This user guide was developed to help users learn the use of this program, which is both a genealogy program and a database. It was established to aid through the concurrent discovery, sharing of information, and a rigorous use of citations, the investigation and discovery of the Shepler and Shipler families from colonial times and before to the current day. This program is intended to be used along with a public discussion forum established at WorldFamilies.Net and a Y-DNA surname project established at FamilyTreeDNA.com.
Other discussion Shepler or Shipler Forums of interest:
TNG is a database made up of something called tables (and there are many). Tables are just a way of storing similar types of things, for instance state names, that are related to each other. So within the table “States” we have entries Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, and so on. Within this database, we may have another table called counties.
Each of these tables then has a “key”. Every entry in a database table must have a “unique key” to identify it. The numbers in my “database” below are my keys. Now it turns out there are two different types of keys, a primary key and a foreign key. So pk1, pk2 is primary key 1 and primary key 2. A “foreign key” is called that because it is really the primary key from one table, in this case, the STATES table, which is stored in the COUNTIES table. Storing the foreign key allows the database to know what counties go with what states.
You might then ask, why not just keep a list of states and counties?
The normal standard for recording place names in a genealogy program is Town or city (or Township), County, State, Country. We could certainly just record place names in a list but that leads to situations like this. The state name for California may sometimes be spelled completely out and other times, abbreviated by CA and other times, by CA. Lastly, it might be left off entirely! So the problem with using the list approach to place names and just about any sort of “data” is that there is no standard, nothing to reduce the occurrences of duplication and all of this leads to errors.
In the world of genealogy, you have people (which we will call individuals), families, and children. As you might expect, TNG contains tables for each of these. The “primary key” for the table of individuals begins with the letter “I” followed by a unique number.
A database allows the “data” to be “normalized. Normalization is the process of organizing the columns (attributes) and tables (relations) of a relational database to reduce data redundancy and improve data integrity.
Now, this is a genealogy program and one of the most important types of data found in such a program are people's names Individuals) and their grouping into families and the relationship between families.
In our database world, the one of the keys for a table of individuals is the letter “I” followed by a unique number. A key to the family table is denoted by the letter “F” followed by a unique number. A family is really just a relationship between one husband and one wife and perhaps some small individuals we call children. If either parent has more than one marriage, then that second marriage creates a second relationship between individuals, thus a new family.
The reason this is important would soon become clear if you just started to use this database to create individuals. If a child is created and linked to a parent, it now becomes a family. Now if you create a second child in the same family and this time are a little more careful and link this child to both parents, you have just created a second family and a bit of an error that will need to be solved at some point. To correct duplicate families, children should always be linked to both parents, which will automatically prevent the problem in the first place. If you desire to add a line to your tree, the best way to do it is to start with the children and create one (or more), then create one parent, then create the other parent, lastly, link each child to BOTH parents.
One of the larger reasons for the creation of this database was the problem brought about my a number of DNA discoveries I was making. I started several years ago to use DNA to try and help me track down and resolve some of my family tree “walls”. I would take a look at the tree of a some unknown cousin whose DNA I matched and I would try to find the common ancestor between myself and this DNA cousin. At first, it was very difficult but eventually I got pretty good at it and was identifying multiple DNA cousins each day. This process involved looking at the tree of each DNA cousin and trying to identify the common ancestor between our lines. Once I was able to do this, I would add this new branch from my DNA cousin to the common ancestor to my tree.
It did not take long before I was drowning in data… I had literally found so many DNA cousins and had identified so many new branches to my tree that I was unable to keep track of the information in addition to having no way to disseminate this information to other genealogy researchers.
This database is intended to solve a small part of this “problem” involving just the Shepler (and other variations of the surname) family. I would like to dedicate this database and the work that has gone into it to our Shepler ancestors. Likewise, I encourage anyone seeing this to consider applying the same type of process to document their DNA discoveries. Toward that end, if I can be of assistance in answering questions or helping someone set up a similar system, just contact me.
Right click here to open a new window This is a page listing all of the DNA tests taken by anyone I know of, who link to myself or anyone else that includes a Shepler or a Shipler ancestor somewhere in the branch of the tree. This list includes both Y-DNA tests as well as autosomal DNA tests. You will notice that living people are identified only by initials and not their complete name. If their birth date is 110 years ago or they are marked as dead, then the complete names will become visible. So let's click on a name in the “Taken by” column and see what we have.
A new window will open up and toward the upper middle of the screen, you should see a row of tabs. One of those tabs is Ancestors, Click on it. A new window opens showing the newly discovered family tree match. You will note there is a selection to adjust the type of display and the number of generations it shows. Many of the people in the tree are shown as Unknown. In most cases, they are actually known by the person who took the DNA test, they are just in a path that is not useful to look at to understand the Shepler family, so these people are left out by design. There are a number of other options appearing on this page and the different views, paper reports and even if you wish to download a GEDCOM file, to import into your genealogical program. You will note a right arrow on the far right most person in the active branch. Click on this to move your branch view to the right. There are a number of cases on this page that have not been tracked all the way back to a common ancestor, but even in those cases, you will note either a Shepler or a Shipler ancestor whose parents we have so far, been unable to identify. In fact, this brings up another feature of this program, the Most Wanted page. This is a great way of calling attention to those areas where we need assistance.
To create a new link to a specific Family Search person:
Go to Media and the Add New tab Collection: Select External Links Click the checkbox "This media comes from an external source" Copy the memorial URL and paste into media URL field For thumbnail image file, use Under Media Information, add a suitable title For Owner/Source use Check the box next to "Open in new window" Read the memorial carefully and create links for each individual mentioned. Save
To create a new link to a specific article in Newspapers.com:
Go to Media and the Add New tab Collection: Select External Links Click the checkbox "This media comes from an external source" Copy the URL from Newspapers.com and paste into media URL field For thumbnail image file, use x Under Media Information, add a suitable title For Owner/Source use www.newspapers.com Check the box next to "Open in new window" Read the memorial carefully and create links for each individual mentioned. Save
To create a new Find A Grave link to a specific memorial:
Go to Media and the Add New tab Collection: Select External Links Click the checkbox "This media comes from an external source" Copy the memorial URL and paste into media URL field For thumbnail image file, use findagrave_small.png from "File name on site" Under Media Information, add a suitable title For Owner/Source use Find A Grave Check the box next to "Open in new window" Read the memorial carefully and create links for each individual mentioned. Save Now go to Edit Existing Album. Search for entries with findagrave and add as necessary. SAve
Ok, we have shown you around our program a little and have given you some basics on what sort of information can be stored in it. Now we need to discuss some basic database ideas and give you an idea of how things work behind the scenes.
Now, consider this alternative method, which ties all this information together.