Pastfinders Computer Users’ Group

April 18, 2002

We covered putting up your own web page on January 17, 2002. The details of how to send your genealogy to a service like Ancestry or create your own home page can be found in the page of that date on our web site.

At the February 21, 2002 meeting we discussed how to get and use Front Page Express to create a home page. We also talked about Ancestry Family Tree and IrfanView, the former a free genealogical program fashioned on PAF and the latter, a free graphics program. Se the write up of that day on our home page.

On March 21, 2002 we covered searching the web. We suggested Cyndi’s List is one of the best places to start especially if you’re new to searching. See the full report under that date on our home page.

Preparing for a Library Search

Preparing for a library search involves choosing what you’re going to search for, how you’re going to search for it and gathering the data you already have that will hopefully lead you to the new information. If you want to search for everyone with a given surname, then you need to list everyone that you know with that surname. If you’re searching through town histories then you’ll need a list of everyone born in that town and if you’re searching military service records, you’ll need a list of everyone eligible to serve in a given war.

FamilyTreeMaker can help you create the appropriate lists. You need to create a Custom Report that contains the data that you want sorted in the order that you want. To do that, select REPORT from either the VIEW menu or by clicking on the REPORT icon and then select CUSTOM. Click on CONTENTS and then on ITEMS to INCLUDE. As an example, select NAME, BIRTH DATE, and BIRTH PLACE. When you select NAME, select LAST, FIRST MIDDLE. Under INDIVIDUALS to INCLUDE select ALL. Click on FORMAT and on SORT. Choose first to sort by NAME. Under FORMAT choose MAXIMUM WIDTH of EACH COLUMN and then select CHOOSE WIDTHS MANUALLY. Set the widths to 2 in, 2 in and 2 in.

You should now have a three column report that includes everybody in your database. Unfortunately, it’s not editable and if you save it you can’t find it to edit in a wordprocessor. Nor do we even know what format it’s in.

If you don’t have a GENERIC, TEXT ONLY printer installed on your computer, now is the time to do it. Depending on which version of Windows you have, you can click on START and either CONTROL PANEL or PRINTERS. If you clicked on CONTROL PANEL then click on PRINTERS now. Click on ADD PRINTER and go through the list of printers and select GENERIC, TEXT ONLY and install it. You may need your windows disk to do this.

Now in FamilyTreeMaker, click on PRINT REPORT and then on SETUP to select the GENERIC TEXT ONLY PRINTER. Click OK and then click in the box that says PRINT to FILE. Click OK and then enter a name for the file you’re going to create. End it with .TXT as in FILENAME.TXT and click OK.

Now open Notepad and go to the folder FTM and find the file that you just created. The names are in alphabetical order so you can find the surnames that you want to research. Highlight the entire list of the chosen surname and select FILE, PRINT, PRINT SELECTION. Repeat the selection and print process if you want printouts of more than one surname.

When you’ve printed all of the surname files that you want, go back to FamilyTreemaker and clik on FORMAT, SORT REPORT and now sort by BIRTH DATE. Repeat all of the above and then select the appropriate birth dates to print. Appropriate birth dates for the Revolutionary War might be 1715 to 1760 but you can choose you own limits. Highlight and print selection. Repeat again for birth places. Obviously, you can use this for marriage and death dates as well. They key is to get the report into an editable format through the use of the text only printer. Use it whenever you have a formatted database that can’t be edited by ordinary means.