Complete Design Change: SFAA Perspective 02

I have been thinking in terms of a home-grown solution. I now find (via private correspondence) that a comprehensive paper-document-management solution may exist.

Where does that leave us? I’ll lay out some thoughts for discussion.


One clear outcome of this Data Design thought process is that I’m no longer thinking in terms of a book publishing program. That is, in producing something similar to Strong Family Updates, Volumes I-V.

My former thinking (as of a year ago) was to create a “master database” of genealogical information. This would actually be a large collection of relatively small databases. We begin by transcribing the published material into Family Tree Maker. We then add our other material.

The result would be a coherent piece of genealogy, in theory. We can generate books (PDF files) from the database. As we update the database we can regenerate the books. The problem has always been that the effort is impractical.

We now have another possibility, which is migrating printed material to a document management system. Since we are able to classify documents by where they fit into the family tree, this may be feasible.

I just don’t know enough yet to suggest any sort of design in this area.


For the past year or two, I have been retyping my first research database into the second database, so that the second database is “clean” and contains everything in the first database. Retyping, of course, is silly, but I’ve assumed it to be necessary.

Thanks to this thought process, I can see that it is NOT necessary.

One thing we CAN do, right now, is put up multiple GEDCOM files on the SFAA Web site. The software is in place. What’s there now is the result of a short retyping effort. I transcribed portions of the older Web site, which I think is primarily the research of Mary Strong.

I have several other GEDCOM files to put up. This includes the Langbehn Database and my own research databases. I can put up any number of databases, and people can do combined searches of ALL databases.

TNG Update

One initial effort, therefore, is rather straightforward. The TNG software which displays the genealogy databases hasn’t been updated in several years. The other has continued to produce new features, and therefore it would make sense to get the latest version of the software.

I can do the initial installation on my Mac offline, get everything looking reasonable, and then move the whole thing to the SFAA Web site.

So far, so good! We don’t need a new data design for this part.

The Historian Role

We still have not addressed the basic challenges surrounding the roles of Historian, Webmaster, Keeper of the Archives. But with getting some control over data management, we may have taken a large step. I just need to better understand what that data management might be.