*How to handle places

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Excelsior
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How to handle places

Post by Excelsior » 04 Feb 2014 21:34

Hi,

I have just recently discovered FH, and so far it seems way better and much more customizable than any other genealogy software I've used, but I do have a few concerns. I'm have trouble finding an effective way to deal with places since they're not stored in a database. I guess I'm wishing I could use something similar to the Records window to see all the places in a hierarchical structure. Also, suppose I want to use a town, parish, county, country structure, then there doesn't seem to be an easy way to filter out individuals who were, for instance, born in the same parish but in different towns. Where I live, in Sweden, many parishes have the same name as the main town of that parish, and I'm not sure if a query can target only "part 2" of a place.

As I said, I haven't been using FH for long, so I might be missing something here. I'm hoping someone can give me some ideas how to deal with this. Storing locations in a hierarchical database was one of the few redeeming qualities of the Swedish genealogy software I've been using up until now. :) FH is light-years ahead of it in pretty much every other regard.

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LornaCraig
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Re: How to handle places

Post by LornaCraig » 04 Feb 2014 22:26

Welcome to the world of Family Historian.

FH can indeed handle places and addresses in the way you want. Just use Tools > Work with Data > Places and Tools > Work with Data > Addresses to view all your places and addreses. Comma-separated parts are displayed in columns which can be sorted by clicking on each column heading.

There are some useful Plugins called Place Summary Report, Address Summary Report and Address Reformatting available from the Plugin store.

Just ask here if you need any more help. One of the best features of FH is this great user group!
Lorna

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tatewise
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Re: How to handle places

Post by tatewise » 05 Feb 2014 10:40

Just to add to what Lorna has said:-
The default number of columns is 3 but Tools > Work with Data > Places/Addresses allows the number of Columns to be customised.
So you can define 4 Columns for your town, parish, county, country structure.
This rigid structure is recommended and is exactly what many users do.

If a particular Column for a particular Place is unknown, then it can be left blank as long as the comma separators are still present.
Tools > Work with Data > Places allows the display order to be reversed to country, county, parish, town.
You can sort on any Column, which would bring all identical parish names together.
You can select any one Place and Where Used will list all records referencing that Place.

You could construct a Fact Query that filters the Place field using the =ContainsText() function.
The text parameter could be the parish name including its following comma, and as long as the name is unique only matching Facts would be listed.
However, if that name occurs elsewhere in other Place parts, then they would be listed to, but a sort on the Place column in the Query Result Set, would separate the groups.

Note that as you enter a new Place in a Fact, it offers to auto-complete using existing Place names.

You may also be interested in Knowledge Base > Glossary > Places & Addresses.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

Excelsior
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Re: How to handle places

Post by Excelsior » 05 Feb 2014 21:48

Thank you for the replies. The query system is by far the most impressive feature I've seen in any genealogy software, and I'm looking forward to using it. I'll see if I can come up with something that suits me, and I'm sure i'll come up with more questions as I keep using FH. :)

Thanks again.

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tatewise
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Re: How to handle places

Post by tatewise » 06 Feb 2014 11:00

I suspect you might find the Plugins even more impressive.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

Excelsior
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Re: How to handle places

Post by Excelsior » 14 Feb 2014 20:01

I've come across another scenario that I can't figure out. What if I in a diagram want to display, for example, only the county in which people were born and died. Is there any way to do that, considering it's sort of in the middle of the place structure?

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tatewise
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Re: How to handle places

Post by tatewise » 14 Feb 2014 21:10

Taking into account your earlier requirements, and this latest requirement, perhaps the time has come to explore some new concepts, because what you are asking for is beyond the current capabilities of FH.

In the GEDCOM and supported by FH there is a set of subsidiary Address fields available via the All tab by right-clicking on Address:
AddressSubFields.png
AddressSubFields.png (12.15 KiB) Viewed 4029 times
Usually these fields are not displayed in Diagrams or Reports and are rarely used.
I suggest you arranged to fill these fields with your Place parts as indicated above.

Then each Place part can appear in Diagrams, Reports, or Queries by using the subsidiary Address fields.
e.g. ~.ADDR.ADR1 or ~.ADDR.ADR2 or ~.ADDR.CITY or ~.ADDR.STAE or ~.ADDR.CTRY

The question is how to fill those fields from your Place parts.
The answer is to write a Plugin that updates those fields where they disagree with the Place parts.

The Plugins mentioned earlier might form the basis of such a new Plugin, and if you feel writing a Plugin is beyond your capabilities, then if you ask, another FHUG member may oblige.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

Excelsior
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Re: How to handle places

Post by Excelsior » 15 Feb 2014 14:24

Thank you for your reply.

I can't really say that this is a requirement, more of an investigation into the possibilities and limits of FH. Writing a plugin seems a little bit like overkill for me, at least at this point in time. The flexibility and power of expressions and queries led me to believe that there might be a way to accomplish this in a simpler way.

I don't suppose you know if a feature like this is being considered by Calico Pie? Wanting to filter out and display individuals based on what county or country they were born/died in can't be a terribly unusual request. There are already so many ways you can break down names and dates into smaller parts, so why not places as well? Even if we might never get a full-blown hierarchical datatbase for places, just something along the lines of %INDI.BIRT.PLAC:PART3% might be helpful.

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tatewise
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Re: How to handle places

Post by tatewise » 15 Feb 2014 15:28

I sympathise with your request.
As you say, there are a great many Qualifiers for Name and Date fields, but only SHORT, MEDIUM, TIDY & FULL for Place fields, and none at all for Address fields.

In mitigation, I suspect the explanation is that Name and Date fields have a rigid structure that everyone must use, whereas Place and Address fields have simply a variable number of commas.
The concept of PART1, PART2, PART3, etc, is good but only works well if users adopt a fixed number of columns.

I did in fact suggested something similar to Simon Orde of Calico Pie in May 2013:
Place Blanks, Columns & Qualifiers Ref: [#229528]

The Place field supports up to 10 columns, and allows any column to be <blank>.
The Qualifiers SHORT, MEDIUM and TIDY remove any extra commas following a <blank>.
Many users have assigned columns such as District , City , State , Country for example.
If the 1st or 2nd column is <blank> then the Qualifiers SHORT and MEDIUM misbehave.
e.g.
The default display for MEDIUM Qualifier is District , City
If District is <blank> the MEDIUM display is City , State
If City is <blank> then the MEDIUM display is District , State
If both are <blank> then the MEDIUM display is State , Country
All very inconsistent, if the same parts of the Place field are required.

This comes about because the <blank> commas are removed before removing trailing columns.

Furthermore, if a user has many columns the existing Qualifiers are of limited use.
So an alternative approach could be to offer new Qualifiers such as COL1, COL2, COL3, et seq to COL10.
These could be used like %INDI.BIRT.PLAC:COL2:COL3:COL9% to display any columns in any order.
Any <blank> columns, and trailing commas, would be automatically removed as the last process.

Alternatively, perhaps a Function might be better than multiple Qualifiers.
e.g.
=Columns( %INDI.BIRT.PLAC%, 2, 3, 9 )
where the variable number of parameters define the column numbers and their order.

The same Function could be applied to the Address field, or any other text field with comma separators.
e.g.
=Columns( %INDI.BIRT.ADDR%, 2, 3, 9 )
His reply was:
I saw the discussion between you and Pedro about this on the FHU Mailing List. I think you both make an important point and we need to provide better support for allowing users to control the display of place information more flexibly. I have logged your suggestions for our ToDo list.

I think something along those lines is a good idea. There are a number of issues relating to places, even over and above the ones you've raised, and we need to look at how best to address all of them. I suspect we'll need at least one extra function (such as the one you suggest) and perhaps some new qualifiers too (e.g. possibly one or more 'custom' qualifiers which the user could configure themselves in Preferences). There are various options.
However, I am not aware of any proposed changes to FH along those lines.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

Excelsior
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Re: How to handle places

Post by Excelsior » 15 Feb 2014 17:16

At least it's something they're looking into, which is good enough for me. This isn't a major issue for me, but more flexibility in how we can display information is always a good thing. There are probably a lot of issues to take into consideration when implementing something like this, but hopefully a future update will bring something good. :)

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BillH
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Re: How to handle places

Post by BillH » 15 Feb 2014 17:19

Excelsior wrote: Wanting to filter out and display individuals based on what county or country they were born/died in can't be a terribly unusual request.
I'm not sure if it would be what you are looking for, but I have a couple of custom queries that might help. They are called People born in specified place, People married in specified place, and People who died in specified place. You can specify any portion of the place and it will report the individuals that meet the criteria you specify. It is just a text comparison, so you can even specify part of the place and it works. For example, I live in Kirkland, King County, Washington, USA. If I specify King County, it would list me.

If these are of interest to you, I would be happy to share.

Bill

Excelsior
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Re: How to handle places

Post by Excelsior » 15 Feb 2014 19:38

BillH wrote:I'm not sure if it would be what you are looking for, but I have a couple of custom queries that might help. They are called People born in specified place, People married in specified place, and People who died in specified place. You can specify any portion of the place and it will report the individuals that meet the criteria you specify. It is just a text comparison, so you can even specify part of the place and it works. For example, I live in Kirkland, King County, Washington, USA. If I specify King County, it would list me.
Thank you, but I have been able to create queries like this as well. They do work fine for what they are, but what I was really looking for apparently isn't a feature in FH as of yet. The "custom" qualifiers mentioned above would be pretty much exactly what I was looking for. For example, being able to specify in FH that the second column in the place field is the county, and then having %INDI.BIRT.PLAC:COUNTY% at your disposal would be pretty nice. :)

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