A Primer For The Master Genealogist, Second Edition - DO NOT ORDER - OUT OF STOCK!
A Primer For The Master Genealogist, Second Edition - DO NOT ORDER - OUT OF STOCK!
Price: $24.95
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Product #: RR01

 Product Information:


A Primer for the Master Genealogist, Second Edition; by Terry Reigel; 164 pg; Paperback; 7x10; ISBN: 9780980165210; 2012; Item RR01

About the Second Edition:

This edition is issued to reflect changes in The Master Genealogist with the release of Version 8. While a substantial number of useful enhancements were included the majority of them fall outside the scope of Primer. As a result, the changes in this edition of the book are modest. Only a few sections have been revised because the description in the text differed from the operation of the new version of the program and a number of screenshots have been updated to reflect new buttons or labels on the associated screens.


The book is designed to help users quickly become comfortable and adept with The Master Genealogist, better known as TMG. The book provides an introduction in straightforward terms, with a level of detail that helps but doesn’t overwhelm a novice user, including the following topics:

  • TMG’s basic concepts
  • Establishing personal standards for data entry
  • Getting your initial data into TMG
  • Adding or editing people, events, and sources
  • Finding your way around TMG
  • Creating Reports and Charts

Understanding that most users adopt TMG to make use of its capabilities, the book continues with an introduction to more advanced subjects, presented in a way that allows readers to explore and apply these features at their own pace:

  • Customizing the program’s Screens
  • Using Witnesses and Roles
  • Customizing Events and Sources
  • Understanding Projects and Data Sets

The book is written for the current version of TMG, version 8. While much of the material is applicable to older versions, a number of useful features described are not available in prior versions.

Published Reviews

“Terry Reigel has recently published this outstanding book aimed at helping us learn the use of TMG while laying a solid foundation for the development of our genealogies. While it starts with a chapter devoted to the raw beginner it proceeds through the program’s features in an orderly and logical way, interjecting advice on the best ways of using them...

“The text is clearly and concisely written, and sprinkled liberally with examples and illustrations – roughly one illustration per page.”

Dick Cleaveland, in his review in the April 2008 newsletter of the Roots Users Group of Arlington

What TMG Users Say About It

“This is a great introduction for new users! Terry explains complicated topics in terms a beginner can understand, and he explains the concepts as well as the specific steps to make fast, effective use of TMG. Even experienced users will learn from this book, particularly in the chapters about more advanced topics. Terry’s TMG Tips website is a great resource for TMG users, and now Terry has expanded that with A Primer for The Master Genealogist.” - John Cardinal, author of Second Site, TMG Utility, and other companion programs for TMG

“A Primer for The Master Genealogist is a ‘must have’ for the new user. With its easy to read format and multiple illustrations even those seemingly complex features and tasks are easy to understand. I wish I’d had a copy of this book when I first started using The Master Genealogist.” - Mark A. Cunningham, TMG user for two months

“As John Cardinal has said, Terry’s Primer is both a great introduction to The Master Genealogist for news users and a useful tool for more experienced users. As I try to get thirty years of research in shape to publish using John Cardinal’s Second Site, I recently bought a copy of the Primer. I began reading it cover to cover and found it to be very helpful. Terry’s book reminded me of several useful features that I either had never used or had used only rarely.” - Allen Mellen, one of the authors of Getting the Most Out of The Master Genealogist

“The content of the book is awesome, not only for a beginner, but for experienced users who will find things in there they didn't even think could be done with TMG.” - Linda Lambert, President, Sun Country TMG Users' Group

“Thank you for your new book Terry. It has been extremely helpful and is written in a way that someone who is not computer savvy can understand.” - Elizabeth Moye, new user of TMG

It's Not Just for New Users

“Thanks for your book. Even though I am a long time user of TMG, I am still learning some things from it and understanding some other things better. I will shortly be buying another copy for a friend of mine who is newer to TMG.” - Holly Timm, TMG user since version 3

“Am I having fun! Your primer is the best thing since Mother's home-made apple pie and baking powder biscuits! It's even better than your online Tips and organized in a very straight-forward way which continues to add to what was learned in the previous chapter(s).” - Norman R. Brown, family historian for over 50 years

“Terry's Book - it's absolutely a must have!!! I don't care if, like me someone has used TMG for 10+ years or is just checking out the trial version.....you need to have this book. Thanks so much Terry for putting this all together. I've started reading it right from the beginning.” - Joan McIlmoyl Cleghorn, leader of the Victoria [BC] TMG User Group, Past President of the Victoria Genealogical Society

A Peek Inside

The book is written to be easy to read and understand, with plenty of screenshots so the reader can follow the description even when away from the computer. It starts with the basics. This section explains the basic parts of the TMG's screens. Many of the tasks users undertake are explained in step-by-step fashion, with numbered steps keyed to the screenshots. Here use of the Focus Group to collect a family group is explained. After covering data entry, reports are addressed. There are sections about reports designed to aid research and analysis as well as those designed to share your work. Filters are useful in constructing several types of reports, so there are also step-by-step discussions of that often confusing topic. After covering the basics, there is a chapter on customizing your workspace, including topics like setting up Accents to color-code people of interest. Then there is an introduction to the more advanced topics of Sentence Structures, Witnesses, Roles, and customizing Sources. With a detailed table of contents and a thorough index it is easy to locate particular topics.

About the Author

The author is well known as an expert user of TMG and a frequent contributor to the on-line TMG user support forums. He is the author of Terry’s TMG Tips, a website with over 125 articles, many also available in German. He has written several articles about TMG for newsletters published by user groups and two chapters in the sellout book Getting the Most Out of The Master Genealogist.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Conventions Used in This Guide
  • The Parts of TMG’s Standard Screen
  • Chapter 1 – Basic Concepts
  • Everyone is a Number
  • All Data is Entered in Tags
  • Names are Tags
  • Events are Tags
  • Relationships are Tags
  • Tag Type and Tag Type Groups
  • Multiple Tags of Same Type Are Allowed
  • Primary and Non-Primary Tags
  • Flags
  • Sources and Citations
  • Recording Sources
  • Citing Sources
  • Chapter 2 – Getting Started
  • Starting Fresh
  • Importing from Another Program
  • The Important Wizard
  • Cleanup After Import – Places
  • Reviewing Sources or People Next
  • Splitting Large Notes
  • Keeping Track of Who’s Been Reviewed
  • A Cleanup Checklist for Each Person
  • Use John Cardinal’s TMG Utility
  • Chapter 3 – Navigating from Person to Person
  • Double-Clicking a Name
  • Last Viewed Person Button
  • Go To Button
  • View Menu
  • The Picklist
  • Project Explorer
  • Focus Group
  • Bookmarks
  • Chapter 4 – Personal Data Entry Standards
  • You Objectives are Key
  • Name Conventions
  • Place Conventions
  • Abbreviations
  • Conflicting Data
  • Multiple Persons in an Event
  • Is GEDCOM Export Required?
  • Source Conventions
  • Create a Test Project
  • Chapter 5 – Entering and Editing Data
  • Name Tags
  • Parent/Child Relationship Tags
  • Event Tags Reminder Screens
  • Editing Existing Data
  • Adding New Tags to an Existing Person
  • Adding New People
  • Duplicate Person Warning
  • Entering Repeated Place or Other Data
  • Consider switching to Advanced Data Entry Mode
  • Chapter 6 – Working with Sources
  • Understanding the Terms
  • Source types
  • Defining a Source
  • Testing Our Work
  • Citing a Source
  • Repositories
  • Chapter 7 – Setting Up Reports
  • The Report Definition Screen
  • Specifying the Subject Elements of the Report
  • Output to Screen Printer, or File
  • Using Filters
  • Query by Example Filters
  • Creating a Filter Line-by-Line
  • Adding Spouses Ancestors, and Descendants
  • Chapter 8 – Reports for Research and Analysis
  • The List of People Report
  • The List of Events Report
  • The List of Citations Report
  • Specifying the Output
  • Secondary Output
  • Other Analysis Reports
  • Chapter 9 – Genealogy Reports
  • Selecting the Subjects of the Report
  • Controlling Who is Included
  • Sources, Endnotes, and Bibliographies
  • controlling Formatting
  • Specifying Report Content
  • Narrative Reports
  • Forms and Charts
  • Box Charts
  • Websites
  • Chapter 10 – Customizing Your Workspace
  • Customizing Your Layout
  • Saving a Layout
  • Customizing the Toolbars
  • Setting Fonts, Colors, Sorting, and More
  • Accents
  • Creating a New Accent Definition
  • My Accent System – An Example
  • Customizing the Picklist
  • Customizing the Add Person Screen
  • Chapter 11 – Working with Sentences
  • Local vs. Global Modifications
  • Deciding to Use Local or Global Sentences, Roles, or New Tag Types
  • Where to Modify Sentence Structures
  • Writing Sentence Structures
  • Testing Your Work
  • Some General Considerations
  • Chapter 12 – Witnesses
  • Why Add Witnesses?
  • Basic Functions of Witnesses
  • Adding Household Members to the Narratives of Principals
  • Witnesses with Different Parts in the Event
  • Entering Witnesses
  • Witness Memos
  • Chapter 13 – Roles
  • TMG’s Standard Roles
  • What Can Roles Do?
  • Overview
  • Using Roles – An Example
  • Creating Custom Roles
  • Defining Role Sentences
  • Using Role Names to Refer to Participants by Role
  • Applying the Roles
  • Some Thoughts on Design of Roles
  • The Confusing Term “Witness”
  • More About Using Roles
  • Chapter 14 – Adding Custom Tag Types
  • Why Create a Custom Tag Type?
  • Creating a Custom Tag Type
  • Adding Roles and Sentences
  • Add a Reminder
  • Chapter 15 – Customizing Sources
  • Local vs. Global Source Templates
  • Deciding to Modify Templates Locally or Globally
  • Where to Modify Source Templates
  • Editing the Templates
  • Locations of Elements
  • Source Elements Are in Groups
  • Groups Designed for Names
  • Testing Your Work
  • Advanced Topics
  • Chapter 16 – Projects and Data Sets
  • What is a Data Set?
  • So then What is a Project?
  • Maybe an Analogy Would Help
  • Why Use More than One Data Set or Project?
  • Data Sets and ID Numbers
  • “Switching” Data Sets
  • About Merging Projects and Data Sets
  • Merging Projects
  • Merging Data Sets
  • Using Copy Persons Rather than Merging Data Sets
  • Appendix A – Other Resources
  • Appendix B – Shortcut Keys
  • Index

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