10 Things I Love About TNG (My Genealogy Software)

by Tonia Kendrick on July 18, 2009 in Technology

My main genealogy software is The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding.  This software can be used as a stand-alone product or with a desktop genealogy program.  I use Legacy for a few things, but use TNG for all my data entry and storage.  If you want to learn more about the features and benefits of TNG or see a demo, click here.  To see how my data is displayed, click any of the links under “Genealogy” in the sidebar Family Tree in the menu bar above, then click any surname, the links in the Genealogy sidebar or the drop-down menus.

10 Things I Love about TNG:

  1. TNG is extremely flexible.  If there are aspects that you don’t like, you can change the code.  For example, the default source citation displays the source short name; I prefer to display the long name, so a quick change to the the php files changed this on my site.  Disclaimer here:  I am not in any way, shape, or form a “programmer.”  There are great folks on the TNG Forums, instructions in a Wiki, User groups, and even a recently released book to help you make changes.  All I have to do is follow directions.
  2. I have access to my records anywhere there is an Internet connection.  This means that if I don’t want to take my laptop to the library, I don’t have to.  Or if I’m at my mom’s house and a genealogy question comes up, I just pull up my website.
  3. I can load a copy of the program on a USB drive, so that I also have access to my records if I”m somewhere without an Internet connection.   This requires a little extra work, but is very handy.  I took my laptop to my grandmother’s house last Christmas and spent the afternoon looking at files and answering questions from the family.  Maybe some (more) of them will get the genealogy bug!
  4. The admin interface is very intuitive.  Adding new people, pictures, documents, etc. is very easy.
  5. The advanced search feature is unparalleled.  Frankly, TNG’s search has spoiled me for all others.  It is SO easy to find who or what I’m looking for, from both the user side and the admin side.
  6. I’m not stuck with out-of-the-box reports.  Other programs have good reporting features, but I can create almost any kind of report I want to with TNG.
  7. There is an option to integrate Google Maps into your site.  I’m a visual person and just love being able to see the places that my relatives lived.
  8. I can put as much or as little detail as I want to in my source citations.  As I’ve progressed in my genealogy research, I’ve become more vigilant (some would say fanatical) about citations.  I try to follow the Elizabeth Shown Mills methods, which I can easily do with TNG.
  9. I can easily customize Ancestor charts to display more or less information, depending on my needs at the time.  Sometimes I only want to see names, sometimes I need dates and places, sometimes I need to export to pdf – all possible.
  10. The Relationship Calculator – I really like being able to quickly calculate the relationship between any two individuals in my database.

TNG is not perfect; no program is.  But the changes I would make are very minor and Darrin Lythgoe (the author) is very receptive to user requests.  I’ve tried both Family Tree Maker and Legacy and they just don’t do it for me.  I love TNG.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Taneya July 29, 2009 at 10:27 am

agreed! on all points!

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Jordan Jones September 12, 2009 at 7:08 pm

I have installed TNG and am starting to look at it. As you’ve said, it’s quite impressive.

Do you use it to manage all of your data? I’m thinking of moving away from The Master Genealogist, which I enjoy, and which provides a lot of benefits, but requires an installation and, then limits me to a computer or two for input (even if I use a GEDCOM or a native TMG file to create a readable website).

TNG seems to be a way to simply manage the content any time any where….

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Tonia Kendrick September 12, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Yes, I do use TNG to manage all my data. I’ve tried a couple of desktop programs (Family Tree Maker and Legacy) and just don’t like them as well as TNG for data entry. Good luck with your site!

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pat hamilton June 12, 2010 at 6:04 am

I did genealogy 30 yrs ago, hit a brick wall and Life, and have returned. Everything I have is on paper, notes, binder. I want to enter it all on the computer but wonder if I can manage with one place. Money is an issue and I can’t start subscriptions here and there but there is so much out there that I am paralyzed. Would TNG be a possibility?

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Tonia Kendrick June 12, 2010 at 7:10 am

Hi Pat, if you want a program to enter all your data AND you want to build your own website to keep your information online, I don’t think there is a better choice than TNG. It’s easy to use (once you get it set up) and you don’t have to buy separate programs to enter your data and display it on the web.

However, if you only want a program to enter your data, then there are some great free programs for your desktop. Rootsmagic has a free version of their software and Legacy does as well. They both have slightly different features available on the free version – Rootsmagic does not include a To-Do list and Legacy does not include source templates, for example. You could check out their websites and see which has the features most important to you. Since they are free, you could even download both and try them out.

Good luck!

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