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Genelines 2.0 Universal Edition Review

By Jim Byram
Family Chronicle September/October 2002 p. 29-30


Genelines is a wonderful and unique charting program. The charts not only make attractive additions to your website and published genealogy but also provide you with new ways to view and analyze your data. The visual estimated dates show you where additional research is needed. The comparative bibliographic chart lets you compare two individuals who are candidates for being merged in your database. Everyone should consider adding Genelines to his or her genealogy toolkit.

On 29 June, 2002, Progeny Software released version 2.0 of Genelines™, a companion charting program that combines data from several genealogy database programs or from GEDCOM files with history files to produce seven different types of color charts. This combination of “time, historical events and family relationships” allows you to examine your data from new and unique perspectives.

Genelines requires Microsoft Windows® 95 or higher, 10 megabytes of hard disk space and a minimum of 32 megabytes of memory. The program comes in a Universal Edition that reads database formats from PAF, Family Tree Maker®, Legacy™™™ Ancestral Quest™, Ancestral Family Tree® and GEDCOM. Program-specific versions are also available that read GEDCOM files and either Legacy, Ancestral Quest or AFT database files. The Universal Edition costs $29.95 US for download or $34.95 US with a CD-ROM. The program-specific versions cost $10 US less respectively for download or with CD-ROM.

I tested Genelines under Windows XP Pro and opened PAF5, FTM9, Legacy 4 and AFT databases and several GEDCOM 5.5 files produced by TMG4. A list file is produced whenever a GEDCOM is opened by Genelines and the only listed errors resulted from non-standard dates.

Home Screen

You can select the focus person from a list box showing all individuals in the open database. Two Display buttons let you view the individual or family data for the focus person.

Event Categories

Five buttons let you review, edit and add data for the default Event Categories — Health, Occupation, Relationships, Religion and Residence. You can add as many additional event categories as you wish, importing data from the current open database or using data that you add. For each added category, a new button will be added to the home screen. Each event has fields for Name, Start Date, End Date, Place and Description/Note.

Historical Events

Genelines includes several history files (timelines) each of which contains a series of historical events. Many additional history files are available for download from the Timeline Exchange on the Progeny Software website. You can create your own history files and contribute them to the Progeny site for download by other users.

The Historical Events button opens a screen where you can import, edit or add and delete historical events. Each event consists of five fields – Name, Start Date, End Date, Place and Note. You essentially start from a clean slate and either add events or import events from a pre-existing history file. When you import from a file, you can use selected events or all events and merge the new events into or replace the existing events.

You can create your own history files by entering data on this screen and using the Export History option on the File menu. It’s easy to build up a collection of special purpose history files to support specific charts.

The Genelines Charts

Seven prominent buttons on the home screen are used to create charts for the focus person. The available charts are Individual Biographical, Comparative Biographical, Family Group, Pedigree, Direct Line, Full Descendant and Fan. The comparative chart consists of the combined individual charts for two or more individuals.

To make a chart, you first select a focus person in the list box and prepare the event categories and historical events that you plan to use. You then click one of the chart buttons and select the options for that chart.

For example, for the individual chart, you select one or more event categories (including relationships and history) and check ‘Show dates?’ if you wish. All events for the selected categories are selected by default. An Events button allows you to review the events and to deselect any individual event. Clicking the OK button generates the chart.

The chart will now be displayed. You have various options using your mouse on the chart and using the Format menu to revise the details and layout of the chart. Each event category is a horizontal bar and you can drag these bars to arrange them vertically as you please. There are numerous formatting options for color, font, footer, timeline and borders. You can delete data from the chart. You can choose whether to show dates in the event categories. If you see that the historical events need revision or thinning, you can go directly to that screen from the View menu. You can add ‘Life Bars’ for other individuals. The charts visually estimate unknown dates such as the lifespan of a spouse or child.

The ‘relationship’ charts can be merged. For example, you could create a pedigree chart and a descendant chart for a person and save each. You can then open one and merge the other. This new chart can be saved, printed or published. The two original charts are not changed by the merge.

You can save the chart for future recall, print or print preview it, or publish it to a Genelines chart file or to a .PDF file. Printed charts can be sized as appropriate for the output medium.

The options for the other charts differ as is appropriate for a given chart type. The chart footer can be used to document and date your chart. The Full Descendant chart has an option to ‘Color by Child Line’ so that each family line is color coded. The ‘relationship’ charts allow each person’s marriages and children to be represented by symbols. A ‘Symbol Eraser’ lets you selectively remove unwanted marriage and child symbols. Toolbar buttons allow you to fit or to zoom the chart display, return to the home screen from a chart and replicate many of the buttons on the home screen.

Text View

When viewing a chart that you have created, you can switch to Text View from the View menu. This is a table with every event from your chart. Each event is on a row arranged in chronological order with five columns — Start Date, End Date, Event, Place & Note/Source. The Note/Source field will include multiple sources for the event but a portion of the citation detail was omitted from some sources using data from a GEDCOM [fixed in version 2.0.1 – jeb]. The Text View table can be printed or saved in HTML. For a web site, your .PDF charts can be documented with in detail using Text View HTML tables.

Genelines is a wonderful and unique charting program. The charts not only make attractive additions to your website and published genealogy but also provide you with new ways to view and analyze your data. The visual estimated dates show you where additional research is needed. The comparative bibliographic chart lets you compare two individuals who are candidates for being merged in your database. Everyone should consider adding Genelines to his or her genealogy toolkit.

Genelines information, download and support are available from www.progenygenealogy.com.

Illustrations

  • The Genelines home screen showing the default selection options.
  • A Genelines individual chart for James Losey with added census events and simplified US historical events.
  • A Genelines three-generation pedigree for Minnie Wheeler with simplified Texas historical events. The symbols show marriages and children for each person.

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