I am very much into genealogy. To read more about my near obsession with genealogy, go here.
I use, as my main genealogy program, The Master Genealogist (TMG). I would not be doing my genealogy without a genealogy software program; the task would be too daunting. I could not imagine keeping all my data organized without such a program; writing a family history without one would be nearly unthinkable for me. I would certainly forget something.
TMG is produced and owned by Wholly Genes Software, Inc., a small privately owned company in Columbia, Maryland. Bob Velke is the owner, founder and chief developer. The story, as I've heard it, is that TMG was developed because none of the then existing genealogy software met the needs and wants of Bob and several other genealogists. From its beginning they have listened to their users on what to include, and they have sought to maintain the highest genealogical standards. Put very simply, TMG is probably the best genealogical software available for a P.C.; it does almost everything. And does it well.
The saying is that there is no one right way of doing anything in TMG. There are at least two ways, if not a dozen or a score of different ways of doing practically everything. And none of those ways need be wrong. How to enter census information into the program can, and has, produced very long discussions. At times, it seems like everybody has a different way of doing it.
One of the benefits of TMG is the way it handles sources. It provides you with the ability to cite to the highest academic standards. One of the more important things in genealogy is citing ones sources. You must be able to tell where you got your information. The value of your work depends upon your cites, for your data can only be as good as its' source. There have been cases where the data has been invented, created out of thin air. Such a source is worthless. A person who was a participant in an event has been known to give false information: was a birth nine months, or more, after a wedding ceremony? On the other hand, original documents created at the time of the event by an uninvolved party almost always tell the truth of the event.
And, as with most things, there's more than one way of citing your sources. In
the United States there are two works on genealogical citation that have
called, by those who know what they are talking about, as
. Users of TMG can use either of those two books, or they can use Custom
Sources, with either of those two books as the default. With custom sources
you can create your own sources.
The two books are Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills and Cite Your Sources: A Manual for Documenting Family Histories and Genealogical Records by Richard S. Lackey. I go into more detail on the following pages concerning sources.
I used to belong to an excellent users organization, Roots Users Group of Arlington (RUG), which dealt with one of my other genealogy programs, Ultimate Family Tree. They began support of The Master Genealogist when most of the UFT users switched their allegiance to TMG after UFT ceased development. RUG recommended the switch in programs.
Ultimate Family Tree was known for its use of roles, which TMG adopted. The default roles in TMG are few, with short, simple sentences. If a TMG user would like to experience the use of the UFT roles, which might lead to a better reading narrative, I am willing to send a TMG dataset containing these roles. See here for more information. It will, in any case, create very quickly a huge number of roles.
There are many web-sites which deal with TMG; one of the best, with all types of information about it, is Lee Hoffman's web-site TMG Tips. It is well worth visiting.
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