Using historical events/timelines

Is there a good way to add historical events? For example, I have a location that experienced destruction in war, two plague events, and takeover by another country over a long period when my family lived there. I would like to have these events recorded as part of a families historical experiences (as I could in other programs via timelines) but see no way to do this in RM.

I’ve been creating my own fact types to add events such as war, pandemics etc to the family timeline.

To create a new fact, click the large plus button on the top right in the Edit Person Screen. The fact type box will open, and on the top left is a box “design new fact type”. Click this and select “individual fact type” then OK. Enter the name of the new fact (I used Event – Global), the abbreviated name, and select if you would like to activate the date, place and / or description fields (I use the description field to briefly name the historical event in question). Check whether you’d like to include the new fact in Gedcom, reports etc and you can also add role types and sentence templates at this point too.

The new fact will then be available to use, and can be either individually added to each person’s timeline, or shared with family members that experienced these events.

I was hoping for something that would not have to be added to each individual person. I was used to being able to turn historical events on and off for the entire database, and even able to create my own. I guess this will end up being an enhancement request. Funny thing is historical events are in the program as an “On this day” feature. I just want them editable and able to use them for person pages.

That’s a great suggestion magliz! As you say, the information is there and just needs “linking” (perhaps easier said than done :slight_smile: ). It would be a great enhancement if they could manage to implement it though!


Creating your own fact types. There are no standard Gedcom codes for these.

Yes, I understand that’s true (I’m not versant on the Gedcom standard), but I also understand that many (most) other programs do import non-standard fact types.

Do you think there is a risk in creating our own fact types karleif, and if so how much of a risk do you view this to be? I’ve been creating my own as I think the standard ones are a bit limiting, but also don’t want to unduly jeopardise the ability to port elsewhere. I’d be interested in your (and other’s) thoughts.

Hi again

I want you to pay attention to where yoy will find:

GEDCOM-standard permits userdefined field names (one of the major causes of “misunderstandings” of different GECOM-compliant programs!). They have to begin with an underscore _ .

I have read somewhere that you are not guaranteed that these nonstandard will be received of the receiver.

Oh yes, I have also made a lot of facts thats not standard, but I have used Gedcom only one time as I remember. One of these is Cohabitation that’s is very common in Norway where I live.

Thanks Karleif – I really should get up to speed on Gedcom compliance (and SQLite), so I’ll look at these closer as time permits.

I’m not sure if I’m reading it right (probably not!), but I did notice that the fact type “Miscellaneous” that is built into RM is not mentioned in this article. So it seems that the program itself contains non-standard tags? And does this mean that any fact types that I have created must start with an underscore?

No, you dont need to add the underscore. The GED export routine does that to signal the importing program that those facts need to be handled differently.

Thanks for the confirmation kfunk - much appreciated!! :slight_smile:

Hi again Jill.

I believe you have to make a code for each, not used before and that starts with underscore. I have so far not tried it.

No, if @JillV wants to use custom facts, she does NOT add the underscore. The underscore mentioned in the GEDCOM standard will be added when she exports a GEDCOM file. When the new program reads the GEDCOM file, it does the necessary processing to turn the _MyFact into a MyFact event for the new program.

I don’t know of any of the major genealogy programs that have an much of an issue with custom facts these days.


Jill and I started this thread.

Look like you have misunderstood The underscore should be used when you make your own fact which means no standard fact.

I didn’t misunderstand anything. You do NOT have to add _ in order for the program to figure out it is a non-standard fact. The GEDCOM export utility is quite adept at figuring this out. All you are going to do by adding that _ is to cause them to appear in the fact list in a non-standard manner, which I think will be at the beginning of all the other facts, and not in alphabetical order.

I’ve just conducted a little test and exported a Gedcom file to Gramps (it’s a free program and has given me a “taste” of how my datafile will handle a move! Perhaps I should have done this in the first place!).

Before creating the Gedcom, I modified one of the non-standard facts to have an underscore in front, the other’s remained as they are. I’ve only looked at it quickly, but Gramps appears to have picked up all the non-standard facts, porting them across with the correct name. The one non-standard fact that I’d changed to have an underscore in front, also ported across but the name now has an underscore in front (not desirable).

A small test but it seems karleif that an underscore isn’t required to signify a non-standard fact (as kfunk rightly confirmed). Saves us lots of work! I must admit the GenWiki information seems quite confusing as it is presented.

Jill, that’s great. Thank you very much for your information and your testing.

I just wonder, the name Voss, could it come from Norway?