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 the hidden indexing text) 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 any standard genealogy software package, e.g.,  RootsMagic, you should create several examples for the different narrative report choices available.  Determine for yourself if you want your report to be in the Modified Register format, or perhaps the Register format.  I suggest you make notes for your records for each example to help to distinguish between the specific report format as you work to decide on the format best suited to your report.

If you can’t find a way to create a report in your software package, use the Contact form at the end of this blog.  Include information as to what software package you are using for genealogy and someone will help you determine where the magic button is for that package, and how to push it.  Thus as a Homework Assignment, you should create a document of sample narrative reports for one of your designated ancestors, and for each of the formats available to you from your particular software genealogy program.

Reference:  The Albuquerque Genealogical Society has published online an article on The Magic Button which can be viewed here.