Is it worth upgrading to TMG9?

The latest version of The Master Genealogist has been released. The focus has been on making data entry faster and easier, with enhancements such as:

  • You can now add a new source quickly without leaving the Citation screen. You can still click on the [+] button to add a source using the full power of the Source Definition Screen.
  • There is now a button to preview the source output directly from the Citation screen (long overdue!).
  • You can now add shared events (e.g., Census) on the Add Multiple People and Add Family screens, including the role of each participant.
  • You can now add an Age column with a Birth Date column when adding multiple people. If an age and the event date are added for a person, the Birth date will be calculated automatically.
  • When adding multiple people you can copy the value in the top cell of a column to everyone else on that screen.

These enhancements may not mean much if you aren’t adding a lot of new information to your project these days, but if you’re still actively researching they should make life a lot easier.

The other major enhancement is to do with sentences, with the addition of a Subject variable, which should make the construction of sentences for ‘witnesses’ or other roles in events much easier to construct. If you have always thought customising the sentences created by TMG in reports was too difficult, this might be the time to have another look.

I currently have 14 projects going for current clients, as well as my own family project, so the conversion process won’t be quick. I do a lot of data entry and anything that makes this process quicker will be a good thing for me and for my clients. I’m looking forward to getting started.


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

Copying sources and sentences between projects

In a recent TMG Sydney meeting, Linda showed us how to transfer all your sentences and sources into a new project (via a new blank project with all your customised extras). There might well be an easier way to do this, but this method seems to work.
Before you do any copying, deleting, merging of projects, make sure you have BACKED UP your project & perhaps also make a copy of it. Work with the copy until you are sure you have the desired outcome. Then…
  1. Make (another) copy of the project by:
    • Select a project to copy (one that already has your sources & sentences)
    • Copy it to a new project called ‘My Copy’  
  2. In your new ‘My Copy’ project, go to File-> Data Set Manager and click ‘Add’, which will open another window, name it ‘Custom’, tick all the boxes, click OK
  3. You should have 2 datasets ‘My Copy’ and ‘Custom’
  4. Disable ‘My Copy’ dataset and Close (the Data Set Manager)
  5. Check to see if the new ‘Custom’ dataset has your customised tags, sentences and sources (look at Tools -> Master Tag Type list or Master Source List)
  6. If the ‘Custom’ data set is OK, delete ‘My Copy’ data set
You now have a blank project & dataset which has all your custom tags, sentences & sources.
If you want to, you could merge another project into this ‘My Copy’ project (the new one with the ‘Custom’ data set). Make sure you have this as the RECEIVING project in the merge. (ie Import into this one.)
Sounds complicated, but it works. And it’s a lot easier than making all those custom tags and sources again.

Creating a ‘Source Type’ for NAA

How does one go about creating a source type for sources sourced from the National Archives of Australia (NAA). First of all you need to create a new source type…in this case we will call it “National Archives of Australia” and enter the following sentence structures:

Full footnote:

Short footnote:


Now when entering a new source (for instance a military record for an individual), simply hit the source type button and select the newly created “National Archives of Australia” source type.