The Magic Button

magic2Every software genealogy program has a way to produce reports.  I refer to this feature as “The Magic Button” – you select an ancestor, then ‘push’ the button, and a book comes out! (well, a chapter anyway).

For print publication, one would often want a narrative report – a report that embeds your notes as well as the genealogical events you have captured.  Here are the choices that RootsMagic gives you for creating this report “automagically”:

  • Modified Register
  • Register
  • Outline (indented)
  • Henry (Indented)
  • D’Aboville (indented)

Furthermore, the format of the report can be saved as Rich-Text File (.rtf), Adobe PDF, Web Page (html), or Text File (.txt).  I suggest saving as Rich Text File, as such a file captures all the formatting of your program (including indexing!) and can be opened and edited by any word processor.

Attached is my completed homework assignment, using RootsMagic which happens to be my software genealogy program.  For your homework assignment, please look for this Narrative Report ‘button’ under Reports in your particular software package, and create narrative report examples as I did in the attached. Your software package may have different options from RootsMagic.  For example, Legacy gives you a menu choice called Publishing Center, which provides four sub-menu choices, including Ancestor Narrative Book and Descendant Narrative Book.   Try those!  In addition to a narrative report, these choices also provide a Table of Contents (followed by a blank page) and a generated Index.

Using my RootsMagic, I created five examples for the five choices I had, with a note after Example 2 (to compare Modified Register and Register), and another note after each of the last 3 examples that helps to distinguish that specific report format. See the attached document for these examples.

If you can’t find a way to create a report in your software package, send an email to me as to what software package you are using for genealogy and we’ll figure out where that magic button is, and how to push it.  Thus your Homework Assignment is to create a document of sample narrative reports for one of your designated ancestors, for each of the formats available to you from your particular software genealogy program.  Questions?   Ask me!  Or someone else in our SIG!  We’re all learning here!  And let’s see your completed assignment!