|Home||Genealogica Grafica: specifying FAM relationships||13 Nov 2010|
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In a simple-minded report, husband and wife married and maybe separated at a
later date. We only need to know how to express he/she
married and he/she separated. But in a more
sophisticated report, this is not acceptable for situations where a formal
marriage did not take place. We need to know in addition how to express that
they lived together, had a
common law marriage and the likes.
It gets more demanding if the report must also say things about the earlier and later relationships of the partner, like He married Sue. She was widow of Carl. Later she had a relationship with Bert.
This document describes how to specify these phrases. One complication in this is that the gedcom standard is not adequate to record some of the more modern relationships. Genealogical programs have therefore introduced their own private gedcom tags. These are not standardized and they may even be contradicting with similar tags from other programs. So, not only do we need to specify the phrases to be used in the report, we also need to specify how to recognize the special relationships in the gedcom.
In menu Layout - Report layout - Information depth you can specify that you do not want any sophistication. Make sure to turn yhis off if you do want state-of-the-art reports.
Gedcom FAM conditions
Via menu Options - Gedcom FAM definitions you can
specify how relationships are coded in the gedcom and what phrasing convention
to apply for such a relationship.
The various relationships that a gedcom may contain are given a (user-specified) name. The known ones are listed in the top scroll box. You can add and delete if you like by selecting the list and clicking INS or DEL.
The bottom box shows the conditions that make up the definition of the relationship. Take for example the relationship labeled MARR. This is meant for a traditional marriage. The conditions list shows that it is defined as any FAM record in the gedcom that contains the MARR tag. Now look at Living together, past. Here the conditions show that three tags are of relevance: the relationship is defined for gedcoms from Brothers Keeper only (gedcom = BROSKEEP), a non-standard tag _NMR (not married) must be present in the FAM record and another non-standard tag _MST must have PARTNERS in its field. (Nb: GG only recognizes the first four characters of a tag!) The checkbox above the conditions list indicates that Living together, past is a formal relationship. This means that there is a begin and an end, even though these may not be recorded (unlike an informal relationship, which will never have a begin and end record).
The conditions can be edited (by clicking on a line). You can add by pressing INS while in the box. Deletion is accomplished by editing a line and removing its contents.
Conditions have a left side and in most cases a right side. The left side
specifies a tag, the right side says what to check about that tag. Any tag can
be used and in many cases you can also use tags within tags by using a construct
with a separating dot, eg.
In addition to the standard and non-standard gedcom tags, you can use a few
GEDCOM = <list of names of gedcom creators>
ACTIVE (without a right-hand side)
PARTNER = PRESENT or ABSENT
SUMM = PRESENT or ABSENT
The first is used to say that this relation type is limited to gedcoms produced by certain programs only. The right-hand side will contain a list of names, separated by blanks.
ACTIVE tests if both partners in a FAM are currently alive (and still together).
PARTNER = PRESENT tests if both HUSB and WIFE are known.
PARTNER = ABSENT is true if HUSB or WIFE is missing in the FAM.
SUMM (summary) can only be used as a sub-tag. It tests if DATE and/or PLAC tags are present (eg MARR.SUMM=PRESENT).
The right-hand sides take the following
Note that a FAM is tested against all the defined relationship types,
starting from the top. The first one that has all conditions met will determine
the type. This test is done at an early stage, before it is known whether the
FAM is referenced from the HUSB's side or from the WIFE's side in the report.
Therefore, if you want to have a relationship definition that depends on an
aspect of one of the partners (like "still alive"), you can specify
Relationship type specifics: formality and phrasing convention
You can specify only two aspects of any relationship type (menu
Options - Gedcom FAM definitions):
Specifying FAM phrases
While in the Options - Gedcom FAM definitions
window you can click Edit phrases or you can go
directly to menu Options- Report phrases (FAM phrases)
to get to the page where you can specify the phrases to be used in your report.
The page contains much related information, which we'll describe, from top to bottom.
All the phrases and info on the page relate to the convention selected in the topmost combo box. You pick another convention, and you get other phrases.
In the box below the combo box you can edit the phrase used to introduce the children from a relationship. After listing husband and wife, the children will be listed (if you have specified such in menu Layout - Report layout - Include items) with a heading. Like "Children:" or "From this marriage:". Which heading to use is specified in this field.
Top-right is a matrix of small panels, some or all of them green. Some may
have an "x" mark in them. To describe this matrix we need to introduce two
The partner's history can be in the (relative) PAST (like he was divorced) it can be CONCURRENT (eg. at the same time he had a relationship with Cynthia) or in the (relative) FUTURE (such as Later he married Sue).
So, expect to specify phrases for these four uses. And then possibly a different phrase for a man than for a woman (like widower or widow, he or she). But there is more:
End of a relationship
For the reference type phrases (in particular for the PAST use), we need to distinguish between an explicit end (like a divorce), a natural end (i.e. one of the partners died) and the cases where it is not known how the FAM ended. For instance, describing an earlier marriage, you will encouter he was divorced husband of, he was widower of, or he was married before.
We refer to these end-types as EXPLICIT, NATURAL and GENERAL.
Click on a matrix element to select one of the 12 possible combinations of Use and End type. The corresponding phrases will be listed in the three large edit fields and you can modify them at will.
If the report describes a FAM incorrectly, there are two possibilities:
It may well be that you have FAM records without MARR tags (because you didn't know date nor place) while you know it is a marriage. But the gedcom family types list such a FAM most likely as an informal relationship. Go back to your recording program and change them there - if you want a professional report, representing all your research knowledge!
Use of parameters in phrases
There are simple phrases, like
He was married before
and there are phrases that contain a reference to another person or a date, such as
He married (1) Sue 21 March 1900, Paris (divorced 1910)
He married (2) Maria 22 June 1912. She was widow of Bert
phrases contain parameters which will be replaced by data from the FAM under
The phrases are of course specific to the situation you describe and may well
depend on Use and end-type of the relationship.
So, for a marriage that ended explicitly with a divorce, you would want to say He married # $ @MARR.SUMM (divorced @DIV.DATE.YEAR) while for a marriage that did not end, or ended because one of the partners died, you'd simply say He married # $ @MARR.SUMM.
There is a special provision for cases where a tag is not present for a
certain FAM. Like in above example: if the date of the divorce is not recorded,
the report would say He married Sue 21 March 1900, Paris
(divorced ). When a field can not be found, it will be suppressed. If it
is in a bracketed part of the phrase and one of the brackets touches the field
reference, the whole bracketed part will be suppressed. So, the output will be
He married Sue 21 March 1900, Paris since the field
reference is next to the closing parenthesis. If there had been a space in
between, (divorced ) would have stayed.
For examples of parameter use, browse through the phrases in the Options - Report phrases window.
Note that the tag reference in a parameter can be anything - there is no check if it is a valid tag.
If you see no difference between say DIV (divorce) and DIVF (divorce filed) and yet your gedcom contains both forms, you will have to create two relationship types. And they need separate phrases, for the first will reference @DIV.DATE while the second uses @DIVF.DATE. Luckily, you can reuse all phrases when you start a new convention.
When you are desparate
If you want to start from scratch, proceed as follows:
Open the FAM types and conditions editor (menu Options - Gedcom FAM definitions) and remove all defined relationships except MARR and except Anything else (click a line and press DEL).
With MARR selected, you will see that the condition for it is MARR = PRESENT. Anything else does not have any conditions, so that relationship will apply to any FAM that lacks a MARR tag.
Select MARR. You will see that it is formal and that it uses the phrasing convention MARRIAGE. Press Edit phrases under the convention combo box. You can now modify the phrases if you like, but this should only be necessary when you work with a language other than Dutch or English.
In this phrases page (a tab of the Report specification window) you can also select INFORMAL RELATIONSHIP and see what it will produce. This is the convention used for Anything else.
Check out how the report will be phrased for a number of cases from the examples list at the bottom. (The examples are specific for the combination of Use and relation-end that you have selected in the matrix - you'll have to read the section above, sorry.)
If all your formal marriages come out with he married, she was widow, etc. you are in business.
Reopen the FAM types and conditions editor (menu
Options - Gedcom FAM definitions) and add a
LIVING TOGETHER relationship or anything else
specific to your gedcom. Work out how it can be recognized in the gedcom and
translate that into conditions. For instance, living together might be:
Then select formal or informal (living together would be formal) and select a phrasing convention. If none is of your liking, you will have to create a new one and then select it.