: 2010-45 or Email: 24 Jul 2009. So for a birth record I might have a reference to BD&M NSW cited with the Reg. No: in the Memo field, then a letter from someone that gave me the exact date and location for the event. As BIRTH-REG wasn’t a Tag initially, I don’t use it now because I have too many to go back through!

4. I do use a few Repositories, mainly for books I’ve borrowed: so the Library is the Repository and the book is the Source, with relevant Page Numbers in the MEMO field of the citation.

Note:  This process has been documented for sharing with other TMG users, and is not copyright or secret.  I’d appreciate suggestions as to better clarity etc. if any changes to this procedure might make it easier for others to understand it.  It is MY system, and that doesn’t mean it’s right or the best: the main thing is that it works for me.

Bruce’s website is


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