Data Entry in TMG: Points to Consider

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The Bubba Browne Data Set

Welcome to the wacky Bubba Browne family. We really didn't get too far at the October meeting, but we did pick up quite a few ideas. This article summarizes some of those ideas we discussed.

Do you want to go quickly to a topic? Click on any of the following: Tag Data Entry; Tag Memo Field; Sentence Variable; Citation Detail; Master Source List; Source Comment; Source Output; Full Footnote.

This was a fun meeting with everyone present contributing their questions, their ideas, and their thoughts. Not only were many problems resolved, most of the members left with the realization that what information they entered and how they did it was a personal decision. There was no one right way to enter data. What information you enter and how you do it depends upon what you intend to do with that information. This is why an experienced genealogist has an advantage over a neophyte. He or she knows what they want to do with their data.
This user example will give you an idea how easy TMG may be to use. A friend of mine was trying to learn everything about TMG, but finally decided he didn't need to use most of the features. What he wanted was a word processor with the ability to print out easily updated pedigree charts and family group sheets. His goal was to print out a family narrative with charts for his children. He entered birth, marriage, death, and burial tags, and wrote each individual narrative in a formatted note field. Since his research was based on secondary sources, he didn't even want to document it. Of course, the lack of documentation horrified me; but I was impressed with how well his narratives read and how happy he was with the end product. He never wasted any time on Sentence Variables!
My annotations will include my own personal choices and the reasons behind them. Again, determine what you want TMG to do. The rest of your decisions will fall into place.

This is TMG's Tag Entry screen. Here we show the entry of Bubba Browne's birth.

What an improvement this screen is over that in TMG 4.x! All your options are visible on this one screen. Note the "Primary Name" area. TMG 5.x allows you to select a name as it appears on a document or as the person was known at the time, for example, a married name or a nickname. The primary name is the name used on pedigree charts and family group sheets.

Points of Discussion

Clicking on Memo (or F7) will open a memo field in the Tag Entry Screen. The memo will appear as an endnote or footnote in a chart or family group sheet. In a narrative report, the memo can appear in the sentence in the main body of the report. Note the section of the report enclosed in curly brackets ({--}). These are known as "sensitivity brackets." Text enclosed by these brackets will not appear in any report, unless the user specifically chooses to include this text.

The page entitled The Memo Field: Tips on Input for Output is a table that covers each memo type and its editing and printing options. This is a 1997 document. After a cursory reading, most of it, with the exception of the exhibit memo, appears to be standard in TMG 5.x, but I haven't edited this yet. Knowing where a memo prints may help you decide where it should be written. Examples: Do you want the memo to appear in the Bibliography? It must be a Source Memo. Do you want it to appear in a narrative sentence? It must be a Tag Entry Memo.

The Sentence appears only in the Narrative Reports. Each Tag Type has a default sentence provided. This sentence may be modified globally or may be modified in the case-by-case manner used here.

Points of Discussion

Within our Tag Entry Screen, we can add the source of the data by clicking on the + next to the citation box, or by hitting F4. If you know the source number, you can enter this directly. More often, you will need to search for the source number. Click on "Search" or hit F2. Of course, we don't have any sources in this data base yet. So, click on "New" (or hit F4). Select a Source Category; a template will appear and you simply fill in the data. We have chosen Interview.

Note that the Supplemental Tab contains a "Comments" field. The Interview Source Category encourages comments.

The output of the Full Footnote, Short Footnote, and Bibliography may be changed in several ways.

Returning to our Tag Entry Screen, we can enter the number of our new source. We now have the option of entering information in the "Citation Detail" box. This could include a page number, source analysis, or memo relevant to the source in this specific instance. This information will appear as a footnote or endnote in reports, if you so designate.
Surety values may now be entered. These refer to how sure you are about the validity of the information obtained from the source relevant to: Principal 1, Principal 2, Date, Place, and Memo.

The "proper use" of surety values is frequently debated. Like all else in TMG, the "proper use" of sureties is the method that works for you. Many people don't bother with them at all. Others use them to control printing. For me, "-" means the source is wrong; "3" refers to an original document that provides direct evidence; "0" is a published history or genealogy. Everything else depends on my mood.

This illustrates the appearance of our Full Footnote. Note that the Citation Detail is not printed out when viewed from this screen. To view footnotes in their entirety, print a report, including endnotes, to the screen. Take a look at the tutorial on "Using the Individual Narrative Report."

TMG 5.x has a wonderful option: several handy, dandy report icons on your toolbar. The first prints an individual narrative to your screen. It's a great way to check out your narrative. The second prints an individual narrative with footnotes (in parentheses) to your screen. The third prints a bibliography of all sources used for the individual to your screen. The format for these preview reports can be edited if you access them from the Report Menu rather than the toolbar.