Genesis is an application for viewing databases created by Millennia Corporation's Legacy© genealogy software. Legacy provides extensive facilities for maintaining a family history database, but is perhaps less oriented towards the person who wants to look at the information in the database, as would often be the case with family members or others to whom the compiler of a database distributes it.
Genesis is a viewer with a modern and attractive user interface which makes it easy to find information and navigate around databases that may contain many thousands of people. It handles everything of significance in a Legacy® 7.5 and 8 databases except LDS information and a few of the more esoteric features for shared event sentences in Legacy 8, and does a lot more than merely displaying the information in the database.
Genesis is designed for sharing family history among a group of interested people, without sharing it with the whole wide world (as might be the case if information is published on the Internet).
Here's how it works:
The compiler of a family history database uses Legacy©, the genealogy package from Millennia Corporation, to create and maintain a family history database.
The compiler of the database and members of the group who are to share it, all install Genesis and the same online file sharing system (e.g. Dropbox) on their computers.
The compiler connects the original Legacy database to Genesis. Genesis converts the database to its own format and the compiler then publishes it (using a Genesis function) in a "shared folder", which is managed by the online file sharing system. Genesis publishes the material in zip format, making it as compact as possible for distribution over the internet.
The compiler invites members of the group to join the shared folder.
The file sharing system automatically delivers the material to all group members.
A group member launches Genesis and connects it to the database in the shared folder.
Genesis then automatically unzips and installs the database on the group member's computer.
When the compiler, having added more information to the database with Legacy, decides that it is time to update group members, he or she publishes the database again, using Genesis.
Genesis works out which files have been added or changed and publishes only as much as is necessary in the shared folder (attachments to a family tree, such as photos and document images, can run to hundreds of megabytes and everything need not be redistributed because a few things have been added).
The new and changed files are automatically distributed by the file sharing system and automatically detected and installed by Genesis when next the group member opens the database.
When an updated database is installed on a group member's computer, Genesis detects significant changes in the new version and provides a list of these, which can then be used to view records which have changed. The list of changes is retained until the next time the database is updated, at which time it is replaced. It lets you see what has changed when your database is updated and lets you access the changed records to inspect them.
Genesis has been developed and extensively tested with Windows 10. It has also been tested for basic compatibility with Windows 7 and 8. It should therefore also work with Windows XP and Vista, but this is untested. It is unlikely to work with any version of Windows prior to XP.
Genesis works best with a high screen resolution. The ideal is 1920x1080 or above, but it still works reasonably at 1400x1050 or 1440x900. Below that it may not always be satisfactory.
Legacy uses a Microsoft Access database and Genesis accordingly also uses the Access database engine when converting a Legacy database to Genesis format. If you do not have Access installed on your computer, you may also not have the database engine. If it is not present, Genesis will detect it and provide instructions for installing it.
Finally, Genesis requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 4 or later on the user's computer. Genesis cannot check for its presence since it cannot run at all without it. This product can be obtained free of charge from Microsoft.
The first time you launch Genesis, the Genesis window will appear with the Database to use box empty. You have to connect one or more databases to Genesis to populate this box. When at least one database has been connected, you can select it from this box (it is a dropdown list) and then click Open to open it.
The main windows in Genesis - those used to display information about people and to follow lines of descent or ascent through the database - all use a standardised set of function keys (and corresponding choices in a right-click context menu) for the functions listed below. You only have to point the mouse at a person or some other item of interest (or even an area of a window relating to a person) and then either press one of the standard function keys, or right-click the mouse and choose an option:
F1 = Display help for the item under the mouse pointer. If no specific help is available for the item of interest, help is displayed for the next available item, in ascending sequence, within which it is contained. For example, if a textbox in located in a panel (such as those for the parents in the Family Group window (see illustration below), help for the panel will be shown if none is available for the textbox, or for the window containing the panel if none is available for the panel.
Control + F1 displays Context Menu help at any time.
F2 is disabled, being reserved for future use as the Edit key
F3 = More detail. The detail displayed depends on context.
F4 = Display ancestor tree.
F5 = Display descendant tree.
F6 = Display sources of information.
F7 = Set a person as 'Me' so that others' relationship(s) to that person are displayed as you move around the database
F8 = Set a person as 'Direct Line' person, so that his or her direct ancestors are highlighted in a colour of your choice wherever they are displayed
F9 = Display the current settings for 'Me' and Direct Line person
F10=Display location and address information for the place under the mouse pointer.
F11=Reset window to its default size and screen position.
F12 = Close the active window and revert to the window from which it was opened. The Escape key has the same effect. This function is not valid in the List of people window.
Some of these function keys have no effect (and the corresponding context menu choices are disabled) if options are not relevant or unavailable in the current context. In some windows, there may be additional context menu choices and/or additional function keys, but for the most part you can drive the application using the options listed above. Occasionally one or two of the above standard keys may be used for a different function when its normal use is not relevant in a window.
Another standard is that lists of people (such as in the picture below) always have a button in the margin to the left of each person in the list which, when clicked, navigates to further details about that person (it is equivalent to pointing at the person and pressing F3).
In the Family Group and Particulars windows, there are buttons for moving backwards and forwards through the people you have previously viewed.
You can set an individual as
the "root person" (usually referred to as 'Me') so that the relationships of others to that person are displayed as you navigate through the database,
the "direct line" person, so that direct ancestors of that person are highlighted wherever they are displayed.
The "root" and "direct line" persons may or may not be the same. There are context menu options and corresponding function keys (see Standard Functions above) to assign one or both of these roles to an individual. There is no perceptible delay when you perform either setting and, once you have done so, you can always find out who the current "root" or "direct line" person is by using the F9 function.
This facility is very useful to help keep track of where you are in a large database.
Genesis makes extensive use of small pop-up windows (as in the picture below) to provide information or tips on how to proceed.
If any piece of information is too long to be fully displayed in the space available for it in a window, just point the mouse at it and Genesis will display a pop-up window showing the complete item. If the item is too long to be shown in this way, there will be a button to open a larger window to display everything.
If you point the mouse at someone who is highlighted as a direct ancestor of the current 'Direct Line' person (you can choose the highlight colour) the relationship is displayed in a pop-up window (for example, Mary MORGAN, 4th great-grandmother of Peter SMITH - assuming that Peter Smith is the current "direct line" person).
In the Family Group and Particulars windows, the list of children includes two image columns, one showing spouse(s) and the other children of each child. Pointing the mouse at either of these images displays the names of the spouse(s) or children, as in the picture above.
In other cases, instructions for the use of a button or box may be provided in a tip window.
You can choose the colours of most elements in the windows displayed by Genesis, and you have a choice of images to use as window background, as alternatives to solid colours.
To set colours and related items, choose Genesis Appearance from the Options menu in the Genesis window.
Genesis has built-in infrastructure to allow it to operate in different languages. Terminology used by the program (messages, captions and labels in windows, etc.) is kept in a separate file for each language. In addition, Help text is also kept separate by language and language files can be created for translations of certain elements of database content.
All of this material can be translated using facilities built into Genesis. There are two applicable choices in the Options menu in the Genesis window: Translate (application or database) and Translate (help text).
In normal use, the user can select the desired operating language in the Genesis window, by choosing Language and then the language. The current selection is always "remembered".
Help documentation is displayed in the chosen language, but if any specific help topic is not available in that language it is displayed in a related language (if available) or, failing that, in English.
Apart from material requiring manual translation, Genesis automatically displays dates in the selected language.
This is the first window to appear when the application starts. It provides the means to connect databases to Genesis (or disconnect them), to open or close a database and, through menus at the top of the window, gives access to options governing the behaviour of the application, translation functions and help.
This window lets you locate a family database (an .FDB or .GDB file) and connect it to Genesis. The database can be one which is resident on your computer (for example, a database you maintain using Legacy) or a “shared” database, which is in zip format.
This window is for analysing attachments to a database (for missing or redundant items) and for renewing database material. The latter function is applicable only to "shared" databases - databases which are delivered by their compiler to your computer in zip format.
There is also a Show Changes button, for displaying a list of changes in the latest version of the database as compared to the previous version.
This window lets the compiler of a database publish new material for delivery to those with access to the shared folder for that database.
The publication function automatically adds new of changed files (database, translation files and attachments) to the shared folder in zip format so that the file sharing system (e.g. Dropbox) can distribute it automatically and Genesis can install it automatically on group members' computers.
Once a database has been opened, the Show List button in the Genesis window opens this window. It lists all the people in the database, with columns for the person's ID number, surname, given names, date of birth or christening, and date of death or burial. If a date of birth is not available for an individual but a christening date is, the latter is shown, prefixed by an asterisk (in this window and elsewhere). Similarly, if a death date is not available, the burial date, if known, is shown with a leading asterisk. Genders are colour-coded in this list, as in all windows in Genesis. The colours used for female, male and unknown gender can be changed to suit your preferences, as can a variety of other colours used by the application.
The purpose of this list is to allow you to select a person as a starting point for investigation. The list can be sorted into ascending or descending sequence on any of its columns (by clicking on the column heading) and filtered on one or more of those (for example, by name and/or birth/christening date). It can also be scrolled to display any part of the list. Once the desired person is visible, he or she can be selected for detailed viewing, by using the Family Group or Particulars button to display the Family Group or Particulars window. You can also display the Family Group or Particulars window (depending on the current setting for preference in the context menu) by clicking in the left-hand margin alongside an individual, and you can of course use standard functions by means of a function key or context menu option.
This window is accessed from the List of People window and the Database Maintenance window. It shows changes in the current version of a shared database compared with the previous version, in the following categories, indicating (for each record) the items which have changed or whether it is new.
This window is accessed from the List of People or from the context menu in several other windows.
It shows a couple in the centre, giving basic details such as name, date and place of birth, christening, death and burial.
In addition, there is a dropdown list for each of the two central people, giving their relationship(s) (if any) to the current "root" person (“Me”). You can select any relationship in this list to display the lines of descent from the common ancestor to each, in a separate window like this:
To the left and right the central couple are the parents of each. Their names, birth or christening dates and death or burial dates are shown.
At the foot of the window there is a list of the central couple's children, giving names, dates and places of birth or christening, dates and places of death or burial, and status (e.g. "Adopted").
There are two special columns in the list of children, showing small images representing the number of their spouse(s) and children respectively. If you point the mouse at an image in one of these columns, the names of the spouses or children are displayed in a small pop-up window.
Immediately below the couple, above the list of children, basic information about the marriage is shown. Directly above that, below the principal life events, there are two buttons with left and right facing arrowheads, which are enabled if more than one marriage is recorded for the individual. In that case, there is also a label to the left of the buttons to tell how many marriages there are and which one is currently displayed. Clicking the Previous or Next button causes the previous or next spouse and corresponding children to be displayed.
In this window, you can navigate
to the Family Group window for the parents of either member of the central couple, by clicking anywhere within the desired parents' panels, by pointing at the desired panel and pressing F3 or using the context menu;
to the Family Group window for any of the children, by clicking the button in the left-hand margin alongside the child of interest, or by pointing at the child and pressing F3 or using the context menu.
to the Particulars window for either of the central couple, by clicking anywhere in the panel for the person of interest, or by pointing at the panel and pressing F3 or using the context menu.
You can also perform queries from this window. Below the list of children on the left, there are buttons labelled Query and Cancel Query with another pair of Previous/Next buttons on their left. The Query button creates an empty screen, highlights the boxes that can be used for specifying a query, and changes the caption of the Query button to Submit Query. When in this "query mode", a bar containing buttons for special characters (such as "ê", "ô" and "ß") becomes visible immediately above the list of children, so that you can enter names containing such characters. You can add and remove characters from the bar, and the program "remembers" the current set for future use.
Once a query has been specified, click Submit Query to obtain results. The number of results is shown above the Previous/Next buttons and the first result is dispayed. You can then scroll back and forth through the results using the Previous and Next buttons.
This window shows all the information available in the database about an individual, or provides direct access to it. The name of the individual is shown in the title bar of the window, which contains five "bands" from top to bottom, each occupying the full width of the window.:
The first band, immediately below the title bar, also contains the person's name, as well as his or her parents at top right with a list of marriages below that, and additional information about the person.
Also in the first band, there are buttons for displaying general, research and medical notes about the person. Pointing the mouse at any of these buttons causes the first part of the relevant set of notes to appear in a pop-up window - if the button is enabled, as it will be if notes are present. The text in the pop-up window ends with "..." if all of it is not visible, in which case you have to click the button to see the full text.
The final item in the first band is a dropdown list showing the displayed person's relationship(s) to the current "root person". If multiple relationships exist, they can be seen by clicking the "down" arrow at the right of the dropdown list. The lines of descent giving rise to a relationship can be seen by selecting it in this list.
The second band contains a list of events in or facts about the person's life, including the principal life events of birth, christening, death and burial.
The third band consists of a grid showing details of the person's children from the currently displayed marriage (if you select a different marriage in the list on the right of the second band, the corresponding children will appear here).
The button for attachments has a label to say how many there are. If you click it, the first one is displayed and if there is more than one, you can click the button repeatedly to display each in turn. The attachments you see here are also included in the thumbnails in the next band and can be displayed from there as well, but here the connection between attachment and event is more clearly evident.
The fourth band is a row of thumbnails of images and other attachments which can be scrolled left and right if there are more than the width of the window accommodates.
If you rest the mouse on a thumbnail, its caption and description (if any) appears in a pop-up window, but the entire description is not displayed if it is too long.
If you point at a thumbnail of an image and press F3 or choose it from the context menu, the image is displayed in its original size in a new window, with the complete caption and description. If the thumbnail represents any other type of attachment (for example a Microsoft Word or PDF document or a sound file) is displayed (or played) by your computer's default application for the type of file.
The final band contains buttons to navigate to other windows, to display help, to close the window or the program and, on the right, a bar for scrolling the thumbnails (you can also use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard for scrolling if you first click on one of the thumbnails in order to set the focus on the band) as well as a button for displaying a list of changes (if any) to the record in this version of the database.
You can display an ancestor or descendant tree for any individual in the database simply by pointing and pressing F4 (ancestor tree) or F5 (descendant tree) or by choosing the corresponding options from the context menu.
Both trees are displayed in a similar way to the structure used in the Microsoft Windows® File Explorer, which means that you can easily collapse or expand the tree or specific branches. In addition, the context menu in this window provides options for
expanding the tree (or a branch of it) by a specified number of additional generations (from 1 to 6), or all generations,
displaying spouses alongside one another, by collapsing intervening branches,
displaying the individual's Family Group or Particulars window, depending on the current setting for preference in the context menu,
all the other standard functions listed previously.
This window is reached from the Family Group or Particulars window, by clicking a button labelled More... in the area of the window where basic marriage details are displayed. It displays all available information about a marriage, and provides direct access to the contents or enlargements of attachments.
The format of the window is similar to the Particulars window with bands, from top to bottom, for:
names and ages at marriage of the couple, place and date of marriage, marriage status (e.g. "divorced") and a button for notes about the marriage;
facts and events associated with the marriage, in the same format and with the same functionality as in the Particulars window;
thumbnails of attachments, in the same format and with the same functionality as in the Particulars window.
The thumbnails in the Marriage window also appear in the Particulars window for both partners in the marriage.
This window is opened by pointing the mouse at a place name wherever it may be displayed in Genesis and pressing F10 or right-clicking and taking the Display Place Information option from the context menu. It displays available information about a place, including geographic coordinates, notes, attachments and, if geographic coordinates and an Internet connection are available, a map showing the place.
If the place name includes an address, Genesis displays a small window which allows you to display both the location window and the address window (see below).
This window is similar to the Location window. It is opened by pointing the mouse at an address wherever it may be displayed in Genesis and pressing F10 or right-clicking and taking the Display Place Information option from the context menu. It displays available information about an address, including geographic coordinates, notes, attachments and, if geographic coordinates and an Internet connection are available, a map showing the address.
If the place name includes an address, Genesis displays a small window which allows you to display both the location window and the address window.
There are two of these, both accessible from the Options menu in the Genesis window:
Translation (Application or Database)
This window provides facilities for translating the terminology used in the Genesis application (such as messages and captions iin windows) and to translate certain elements of the actual data in a database (including place names, fact/event names, fact/event descriptions among others).
Translation (help text)
This window provides facilities for translating help text to another language.
These windows provide the facility for you, or any user, to translate material from an existing language into a new one, to translate items in your own database, or to modify existing material for your own benefit. However, in the last-mentioned case, installing a new version of Genesis would overwrite your personalised material, and it it therefore not recommended.
Apart from the small pop-up windows discussed earlier, there are a several other windows used by Genesis:
Notes Window: In the Particulars window, buttons are provided for notes related to a person's birth, christening, death or burial, and for general, research and medical notes. When you point the mouse at any of these buttons which is enabled, up to 300 characters of the note is displayed in a pop-up window. If the note is longer that that, the text in the pop-up window will end with "..." and you have to click the button to display the complete text in a note window. The Note window contains a search box which lets you find words or phrases in the notes.
Sources Window: Sources (displayed by pressing F6 or using the equivalent context menu option) are displayed in a window similar to that used for notes.
Character Map Window: Used in several forms where you can enter text (for example, when performing a query). The Character Map lets you add and remove special characters to and from the Special Characters bar.
Genesis Appearance Window: Accessed from the Genesis appearance option in the Options menu in the Genesis window, and used to change the colour scheme used by Genesis.
Person Summary Window: Displayed in the Family Tree window to give more information about the person you point at with the mouse.
Help Window: Displays help. There is a button to close the window, with a Previous button on its left and a Next button on its right for navigating back and forth though the material you have viewed in the current session, and there is a Contents button to display the contents list.
Search Help Window: The Search Help button in the Help window opens the Search Help window, providing the means to search for words or phrases in the help documentation.
Search and Replace Window: The Search and Replace button in the Translation (Help Text) window opens the Search and Replace Window, which lets you find and replace words or phrases throughout all or some help topics.