What’s New in 4.1

This page lists the new and improved features in version 4.1. See What’s New (All Versions) for details of features added in other versions.

Version 4.1 contains the following new features and improvements to existing features:

New Menu Commands for Working with Projects

  • Default Project – makes a project the default (to be opened automatically when FH is first started).
  • View Public Subfolder – opens the project’s Public subfolder. When you save a chart as a picture file, or as a PDF file, or when you create a website or family tree CD, or save a report or query as a file of some kind – all such items are saved to the Public subfolder by default, making them easy to find.
  • Copy Project – copies an entire project folder to a specified location.
  • Delete Project – deletes an entire project folder. Lists all files to be deleted, and requires confirmation.
  • Rename Project – for renaming a project.
  • All the above menu commands are available both when you click on the ‘More Tasks’ button on the Project Window, or when you right-click on a project. The old ‘Project Properties’ menu command has been removed.

Other Changes to Projects and the Project Window

  • Double-clicking on Family Historian Project files, or on GEDCOM files (e.g. on the Desktop or in Windows Explorer) now works correctly – FH recognises GEDCOM files that are part of a project and loads them as such.
  • If you specify a project name that ends in a dot, when you create a new project or rename an old one, the final dot is removed.
  • If the Property Box is floating, it is now hidden when the Project Window is open so that the screen doesn’t look untidy.


  • Support for PDFs has been improved and made more robust
  • Ribbon lines connecting duplicate boxes in charts and diagrams could bend the wrong way or be truncated in certain circumstances. Now fixed.
  • On 64-bit versions of Windows, the PDF dialog box sometimes appeared behind the main application window. Now fixed.
  • In some cases, PDFs saved from query result sets were being saved in portrait format, even if the page setup was landscape. Now fixed.
  • The size of PDFs is limited to 128″ width and height. The Help used to say that you could save PDFs up to 200″. That was incorrect and the Help has now been changed accordingly.
  • Dotted lines sometimes displayed incorrectly or were missing, in PDF output in left-right orientation, in the ‘All Relatives’ diagram. Now fixed.

Pictures and Thumbnails

  • These now update automatically in all contexts (Focus Window, Diagrams, Property Box, Reports, Multimedia Window, etc) if you change a file link (‘manually’ in the Property Box for a Multimedia record, or by using Work with External File Links), or if you move or resize a ‘frame’.
  • Thumbnail loading has been improved and made more robust. If a thumbnail cannot be loaded, it will be displayed with a cross over it in all contexts (previously this was not done in the Focus Window)
  • If pictures can’t be loaded, both the content and layout of the error message (where used) has been improved.
  • Previously, when you added a picture or other multimedia item to a project, if you opted to copy the picture into the project and there was already a file in the destination project folder with the same name, this file could be overwritten. Now FH will prevent this happening by automatically adjusting the name of the new file to ensure that it is unique.

Focus Window

  • Thumbnail-handling has been improved (see Pictures and Thumbnails above)
  • The Focus Window now correctly saves the ‘script’ (e.g. Central European) for fonts between sessions
  • Previously the Go Back/Go Forward buttons on the Focus Window would be greyed immediately after any record was deleted which meant that the instructions on p.8 of the book “Getting the Most From Family Historian 4” did not work. Now theGo Back/Go Forward buttons are more robust and the instructions do work.
  • The Focus Window now closes automatically when you close a project, if your startup window is the Records Window.

Property Box

  • When you open the Property Box it now automatically checks whether it’s on-screen and moves itself on-screen if it isn’t
  • Marriage events and birth events for children now show correctly on the Fact tab of Property Box even if their date and place are blank
  • Family Historian will no longer allow you to attempt to delete a record by deleting the first row in the ‘All’ tab of the Property Box
  • The Property Box now automatically updates, in all circumstances, when you change its colours.
  • If you customized the Property Box for Source records, to add a Multimedia control, and then opened the ‘Select’ item for this control, the ‘New’ button in the dialog that appears did nothing . Now it allows you to add a multimedia object.
  • Undo/Redo ordering of changes to the preference order of pictures now works correctly.
  • It used to be possible to crash FH by following these steps: Select the Notes tab for an individual, click the Add Note button, select ‘Add link to Note Record’, click OK, click the New button. Back in the Notes tab, immediately (before entering any text) click the button with the white triangle (Go to Record). A fatal error would occur. This has now been fixed.
  • If you entered a marriage date in the Property Box for someone who has no spouse recorded, the marriage date could disappear. Now fixed.
  • The child count on the Main tab of the Property Box, for Individuals, did not always update immediately when children are added. Now fixed.
  • Now get more descriptive information for the Undo/Redo menu commands when you delete a Fact.
  • FH now remembers the last-used folder for icons (features in the Boxes tab), within the current project session. This resets if you change project.
  • ‘List in Order’ tooltip on Property Box Facts tab toolbar, has been changed to ‘List in Record Order’.
  • The Property Box Facts tab now remembers the setting of ‘Show Birth/Adoption of Children’ between sessions
  • When you click on a Go To Record button on the Property Box, or use Go Back/Go Forward, or activate a tab, FH will still let the focus go to the first field; but it will no longer select the text in that field.

Charts and Diagrams

  • If you inserted a picture into a diagram, if the picture format did not store size information for the picture, its size in the chart would initially be huge. Now fixed.
  • Cursor keys now work as you would expect in all orientations
  • FH now displays actual expression used with Expression conditions, in the Box tab of Diagram Options.
  • Conditional expressions involving record flags were not always saved correctly in custom diagrams – now fixed.
  • Ancestral dotted Lines in All Relatives charts now always appear correctly in all contexts and all orientations.
  • If you used ‘Shift Siblings’ to change the order of siblings in the first row of a chart, the change could sometimes be reversed the next time you made a data change, or reloaded a chart. Now fixed.
  • If you opened Page Setup when viewing a diagram and then clicked OK without changing anything, the page position would change. Now fixed.

Reports, Websites & Family Tree CDs

  • Web-generation is now faster and more robust
  • You no longer get duplicate entries in narrative reports if a given ancestor or descendant occurs more than once.
  • Some improvements to the contents of the CSS style file, generated for websites.
  • Private text is text in Note fields in doubled square brackets like this: [[secret text]]. Previously unticking the option ‘Inc. [[Private]] Notes’ prevented private text from appearing in reports and generated websites and CDs, unless the text occurred in notes for Citations and Sources. Now the scope of the ‘Inc. [[Private]] Notes’ option has been extended to cover these notes too, and the Help for this option has been improved to make it clearer what it does and does not apply to.
  • The policy on Privacy options with respect to hiding pictures linked to ‘private’ people (Individuals with the ‘Private’ flag), in websites and reports, has been tightened up and made more consistent.
  • If you select ‘Private’ people for reports, in Step 3 of the website wizard, you will now have to agree to their automatic removal before proceeding to Step 4, if you have previously opted to exclude private individuals.
  • Web-generation no longer warns you if you select more than one record for a report in the Table of Contents section of Website generation, as this is now handled properly.
  • If when generating a website, the table of contents referred to a non-existent report, this was not handled correctly. Now fixed.
  • The Multimedia report did not have excluding private notes as the default option. It now is the default.

Records Window

  • If you opt to display the Records Window at startup instead of the Focus Window, the ‘Lists’ menu now appears on the main menu bar.
  • The number of individuals and families in the file shown at the bottom of the Records Window could sometimes be one out after opening a saved chart. Now fixed.
  • It used not to be possible to tab out of a Format field in a Multimedia record in the Records Window. Now fixed.
  • The Data subfield for a Source now shows “Data recorded 26 January 1998” rather than “Data recorded in 26 January 1998” (i.e. ‘in’ has been removed).
  • The Records Window now closes automatically when you close a project, if your startup window is the Focus Window.


  • A new option “Use Full File Paths for External File Links” in the Export Gedcom File dialog, converts ‘relative’ file paths to ‘absolute’ file paths when you export a GEDCOM file. This is enabled by default.
  • When exporting a GEDCOM File, the default approach for saving same sex relationships is now the one most commonly-used by other genealogy programs. Also, the same sex options have been renamed and the help has been updated accordingly.
  • Some issues with regard to exporting Private Notes (that is text in notes in [[double brackets]]) have now been addressed.

File Load/Save

  • There is a new Preferences option (in the File Load/Save tab) to move invalid data into a Note field, if that’s possible. For example, Ancestry-generated GEDCOM files incorrectly put text on the same lines as the RESI (Residence) tag. This option will result in this invalid text being moved into a note for the residence fact.
  • A new Preferences option (in the File Load/Save tab) enables known FTM & Ancestry extension tags to be automatically converted. Currently used with the _MREL and _FREL tags which are used to store relationship type information (Adopted, Step, etc).
  • When you open a GEDCOM file, the message about the exception report, if there is one, has been simplified.
  • Exception reports (following a file load with errors detected) now contain two identifiers – a ‘Gedcom Id’ and a ‘Record Number’. The reason is to ensure that you can always match an exception record to an entry within FH. FH will reuse the numeric part of the Gedcom Id if possible, but if not it will use the Record Number. The last sentence of the report tells you which to match on.

Queries & Power User Features

  • Filtering in queries did not match dates ‘across calendars’ – e.g. if you specifed the date using the Gregorian calendar, but had Julian dates. Still don’t have full date conversion across all calendars, but will at least handle year correctly for filtering purposes.
  • If you click on Save Query Result Set As and then choose CSV, the dialog now shows the correct file format.
  • In the Filter tab of the Query Window, when working with Fact queries – if you had a function that returned a data item, FH wouldn’t match a record returned by a record selection prompt. Now fixed.
  • The ‘Contains Text’ query used to lock up if you had multiple links to same Note Record. Now fixed.
  • The ‘ContainsText’ function could only be used before with records. Now it can be used with any data item.
  • Added two new functions (FieldText and GetFieldText) which will honour qualifiers
  • The ‘<root>’ special expression (used in diagrams) previously only worked as a parameter for an Individual record type. Now works for a ‘record’ type parameter too (i.e. where record type is not specified).
  • Previously you couldn’t pass a data reference to a function that took a number – so, for example =Number(%INDI.BIRT.DATE:YEAR%) would fail. Now fixed.


  • FH will no longer allow a person to be related to themselves in more than one way. This will also eliminate other spurious ‘multiple relationships’ that were a consequence of the previous policy.
  • Ctrl+Home for Go to File Root (Edit menu) should have been Alt+Home. Now fixed.
  • When determining how closely two people are related, blood relationships are now given a slightly higher weighting (i.e. as compared to non-blood relationships) than before.
  • In certain circumstances, even after re-ordering out-of-sequence data in a record, FH would report that the record still contained out-of-sequence data if you tried to re-order it again – and the sorting would change the position of items of data in the record. Now fixed.
  • The list of flags displayed unsorted in dropdown menus, in some contexts. Now fixed.
  • You are no longer allowed to select a non-existent backup folder in the Preferences dialog box.
  • In project mode, if you edit a file link, FH now automatically converts relative file paths (that is, to files in the Media subfolder) so that the File Dialog works OK.
  • If you deleted the File Root, when you used Undo to restore it again, nobody would be shown as being related to the File Root (until you refreshed). Now fixed.
  • Various changes to the Insert Picture File dialog, to make it more robust. Also, the status of the Preview checkbox is now remembered throughout the current session.
  • Various errors corrected in the Help, and in the book “Getting the Most From Family Historian 4”.
  • If you try to open a zip file using the Open Gedcom File command, FH will now suggest you use the Restore command.
  • Tidied up messages and information relating to the Work with External File Links dialog (e.g. Undo menu command text, and/or error messages).
  • The supplied tutorial file ‘Tutorial – Chapter 15a.GED’ did not exactly match the version described in the book ‘Getting the Most From Family Historian 4’. It now does.
  • The ‘Events Recorded’ subfield (under ‘Data’) in Source records did not allow you to select multiple event types. It now does.
  • The ‘Role in Event’ subfield for source citations (under ‘Event Type Responsible’) forced you to select from a dropdown list. You can now type in your own value if you wish.
  • In some circumstances, invalid data in a field in a GEDCOM file was not being correctly logged. This has now been fixed.
  • The ‘Place’ subfield for ‘Events Recorded’ did not auto-complete, and it did not have a button to open the master ‘Place List’. It now does.
  • Clicking on any menu now automatically closes any edit boxes open in the Records Window.
  • With queries, there are menu commands to set or clear flags on result set records. The dropdown list of flags was not previously sorted in alphabetic order. It now is.
  • Fixed minor bug relating to unlinking the focus person in the Focus Window
  • More minor corrections to the Help.