Microsoft XP

Microsoft XP

This does not concern Ancestral Quest directly, however some of you may be using the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will terminate support for Windows XP. This does not mean that it will stop working, but it does mean that Microsoft will no longer send security updates or provide technical support for that product. Beginning at that time users of Windows XP must assume that their internet connection is insecure. Please link to the above site for further information about this change.

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Direct Links

Direct Links in the Pedigree view

Ancestral Quest includes a feature which allows you to see information from when you are in the pedigree view. Before using this feature, information in the pedigree view looks like this.

02 Without

To use this feature, click on the View tab on the menu bar and select Links.

01 View

After making this selection, the same section of the pedigree view looks like this.

03 With

One slight disadvantage of this feature is that it may cause names to be abbreviated. The original advantage of this feature was that it would give you a link from Ancestral Quest to’s information about each person on the pedigree view. was sold, and the new owners apparently do not find it necessary to honor the original agreement with AQ.  As a result, Gaylon Findlay is asking users of Ancestral Quest to tell him whether they think this feature should be removed. His request was posted on the AncestralQuest newsgroup in Yahoo. This is what he said.

Ancestral Quest has a feature that was jointly designed by Incline Software and back in 2001. It has been used by many AQ users over the years to great advantage. I need to learn from those who use it, whether it still has value.

For the benefit of all on this group, let me describe this feature. It essentially has two parts:

Part 1) If you are on AQ’s Pedigree view, and activate the “ Links” from AQ’s “View” menu, then AQ will search for each person whose name appears on the Pedigree view, this is 31 names if all names are filled in. will send back to AQ the number of compiled trees that have been uploaded to, and the number of other records, such as Census Records, Social Security Death Index, Military Records, etc., for each name. AQ will then display the number of trees and the number of other records that you might expect to find in for each person on your Pedigree screen.

Part 2) If you click on the number of trees, AQ then pops up an options box. You are given the choice to either do a general search for the trees on WorldConnect (where the public gets free access to the trees that were donated to RootsWeb), or to follow a direct link to the records that has already identified. If you click on the number of other records, AQ again pops up the options box, giving you the choice of doing a general search for records on, or of following a direct link to the records that has already identified.

In order for this feature to work, it requires AQ to do its part, and it also requires that do its part. To date, AQ still does its part of this feature. However, has made some changes, and as a result, parts of this feature still work and other parts do not. has told us that they no longer support this feature, so if our users find value in it, that’s great, but they have no commitment to keep this feature working.

Part 1 still seems to work. I believe that still sends a valid count of trees and other records for display on AQ’s Pedigree screen.

If you use the “General Search” option in part 2, this still works, and I see no reason why it would ever stop working.

However, the direct links in part 2 require that you are a subscriber to, and have stopped working sometime in 2011. We found a work-around that allowed some users to continue to use these direct links. The last time I tried to use the direct links myself, I found that they worked from my 32 bit Vista machine, but they didn’t work from my 64 bit Windows 7 machine. That was a few months ago. Today, I can no longer get these direct links to work even from my 32 bit Vista machine.

I know that some on this AncestralQuest newsgroup have used these direct links, and even since 2011 have found a work-around to continue to benefit from them. Could those of you who have used the direct links contact me, and let me know ( whether the direct links still work for you, or whether the direct links no longer work? If has completely disabled the direct links, then we need to remove this option in AQ.

Thank you for your help.


When I tested this feature this morning, I was able to reach while using the general search for trees and the general search for records. When I tried the Direct Links for each, I got this sorry message from

04 Sorry

If you are somehow able to make this feature work, and you would like to have it remain in Ancestral Quest, you should contact Gaylon. If you have tried it and found, as I have, that it doesn’t work, then please let Gaylon know, so that he can remove the Direct Links feature.

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Relative Address

Relative Address

Why use an address?

A relative address is NOT what you use to find Uncle Bob’s house, at least not in computer terms.

Let’s face it. One of the main things we use computers for is to store things. We use them to store pictures, recipes, mail, spreadsheets, games, and yes, our ancestors.

If you are like me, you store a lot of things. I store enough things that it would be difficult to find any one thing if I had everything stored in one place. On the other hand, I can’t afford one computer for pictures, one for recipes, one for mail, one for spreadsheets, one for games, and one for ancestors. That’s absurd! Yet the concept of “Divide and Conquer” is a good approach to finding one thing that is buried in a large group of various things. So let’s talk about storage devices and directory structures. Most desktop and laptop computers have at least one hard drive and a provision for attaching other storage devices. The way a computer approaches the “Divide and Conquer” concept is with a hierarchical directory structure. That means that each storage device (or drive) is like a container which can hold other containers, which can hold other containers, which can….

For convenience, we give each container a name. The hard drive is one container, and a flash drive is another. We use the name to let the computer know which container to look into.

Some Geek Stuff

Drive Names

There are two main divisions of operating systems that you are likely to encounter. One is the Windows (Microsoft) type, and the other is the UNIX type, including Macintosh. The way these two systems approach directory structures for storage devices is similar. They both use the name of the device as the first container name, followed by a separator character, followed by either a file name or a container name. If it was followed by a container name, that must be followed by a separator character, followed by a file name or a container name. If it was followed by a container name, that must be followed by a separator character, followed by a file name or a container name. If it was followed by….

This creates a nested, or hierarchic structure. The device name is the top of the structure. Since it is a container name, it is followed by a separator character. If that is followed by any container names, those names would be on the next level down in the structure, and there can be more than one container inside any container.

Microsoft chose to let the operating system assign the name of the top level container. In their infinite wisdom, they reserved the names A: and B: for floppy disk drives. They reserved the name C: for an internal HDD (hard disk drive). Floppy disks are now very difficult to find, because they are so limited in capacity and speed that nobody is willing to even produce a computer with those devices. The A: specification has been altered to also accept devices which read and write various memory cards. The C: specification also accepts SSD (solid state drive) type drives.

The UNIX type operating systems allow the user to choose the name for the device, and typically drive letters are not chosen. UNIX has its own convention for commonly used containers.

At start-up time, the Windows operating system checks to see what storage devices are attached. After A:, B: and C: drives are accounted for, it begins assigning drive letters (followed by a colon) to the devices it finds, alphabetically within device type. Other hard drives will be assigned a letter next. After hard drives, optical devices will be assigned a letter, and then other devices. In the case of removable devices, Windows seems to maintain a table of device serial numbers and drive letters. When a removable device is encountered, even long after start-up time, the operating system goes to the table to see if this device has been attached to this computer before. If it has, it checks to see what drive letter was last used by this device. If that device letter is currently available, it is assigned to this device, otherwise it assigns the next (alphabetically) available drive letter, and that letter is stored in the table. There are reasons for doing this, and one of the reasons has something to do with relative addresses.

Separator Characters

Before Bill Gates ever purchased the operating system which he would later change into MS DOS, the UNIX operating systems were already using the forward slash / character as the separator character in Path names. Bill, being a somewhat proprietary type guy, chose to use the backslash \ character instead. This created potential problems for the C programming language and the Python scripting language (among others) which use the backslash to indicate that the character following the \ is to be treated as an “escape character” which we will not discuss here.

Since Ancestral Quest runs on the Windows operating system, this discussion will ignore the forward slash and escape character problems. We will use the backslash character exclusively. Just be aware that if you are running AQ on a Macintosh, you may want to research relative addressing under UNIX.

Nuts & Bolts

When dealing with Relative Addresses, there are two important concepts: Current Directory and Parent Directory. The default (starting) Current Directory is the top level of the directory structure, or the device name.

01 G 01

In this case the Current Directory is G:\. Any of these directories could become the Current Directory. In the general computing world, outside of Ancestral Quest, there are several ways to change the Current Directory. One common way, and the one used in Ancestral Quest, is to open a file. Programs typically have a default directory where they expect to read and write files. This could be a directory created by the installation process for the program, or it could be the Documents folder. When the program opens a file, the user often is given the opportunity to change the location where the program is to look for the desired file. When the user selects a folder other than the default folder, the program is likely to change the Current Directory to the one selected by the user.

02 G

This example shows what would happen of I used Open Office’s Database program to open the database I use to catalog my library. The Current Directory would be set to Books, and the Parent Directory of Books is Database.

03 G

If I were taking roll in my Ancestral Quest class, the Current Directory would be AQ Class, and its Parent Directory would be Spread. In the Path statement, the Current Directory is written as .\ or \ and it is placed first in the string of directories. If my Current Directory had been set to Open Office, and I wanted to reference a file in the MPG directory, the notation for the relative path would be .\Spread\MPG or .\Spread\MPG\ or \Spread\MPG or \Spread\MPG\. The closing \ is also optional.

04 G
If I were in the Things folder and I wanted to access the MyFriends.odb file in the Contacts folder, the Relative Address would be ..\..\..\Open Office\Database\Contacts\MyFriends.odb. Relative Addresses can not cross from one device to another.

There are places in Ancestral Quest where Paths are used. The first is the Tools -> Preferences -> Files and Folders screen.

05 Preferences

This is an example of Absolute Addressing. Each Path shows the device name and the complete path to the desired folder. Four of these folders are on the C: drive. The Backup folder is NOT on the C: drive. The purpose of a Backup is to provide a backup of the data which will not be lost if the device holding the file is lost or damaged. This should always be on a removable drive or an external drive.

98 Preferences

These (except the Backup folder) are Relative Addresses. Notice that the Database folder is listed relative to the G:\ folder. The others are listed relative to the G:\AQ Data folder. That is because the first thing you do when you start Ancestral Quest, is open a file. That action resets the Current Directory to .\AQ Data\. From then on, all references are relative to that directory.

Another place where a Path is used in AQ is when you browse for a picture for your scrapbook. Click on the Scrapbook icon (camera). That brings up the Scrapbook Collection screen.

06 Scrapbook Collection

Now click on the Add button.

07 Add Scrapbook

Next click the Browse button.

08 Open Photo

Select the picture you want and click the Open button. To understand what happens next review the Path posting.  Since the Images folder is inside the Current Directory, which was set when you opened your .aq or .paf file, AQ doesn’t need the drive letter to find the picture.

Ancestral Quest is a Portable App. That means that you can copy your Ancestral Quest 14 folder from the C:\Program Files (x86)\Incline software\ folder or the C:\Program files\Incline software\ folder, depending on your operating system, to your flash drive. You can then execute the ancquest.exe program from the flash drive. If you create a structure on your flash drive where the AQ Data folder contains a folder named Images, just like your hard drive, you can view your images in AQ on a computer that doesn’t even have Ancestral Quest installed. Just copy everything from your Images folder on your hard drive to the same folder on the flash drive.

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Place Names

Place Names

In the Quick Start Video Tutorial, Gaylon Findlay, the author of Ancestral Quest, talked about why it is a good idea to enter any Place Names as City, County, State or Province and Country. He said the following:

“It is common practice in genealogy to record places in four levels, as city, county, state or province, and country, for US and Canadian places, and similar geographic distinctions for other countries… 

…there are several tools in the program that let you sort or select places. Sometimes it is desirable to select based on city, or state or a country, for example. If you always place the city in the first position, then when the program filters on the first position, it will always be selecting on city. If the program is filtering by country in the fourth position, then by always placing the country in the fourth position, you will get consistent results.”

So what do we do about chapels or cathedrals for christenings, and cemeteries for burials? My suggestion is to remove them from the Place Name. I use Other Events to accomplish this.

I will describe the process for Burial Place, where the cemetery name is moved to the Description in the Cemetery Event, and you can do something similar by moving the chapel or cathedral to the Description in the Christening Event. These Events are pre-defined, but I alter them slightly. In the Christening Event, I change from Descriptions None to Description 1, and I alter the sentence to remove the Place, and include the Description. The Date in the Christening Event will allow AQ to place it in the correct order among the Other Events. (See Event Sentences)

In the Cemetery Event, I add one Date. I don’t  add Date to the sentence because the date is already reported in the Burial Date. I add the date to allow AQ to place the event in the correct order among the Other Events. I remove Place from the Event, along with the Code to put it into the sentence. That will be shown in the Burial Event.

Here is a record for Ann Clark:

01 Individual

St Marys is listed as the place of the Christening The cemetery is listed in the Burial Place, and there is no country listed, but lets take care of the Source where we found the Burial information first. I found this source on the Internet at I’ll click on the S button by the Burial information.

02 Select Source

I plan to place FindAGrave into a pre-defined Type called Internet, so I select that Type and I click on the Add button.

03 Define Source

I enter the information for FindAGrave and I click the Repository button.

04 Select Repository

This is the first Repository I am creating, so I can’t just select it from the list. I must click on the Add button to create it.

05 Define Repository

I enter the information that I and others could use to locate this repository, and I click on the OK button.

06 Select Repository

Now that the Repository is created, I Select it from the (rather short) list.

07 Define Source

Since this database comes from information contributed by many people, I listed the author as Contributors. I selected the quality of the source as Secondary Evidence, because even though they often include photos of the headstones, the headstones themselves are secondary evidence. I click OK.

08 Select Source

I Select the Source I just created.

In the next few screens I will use information from the FinaAGrave page.

09 FindAGrave

I will use the Memorial number and the URL.

10 Source Citation

I type Memorial= and copy the number from the FindAGrave page. I want to be able to link directly to this page from Ancestral Quest, so I click on the Attach button.

11 Add Scrapbook

If I leave Photo in the Item Type box, Ancestral Quest will try to interpret the URL as an image, and that will not work, so I open the drop down window and change the type to Other. Next I copy the URL from the FindAGrave page.

12 Add Scrapbook

The Description caption has changed to Filename or URL. I paste the URL into that box, and I click on the OK button.

13 Source Citation

The URL is now attached, and I could link directly to the FindAGrave page by clicking the View button, but I will let you try that on your own. I will click the OK button.

14 Individual

We now show a Source for the Burial, so we will tackle that new version for a Cemetery Event. We click the Add button.

15 Select Event

We highlight Cemetery and click the Edit Type button.

16 Define Other Event

Now we will alter the standard version of the Cemetery Event. We will add Date so that AQ will know where in the list of Other Events to place this when we finish with it, but we will not add Date to the sentence. We will remove Place from the Event because it is already in the Burial Place. We will also remove the code which displays the Place from the sentence.

17 Define Other Event

With the Event altered to our liking, we click the OK button.

18 Select Event

Now we Select the updated Event.

19 Cemetery

We fill in the Date and Cemetery information and click the OK button.

20 Individual

The information in the Burial Event and the Cemetery Event are both found on the FindAGrave page, so we want both to point at the same Source. We will click on the S button by Burial.

21 Source Citation

The Burial Event already points to the Source, so we click on the Attach to Other Events button.

22 Citation Links

We highlight the Cemetery Event, then we click first on the Attach button, then the Close button.

23 Source Citation

Click the OK button to save the citation.

24 Individual

Correct the Burial Place (remove cemetery and add country) and begin the same process for the Christening Place. Remember to change St Marys to Saint Marys. Abbreviations are typically, but not always understood by native speakers of a given language, but they are less often understood by non-native speakers, and not often at all by non-speakers of that language. Abbreviations are also responsible for such errors as LO being interpreted as either the Logan Temple or the London Temple. I go back to the old acronym, KISS. Keep It Simple Smarty, or did I misunderstand one of the abbreviated terms in that acronym? Try working through the process on your own, and let me know how you did.

The Modified Register Book report uses sentences, and will show us how we did.

29 Mod Reg

The place names now conform to the expected City, County, State or Province, Country format, and all the information is retained. 

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The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.

In some ways, the concept of Paths on computer drives is a little like standing at a fork in a road and looking down two, or more, paths. Where you stand in the road determines what you can see. Once you go down one path, the other(s) can no longer be seen.

Genealogists have an advantage when it comes to understanding the concept of Paths, because it is a lot like a family tree. Think of a father standing alone in a room.

Name Blk 01

Dad is alone in the room, but he can see the entire room.

Name Blk 04

Dad has three children. They are Allen, Bob and Chuck. Dad can see Allen, Bob and Chuck, because they are his children, and he can see into their rooms. They cannot see directly into his room.

Name Blk 11

Allen has three children. They are Dan, Ellen and Frank. Bob has two children. They are George and Harry. Chuck has two children. They are Inger and Janet. Allen can see Dan, Ellen and Frank because they are his children and he can see into their rooms. They cannot see directly into his room. Bob can see George and Harry because they are his children, and he can see into their rooms. They cannot see directly into his room. Chuck can see Inger and Janet because they are his children and he can see into their rooms. They cannot see directly into his room. Allen cannot see George, Harry, Inger or Janet because they are not his children, and he cannot see into their rooms. Bob cannot see Dan, Ellen, Frank, Inger or Janet, because they are not his children, and he cannot see into their rooms. Chuck cannot see Dan, Ellen, Frank, George or Harry, because they are not his children, and he cannot see into their rooms.

Name Blk 18

Dan has no children. Ellen has no children. Frank has three children. They are Kent, Larry and Martin. Frank can see Kent, Larry and Martin, because they are his children, and he can see into their rooms. They cannot see directly into his room. George has two children. They are Nancy and Oscar. Frank can see Nancy and Oscar because they are his children, and he can see into their rooms. They cannot see directly into his room. Harry has no children. Inger has no children. Janet has two children. They are Paul and Quincy. Janet can see Paul and Quincy because they are her children, and she can see into their rooms. They cannot see directly into her room. Dan, Ellen, Harry and Inger can see none of the children. Frank cannot see Nancy, Oscar, Paul or Quincy, because they are not his children, and he cannot see into their rooms. George cannot see Kent, Larry, Martin, Paul or Quincy, because they are not his children, and he cannot see into their rooms. Janet cannot see Kent, Larry, Martin, Nancy or Oscar, because they are not her children, and she cannot see into their rooms.

Name Blk 25

Kent has four children. They are Ralph, Sam, Tom and Ursula. Kent can see Ralph, Sam, Tom and Ursula because they are his children, and he can see into their rooms. They cannot see directly into his room. Larry, Martin and Nancy have no children. Oscar has one child, Vickie. Oscar can see Vickie because she is his child, and he can see into her room. She cannot see directly into his room. Paul has two children. They are Will and Xavier. Paul can see Will and Xavier because they are his children, and he can see into their rooms. They cannot see directly into his room. Quincy has no children. Kent cannot see Vickie, Will or Xavier, because they are not his children. Larry, Martin, Nancy and Quincy can see none of the children. Oscar cannot see Ralph, Sam, Tom, Ursula, Will or Xavier, because they are not his children, and he cannot see into their rooms. Paul cannot see Ralph, Sam, Tom or Ursula, because they are not his children, and he cannot see into their rooms.

The Path from Dad to Ursula would look like this:

Name Red 25 01

The Path from Dad to Vickie would look like this:

Name Red 25 02

The Path from Dad to Xavier would look like this:

Name Red 25 03

The organization of a disk is much the same, except that the rooms are now called folders or directories. In the Windows operating system, the first folder is always named with a Drive letter, which is followed by :\. In this example, the drive letter is G:\.

Drive Blk 01

When the drive is new, and empty, the directory looks like this:

01 G Empty

There is nothing in the folder, and no other folders can be seen.

Lets create several folders on different levels:

Drive Blk 25

All of these folders are now created on our G:\ drive.

The Path from the G:\ directory to the Collie folder looks like this:

Drive Red 25 01

The Path from G:\ to the Dune folder looks like this:

Drive Red 25 02

The Path to the Provo folder looks like this:

Drive Red 25 03


After adding these folders to the drive, the directory listing on the Root level looks like this:

02 G Full

By double clicking on one of these folders, we can open it, and see the folders inside it, like this:

03 G Animal

Each time we open a folder and create a folder inside it, we are adding another level to the structure in the directory list:

10 G State UT Utah

Each level of the structure, except the top level, is contained inside another level. To get to any other folder from the Root directory (in this case, the G:\ directory) you must reference each directory level. This is known as Absolute Addressing. Which brings us to the subject of Relative Addressing… But that’s a story for another day.

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AQ Version 14.00.16

AQ Version 14.00.16

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 was a monumental day. On this date, Incline Software completed the work of dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s necessary to receive Tree Share+ certification from FamilySearch. It was also a monumental day because on that date, FamilySearch eliminated the Tree Share+ certification, and replaced it with certifications for the individual functions which were required for Tree Share+ certification. This is the way they now show certifications:

01 Certifications

The following chart shows the definitions for each of these certifications.

02 Certifications Defined

To explore this product partner certification page from FamilySearch, follow this LINK.

With AQ Version 14.00.16, Ancestral Quest now performs every function available to third party software vendors. This is a FREE update! So…. update to AQ Version 14.00.16 today!

If you are unsure of how to update your Ancestral Quest, you can follow this LINK. It describes updating versions, step by step. Updating to version 14 build 16 is done in exactly the same way.

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Event Sentences

Event Sentences

We track our ancestors by recording events in their lives, such as Birth, Christening, Marriage, Death and Burial. These are probably the five most sought after, and standardized genealogical events. They are obviously not the only ones. Ancestral Quest comes with a long list of other Event Types which it supports. To see this list, do the following:

01 Edit Event Types 01

Click on the Edit tab of the Menu bar. The last item on the Edit menu is Event Types. Click on this item. This is one of four ways I know of to get to the following screen:

02 Edit Event Types E 01

This is the Edit Event Types screen. Event types are divided into four general categories: Individual, Marriage, Book and LDS. When entered from either the Edit tab on the Menu bar, or from the Book tab in Reports, all four of these radio buttons are active. The Edit Event Types screen can also be entered from either the Edit Individual screen or the Edit Marriage screen. When entered from either of these, only the Individual or Marriage radio button, respectively, will be active. From the Edit Event Types screen you can highlight and select an Event Type, or you can choose to dig into the nuts and bolts of the Event Type.


Dragon 01

Here Be Dragons

Tradition tells us that the ancient mariners used maps with unexplored or dangerous areas marked “Here Be Dragons.” Creating a new Event Type would be relatively simple, except for one thing. Events are listed in several reports, both as footnotes and as text. To make this happen, it is necessary to create a Sentence. Yes, this is both a bolded and a Capitalized Sentence. This can be a daunting experience.

Start Ancestral Quest, and split your screen so that you can do this as I explain.

To understand why creating a Sentence can be such a daunting task, let’s open the Edit Event Types screen by clicking Edit on the Menu bar, and selecting Event Types.

02 Edit Event Types E 02

Next, with the Individual radio button selected, click the Add Type button.

03 Define Other Event 01

Let’s examine the Define Other Event screen, one area at a time, top to bottom, left to right. The first area contains three fields, which are required.

The Title must be unique. If the Title is nine or fewer characters in length, just copy it to the Short title field. If it is longer, find a way to shorten it. Make up a two character abbreviation.

Now enter Rank into the Title and the Short title fields. Enter Rk into the Abbreviation field.

The next section of the Define Other Event screen defines what fields will be in the Event record. It is possible to create an event which contains no fields. In that case, the Sentence could get the name  of the Individual from the Individual record, and use it in a sentence such as, “John had two left feet.” The Event name would probably be Non-Dancer.

AQ is  about to create a prototype for Rank event records. The record will contain the Date the rank was attained, the Place where it was awarded, what the actual Rank was, and from which field of Service it was received.

The first box is called Date. It consists of zero, one or two dates.

The rank was awarded on one, and only one, date, so in the Date box, click the Single radio button. It did not happen over a range of dates.

The second box is called Places. The individual was stationed at one and only one Place, when the rank was attained, so click the One radio button in the Places box.

The third box is called Descriptions. We need one description field to show what the Rank was, and one to say which Service awarded the rank, so click the Two radio button in the Descriptions box. Ancestral Quest now knows what fields are required for our Rank Event record.

That was the easy part.

At some point, we will attach our Rank Event to some Individual(s). When we do, the process which creates our Sentence will have access to the information in the Individual record, the information in the Event record, the text which we supply to the Sentence building process, and the Codes we use to tell the Sentence builder how to make choices about what to do, depending on the value, presence or absence of any of the information we are using. Let’s examine this Dragon.

Look to the box with the title Sentence Parameters/Codes. It is helpful, but incomplete. It contains the most commonly used Parameters and Codes. To see all the information, click on the Help button, scroll down to sentence codes, and click the Display button. This is what you will see. I have outlined some important areas for your consideration.

04 Codes 01

You will notice that each code and parameter begins with the percent sign (%) character. The Sentence builder will scan the characters in the Sentence box, and copy them into the Sentence until it finds the % character. This % character may, or may not, be the first character in the Sentence box.

When it finds a %, the Sentence builder decides whether it is to (1) retrieve information from the Individual record or the Event record, or (2) make a decision about how to proceed, based on the presence, the absence, or the value of the data in the records, or (3) do both.

If it finds a %1, it copies the Full Name from the Individual record into the Sentence.

If it finds a %2, it copies the Short Name into the Sentence.

If it finds a %3, it checks the gender in the Individual record. If it is a male, it copies either the word He or he into the Sentence, depending on whether it has previously copied any characters to the Sentence. If it is a female, it copies either the word She or she into the Sentence, depending on whether it has previously copied any characters to the Sentence. If the gender is unknown, it copies the Short Name into the Sentence.

Was that a Dragon I just heard?

If it finds a %4, it looks to see if there are any sources attached to the Event name. If there are, it copies those superscript numbers into the Sentence.

That brings us to %5. (Date 1)

When I learned Norwegian, one of the things that surprised me is that you can’t just translate prepositions. They are translate-able, that is, there is a one to one correlation between English prepositions and Norwegian prepositions, but the Norwegians don’t necessarily use the same prepositions we use. For example, we go to school, and they go on school. (Translators of AQ, beware)

Dates are a slight problem in English. We do things on a particular day, but in a particular month or year. When we are building a Sentence, we speak differently about complete dates, (on Day Month Year), and incomplete dates, (in Year or in Month Year). There is also the problem of before, after and about. These take the place of on or in.

The choice of which of these to copy into the Sentence is made by the %@ code. The code for placing a date into a Sentence would be %@ %5. Upon finding the %@, the Sentence builder first looks for the date modifiers, Abt, Aft or Bef. If it finds one of these, it copies the appropriate word (about, after or before) into the Sentence. If it does not find a date modifier, it checks to see if it is a complete (Day, Month, Year) date. If it is, it copies the word on into the sentence. If it is an incomplete date, the Sentence builder copies the word in into the Sentence. Next it will copy the space character it found between the @ and the next % into the sentence. Yes, spaces do matter. Next the Sentence builder copies the Date 1 into the Sentence. If there are any sources attached to this date, the Sentence builder will copy the superscripted footnote number(,s) after the date. What if the Date 1 field is blank? We’ll address that soon.

If the Sentence builder finds a %6, it copies the Place 1 value from the Event record into the Sentence.  If there are any sources attached to this place, the Sentence builder will copy the superscripted footnote number(,s) after the place.

If the Sentence builder finds a %7, it copies the Description 1 value from the Event record into the Sentence.

If the Sentence builder finds a %8, it copies the Date 2 value from the Event record into the Sentence. All the things we said about formatting Date 1 are true about Date 2. the %- code does for Date 2 what %@ does for Date 1.

If the Sentence builder finds a %9, it copies the Place 2 value from the Event record into the Sentence.

If the Sentence builder finds a %0, it copies the Description 2 value from the Event record into the Sentence.

07 Sentence Usage 01

The Sentence Usage area of the screen contains three parts.

(1) The Sentence box is where you enter Code, Parameters and text to be copied. In the example above I have entered the Parameters for Date 1, Place 1, Description 1 and Description 2. I have also entered space characters between these.

(2) The Sample box is where the Sentence builder simulates the Sentence it would build if this were an Event attached to an Individual.

(3) The bottom area is where you simulate the conditions which may exist when you attach an Event of this type to an Individual. Some explanation is in order.

If the Introduction radio button is clicked, the Sentence builder simulates how it would create this sentence if it were the first sentence in the first paragraph for this Individual. This is referred to as the Primary usage of the name.

If the Short Name radio button is clicked, the Sentence builder simulates how it would create this sentence using the Short Name. This is done when the name is used in the first sentence of a subsequent paragraph. It is referred to as the Secondary usage of the name.

If the He/She radio button is clicked, the Sentence builder simulates how it would create this sentence using the pronouns He or he, or She or she. If the gender is unknown, the Short Name is used. This is done for any sentence which is not the first sentence in the paragraph. This is referred to as the Tertiary usage of the name.

The above three radio buttons are mutually exclusive. Click each one now to see how it changes the Sentence.

07 Sentence Usage 01

As it is configured now, it doesn’t really form a sentence. It just strings facts together. We need more than just facts to form sentences. Below is the rest of the table found in the help screen. We will pick and choose parts of it, and mix in some of our own text to help our Sentence to make sense.

05 Codes 01

And there is still more.

06 Codes 01

I want the sentence to tell us that the individual received the rank of corporal in the US Army on 4 July 1976 while stationed in Salt Lake City.

Let’s start by naming our individual. We said earlier that the Sentence builder simulates how it would build a Sentence. That is so that we can see the result produced by the things we enter into the Sentence box. It assigns a name to our individual, and that name is either Lynn Jones, or Lynn, or He, or he, or She or she, depending on how we go about telling it to build the sentence. Go back and look at the rules governing %1, %2 and %3. If the name appears in the first sentence of the first paragraph, then we want to see the Full Name. If it appears in the first sentence in a subsequent paragraph, then we want to see the Short Name. If it is in any other sentence, we want to see He or he or She or she or, if we don’t know the gender, we want the Short Name.

What we need is an instruction that the Sentence builder will interpret as:

* * * * * * * * * *

If this is the first Sentence in this paragraph then
If this is the first paragraph then
Copy the Full Name into the Sentence
Copy the Short Name into the Sentence
If the sex is Male then
If this is the first character to be copied into the Sentence then
Copy He into the Sentence
Copy he into the Sentence
If the sex is Female then
If this is the first character to be copied into the Sentence then
Copy She into the Sentence
Copy she into the Sentence
Copy the Short Name into the Sentence

* * * * * * * * * *

There must be an easier way to slay this Dragon!

Remember this from the chart?


This is our first Dragon slayer. This will do what was done by the IF statement above. All we need to do is replace each word with its Code like this:


Lets put that into the Sentence builder and see what it produces. Lets start with the first sentence of the first paragraph. We do this by clicking the Introduction radio button.

07 Sentence Usage 02

Now let’s look at the first sentence in a subsequent paragraph. We do that by clicking the Short Name radio button.

07 Sentence Usage 03

Now let’s look at a Male in any other sentence. We do this by clicking the He/She radio button and the Male Radio button.

07 Sentence Usage 04

Now, what if this is a Female?

07 Sentence Usage 05

This is what we get if the gender is unknown.

07 Sentence Usage 06

Lets go back to the Male, but let’s put some text before and after our Code. In other words, we don’t need to capitalize the word he.

07 Sentence Usage 07

Now it starts to get complicated.

Ideally, if all the fields in the Event record were filled in, we would want the sentence to read:

Lynn attained the rank of Corporal on 25 May 1950 from the US Army while stationed in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.

Keep in mind that if the Rank (Description 1) is unknown, we would not have created a Rank Event record at all, so we will assume that it will always be there. If the Date 1 is missing, we can’t include it, so we also should not include the preposition on, and if the Date 1 is incomplete it must say in, not on. Lets not forget that if we use Abt, Aft or Bef in front of the Date 1, then we replace in or on with about, after or before. To make it even more complicated, either or both of the Place 1 or Description 2 (branch of service) could be blank, and in that case the text relating directly to those should not be included.

Let’s go back to the original name only and start forming the Sentence. We will first add some text followed by the Rank.

08 Sentence Usage 01

Since this is still a prototype, and we have not yet attached it to an actual person, the Sentence builder has no way of guessing what we may place in the Description 1 field, it just shows the word Descriptor. As we have already seen, it uses the name Lynn Jones, and the date 25 May 1950.

Now let’s tackle that date. First we will address the possibility that it is missing from the Rank Event record. From the table of Codes, we will select %<x;;>. This Code tests for the presence of a value in a Parameter, which is represented by the x. When we start this Code with %<5 we are asking, “Is there a value in Date 1?” If there is a value, then we want to copy a space character to the Sentence, then perform the function of the %@ Code. This function checks Date 1 to see if it has Abt, Aft or Bef in front of the date. If it does, it copies about, after or before to the Sentence, and then copies another space character to the Sentence. Finally it will copy the date portion (minus Abt, Aft or Bef) to the Sentence.

08 Sentence Usage 02

Try clicking the radio buttons for He/She, Short NameIntroductionUnknown, Part Date, Female and Male.

Now we want to tell which branch of service awarded the rank.

08 Sentence Usage 03

Try clicking the Description 2 check box.

Now we want to tell where he was stationed when he received this rank.

08 Sentence Usage 04

Finally, we will close the sentence with a period, and check to see if there are any sources attached to the Event name. If there are sources, we will copy the superscripted number(,s) to the Sentence.

Now you can experiment with all the check boxes and radio buttons, except the Description 1 check box. If that is blank, there is no reason to have the Event.

08 Sentence Usage 05

Dragon conquered!

Now you are ready to do battle!!


Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment Below.

Internet Sources

Showing Internet Sites as Sources

I recently decided to use the database as a secondary source on the Burial dates and places in my Ancestral Quest file. I had previously created an Other Event, which I called Cemetery Plot, to store the information I found in Find A Grave. When  Ancestral Quest version 14.00.14 was released, it suddenly dawned on me that I could actually cite and show the memorial page instead of just copying and storing that information in my Cemetery Plot event.

Why is this important?

The steps I am about to show you can be used to show any web page as the Image attached to a Source or a Citation of a Source. If you find a web page that documents an event, you can use that page directly. You don’t have to use Faststone, or some other screen capture program, to create an image which you then store on your hard drive. The web page can be used as the image for either the Source or the Citation. In my example, my Source is, and my Citation is the memorial for an individual. For my Source, I show the Search page of FindAGrave as the attachment. When I have a single page source, I place it as the attachment for the Source. When I have a multi-page source, I attach the page containing the information to the Citation. I then find a page, such as the Home page or the Search page as the attachment for the Source. The process is simple. Create your source as usual, by clicking on the S button. On either the Define Source page or the Source Citation page, click on the Attach… button. Go to your browser, and find the page you want to display. Copy the URL from the address bar at the top. Return to the Add Scrapbook Item page, and in the drop down window, select Other. This tells Ancestral Quest to not process this as a photo, video or sound-bite. Paste the URL in the Filename or URL window and click OK. To view the page, click the View button.

Show me how is it done!

When I originally added Cemetery Plot events to my records, I tagged those records. They now use tag # 3, the blue tag. I cleared all of the red tags from my file, and I went to my Name List view. This is the Name List that I created.

01 Name List

This list is sorted on Tag 3 (Descending) and Name (Ascending). This shows me all the people in my file who have a Cemetery Plot event in Name order. I included the Death/Burial Date and Death/Burial Place so that I wouldn’t waste my time trying to put sources where there was no known death. Now I want to find which of these records has an entry in Fortunately, I have added Find A Grave to my favorite search sites. With a few clicks, I can search for the person in my currently selected (Highlighted) record. Note that my current record is Charlotte Louisa Durham. She has a Death/Burial Date and Death/Burial Place. She has a Cemetery Plot event tag, but she has  no FindAGrave Burial tag. I want to start by finding her in With her record highlighted, I click on the Internet tab of the Menu bar.

02 Search

Next I click on Search Favorite Sites….

03 FO

 I have created three versions of searches for Find A Grave. I will use the one highlighted in blue. This will search for my record using only the first name found in the Given Names field, and either Surname or Maiden Name.  It also uses Birth/Christening and Death/Burial years if they are available. I click on the Perform Internet Search button.

04 Result

Ancestral Quest sent my request to, and this is what they returned to me. I click on the underlined name, Bowen, Charlotte Louisa Durham and look at her memorial page.

05 Charlotte 01

This is the Charlotte I am looking for, but I want a URL which finds the record directly, and identifies the web page for me by memorial number. I don’t want to search with the criteria in the red box. I scroll down to the bottom of her memorial page.

05 Charlotte 02

 With the memorial number highlighted, I press Ctrl+C to copy it. Next I scroll back to the top of the page.

05 Charlotte 03

 Here I click on Begin New Search.

08 Paste

Now I paste the memorial number into the proper search box, and click on the Search button.

09 URL

Now I have the URL I wanted. I highlight it, and use Ctrl+C to copy it. I go back to my Name List in Ancestral Quest, and I double click on Charlotte’s name there.

10 Individual

This is her Edit Individual screen. She has the Cemetery Plot event, which I no longer want to use. She has no Source attached to her Burial information, so I click on the S button to the right of the Burial Place

11 First Source

 We click on the Select button to get to the Select Source screen.

12 Select Source

This is a list of Sources of type Internet. FindAGrave is the only Internet Type source on the list, so we select it.

13 Citation

We see a list of other citations entered previously. Each citation will have its own Vol/Page/Film value, so we click on the Create New Citation button to create one for Charlotte.

14 Citation Detail 01

We enter FindAGrave as the first half of the Vol/Page/Film value, then we click on the Attach… button.

15 Scrapbook 01

We open the drop down window, and select Other. We don’t want AQ to try to interpret this as a Photo or some other type of media.

16 Scrapbook 02

 We right click and paste in the Filename or URL window, and immediately highlight the equal sign and the memorial number. We right click and copy this. We click on the OK button.

17 Citation Detail 02We right click to the right of the word FindAGrave in the Vol/Page/Film window and paste in the equal sign and the memorial number. We click OK to create the source and exit.

18 Individual

Now the Source button, S, has an asterisk, showing that there is a source for the Burial event. Return to Find A Grave in your browser, and use the red X to exit the browser. Go back to the Edit Individual screen, and click on the Source button for the Burial event.

19 View

When it comes up, click on the View button.

20 Charlotte

The page appears as a source. Go back to Charlotte’s Edit Individual screen.

21 Individual

The blue tag tells us that she has the Cemetery Plot event, but she needs a red tag to show that she has a Burial Source. Click on the Tags button. This brings up the Manage Tags screen.

22 Manage

Click the Set button and the Tag is created.

24 End

Charlotte’s record now shows the red Tag in the Name List.


Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment.


Learn Ancestral Quest with Videos

I tell people that I teach Ancestral Quest at the Ogden FamilySearch Library, and that is almost true. I moderate the class. Most of the teaching is done by Gaylon Findlay, who wrote Ancestral Quest. Gaylon built this capability into the program, and you can use it at home if you have an Internet connection. It is easy to use, repeatable, interruptible, available on your time schedule, and FREE.

Here is how to do it. Start Ancestral quest. After the introductory phase, click Help on the Menu bar.

01 Help

When the menu opens, click on Video Tutorial.

This is what you will see:

02 Web

Select the things which interest you. In my classes we use the videos shown above, We interrupt the video for questions, and hold a discussion after.

Even if you don’t have Ancestral Quest installed on your computer, you can get to the videos by clicking on this LINK.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment.

Version 14.00.14

Version 14.00.14 is here.

For information on how to update your Ancestral Quest, go to this LINK. It shows in detail how to update your existing copy of AQ. There is no charge for this update!

The major change to this version is the ability to copy sources to and from the Family Tree. I like this better than the Family Tree method.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment.


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