"Male lines only" narrative report

Obviously this will only happen in RM8, but currently in RM7 publisher if you’re producing a set of descendant narrative reports for example for your eight great-grandparents, and some of them intermarried, you end up with a lot of duplication in the later generations. In my case, going back ten generations there is TONS of duplication. I’m trying to reproduce a book (Our Kin by Hoffman BTW) that has a chapter per name. When a daughter marries into another line it says “details in chapter X”.

I’m not expecting RM to update the publisher to handle the “details in Chapter X” part (although I wouldn’t complain), not having to delete out the thousands of duplicates in what would be 16 narrative descendant reports would be a real timesaver.

My apologies if I’ve submitted this before, but I searched for all the feature suggestions with narrative reports and didn’t see that I’ve done it.

Obviously bringing the Publisher back to RM8 would be a prerequisite to this being useful to me, but I thought I’d put the idea out there.

So Male lines only is your solution to the problem of duplication? You are correct that there is no such feature in RM. A workaround is to create a group for each male line. Export each group to GEDCOM, import each to its own new database and generate the report from each line’s database. Assemble the reports in Word.

Male only lines mirrors the format in regional and joint family genealogies. I’m familiar with how to work around the problem, my suggestion to avoid those time consuming workarounds. My desire is to be able to reproduce multiple interim versions of these genealogies for review by others. If I need to spending many hours doing workarounds each time that’s not practical.

These types of genealogies don’t start with a single common ancestor, but normally multiple “pioneers” or heads of family which leads to large amounts of duplication as the lines intermarry. Since the females that intermarry into other lines are covered in the married name line there is no need to cover their descendants in their maiden name line outside of showing their basic info such as birth, death, and the fact they married into another line.

This post assembly in Word is also problematic because RM doesn’t honor style sheet functionality that is present in every single major word processing program (and even simple web based editors). Once you start editing a RM report in an external editor the quality of the formatting fails quickly.

As an FYI I consider Word a horrible program for managing large documents. I plan to use Adobe InDesign for my final versions. Features like indexing and tables of contents or figures are critical for what I’m trying to do, so a tool like InDesign or FrameMaker is essential and less burdensome.

I had a look at Family Historian 7, FTM2019, Heredis 2021, Gramps Wiki and none of them have a way of filtering a Descendants List or Narrative report by gender that I can see. Some, like RM, can filter a list of people but not if it displays lineage links. Do you know of any software that does?

As for Word, I struggled with it almost 40 years ago making what seemed like large at-the-time specification documents using its Master Doc feature to assemble multiple sections and having it blow up. I’m sure it is much more capable now but I’ve not mucked around with huge docs. I know the Master Doc feature is gone.

The old Master Doc would work “better” in the publisher environment as you could export each individual report and leave the files separate. Clunky, but I kinda miss it. I abandoned it years ago first for FrameMaker, and later used InDesign. FrameMaker would be amazing for genealogical publishing since it would allow to publish updated versions and would show what’s updated and also keep all the existing page numbers the same so people’s existing secondary source citations would still be valid (numbering inserted pages lie 11a, 11b, etc). It’s an order of magnitude more expensive than Word, and since most people don’t even use all the functionality in Word it’s a bit much to hope for.

I haven’t looked at Family Historian, but I’ll take a look. I need programs that are cross platform as I do the bulk of my work on Mac but also use Windows for development and other genealogy tools that are Windows only. I and FTM and Heridis. FTM has a book function but it’s really flaky and the latest update seems to have hosed the sync with Ancestry. I do use it fairly regularly because its duplicate and consistency reporting is superior to RM. Heridis is “prettier” than every other program I’ve used, and has wonderful sync capabilities with other copies of the programs on a network, but the UI is a bit confusing and the “book” feature was totally broken in the 2023 version. Gorgeous graphs though.

RM is where I do most of my work and have my master database because it fits my workflow which is currently cross-referencing thousands of individuals from related families from secondary sources and matching them with primary sources. Brute force database work. When I’m doing less of that and more reporting I may transition to another program if RM’s publishing and reporting don’t improve. Unfortunately I’m stuck on RM7 since I’m heavily dependent on Publisher for my workflow.

I have used InDesign for dealing with RM reports. What works for me is to put the report into Word first - make a backup or copy of the document for each step so you can go back to a good copy when you screw it up. Do my best to get rid of fussy formatting - standardize things so the least number of different styles for paragraph formatting. For fonts, do NOT use styles - use the buttons.

All the different formats created in a report get hard to deal with when you import a file into InDesign. If you have two different formats for a font (example - both italic Times New Roman and regular Times New Roman) in one paragraph, InDesign gets grumpy unless you used the buttons in Word to make them italics and regular.

And be very careful with InDesign index markers - I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have had to start over from the beginning (better to make copies with each step so you can go back to a clean document) because somehow I lost index markers. Once, I was working with footnotes and lost all the markers. Go figure!

And I don’t do more than cleaning up formats in Word. That program loses its mind when you have more than 100 pages to work with.

In other words, it isn’t easy to get a decent RM report in InDesign. It’s a lot of work, but it can be done. But the program costs something like $250 a year. And you have to pay that every year you use it.

I have been using InDesign (and PageMaker before it) for many years. I have the full suite because I was using several of the products in what used to be Creative Suite independently, then they gave me a deal to upgrade to the full suite, then a discounted subscription for a year for switching to the subscription service.

Word’s lethargy on large documents is frustrating. It’s compounded by the dirtiness of the output that RM creates. That’s why I have another feature request to have RM use style sheets instead of individual character/paragraph formatting. I’m looking into using VBA to take the canned formatting from RM into some basic styles.

Keith – I don’t know how to use VBA. Sure would be nice if there was something done.

Do you have advice about the index markers? I found out that indexes are not a strong point with InDesign (obviously) and my answer was to create an index as soon as I could into a separate document and pray. Then make a second index, and a third, ad nauseum, until the book was done. I lost the markers so often. Sometimes I could tell what I did wrong, other times it was a mystery, such as when they disappeared when I was working in the footnotes.

As a side note, formatting novels (I am a writer) in InDesign is why I started using it. Word can dissolve into a sobbing heap when you get past 100 pages when you try to format but is okay when just typing sentences. So I write in Word and dump it into InDesign to format for publishing.

Have you tried Quark Express?

Ann Marr

I don’t have any good advice on index markers, I haven’t worried too much about it so far as I’m primarily stuck in RM7 because I’m heavily dependent on Publisher. That means what I’m pulling into Word is RTF. If I come up with shortcuts I’ll post them up on this forum.

If InDesign gives me too much grief on indexing I’ll probably renew my FrameMaker subscription. FrameMaker could replace much of what do with publisher (i.e. it maintains chapters, etc, in separate files) so I could use RM8 and generate one chapter at a time and have FrameMaker weave it all together. I’m doing so much content editing right now my primary concern is turning over copies for review rather than design and indexing. I have a LOT of work to do before I get to final versions.

I tried Quark Express many years ago but never got past the trial stage. I was looking for alternatives when Adobe capped off PageMaker and replaced it with InDesign but decided to stick with InDesign.