Glossary of Terms

Ahnentafel Numbers Ahnentafel numbers are a common system for numbering a given person’s ancestors. The person themselves is numbered 1, their father is numbered 2 and their mother is 3. The father’s father is 4 and his mother is 5. The mother’s father is 6 and her mother is 7. And so on. Working back, the ahnentafel number of any given ancestor’s father will be exactly twice that of the ancestor; and the anhentafel number of the same ancestor’s mother will be the father’s number plus 1.
Ancestor Your ancestors are people from whom you are directly descended - e.g. your parents, your parents' parents, their parents, and so on. A great-uncle, for example, is not an ancestor (although he is a relative).
Attribute The term attribute in Family Historian is usually used to refer to a fact about a person (or family), such as their Occupation or Religion. Attributes are similar to events - another kind of Family Historian ‘fact’. When you record details of either an event or an attribute you can specify dates, places, ages, notes and other details. An attribute however has one additional field that events do not have. This is the value of the attribute. You want to know what the hobby was - e.g. wood-carving? gardening? For the same reason, Occupation and Religion are attributes whereas Burial and Cremation are events.
Autotext Autotext is formatted text (which may include one or more tables) that can be inserted into any note, text from source field, or research note using the "Insert Autotext" command (available by clicking on the last button on the Notes Window toolbar). It is also possible to create Text from Source fields and Research Notes with autotext already added. Autotext is used for a number of different purposes, as described in the Help.
Book Window A window that is used for displaying books. Books are user-created collections of reports and diagrams, and possibly also free text, with (optional) title page, table of contents, and index.
Chart A chart, in Family Historian terms, is a diagram that has been saved to a file in Family Historian chart format (i.e. using either the Save Diagram command, or Save Diagram As > Family Historian Chart). If a diagram has not been saved it is called a working diagram. Charts are also known as Saved Diagrams or as Saved Charts.
Citation See Source Citation.
Data Reference A data reference is an expression which identifies a particular field within a given type of record, or within a linked record. Family Historian will generate data references for you, whenever you need them.
Descendant Your descendants are people who are directly descended from you - e.g. your son or daughter, your grandson or granddaughter, their offspring, and so on. A great-nephew, for example, is not a descendant (although he is a relative).
Diagram A diagram, in Family Historian terms, is whatever is displayed in the Diagram Window - which could be one or more trees, and/or other diagram elements such as pictures, rectangles, lines and text boxes. Diagrams are divided into 2 kinds: working diagrams and saved diagrams (also known as charts).
Diagram Window A window used for displaying family tree diagrams. The Diagram Window can display an Individual's ancestors, descendants, ancestors and descendants, or all relatives. It can also display the same information for a couple.
Dialog Another name for a Dialog Box (see next).
Dialog Box Also known simply as a 'dialog', a dialog box is a form-like window. Typically it contains boxes where you have to enter data (e.g. the name of a named list you are creating), or buttons you have to push, or options you have to tick. The Property Box, the Preferences dialog, the Diagram Options dialog - these are all examples of dialog boxes. With ordinary modal dialog boxes, you have to press an OK or Cancel button, or something similar, to close the dialog box before you can do other work within the program. However, with modeless dialog boxes, you don’t have to do this.
Duplicate Box Where you have two or more boxes for the same person in a diagram, these boxes are called duplicate boxes.
Event Birth, death, marriage and divorce are all examples of events - that is, a kind of fact about a person (or family). Event facts are distinguished from attribute facts within Family Historian. When you record either about a person, you can specify dates and places and other details relating to the event or attribute. An attribute however also has a field for value which events do not have - see attribute.
Expansion Button In the Diagram Window, expansion buttons are little circles that you can click on to hide or show a branch of the diagram. Expansion buttons are also used elsewhere. For example, the Records Window also has expansion buttons. In the Records Window, they are square and contain a ‘+’ or ‘-‘. Wherever they are used, expansion buttons allow you to hide or show detail.
Fact The word 'fact', in Family Historian, is shorthand for 'event or attribute'. See also Fact Sets.
Fact Set A 'Fact Set' is a defined list of types of facts - that is types of events or attributes. For example, you might create or import a fact set for military events and attributes which you could use when recording information about individuals’ military histories. A medical fact set might define a list of events or attributes which are relevant to a person’s medical history.
Field The terms ‘tag’ and ‘field’ are used in Family Historian largely interchangeably for an area within a record that stores an item of data (see Tag). ‘Field’, unlike ‘tag’, is also sometimes used to refer to a box in a dialog where data can be entered.
File Root

The File Root is an Individual record that has been given this status (e.g. by clicking on Set as File Root on the Edit menu, under File Root, or - within the Focus Window - by right-clicking on his box and clicking on Make File Root). Only one Individual can be the File Root at any one time. The advantage of setting a file root, is that you can see at a glance how all other Individuals are related to them in the Records Window, and how the focus person is related to them in the Focus Window. You can also make use of the File Root in other ways in diagrams and queries. You can change the file root at any time.

Floating Window A floating window (sometimes also called a modeless dialog) is a window that is displayed ('floats') in front of the main application window and which can be left open while you perform other tasks. Some floating windows are designed to update themselves automatically when a selection elsewhere changes. In some cases, you can drag-and-drop a selection from other windows into a floating window. For example you can drag-and-drop record selections from the Records window into the Note window. Floating windows can be very convenient and using them can greatly reduce the number of mouse clicks required to perform certain tasks. For example, if you want to see the witnesses associated with each event in turn in the Facts tab of the Property Box, you can open the Witnesses window (a floating window), and then select each fact in turn, and the Witnesses window will automatically update itself appropriately. If you had to open and close the Witnesses window for each fact in turn, the process would be much slower.

The Property Box is unusual in that it can float but you can also dock it to the side of the main application window, if desired.

Floating windows display an image of a couple of small clouds on the right end of the title bar, as a visual reminder that the window is floating.
Focus Person The person whose details are displayed in the Focus Window. Sometimes also called the Focus Window root.  A box about the Focus Person, and pictures of them, if any, are displayed at the top of the Focus Window.
Focus Window Window used to display family details about a particular person - the Focus Person.
Function Functions are used as part of queries, and elsewhere, to compute values. For example, a function could be used to calculate how 2 people are related to one another.
GEDCOM The global standard format for shared genealogy data, and the one used by Family Historian. The GEDCOM format was created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Generic Source record The strict definition is: any Source record that does not have a link to a Source Template record. Unlike 'templated' Source records, generic Source records do not have fields which are designed to be appropriate for particular types of source.
Marriage Note A note that is associated with a Marriage record (also known as a Family record). It applies to both partners/spouses/parents in the marriage/family. To be distinguished from a Shared Note. Marriage notes are stored in Family records. Shared Notes are stored in their own Note record.
Modeless Dialog Unlike ordinary dialogs, a modeless dialog is a dialog that you do not have to close - e.g. by pressing an OK or Cancel button - before you can do other things. Modeless dialogs typically will not have an OK or Cancel button anyway. They are designed to be used in conjunction with other windows. An example of a modeless dialog is the Property Box or the Diagram Window’s Movement Control Box. Modeless dialogs stay in front of other windows until closed. If they get in the way you can move them or close them (e.g. by clicking on the Close button in the top right hand corner).
Media Window A window used for displaying media objects (pictures, sounds, videos, etc).
Named List Pane A hideable area on the right hand side of the Records Window where Named Lists are displayed. The Named List Pane is hidden by default.
Parent Family A person's parent families (you can have multiple sets of parents if, say, you are adopted) are those family records in which he or she figures as a child. To be contrasted with spouse families.
Plugin An installable extension to Family Historian, extending its capabilities and features. Plugins can be downloaded from the Family Historian Plugin Store on the Family Historian website (accessible via the Plugins Dialog, on the Tools menu).
Prepared Citation A source citation that is created in advance of us, in the Citation Window. Once created, you can copy-and-paste it, enable it using the Automatic Source Citation pane, or use it with a Data Entry Assistant tool.
Principal The word 'principal' is used with respect to facts, to refer to the person that the fact is about. For example, in a baptism, the principal is the person being baptised. With family facts, such as marriage and divorce, there are two principals - the people being married or divorced.
Project When you start recording data in Family Historian, you will normally create a project to keep the data in. Each Family Historian project is assigned a folder on your hard disk, and Family Historian will keep all files relating to that project in the project folder. The alternative to working with projects is to simply use Family Historian as a tool for working with GEDCOM files - see Standalone GEDCOM Files.
Property Box A dialog box that appears in front of other windows, showing the contents of records. A very versatile tool, the Property Box is a quick alternative to viewing the contents of a record in the Records Window.
Qualifier A qualifier is a word added to the end of a Data Reference, which determines how the referenced item of data will be displayed in Diagrams, Queries and Reports. There are a large number of qualifiers for dates, for example, which allow dates to be displayed in a number of different formats. The qualifiers associated with a field (or 'tag') can be viewed in the Fields listing of the Columns tab, within the Query Window.
Query A set of instructions for finding a set of records, and for displaying them in a grid. The output of a query can be printed as a report, saved to a file or copied to other programs (such as spreadsheets). Queries can also be used as part of other functionality (e.g. when splitting a Family Historian file).
Query Window A window used for displaying queries.
Record A record is a stored set of data relating to a particular subject. The notes that your doctor keeps about you, constitute your health record, for example. There are 9 different record types in Family Historian, including records for individuals, families, notes, and sources.
Record Flag A record flag is like the answer to a Yes/No question for a given record. Family Historian is installed with only 2 record flags: Private and Living, but you can define as many of your own as you want. For example, if you want to have a way of marking a record to show that the individual is a fellow genealogist, create a Genealogist flag and set it on records for genealogists. Then the question: “Is this person a genealogist?” is answered Yes if they have that flag, and No if they don’t. You can view and set record flags for selected individuals (one or many) using the Record Flags command on the Edit menu.
Records Window A window that displays (or can display) all the records in a Family Historian file. Unlike other windows, you can't have more than one Records Window open at any one time.
Remarriage Box Refers to a type of box that can appear in diagrams. When a person is married more than once, you can if you wish opt to display an extra box for that person, for each of their 'extra' marriages. This is what happens if you choose the ‘One Box Per Marriage’ spouse display option in a diagram. The extra boxes are called ‘remarriage boxes’. A remarriage boxes is one kind of duplicate box.
Reports Window A window that is used for displaying reports.
Relative Your relatives are your ancestors, your descendants, and your ancestors' descendants. Spouses of any of the above are usually counted as your relatives too. Your spouse's relatives (your in-laws) may also count.
Results Window The Result Set tab of the Query Window.
Saved Chart See Chart.
Saved Diagram See Chart.
Shared Note If you have a note that is applicable to several records, you can create a Note record to store the note, and link as many records as you like to this ‘shared note’. To be distinguished from a Marriage Note.
Smart Tree Smart trees automatically adjust themselves if you move a box or branch within the tree, or if you resize a box, or use expansion buttons to open and close branches. All trees in Family Historian are smart trees.
Source When accumulating genealogical data, it is a good idea to document not just the information you accumulate, but also where the information came from - i.e. your sources. A ‘source’ can be whatever you choose to consider the source of your information is. For example, a ‘source’ could be a person, a book, a document, a part of a document, a graveyard (perhaps, even, a single grave in a graveyard), or even - another GEDCOM file.
Source Citation A source citation links an item of data to the source of the information. A source citation can be qualified by a note or other details, such as an assessment of the reliability of the source for that particular item of information.
Spouse Family A person's spouse families are those family records in which he or she figures as either a parent or as a spouse (or unmarried equivalent). To be contrasted with parent families.
Standalone GEDCOM File When you start recording data in Family Historian, you will normally create a project to keep the data in. However, you don't always have to work exclusively with projects. You can also use Family Historian simply as a tool for working with GEDCOM files. You can use it to open, browse and edit any GEDCOM file. When Family Historian is used in this way, the file in question is said to be a standalone GEDCOM file - that is, a GEDCOM file that is not part of a Family Historian project.
Tag The term ‘tag’ and ‘field’ are used in Family Historian largely interchangeably. 'Tag' is, in effect, the GEDCOM term for what would more usually be called a 'field' - that is, a part of the record that stores an item of data. Unlike fields in database records, however, GEDCOM tags form a hierarchy. Tags can have child tags that qualify their parent tag. Birth, for example, is a tag, and it can be qualified by child tags Date and Place, amongst others.  The term tag is also used for the parts of a data reference.  For example, in the data reference %INDI.BIRT.DATE%, 'INDI', BIRT' and 'DATE' are all tags.
Templated Source record The strict definition is: any Source record that has a link to a Source Template record. Unlike 'generic' Source records, templated Source records have fields which are designed to be appropriate for particular types of source.
Text from Source 'Text from Source' is the name of a field within a Source record, or link to a Source record (a citation) that stores some kind of transcript of text taken from the source.
Text Scheme A text scheme is a stored set of instructions for displaying text in diagrams. Family Historian provides a number of standard text schemes, but you can also define your own. For a list of available text schemes see the Text tab of the Diagram Options dialog.
Tree When used in the context of a Family Historian diagram, a tree means either an Ancestor tree, a Descendant tree, an Ancestors & Descendant tree (sometimes called an Hourglass tree) or an All Relatives tree. That is, it names a particular way of displaying relationships using boxes and lines. A Family Historian diagram can contain an unlimited number of trees of all types.
Uncategorised Data Field (U.D.F.) A field that is used to store data which Family Historian has not been able to categorise. U.D.F.s are sometimes created when Family Historian loads a GEDCOM file created by another application, that contains errors or extensions to GEDCOM.
Witness The term 'witness' is used with respect to events (or attributes, but more usually events) to refer to any person who has a non-principal role in the event. For example, the principal in a death event is the person who died.  The principals in a marriage are the individuals getting married.  A bridesmaid at a marriage is called a 'witness' (with role 'bridesmaid').  A principal in an event can also be recorded as a witness to the event, so long as the role is not 'principal'.
Working Diagram Any diagram that has never been saved as a file in chart format, is called a working diagram in Family Historian. See also saved diagrams (also known as charts).
Workspace window There are 9 Workspace Windows in Family Historian: the Focus Window, the Records Window, the Diagram Window, the Media Window, the Query Window, the Reports Window, the Book Window, the Map Window and the Web Search window.  Workspace windows fit inside, and cannot be moved outside, the frame of the application window. They are important windows that are used for particular tasks.  Please note that the Property Box is designed to be used in conjunction with workspace windows, but isn't a workspace window itself.