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Archiver > ROOTS > 1990-02 > 0634862536-01

From: Roots-L List Operations <>
Subject: Re: Large Charts (fairly long)
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 90 16:42:16 CST

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(Carl Lee) writes
>Has anyone had any experience making large genealogy charts: an
>individual, all of his/her known ancestors, and all of the known descendents
>of these ancestors? Could one use a CAD program? Something like
>MacDraw? With thousands of people, it is hard to lay it all out ahead
>of time, so some sort of program that allows some rearranging would be
>nice. Or is there already a program that produces such a chart from a
>PAF gedcom file?

A while ago (Leonard Kleinow) wrote:

<> I've been thinking about [printing big trees] for a bit too, and while I
<> think I could handle the programming part, I have a few questions for the
<> group:

<> Would you prefer it to read a GEDCOM file, or do it the infinitely
<> faster, though intensly machine-specific, way of reading the PAF file
<> directly? I've hacked out most of the file structure. Anyone have the
<> "real" version?

I (tswift) replied:

I would *prefer* it to be in PAF's Family Records program itself, but a
separate utility which reads either GEDCOM or PAF format would be great.
From a "commercial" standpoint, reading GEDCOM would reach a wider
"market" with less software development effort.
As for copies of the GEDCOM spec and PAF file formats, I sent off to

Ancestrial File Operations
Family history Dept.
LDS Church, Salt Lake City, UT 84150

The phone number is for "Customer Support", but I think it's the one I
used to order the GEDCOM specs. For $5.00, a la Visa card, they sent me

* PAF 2.1 Family Records Data Structure Description, 23 June 1988, 12 p.
* GEDCOM release 3.0, 9 Oct 1987, 131 pages (!)
* PAF GEDCOM Specifications, 8 June 1988, 36 pages

A photocopying bargain if there ever was one, to say nothing of it being
a bonanza of useful information.

<> What would be on your wish list? I'd prefer a program that just saved an
<> arbitrarily large document in Macdraw format, then the user could use
<> their own judgement to spruce it up.

That's kinda what I've been thinking of. There are a few details to consider
regarding "sprucing it up", such as how to deal with multiple marriages, etc.
I would like the person's names centered vertically, with birth and death
years centered below. A dialog box to set would allow the user to set the
name and date font and size (e.g., 12 point Helvetica name, 9 point Times
date), as well as relative spacings of generations, line styles, etc. If the
utility ran across a relationship it couldn't resolve, it should go ahead and
generate the [MacDraw] file, but somehow flag parts that need attention, such
as the multiple marriage problem (with bold text, maybe?). That's about all
the individual data I've been putting in my hand-MacDrawn charts, though I
also add a residence or a profession if it's known and noteable.
I'm pleasantly amazed at how easily you toss of the phrase "arbitrarily
large document in Macdraw format"; I'm not more than a dilletante programmer,
so it doesn't strike me as trivially easy to generate. But that's the
idea I've been kicking around.

There seem to be a number of us kicking this idea around. These include:

(Teri Pettit)
(Holly Cochran)
(Ted Swift)
(Leonard Kleinow)

Doing it manually in MacDraw is certainly better than pen and ink, but
having a utility do [most of] it would be a similar leap forward.
I haven't heard of any further development besides <kleinow>'s initiative.
But I haven't heard any news from him in a while. You out there, Leonard?
I'm taking a C class right now, so I might tackle it. As a Macintosh
application, it may not be too hard to do: The user interface is the part
that requires the really careful thought and design, and a reasonable
GEDCOM-to-MacDraw converter needn't have much more than GetFile and
PutFile dialogs and a menu and dialog or two to allow the user to set
preferences. At least, that would be a good start.

Ted Swift "Why is there a watermelon there?"
{hplabs,lll-crg/lcc, pacbell} "I'll explain later"
!well!tswift - from "Buckaroo Banzaii"

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