Query about group criteria

Hello. I am fairly new to RootsMagic, and have just started using groups in the last couple of weeks. I have set up a couple of groups (the main problem with which is that the colouring is a bit hit and miss). But my question is about setting up a group which has some criteria (e.g. an ancestor marries twice or more and at least one of their spouses dies under 30 ) and apply it only to direct ancestors, rather than everybody. So is there a way of picking up the direct ancestor property (possibly of just the home person) or would I need to add it as a fact?
Thank you for any help you can give.

The short answer is no for a criteria group. The short answer is yes if you are willing to make a group that is not a criteria group. Of course, by making a group that is not a criteria group you are losing the advantage of a criteria group where you can simply refresh it without re-specifying the criteria.

The fundamental problem is that RM’s criteria groups only support criteria that can be specified by RM’s Advanced Search feature. The Advanced Search feature does not support “ancestors of” nor “descendants of”. RM does support a marking and unmarking feature for group membership that supports “ancestors of” and “descendants of”, but that even more advanced kind of searching is not supported by Advanced Search and therefore it is not supported by RM’s criteria groups feature.

That leaves you with the following workarounds.

  • Make a free form group instead of a criteria group. With a free form group you can include “ancestors of” or “descendants of”, but you would need to refresh the group manually if the group needed refreshing.
  • Color code based on “ancestors of” or “descendants of”. Then the color coding is supported as a criterion for Advanced Search and therefore the “ancestors of” or “descendants of” criterion can be included indirectly in criteria groups. This is the way I do it.

Color coding based on “ancestors of” or “descendants of” is itself not refreshable automatically. So if I add people or add facts or that sort of thing, I sometimes I have do a manual refresh of the color code prior to refreshing the criteria group that uses the color code as one of its several criteria. That’s not perfect, but it hasn’t proven so bad in practice.

The dialog for color coding has some very simple and easy to use options for coloring “ancestors of” and “descendants of”. There are some more advanced ways of doing “ancestors of” and “descendants of” if you choose the “people selected from a list” option. That option gives you the impression that you have to mark people very manually and one at a time. But you don’t have to do it that way. Instead, the “people selected from a list” option has Mark and Unmark buttons that are very powerful. And it is the powerful functions of those Mark and Unmark buttons that is unavailable to Advanced Search and unavailable to criteria groups.

I don’t quite understand what part of color coding is hit and miss. It certainly doesn’t have any ability to save criteria and to refresh based on the criteria. But nevertheless it is very powerful. It is especially powerful now that RM9 supports ten different color coding sets. So you can now create a new color coding without destroying an existing color coding. So for example, I can have one color set that I typically keep displayed on the screen and another color set that is a part of the criteria for a criteria group. A color set can be a criteria for a criteria group even if the colors are not presently being displayed on the screen.

Thanks very much for your answer.
What I meant by saying colouring is “hit and miss” was that sometimes someone who satisifies the criteria isn’t coloured even when I’ve refreshed the group. Then, if I show them in family view and try again, the colour appears. It’s not just a one-off thing, so I don’t quite understand, but as I said, I have only just started. It does seem very useful.

Keep in mind that there are different color sets (for RM 9) and if you switch color sets the colors may not be on current active color set. Also when working on the same color set – the last change may over-write previous colors that were set.

I wonder if what you mean is that sometimes the screen doesn’t update right away. I think I have seen that happen occasionally. But my experience is that almost anything I do that changes the screen contents causes the colors to update. I’m not sure I can recreate this condition on demand. But there may (or may not) be a minor bug where changing something about colors doesn’t trigger a refresh of the screen and the colors don’t update until something else triggers an update of the screen.

Perhaps that is what is happening. Thank you for your help.