A major drawback of many offline family history software packages has been their inability to produce European style vertical charts. The majority of these products emanate from North America where horizontal pedigree and descendant charts are the norm. This situation is gradually changing. FTM 2012, for example, has an option to produce a vertical pedigree chart. The main reason that we began using Family Tree Builder
, however, is that this FREE download has an impressive range of features. Of particular interest to us is the ability to produce Ancestor, Descendant and Close Family charts in vertical format as PDF files. The Close Family chart is the traditional family tree which we all know and love.
All family tree software packages offer a variety of reporting options. These may be sufficient to satisfy your requirements. One of the reasons we like Family Tree Builder is that it provides access to a free version of The Complete Genealogy Reporter (TCGR). This produces book reports in PDF format comprising ancestry, narrative description of ancestors and relatives, family trees of each family and a range of indexes. If you like the book reports, you can purchase the full version of TCGR at modest cost from Nigel Bufton Software
. This has a wider range of features, much more control over content and can produce reports in HTML format for uploading to web sites. It also includes the option to add hyperlinks to PDF files so that they can be navigated on screen in a similar way to a web site. For examples, see our Downloads
If you have your own web site or free web space provided by your ISP, there are several ways to generate content from your family tree.
Most software packages have one or more options to generate reports in HTML format ready for uploading to the web. There is also a wide choice of software which can generate web pages from a GEDCOM file. The family tree pages which constitute the bulk of this site are generated using GED4WEB
. A third option is to use software like TCGR described above to generate reports in HTML containing as much or as little information as you require.
It is of course necessary to have a means of uploading HTML pages to your web space. There is a vast choice of FTP software for this purpose. For many years, we have used AceFTP Freeware
for this purpose. For authoring pages which are not automatically generated, we use AceHTML Freeware
If you do not have your own web space, reports generated in HTML format can still be a useful way to explore your family tree on your own computer or for sharing information with relatives.
In addition to producing PDF files for our Downloads page, we have used TCGR - as described above - to produce printed books. The software has a very extensive range of options for controlling the content and layout of the report. This can be a bit daunting, but perseverance is amply rewarded. Having produced the required report in PDF format, it is surprisingly inexpensive to produce paperback or hardback books - even single copies - using Lulu.com
. We were able to produce a 500 page A4 hardback including black and white photos for about £20 and slimmer paperback volumes for considerably less - even with colour photos. Such publications can be made public and offered for sale or kept private. In the latter case, you can still email a link to relatives who can place an order if they so wish.