Gene 4.3 User Guide

Gene is a shareware Macintosh genealogy database management program, written by Diana and David Eppstein. (Diana did most of the programming, while David contributed to the database design, algorithms, and documentation.) Gene stores genealogical information in cards representing people, places, pictures, and events. You can use Gene to store family data and notes, draw and print family trees and pedigree charts, show how different people are related, create printed reports and web pages, or browse the database by clicking on names in cards and trees.

Gene's clean user interface has drawn critical praise: "The look of this prodigiously likable little shareware item should be the envy of designers of more expensive software" [David Pogue, MacWorld magazine, June 1995, p. 147]. But Gene is also capable of handling very complicated databases with thousands of names, multiple marriages and divorces, adoptions, illegitimate children, and intermarriage between relatives.

This hypertext document provides a guide to using Gene version 4.3. It includes information on the following topics.


1. Running Gene

Run Gene by double-clicking on the Gene icon. Gene will ask you which database to load by displaying a dialog like the following one:

File dialog screenshot

Note: the three-dimensional buttons in this image were produced by Greg Landweber's shareware software "Aaron"; the file dialog may appear different on your screen but its general features should be similar.

From the file dialog, you can select a file to open, or press "New" to create a new database. You can also load a file without using the file dialog, by double clicking on the file or by dragging it onto the Gene icon.

Once Gene loads your file, it will display a list of the people in the database, in which you can find and display individual cards. When you start a new database, Gene will create a new card in which you can start recording information.

While working in Gene, you may wish to save your work periodically; use the Save or Save as... commands in the File menu. Exit Gene by using the Quit command in the File menu. If you quit after you change the database, Gene will ask whether to save it.


1.1. What each of Gene's menus does

Gene provides several menus on the Apple menu bar.


2. Reading and Writing Files

You can open any Gene database by double clicking it, dragging it onto Gene, running Gene and selecting it in the opening dialog, or using the "Open" command.
You can also use Gene to open files created by other programs, as long as they are in Gene's database format or GEDCOM format; to list such files in Gene's file dialog, uncheck the box labelled "Show Only Gene Files" by clicking on it with the mouse.


2.1. File menu commands

Gene's File menu provides the following commands for manipulating files.

In previous versions of Gene, this menu also contained a "Summary" command, but this has now been merged into the "Report" command.


2.2. Preferences

The "Preferences..." command in the File menu allows you to change Gene's default behavior. When you use this command, Gene will bring up a dialog like the following one:

Preferences dialog screenshot

Controls for different parts of Gene are contained in panels of the dialog; the menu at the top of the dialog controls which panel is displayed. The center section of the dialog contains the controls for each panel, and the bottom contains a description of the panel. Different panels are explained more detail elsewhere in this document:

When you are done setting preferences, use the "OK" button to save them. If you do not want to make any changes to the current preferences, abort the preferences dialog with the "Cancel" button.


File preferences

The preferences dialog includes two panels that control Gene's behavior while reading and writing files.

The first panel, "Opening Files", tells Gene whether to show a status bar while opening the file, and what kind of card to list once the file is open. The same controls apply both when Gene is reading its own files, and also when it is importing GEDCOM files.

The second panel, "Saving Files", controls which of two methods Gene uses to save your file. The method we recommend involves creating a temporary file and renaming it. This uses some extra disk space while the save command is running, but protects against loss of data from system crashes. Gene can instead save directly to your original file, which is less safe but uses less disk space.


2.3. Merging pairs of Gene databases

The "Merge" command in the File menu takes information from two Gene databases and merges them into a single file. After reading the first file, use Merge to read the second file. The default file name after the merge is that of the first file. If two cards in both databases have the same name, Gene will assume they refer to the same person and the information on the two cards will be merged. If both cards have information in the same field, Gene will keep only the information from the second card. The text pane of the merged card will have the concatenation of the texts from the two files.

The "Merge Cards" command in the Cards menu can be used to clean up the results of a "Merge" command. If you have two cards representing the same person or place but with different names, use the "Merge Cards" command to combine them into a single card. This command will bring up a dialog specifying the two cards to use (by default, the top two cards). It then moves any links from the card marked "From" in the dialog, to the card marked "To", and deletes the "From" card. If a checkbox in the dialog is selected, it also copies information from the fields of the "From" card before deleting it.

Both types of Merge command are somewhat simpleminded and can easily destroy information or produce incorrect information, so use them with caution; it would be a good idea to make an extra backup copy of your Gene database file before you use the Merge commands. Neither command is able to merge unnamed cards such as marriages.


2.4. Importing and exporting GEDCOM format files

"GEDCOM" is the name of a file format for exchanging genealogy data between different programs. Like Gene's own database format, GEDCOM is text-based, which makes it easy to send across computer networks and between different kinds of computers. Gene supplies two commands for dealing with GEDCOM format files: Not all information used by Gene fits easily into the GEDCOM format; for instance GEDCOM files have no good way to store pictures, or notes about place names. Therefore it would be best not to use the Import or Export commands for everyday reading and writing of your own database. However the Import command is useful for reading databases sent to you by other people, or created by different genealogy programs. The Export command can be used to create a file you can send to other people who don't have Gene or who don't use the Macintosh.

When you use the Import command, Gene will ask for the name of a GEDCOM file to read. It will then translate the information in the file into the fields and notes of Gene cards. We recommend that you start a new Gene database before using the Import command, and then use the Merge command to combine the imported data with an existing database, rather than importing the GEDCOM file directly into your database.

Gene understands most of the GEDCOM standard, but some other genealogy programs export GEDCOM data in nonstandard formats. If Gene encounters any information it can't understand, it will place it in the text pane of the corresponding card so that you can translate it more intelligently by hand. Unlike Gene, GEDCOM does not require that each person have a unique name, so Gene's Import command automatically adds a number when necessary to the ends of names to make them unique. Because GEDCOM names can not be used to identify people uniquely, the Import command will create a new card for each person in the GEDCOM file, even when Gene already has information about people with the same name. This behavior differs from Gene's Merge command, which combines two files' information on the same people.
Note that some genealogy programs have a subtle bug in the way they export GEDCOM files, that can cause Gene some trouble when importing the files. GEDCOM files contain information in individual and family records; the family records typically contain marriage subrecords corresponding to the information stored in a marriage card in Gene. However some programs can only produce GEDCOM marriage subrecords when they know a date or place for the marriage; other families are left without this information. Gene can not automatically assume that every family is married, because one must also use GEDCOM family records for children born out of wedlock. However if Gene's Import command sees a family with no children, and no marriage information, it will create a family event card to note this problem so that there is some record that the people in the family are connected with each other. It is possible that the same programs may lose information about marriages without dates and places if they import GEDCOM files produced by Gene.


2.5. What to do when Gene won't read your file

It is unlikely that you will ever have a problem reading a Gene database, but if you do, here are some hints that could help you solve the problem.


3. Cards

All information in Gene is stored in the form of cards. Cards for people record each person's name, birthday, and parents. There are separate card types for places, marriages, deaths, and for other kinds of event or information.


3.1. The three panes of a card

Each card is partitioned into three sections: fields, links, and text. The three sections are each drawn in separate panes of the card, one on top of the other. In card types without card names (e.g. marriages) no links are possible so only the fields and text are drawn. Below, an example of a card is depicted, showing all three panes.

Card screenshot



The fields of a card consist of a sequence of lines, each with a field name and a box containing structured or unstructured data. Different fields structure their data in different ways. On a person card, like the one depicted above, there are five different kinds of fields: Some cards have a sixth field type: unstructured text. For instance this is used for the cause of death on a death card.



The links pane of a card lists other cards that are connected to this one by their link fields. The list is sorted in chronological order so that it forms a time-line of events related to the card. Like link fields, entries in the links pane are marked by triangles; click on the triangle to follow the link and view the corresponding card. You can copy and paste text from links, but it is not possible to change the link pane by editing it; instead you must go to the cards listed there and change their link fields.



The third pane of each card is a region of text. It can hold information about a person or event that does not have the structure to be described as cards and fields (such as a copy of an obituary notice, or the line in the example card above), to keep notes about the progress of genealogical research, or for any other purpose. It is not possible to change the font or style of characters in the text. Gene automatically wraps lines of text to fit the width of the window. You can change the text using the standard Macintosh edit menu features.


3.2. Card types

Gene provides cards of different types for recording different kinds of genealogical information.


Person cards

Person cards have seven fields: the name, birthday, birthplace, mother, father, sex, and source. The name field records the name of the person, and is used to refer to the card. The birthday is a date, and is used to position the card's line in the link panes of other cards. The birthplace links to a card for the place where the person was born. The mother and father link the card to cards for the person's parents, so that you can click on the field names to display those cards; the link panes of the mother and father will therefore include a list of all their children ordered by age. The sex field can take three values male, female, or blank (unknown); if Gene can, it will fill this field in automatically from the roles the person plays in other events.

The source contains one or more document titles for the sources of information used to fill in this person card, such as birth certificates, books or other records, or interviews with surviving relatives. It is very important to record sources so that you or other genealogists can assess the reliability of the information you have recorded. If there is more than one source, their titles should be separated by semicolons. More detailed source information can also be recorded using citation cards


Place cards

The only field on a place card is its name. Most of the information in a place card will be in its links pane, which forms a time-line of births, deaths, marriages, and other events happening at that place. As with all other cards, place cards have a text pane, which could be useful for describing the location and appearance of the place, giving highlights of local history, etc.


Adoption cards

The convention in Gene is that the mother and father on a person's card refer to the parents who conceived and gave birth to that child. If that child is subsequently adopted, the adoption should be recorded separately on an adoption card. This card has fields for the parents adopting the child, the adopted child, the date and place of adoption, and the source of information. The adoption information will then appear in the links pane of the adoptive parents and the adopted child.
Adopted children will be included in descendant trees drawn by Gene, but the parents shown in an ancestor tree will be the birth parents rather than the adoptive parents. If you want to have the mother and father on a person's card refer to the person's adopted parents, you can do so, but you will not then be able to record the person's birth parents.


Name Change cards

The name change card documents an alternative name that a person has chosen to use, due to marriage or some other reason. The primary name, listed in the person card, should be the person's original birth name. Alternative names listed in name change cards will also appear in the name list window; links to an alternative name will automatically be redirected to the original person card. This card has fields for the original name, new name, date of name change, reason for changing, and source of information.


Death cards

If a person dies, that information should be recorded in a death card. This card has fields giving the name of the deceased person, the date, place, and cause of death, and the source of information. It also has a field for the name of any surviving spouse; if you set this field, the death information appears on the links pane of the spouse's card, so that you can see it in context with any subsequent remarriage of that spouse.

Even if nothing is known about the date, place, or cause of death, you might still want to create a death card, simply to record the fact of the person's death. This would be particularly useful for family members born recently enough that someone might otherwise think they might still be alive.


Marriage cards

The connection between a husband and wife should be recorded in a marriage card. This card has fields for the names of the married husband and wife, the date and place of their wedding, the source of information, and the minister or judge who married them. This last field is a string rather than a link, since usually the minister or judge will not be a family member. Even if you do not know the spouse or wedding date, you can make a marriage card for one person to show that he or she did not die unmarried.

If a marriage ends in divorce, this should be recorded in a divorce card; If one spouse predeceases the other, this should be noted in a death card. In either case, the information will be listed in the spouse's link pane, so that you can see it in context with any subsequent remarriage of that spouse.

Gene does not automatically make marriage cards for the parents of a child, since it can't know whether the parents are married. However the "Marry Parents" template provides a convenient way of creating a marriage card for a person's parents.


Divorce cards

If a marriage ends in divorce, this fact should be recorded in a divorce card. Divorce cards have fields to record the husband's name, the wife's name, the date of divorce, and the source of information. Since divorce proceedings generally happen over a period of time, the date will typically be approximate, and there is no place field. Gene does not check whether there is a marriage card with the same husband and wife as the divorce card.


Event and Family Event cards

Event cards can be used to record occurrences not fitting into the other predetermined card types. Common life events might include baptism, confirmation, bar mitzvah, graduation, engagement, and burial, but these cards can also be used for more specialized situations such as buying a house or starting a new job.

Each event has six fields: the person to whom the event occurs, the date and place of the event, a brief description of the event, a four-letter codeword used when exporting to a GEDCOM file, and the source of information. For the common events listed above, a single word such as "Baptized" should suffice in the event description field. More than one person can be included in the "Person" field; multiple names in this field should be separated by semicolons. For a menu of possible codewords, click on the "GEDCOM" field name. A description of the meaning of these codewords can be found in the GEDCOM standard, Appendix A.

The Family Event card differs from the event card in having separate links to two people, a husband and wife. It can be used for events such as engagements, banns, separations, or anything else that happens to a couple rather than to an individual. Gene does not check whether there is a marriage card with the same husband and wife as the family event card.


Document cards

A document card is used to record the name of a source of information, such as a certificate or book, that mentions the family you are researching. The document card has fields for the title of the document (also used as the name of the card), the date the document was published, its author (a string, rather than a link), and its publisher. If you wish to record information about where the document can be found, or other notes about the document, these can go in the text pane of the document card. References within the document to a particular member of the family can be recorded using a citation card or with the source fields available on many cards.


Citation cards

You should use citation cards to record a passage within a document that refers to a specific family member. Citation cards have three fields: the name of the document containing the citation, the name of the person (or people, separated by semicolons) referred to in the citation, and a "reference" field which should be used to record page numbers or other information used to find the citation in the document. If the relevant passage in the document is sufficiently short, it may make sense to include it in the text pane of the citation card.


3.3. Menus


The Cards menu

Gene provides a menu in the menu bar, labeled "Cards", that provides a variety of commands for adding and removing cards from the database or viewing lists of cards.


The Edit menu

Along with the commands in the Card menu, there are commands for manipulating card information in the Edit menu. This menu of course contains the standard Macintosh commands for cutting, copying, and pasting text, selecting all text, and undoing an edit command. It also contains a command for showing the clipboard, useful after using the Copy command on a tree drawing.

The Edit menu also contains three commands that are specific to cards and their fields: Enter, Cancel, and Complete. To make changes to a card field, edit it like any other piece of text. Gene does not actually store the information you have typed until you are done changing it. The signal that you are done is normally that you are moving to a different field by clicking the mouse, using the return key, or using the arrow keys. The Enter command provides a way of telling Gene that you are done editing a field, without moving to a different one. Since Gene does not actually store any changes until you are done with a field, you can also restore the field to the value it had before you started changing it, using the Cancel command.

The Complete command provides a way of abbreviating names and other information. If you type part of a person's or place's name, the Complete command will replace what you've typed by the longest match it can find to a name already in the database. The completion command can be shorcut using the escape key; the tab key also performs completion if it can't perform its more normal function of moving to another field. Completion of person names works in either last name first or first name first ordering (regardless of how the name is actually stored in your database), so for instance in a field linking a card to a person you could type "Ep" and partially complete the field to "Eppstein," then type "Da" and complete it again to "David Arthur Eppstein" using only six keystrokes instead of as many as twenty.


3.4. Creating new cards

There are four methods of adding cards to a Gene database, two of which involve commands in submenus of the Cards menu. In all cases a new card will be added to your database, and Gene will open a window displaying the card. If you hold down the option key while selecting a command in the Templates or New Cards menu, or while using a keyboard shortcut for such a command, Gene will close the window for the currently open card and replace it with the newly created card.


Creating New Cards from Templates

When you add information to a Gene database, you will likely want it to have links to the cards already in the database. The commands in the Templates submenu of the Cards menu provide a method of automatically creating those links when a card is created. Each Template command creates a new card of a certain type, and copies information from the fields of the currently open card to those of the new card. For instance, the "Marry parents" template copies the Mother field of the current person card to the Wife field of a new marriage card, and similarly copies the Father field to the Husband field. Many templates list keyboard shortcuts next to the command name. Certain templates work only for person cards with the Sex field non-empty, e.g. for the "Marriage" template Gene needs to know whether to link the card as a Husband or as a Wife.


Creating New Empty Cards

You can create new empty cards using the New Cards submenu of the Cards menu. Simply choose a card type from the menu. Gene will create a new card of that type, with all fields blank. You should then fill in the fields of the card, and in particular the name and link fields. As long as the fields and text remain blank, you can change your mind and close the window without adding a new record to your database. If you add new information to the card, it will be added to the database.

The New of Same Type command acts as a shortcut to the New Cards submenu, and creates a new empty card of the same type as the currently displayed card or card list. If the topmost window is a picture, a new empty picture will be created.


3.5. Removing cards from the database

If you want to remove a card from the database, open a window for that card so that it is the topmost window visible in Gene, and use the "Delete Card" command in the Cards menu. Since this action is permanent and irrevocable, Gene will bring up a dialog asking you whether you really want to delete that card.


3.6. Following Links from Card to Card

When you are viewing any card in the Gene database, you can open other cards related to it by following links. Many cards have link fields giving the names of other related cards; in addition, a card with a name will have a links pane listing the cards with its name in their link fields. All of these links are indicated by small triangles in Gene. You can click your mouse on a triangle (or on the name of the corresponding field) to open the card on the other end of the link. If you hold down the option key while clicking on a link, the card you were previously viewing will be replaced by the other card; otherwise, the other card will be displayed in a new window. Alternately, Gene provides a "Follow Link" command in the Cards menu; position the cursor in a link field and use this command.


3.7. Adding Information to Card Fields

You can change any field of a card by clicking the mouse in a field to position the cursor there, typing the new value of the field, and pressing the return key (or using Enter from the Edit menu). Return differs from Enter in that it will move to the next field. If you make a mistake typing, use Cancel to return to the original field value. For certain field types, you can use Complete (or the tab key) to save typing: type enough of the field to specify it unambiguously, and tab will fill in the rest.

The following sections describe the format to use in filling in fields of different types.


Card Names

Certain cards, such as those for people and places, have a field designated as the card's name and used in links from other cards. You can change the name simply by typing and entering the new name in the field; all links will automatically be changed to the new name. No two cards of the same type can have the same name. The name of the card is used to refer to it in many other parts of Gene, so it is important to select it carefully.

Gene can handle people's names either last name first ("Fox, Daniel") or first name first ("Daniel Fox"). These two formats are considered equivalent, so you can refer to the same card by either ordering, but the first name first order may look better in trees and printouts. Names are alphabetized by surname, then by the rest of the name, so all cards with surnames of "Fox" would be placed together. Since names are used to identify cards, each card must have a unique name. However in typical databases, some people will have the same names. We recommend that you add a number at the end of the name, such as "Daniel Fox (1)", when people have the same name, in order to tell them apart. If you try to use the same name for two different cards, Gene will ask whether to automatically add such numbers for you to make the names unique.

If the first name is first, Gene takes the surname to be the last word of the name (not counting "Jr.", "Sr.", or Roman numerals). If someone has a name involving several words, that you wish to write in first name first order, use the option-space character instead of the usual kind of space to separate the words in the last name. The option-space is sometimes known as a "no-break space", and usually looks a little wider than a normal space; type it by holding down the option key while you press the space bar. For instance, Gene would normally alphabetize the name "Peter van Emde Boaz" under "Boaz". To make Gene alphabetize this name under "Emde", use an option-space between "Emde" and "Boaz" in place of the normal space there. To make Gene alphabetize it under "van", use another option-space between "van" and "Emde".

Gene expects place names to be typed as a list of strings separated by commas, in order of greater generality from left to right, as "Tisbury, Martha's Vinyard, Massachusetts". Place names are alphabetized by the most general name first, so all cards with the final string equal to "Massachusetts" would be alphabetized together, and within that group all cards with the next string equal to "Martha's Vinyard" would be alphabetized together. Gene's requirement that names be unique is not such a problem for place names as it is for person names, as e.g. the Tisbury above and Tisbury, Wiltshire, England obviously have different names.



Dates in Gene are formed by a month, day, and year or year range. Any of these fields can be omitted, but it is only possible to have a day of the month if the month is known. To represent an unknown date, simply leave it blank. The month can either be written by its name or by number, and month names can be abbreviated.

Year numbers should include the century; do not abbreviate the year. Years should normally have three or four digits; if you wish to refer to a really early year, precede it with some zeros, as "007" so Gene can tell that you mean a year number and not a month number. You can specify a range of years by separating the start and end of the range by a slash or a dash, such as "1995-2001" or "1783/1784". You can also abbreviate any such range by including only as many digits as are different in the second number, so the second range above could be abbreviated "1783/4".

Any date may be preceded by one of three modifier words "before", "after", or "circa". These may be abbreviated by the characters "<", ">", and "~" respectively. It is also possible to include a question mark at the end of any date, to indicate that you are unsure of its accuracy.


Date preferences

Gene's preferences dialog provides several panels controlling the way Gene formats dates in card fields, card links, and trees. (Gene does not allow you to change the date formats for its databases and for the Export command.) Each of these panels provides menus that let you select whether modifiers and months should be abbreviated, how year ranges should be indicated, and what punctuation to use between the parts of a date.

The "Date Input" panel controls how Gene interprets numeric months. If you write a month and date both as numbers, you must be consistent about which order you write them. The usual American practice writes the month first, so "8/2/1722" would mean August 2, 1722. However the European convention is that the same date would be interpreted date first, as 8 February 1722. Gene will output numeric months consistently with the input ordering selected in this panel.



You can make a link from one card to another by typing the second card's name in the appropriate field of the first card; you can then follow the link by clicking the mouse on the field name or using the "Follow Link" command. Each link field has a specified type of card to which it makes links, so you can not link the mother field of a person to a place, or the birthplace to a person. If the name you type is not in use, Gene will ask whether to create a new card. For most links, you need only type enough to unambiguously specify a unique card, then press tab or use "Complete" from the Edit menu; Gene will fill in the rest of the name. However, place name completion is not currently implemented.

If you change a link field, the link will point to a different card. If instead you want to keep the link to the same card, but change that card's name, you must open the window for that card and change the name field there. If you change the name of a card, any links to it will automatically change to match the new name. If you delete a card, any links to it will automatically be made blank.


Enumerated values

The sex field of a person's card is of a special type that can only hold a finite number of different values; in the case of the sex field the possible values are male, female, or blank (unknown). The sex field is set automatically by Gene whenever a link is made in a way that will identify a person's gender (as a mother, husband, etc.) but if no such link exists you will need to set the sex by hand. To change the sex, simply type the new value or an unambiguous abbreviation, or click on the field name to make Gene show a pop-up menu of possible values. The sex is used by Gene to control how it uses certain templates to create new cards.


Strings and Numbers

Some cards have a field that can contain a single line of text. For instance this sort of field is used in Death cards to record the cause of the death. You can put whatever information you like in this sort of field.

It is also possible to have a field that can only contain a number. This is not currently used in any of the cards defined in Gene, but is available for user-defined card types.


3.8. Making lists of cards

To list all cards of a given type, select a card type from the List Cards submenu in the Cards menu, or use the "List This Card" command to list cards of the current card's type. Gene will then open a new window displaying an alphabetized list of card names. To open a card in the list, click on the triangle icon next to its name, or press return after selecting a name (with the mouse or by searching). You can scroll the list using the arrow keys. Shifted arrow keys scroll a window at a time instead of a line at a time. The Print command prints the list.

You can select and copy text from the names window, but to change a name you must open that card and change it there. The names window is automatically updated to reflect changes made in other windows.

When the active window is a list of card names, you can search for a part of any name just by typing that string. Gene will begin searching at the current selection point in the window, then wrap the search around to the beginning of the window if necessary. If a search fails, Gene will beep and the currently selected text will remain unchanged. You can search for substrings anywhere in names, so for instance "ana" would be found as a match in "Diana Eppstein". Upper and lower case letters are treated as equivalent, so the same matches would be found for "Ana". If a string in the name list window is already selected, each new character you type will be added to the end of the selection and Gene will search for the new longer string. The tab key searches again for the currently selected text. Shift-arrow keys lengthen the selection, and delete shortens it.

A list of person cards is automatically displayed by Gene when it starts up; the choice of which card to list can be changed in the preferences dialog.


4. Trees

The Trees menu bar provides commands for drawing trees that show the ancestors or descendants of a given person, or the relation between a pair of people. Trees can be viewed on the screen, sent to a printer or saved as a file. While viewing any tree, you can click on a name in a tree to brings up the corresponding card. To draw a tree, use one of the following tree-drawing commands in the Trees menu: When you use a tree-drawing command, Gene will bring up a dialog describing the information it needs, looking like the following one:

Tree dialog screenshot

In most cases you need merely fill out the name of a person and press "Ok". If you use a tree-drawing command when a person card is already open, you don't even need to do that much; the card's name will be filled into the dialog by default. Trees of relations require two names; if the other trees are given two names they will form a connected pair of trees starting with those names. To re-open the dialog used for a previous drawing, use the "Redo Tree" command.

We include below the following examples of trees drawn by Gene.


4.1. Tree drawing options

The options available on the tree dialog include the following: Some of these options may also be controlled by the Tree Drawing panel of the preferences dialog. The difference between setting the options in the tree dialog and the preferences dialog is that only the preferences dialog settings are remembered the next time you run Gene again.


Font, font size, and width

The tree dialog provides a space in which to select a font with which to draw people's names, and a size for that font. The default has been selected to be smaller than the font used to display cards, so that more information will fit in a single tree drawing. The size menu lists a number of standard font sizes; to choose another size not on this list, select the "Other..." entry from the menu, and enter the desired size in the dialog that results. This size will be added to the menu for your continued use.

The dialog also provides a space for a number limiting the width of the tree. The meaning of this number varies according to the output format: on-screen drawings and postscript allow pixels, inches, or centimeters, while text and plotter output can measure only width in numbers of characters. You can convert from one unit to another by selecting the new unit in the pull-down menu on the dialog. This menu also has commands to set the width to the width of the screen (in pixels) or the current printer's page width (in inches). The default is to make tree drawings the width of the screen.


Tree drawing styles

The tree dialog includes a menu below the tree drawing type, listing options "Names Only", "Terse", and "Verbose". This menu allows you to select between different styles of tree drawing. In verbose style, the tree will include abbreviated information from the cards, detailing the births, deaths, and marriages of the people in the tree. In terse style, only birth and death years are listed. And in names only style, no dates are shown. The example of an ancestor grid in this file is drawn in names only style, the ancestor tree is drawn in terse style, and the descendant tree is drawn in verbose style.

In ancestor trees and grids, you can also choose whether to draw the tree vertically (as in the example) or horizontally (similar to descendant trees), using another pair of buttons in the tree dialog.


4.2. Descendant trees

The "Descendants" tree drawing command draws trees of the descendants of a specified person (or pair of people). As many generations of descendants are included as will fit within the specified width. If descendants are omitted their absence will be indicated by an ellipsis ("..."). Descendant trees can only be drawn horizontally.
If the same descendant appears in multiple positions in the tree (because of intermarriage), that person's name will appear in each place, but any further descendants in that line will be included only once; their absence in other places will be marked by ellipses as above. If an adopted child appears in a descendant tree drawn in the "Names Only" style, the name of the child will be put in parentheses to denote a non-blood relation.

Below we show a descendant tree, drawn in the "verbose" style.

Descendant tree screenshot


4.3. Ancestor trees and grids

The "Ancestors" tree drawing command draws trees of the ancestors of a specified person. Two styles are available: vertical and horizontal. We include an example of the vertical style; horizontal trees are similar to descendant trees.

Ancestor tree screenshot

As the example shows, vertical trees can merge ancestral lines together when the tree involves marriages between cousins. A horizontal tree for the same person would list some ancestors twice.

A different type of ancestor tree drawing, the "Ancestor Grid", connects generations alternately left-right and up-down, so that ancestors are spread in a grid around their common descendant. The horizontal or vertical style determines which direction is used first. The tree structure of these drawings is less clear than in the "Ancestors" tree but the grid can sometimes fit more names in the given space. Unlike the other tree drawings, when the ancestor grid runs out of room to add more generations it simply cuts the tree off, without adding any ellipses. Below we show a horizontal ancestor grid.

Ancestor grid screenshot


4.4. Relation drawings

The "Relations" tree drawing command takes the names of two people in the database, and depicts any blood relationship between those people as a form of vertical tree (similar to the vertical ancestor tree style). If the two specified people are not known to be related, Gene will display a message explaining that it could not find a relationship. If the two people belong to a highly intermarried family, such as the British royal family (shown in the example), they may have more relations than will fit in the specified width; in this case Gene displays a warning message and shows as many relations as will fit, keeping those involving the fewest generations.

Relation drawing screenshot


4.5. Printing and saving trees

Gene provides several methods for printing the trees it draws, or for storing them in files.


Printing trees

The "Print" command in the File menu sends a tree directly from Gene to the printer. When a tree drawing is the active window, the Print command will create a printout of the drawing. Use "Print Setup" first to change any necessary printer parameters such as whether the printout should be in portrait mode (taller than it is wide) or landscape mode (wider than it is tall), depending on the shape of the tree you are printing.

You may need to draw your tree with a narrower width than the default, in order to get it to fit on a page; the "page width" command in the width menu of the tree dialog causes the tree to be drawn just wide enough to fit on a page (as determined by the printer settings from the last time Page Setup was used). If your tree extends over multiple printed pages, Gene will slightly overlap the portions of the tree printed on each page, to make it easier for you to join the result into one big tree.

Some printer drivers have an option for sending their output to a file instead of a printer, so it may be possible for you to use the Print command to save your tree as a postscript file, portable document file, or other format file depending on what printer drivers you have installed.


Copying trees

The "Copy" command in the Edit menu copies trees from Gene to the Macintosh clipboard, so they can be pasted into other programs. The tree will be copied as a "Pict" format object, which is a Macintosh standard that is understood by most word processors and drawing programs. To produce other formats such as GIF or JPEG, use a file format conversion utility; or (for JPEG) convert the tree into a card and change its storage type to JPEG. The "Show Clipboard" command in the Edit menu views whatever you have most recently copied.


Converting trees into picture cards

The "Make Picture Card" command in the Trees menu can be used to save a tree drawing permanently as part of your Gene database. It converts the tree to a Picture card, and automatically creates buttons linking the new picture to each of the cards named in the drawing.


Drawing directly to files

Gene can create files containing tree drawings, in several formats:


5. Pictures

Along with the textual information stored in cards, a Gene database can contain pictures. Pictures can be used to display scanned photographs, maps, birth certificates, or any other graphical image. Gene also includes a method for creating buttons in pictures, so that clicking the mouse on a region of the picture will automatically display a specified card. For instance, one could place buttons on the faces in a picture, connecting it to the corresponding people, or on the place names in a map, connecting it to the corresponding place cards.
Gene stores pictures in either of two ways. The picture data can be stored directly in your file, or instead the database can store an alias to a separate picture file. Storing a picture directly may be more convenient in terms of using and sharing your data, since you only need to keep track of a single file; however if you have many pictures in your database, all stored directly, your file may grow very large and unwieldy. Therefore Gene also allows you to store pictures in separate files, with the database storing only an alias to the file (essentially this is just the file name together with some extra information to help find the file if you move it to a different location). The Edit Picture dialog displays the storage type in a menu that can also be used to change this type.
Displaying pictures (stored either way) can cause Gene to use large amounts of memory. To avoid running out, you may wish to increase the total memory allocated to Gene, by using the Macintosh "File->Get Info" command on the Gene application and changing the numbers in the application's information window.

Gene provides the following commands in the Pictures menu for dealing with pictures.


5.1. Image formats

To add a picture to a Gene database, you will first need to have created an electronic version of the picture with a scanner or other hardware and software. Gene requires its pictures to be in either of two formats: the Macintosh-standard PICT format, or the WWW-standard JPEG format. (GIF format is not supported due to restrictive licensing requirements by the owner of the patents on its compression routines.) Most drawing and image-manipulation software packages allow you to save your image as a PICT file, or to use the Copy command in their Edit menu to copy a PICT version of the image to the Macintosh clipboard. Gene can handle PICT images created by either of these methods.

JPEG pictures must be stored in a separate file from your database; PICT pictures can either be separate or stored as a "resource" as part of your database.

Once you have a picture in your database in any one of these formats, you can convert it to another format by using the "storage type" menu on the "Edit Picture" dialog. If appropriate, Gene will ask for a file name to store the converted image.


5.2. Creating new pictures

Adding a picture to Gene is a three step process. First you must create a place to store the picture, using the "New Picture" command. Gene will create a picture card, but will not have any image to display for it. Second, use either the "Paste" command (in the Edit menu) or the "Paste From File" command (in the Pictures menu) to paste an image into the picture you have created. Third, after either type of paste command, you should use the "Edit Picture" command to give your picture a name, so that when you close the picture or run Gene at a later time you can use the "List Pictures" command to find the picture again.

The Paste command copies an image from the Macintosh clipboard to the currently open picture. Most Macintosh programs that create or manipulate images will have a Copy command that places an image onto the clipboard, from which it can be pasted into Gene. Images added to Gene with the Paste command are stored directly in the Gene database.

The Paste From File command will put up a dialog asking for a file, in PICT or JPEG format, containing an image. Once you specify a file, Gene will display that image, and store an alias pointing to the file. Once you have pasted a picture this way, you should not move or delete the file, since then Gene may be unable to find the image stored in it.


5.3. Naming pictures and adding buttons

The "Edit Picture" command displays a dialog like the following one.

Edit pictures dialog screenshot

The top part of this dialog deals with the picture as a whole. Every picture should be given a name, using the space provided here; without a name it would be difficult for you to find the picture and display it again. The "Done" button tells Gene to stop displaying the Edit Picture dialog and return to viewing the picture. The "Find Picture" button leaves the dialog displayed, but selects the picture itself as the active window.

The larger region in the lower part of the dialog is used to create buttons. A button is a rectangular region of the picture, having the property that if you click your mouse in it, Gene will automatically display some other card or picture. Buttons in pictures are therefore similar to links in cards, and in fact any buttons connecting a picture to a card will be listed in the card's links pane. However, unlike links, buttons can connect pictures to cards of different types, and even to other pictures. The only requirement is that the card or picture to be displayed must have a name. A picture may have many buttons (for instance a scanned image of a group portrait might have a separate button on each of the faces in the portrait).

To create a button, open the Edit Picture dialog, use the "Find Window" command to go back to the picture's window, and use your mouse to select a rectangular region. Gene will create a button corresponding to that region and put you back in the Edit Picture dialog so you can type the name of the card to be opened by that button. By default, Gene makes buttons connecting to person cards; to make a button to a different type of card use the "Card Type" menu before you can set the card name. To make a link to another picture, simply choose "Picture" as the card type. To create a button covering most of the picture, without having to select the whole picture using your mouse, select the New Button command in the Edit Picture dialog.

Once you have created a button, Gene will display its boundary as a rectangle on the picture. You can change the size and shape of the button to fit the desired region of the picture either by clicking and dragging the rectangle boundaries in the picture, or by changing the numbers controlling the button's boundaries in the Edit Picture dialog. If two buttons overlap, only the first one of them will be activated by a mouse click in the region of overlap; use the "Move To Front" and "Move To End" commands in the Edit Picture dialog to control the ordering among the buttons.


5.4. Captions and Links

Pictures in Gene are treated in many ways like cards; in particular they have a links pane and a text pane, just like cards. However by default Gene only displays these panes if they are non-empty. Normally, the only links shown in a picture's links pane will be buttons in other pictures. The text pane of a card is more useful; it can be used to record a brief caption describing the contents of the picture, the source and date of the picture, or any other information you want. To add text to a picture, use the "Show Text" command to make the text pane visible, use the mouse to select the text pane, and type the text. Once you have added text to a picture, the text pane will be displayed by default whenever you open the picture again. To hide the text pane leaving more room on the screen for the picture itself, use the "Show Text" command again.


6. Reports

The "Report" command in the File menu (also available using the Command-R keyboard shortcut) produces formatted output describing Gene's database in various ways. Reports can be viewed on the screen, printed out, imported into a word processor for further editing, or output directly to a world-wide web page in HTML format. When you use this command, Gene will bring up a dialog asking which type of report to produce and where to put the output.

The following report formats are available:

Each report can be output in any of several different styles:


6.1. Ancestor Families Report

The Ancestor Families report gives detailed information on the ancestors of an individual or couple. It begins by displaying a dialog like the following one:

Ancestor families dialog screenshot

The most important parts of this dialog are the Father and Mother fields, the number of generations, and the checkbox "Only expand same gender lines", since these are the parts that control which families are listed in the report. If only a Father or Mother is specified, the report will start with that person's family: any spouses or children he or she may have. If both are specified, the report will start with only the events and children shared by the two specified individuals. The report describes these two people, shows the events they have in common, and lists their children. Then, it similarly includes the families of the father and mother's parents, grandparents, and so on, to the limit of the number of generations specified in the report. If no limit is specified, all ancestor families will be included. If "Only expand same gender lines is checked, only the direct father-to-father or mother-to-mother line will be followed, depending on whether the Father or Mother fields in the dialog are filled in. (So for instance you can trace the male ancestors of a female individual by putting the individual's name in the Father field, even though that individual is not herself a father.)

The three style menus control the way Gene lists each person mentioned in a family. The styles available are the same as those in tree drawings. However, unlike trees, individuals' names are reported in boldface to make them stand out from the rest of the information in the report.

Most of the other options on this dialog control various formatting options: whether to assign individuals numbers (according to the order they are output), include counts of the number of children of each child in the family, include names of grandparents, and include the text panes of the parent cards.


6.2. Ancestors Report

The Ancestors report is similar to the Ancestor Families report in listing the ancestors of a specified individual or couple. However, unlike the Ancestor Families report, the ancestors are listed by individual rather than by family, without the notes and lists of children included in the Ancestor Families report. Numbering of individuals in this report is done according to the so-called "Ahnentafel" scheme, in which the father of a person with number n has number 2n, and the mother has number 2n+1. If two individuals are specified for the start of the report, we instead use a modified Ahnentafel numbering scheme in which the father has number 2n+1 and the mother has number 2n+2, so that all individuals in the report have distinct numbers.


6.3. Calendar Report

This report produces a list of all births, marriages, and deaths for which an exact date is listed in the database, broken down by month and sorted by which day of the year each event occurred.


6.4. Descendant Families Report

The Descendant Families report gives detailed information on the descendants of an individual or couple. It begins by displaying a dialog similar to the one used by the Ancestor Families report, asking for formatting options and the names of one or two individuals to start the report.

If only a Father or Mother is specified, the report will start with that person's family: any spouses or children he or she may have. If both are specified, the report will start with only the events and children shared by the two specified individuals. The report describes these two people, shows the events they have in common, and lists their children. Then, it similarly includes the families of the children, grandchildren, and so on, to the limit of the number of generations specified in the report. If no limit is specified, all descendant families will be included. If "Only expand same gender lines is checked, this report only expands children having the same gender as the parent being listed. (Note that this is subtly different from the "expand same gender lines" option in Ancestor Families, and unlike that report is unable to trace the male-line descendants of a female ancestor or vice versa.)


6.5. Descendants Report

The Descendants report is similar to the Descendant Families report in listing the descendants of a specified individual or couple. However, unlike the Descendant Families report, the ancestors are listed by individual rather than by family, without the notes and lists of children included in the Ancestor Families report. If numbering is turned on, the children within any family are numbered in order.


6.6. Family Group Report

This report starts by bringing up a dialog asking for the names of a mother and/or father, along with some formatting options, similar to the dialog in the Ancestor Families report. If only a Father or Mother is specified, the report will start with that person's family: any spouses or children he or she may have. If both are specified, the report will start with only the events and children shared by the two specified individuals. The report describes these two people, shows the events they have in common, and lists their children.


6.7. File Summary Report

This report produces a listing of how many cards there are in the current database, separated by type and by whether each card has a name or is unnamed. It replaces a similar top-level command in earlier versions of Gene.


6.8. Single Card Report

The "Single Card" report shows the fields, links, and text of the topmost card window, in roughly the same format as they would be displayed on the screen.


6.9. Whole File Report

The "Whole File" report produces a listing of all cards in the database, in roughly the same format as they would be displayed on the screen. Although this report can be viewed on screen like any other report, it is intended primarily for printing out one's database or creating a web site based on it. Large databases may cause Gene to spend a long time making this report, so Gene uses a status bar to display its progress.


Copyright 1995-2000 David and Diana Eppstein.