What’s New in V3

This page lists the new and improved features in version 3. See What’s New (All Versions) for details of features added in other versions.


1. Create Websites
  • A new website creation feature allows you to create wonderful websites using Family Historian’s powerful report engine and picture-handling functionality, to generate superb web pages.
  • Extensive configuration options give you an unprecedented level of control over the generated web site – or you can simply accept the Family Historian defaults.
  • Use the ‘Private’ record flag to exclude some individuals altogether, or use the ‘Living’ record flag to hide all but the basic details (name, sex, and family relationships).
2. ‘Smart Trees’, and Moving and Resizing
  • Support 4 different methods for moving boxes & branches.
  • New ‘Smart Trees’automatically adjust to accommodate box or branch moves, or box resizing, making changes easy that would otherwise be difficult or impossible in practice
  • Boxes can be either automatically sized or manually resized – and you can switch between these.
  • A new method of branch dragging relative to a ‘fixed point’ makes it easy to move entire branches apart or together. The same technique can used to move spouses and siblings together or further apart.
3. A New Everyone Diagram
  • A new Everyone Diagram has been added which shows everyone in your family tree file, and all of their relationships.
4. The All Relatives Diagram has been Re-worked and Much Improved

The All Relatives tree is unique to Family Historian. It shows all relatives of a given person or couple, in a way that looks great and is easy to understand. Please note: all of the listed enhancements apply not just to the All Relatives diagram, but to All Relatives trees too, when these are inserted into other diagrams (see section 7. below).

  • Half-siblings are now aligned with siblings, and ancestors ‘other spouses’ are shown next to them. Where ancestral spouses are not in spouse order, an optional spouse number is displayed next to the non-ancestral spouse to show which order they come in.
  • Diagrams now automatically adjust themselves vertically as well as horizontally to make best use of available space. You no longer get wasted unused rows for relatives you don’t have.
  • You can now simply specify ‘All’ as the required number of generations for ancestors and descendants. The no. of rows per generation field is gone – you no longer need to specify this.
  • Layout of All Relatives diagrams has been improved in several ways and you now have more control over it. If you right-click on a box in a diagram there is a ‘Keep Near Parents’ option which you can use to control layout.
  • ‘Proxy’ boxes are boxes which show ancestors in the context of their parents’ family. You now have complete control over the display of proxy boxes and can eliminate them altogether if you wish to, or specify conditions for when they will be used.
5. Duplicate-Detection and Duplicate-Linking in Diagrams

Duplicates in diagrams arise when the same person is related to the diagram root in more than one way. Family Historian has pioneered a new strategy for dealing with this scenario, which we believe achieves the best possible clarity, simplicity and elegance – but without in any way compromising on the information that is displayed.

  • Family Historian will now (optionally) automatically close-off duplicated branches, and use curved, coloured ribbons to link duplicate individuals and duplicate families.
  • Extensive configuration options allow you to control the colour, shape and width of linking ribbons.
6. Multi-Tree Diagrams, Saved Diagrams and Enhanced Chart Output
  • All diagrams can now be saved with all details preserved as files in Family Historian Chart format, so you can create complex charts and keep them, and add to them.
  • All diagrams now support multiple trees. You can insert an unlimited number of additional trees into any diagram, and position them independently, wherever you want.
  • As well as trees you can also insert as many pictures, text boxes, lines and rectangles as you wish, and format or order them (front-to-back) as you wish.
  • Box features are now fully configurable – including the shape, thickness and colour of box frames (if used), the box fill colour, optional box shadow, colour, size and position, and, of course, all text colour, style & layout details.
  • You can also now add ‘B&B-Style’ icons in diagrams (think of the icons in Bed-and-Breakfast catalogues which tell you whether the room has a TV or en-suite shower). For example, you could use a ‘men-at-work’ traffic sign, appearing just below a box, to flag which records you are currently working on, and/or a Stop sign to show which records are flagged as private. There is no limit to the number of icons that are shown next to any box. You can choose from a number of pre-defined icons, or you can design and use your own icons if you wish (e.g. using Windows ‘Paint’).
  • You can specify sets of box features, including any or all of the features just listed, and can choose your preferred conditions for displaying them. For example, you could specify that all or some text items should be coloured based on sex, the fill colour and frame thickness could be conditional upon generation, icons could be determined by specified record flags, and the shadow position could be determined by the box type. You decide how to match features to conditions that you specify.
  • Although matching features to conditions is easy, it’s even easier when it’s all been done for you. Which is why Family Historian comes installed with a number of ‘presets’, allowing you to choose between a number of standard ‘looks’ for your diagrams – e.g. generation-based colouring, box-type colouring, a ‘no-box’ version, and so on.
7. Much Improved Control Over Box Contents in Diagrams
  • Specifying the text contents of boxes in diagrams is now much easier – just choose the items you want from a list. But you can still ‘drill down’ to get full control over details if you wish to.
  • You can now specify font, style, colour & layout features for all text items within boxes.
  • You can specify not just text margins, but 3 levels of indent for individual text items within boxes. Text items can be left, right, or centre aligned, or justified.
  • Text can be wrapped round pictures (side only).
  • Boxes automatically adjust to the size of the text, and can accommodate all text, including lengthy notes extending over multiple paragraphs. ‘;
  • Display of text items can be conditional upon record flags, and on other conditions.
  • Text items can be grouped together, to create visually impressive layouts. For example, you could choose to display all of a person’s residences, and indent, colour and/or italicize the address and note details for each one.
  • Although you can use different formatting options for names, dates and places, within text boxes, it is now simple to set these in one place for all text items in your boxes.
8. Diagram Orientations, Box Hiding, ‘On-the-fly’ Option Changes, and Yet More Enhancements to Diagrams
  • Family Historian has always supported ‘On-the-fly’ changes to diagram options, but this has been greatly extended and made much easier to understand and use.
  • No more hitting ‘diagram limits’. If you see an expansion button you can now always click on it to expand the diagram, and Family Historian will adjust the diagram both vertically and horizontally if it has to (even in All Relatives trees).
  • You can now hide any box or tree branch. You can also choose to show hidden boxes, and unhide them again if you want to.
  • All diagrams now support all orientations (top-down, bottom-up, left-right, and right-left).
  • Working simultaneously with multiple diagram windows is now much easier thanks to the new Navigation bar (see next).
  • Improved support for scaling diagrams – it has been made much easier and clearer.
  • Improved support for spouse layout – 3 default schemes are provided for controlling the position of spouses (mainly relevant to individuals who have more than one) but you can override these by positioning spouses (and siblings) in any order you wish
  • A new “Find in Diagram” command on the Edit menu let’s you find any selected person in the current diagram window (the most recently-viewed one if you have more than one open). This works from any other window.
  • With a single key press, Family Historian will now automatically avoid both vertical and horizontal page boundaries (and you can configure the margin to leave in each case).
  • All dimensions are now given in real world units – inches, centimetres or millimetres, depending on your preference. There are more of them that you can configure, and they are better laid out and easier to understand.
  • The ‘Expand Branch (all levels)’ command on the Diagram menu now lets you expand a branch fully, rather than just one level.
  • A new option allows you to show a line below individuals and couples who have no offspring.
  • A new ‘Limit Overhang’ feature gives fine-grained control over layout.
  • If you open a diagram for a person who has multiple sets of parents, you are now prompted to select which parents you want. Using the ‘Insert Tree’ feature, you can have both trees in one diagram.
9. Usability Enhancements, including a New Navigation Pane
  • The new (optional) Navigation Pane, on the left-hand side of the Main window when you open it, shows all active windows in the program (Records Window, Query Window, Diagram Windows, Multimedia Windows, Reports Windows).
  • You can have as many diagram, reports and multimedia windows open as you like. This is not new, but it is much easier to see when you do this and switch between them.
  • Right-click on any icon in the pane for options to ‘Lock’ the Window (preventing it being reused if say, it’s the Diagram Window and you open another diagram), or Close the window. You can’t lock the Records Window or the Query Window – there is only one of each of these in any case.
  • Locked Windows have a little ‘lock’ added to the bottom-left corner of their icon to show that they are locked.
  • You can now hide unused facts (events or attributes) in all lists.
  • Sundry other usability enhancements (including some mentioned elsewhere – such as much easier ways of specifying the contents of boxes in diagrams).
10. Installable Fact Sets

Up to now, however, you have only been able to create custom facts (i.e. events or attributes) one at a time. Suppose, however, that you share an interest with others in a particular set of facts that cover some specialised aspect. In that case, you or someone else can define a complete set of facts that are relevant to this. This ‘fact set’ can be exported, and uploaded to a website (the Family Historian User Group website for example). Then others can download and install it using an Import comand.

Here are some examples of topics that genealogists might wish to define a fact set for:

  • Medical History
  • Military History
  • Religious History and Ordinances
  • Specialist Occupation Details (e.g. you could have a specialist fact set for sailors, covering which ships they sailed in, and other details relevant to the lives of sailors)
  • Muslims might wish to use an Islamic fact set. Jewish people might want to use a Jewish one, and so on.

There is no limit to the number of fact sets you can create and have installed.

11. Unlimited Record Flags
  • Record flags are flags that you can add to any Individual record to mark something about that individual (e.g. that they are alive or that they don’t want information about them to be made public).
  • Flags can be viewed and edited in the new Record Flags dialog on the Edit menu, which lets you view and set flags for multiple records at the same time.
  • You can define your own custom flags (as many as you like).
  • A new “Work with Named Lists and Flags” tool lets you set named list membership based on flags or flags based on named list membership, and do other house-keeping tasks with both.
  • Set new Query menu commands let you set or clear record flags based on queries.
  • Record flags can be tested within queries, like any other field or (like any other field) used as a column in a query.
  • Record flags can be used elsewhere within text schemes to determine whether a line of text should appear. They can also be used to determine any box feature in a diagram – e.g. the ‘fill’ colour or shape of a box, the frame size or colour, whether the box has a shadow or an icon etc.
  • Flags are also used when generating websites to control levels of privacy and exclude people who do not wish to be included.
12. Create Family Tree CDs

This feature requires a CD writer and CD-burning software. Most CD writers come with their own CD-burning software. CD-burning software is in any case included as part of Windows XP.

  • Design and create CDs containing your family tree data for sharing with other family members
  • Use the same powerful configuration options and features as for Web Site creation, but create a CD instead
13. A New Internet Search Tool
  • A new Internet Search tool allows you to search and/or ‘go to’ key genealogy research websites across the Internet
14. New Narrative Reports and Enhancements to Existing Narrative Reports
  • 2 new narrative reports have been added: Ancestors by Generation and Individual Narrative.
  • You can now edit the sentence template for all facts (events or attributes, custom or standard, imported or not) using high-level codes for generating sentences in narrative reports.
  • You can now easily override the sentence template for individual instances of events or attributes, to fine tune how these appear in narrative reports.
15. Other Enhancements to Reports
  • Improvements to the Descendant Outline report.
  • Sundry other report enhancements – e.g. Cause of Death is now included with other notes about deaths, in reports.
16. New Queries and Query Enhancements
  • New standard queries have been added, including the ‘Contains Text’ query which lets you find any Individual whose record (or linked family records) contain a given word or part-word. So finding anyone who has ever had anything to do with Winchester, say, is now easy.
  • Query result sets can now be saved in CSV format as well as text. Copying query cells now uses an improved format, and should now always work with all data.
  • Querying on census data has been made easier.
17. Sundry Other Enhancements
  • A new import/export menu that makes exporting and installing custom items, much easier (e.g. queries, custom text schemes, installable fact sets etc).
  • You can now specify a copyright message in the header box of a GEDCOM file.
  • Numerous other minor refinements and improvements.
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