Frequently Asked Questions

For questions about Family Historian in relation to The Master Genealogist, see Frequently Asked Installation Questions – for TMG Users. For questions about installation or if you have problems accessing the Help, see Frequently Asked Installation Questions. For questions about products, see Product FAQ or System Requirements.

Version 6

Version 5

Charts and Diagrams

‘Living’ and ‘Private’ Flags



How can I check that I have the latest version of version 6?

Before reporting any problems relating to version 6, please make sure that you have the latest version. To do this, click on ‘Check for Updates’ on the Help menu within the program. You can also check the version number of your current installation by clicking on ‘About Family Historian’ on the Help menu. If your installation of version 6 is not the latest, please upgrade immediately. To upgrade, go to Latest Free Update. Please note that sometimes ‘release candidates’ are made available on this page before being officially released – that, is before ‘Check for Updates’ will report a new version.

I can’t save in PDF format

Download and install the latest version of the Family Historian PDF driver (novaPDF 7.7 build 399) – see button below. When you run the installer, you will be prompted to confirm that you wish to replace the existing driver. If this does not fix the problem, try first uninstalling the current Family Historian PDF driver using the Windows control panel (look for “Family Historian PDF (novaPDF 7.7 printer)”, or similar, in the list of programs). When you have uninstalled it, reinstall the latest version.

Download “Install novaPDF 7.7 (build 399)” install_fhnovapdf7.7.400.exe – Downloaded 5 times – 7 MB

When I try to edit a date it gets messed up

This problem arose for some users if their system settings used “yyyy-mm-dd” as the preferred short date display format. It has been fixed since 5.0.1. To install the fix, download and install the latest upgrade from the Download Archive for version 5 users.

Is it possible to create traditional charts without boxes?

Yes. To specify this and other box features you need to use the Box tab in the Diagram Options dialog. If you click on the ‘Presets’ button on that tab, and then click on ‘No Box’ you will get a look that has no boxes (and while you’re there – why not have a look at the other presets too). Click the Help button on the same tab for more information about how to use this tab to get whatever other kind of look you want.

I would like all boxes to be the same size in diagrams. Can I do this?

Click on the Diagram menu when viewing your diagram. Then click on “Layout & Scaling”, and finally click on “Make All Boxes the Same Height”.

I want to be able to set the ‘Living’ flag on everyone who is still alive. What is the best way to do this?

If there are only a small number of records involved, you can set flags on multiple records at the same time by selecting them all (e.g. in the Records Window, or the Diagram Window) and clicking on ‘Record Flags’ on the Edit menu. When you tick on ‘Living’ the flag will be set on all the selected Individuals.

If you have a large file you may want to use a query to locate people who either are, or may be, living. There is a query called ‘Flag Living’ in the Query Store of the Family Historian User Group website ( If you download this file to your desktop and double-click on it, it will be installed as a custom query. You can then run it. It takes 2 dates as parameters which can be left as the defaults. Then, when viewing the results in the Query Window, click on the Query Menu button at the right-hand end of the Query toolbar, and click on “Set Flag on Result Set Records”. Choose ‘Living’ as the flag and press OK. This will set the Living flag on all records returned by the query. You should check the results as the query method is of course by no means infallible.

How can I hide details about ‘Living’ people in diagrams?

You can edit any text scheme to suppress details of ‘Living’ people (that is, people who have the ‘Living’ flag set). Open the Diagram Options dialog and select the Text Scheme you wish to change. Click Edit. Select a line in the text scheme that you do not wish to appear for Living people. Click Edit. In the Edit Text Scheme Item dialog box, tick ‘Flag Condition’. Set the ‘Record Flag’ field to Living and specify that it must be ‘not set’. Press OK. Repeat for each item that you can want to be conditioned in this way and then press OK to close the Edit Text Scheme dialog box.

How can I hide references to ‘Private’ people in diagrams?

If you do not want people flagged as ‘Private’ to appear at all in a diagram, you can arrange this. Create a custom query called (say) ‘Private Individuals’ which returns a list of all people who have the Private flag set (see the book “Getting the Most From Family Historian 5” for help on creating custom queries). Then open your diagram and click on Diagram > Marks > Set/Clear Marks Using Query. Select ‘Private Individuals’ and click ‘Run Query’. This will mark all the Private individuals in the diagram. Then click Diagrams > Marks > Select Marked Boxes. And finally click Diagram > Hide Selected Boxes. When you hide a box, the branch leading out from it is normally hidden too. The tree root cannot be hidden.

I keep seeing references to GEDCOM. What is GEDCOM?

This is the name of the world-wide standard for sharing genealogical data. The latest version is 5.5. Family Historian was designed from the ground up to be 100% GEDCOM-compatible and 100% GEDCOM-complete – that is, it can load all GEDCOM 5.5 fields and can save all of its data to the GEDCOM format. In fact, Family Historian uses GEDCOM as its own ‘native’ file format. So unlike other applications, you do not have to convert Family Historian files to the GEDCOM format. They already are in the GEDCOM format.

In Family Historian reports it says that person X has died when they haven’t. Why is this and what can I do about it?

If a person is said to have died in reports, this must be because there is a death event in their list of events and attributes. To solve the problem, open the Property Dialog for the person in question, select the Facts tab, locate the death event and delete it.

That still leaves the question of how the death event got there in the first place. There is some reason to believe that some other genealogy program is creating spurious death events for individuals who have not died. If you imported your data from another program, that may be the explanation. Another possible explanation is that a death date was entered for someone by mistake, in the Main tab of the Property dialog, and then cleared again. When the death date was entered, a death event was automatically created to ‘house’ the death date. When the death date was cleared, the date was removed, but the death event itself was not deleted.

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