Hoffman, Lee H. (ed.). Getting the Most Out of The Master Genealogist.

Baltimore: Gateway Press, 2003. 309p., softcover. Index, illus. $24.95 ISBN 0-9721567-0-4.

“Which genealogy software do you use?” is often the beginning of what might be characterized as almost a religious argument. Still, there aren’t many products on the market sufficiently complex to create demand for an after-market manual.

Because there’s almost nothing it can’t do, and because it was the first to emphasize citation of sources in research, The Master Genealogist (known among users as “TMG”) is a favorite among professional genealogists and those managing large research ventures, such as one-name studies and multi-family community migration projects. (And in the interest of candor, I should say that I was closely involved in the design and testing of the very first DOS version of TMG in the early 1990s.) Hoffman is himself a long-time user and also operates TMG-L, the principal online discussion list for those who use the program. In this volume, which focuses on the completely redesigned program that began with Version 5.0 (it’s up to Version 7 now), he and eight other contributors explore in great detail every aspect of the program, including basic design concepts, structuring the dataset, managing multiple projects, customizing the software to your own preferences (which can take quite awhile if you try to do it all at once), designing and controlling reports (including a great many types of charts and graphs), specifying the way sentences are structured in reports, dealing with sources and their citations, filtering and sorting the data in various ways, adding in exhibits and multimedia files, and importing and exporting datasets. There are seven appendices on everything from standard source templates to an analysis of the way TMG produces GEDCOM files plus more than two hundred tables and figures (most of the latter being screen captures illustrating points under discussion). Even though I’ve been using TMG since the beginning and have a thorough understanding of its underlying concepts, nevertheless I am sometimes at a loss about how to accomplish something. For that reason, Hoffman’s book sits on a shelf within easy reach.

NOTE: Gateway appears to have allowed this book to go out of print unusually quickly and I’m not sure whether Lee has yet started on a revised edition. However, it’s now also available as either a CD or as a download from Wholly Genes, the publisher of TMG, as <www/whollygenes.com>, and at a similar price. And I’ll add that, while the differences between Versions 5 & 7 are relatively minor and cumulative, all changes from one release to the next also are detailed on the Wholly Genes website.

Published in: on 22 July 2011 at 8:27 am  Leave a Comment  

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