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Genesis: Description

Genesis is an application for viewing databases created by Millennia Corporation's Legacy© genealogy software. Legacy provides extensive facilities for maintaining a family history database, but is perhaps less oriented towards the person who wants to look at the information in the database, as would often be the case with family members or others to whom the compiler of a database distributes it.

Genesis is a viewer with a modern and attractive user interface which makes it easy to find information and navigate around databases that may contain many thousands of people. It handles everything of significance in a Legacy® 7.5 and 8 databases except LDS information and a few of the more esoteric features for shared event sentences in Legacy 8, and does a lot more than merely displaying the information in the database.

Share Your Family History

Genesis is designed for sharing family history among a group of interested people, without sharing it with the whole wide world (as might be the case if information is published on the Internet).

Here's how it works:

System Requirements

Genesis has been developed and extensively tested with Windows 10. It has also been tested for basic compatibility with Windows 7 and 8. It should therefore also work with Windows XP and Vista, but this is untested. It is unlikely to work with any version of Windows prior to XP.

Genesis works best with a high screen resolution. The ideal is 1920x1080 or above, but it still works reasonably at 1400x1050 or 1440x900. Below that it may not always be satisfactory.

Legacy uses a Microsoft Access database and Genesis accordingly also uses the Access database engine when converting a Legacy database to Genesis format. If you do not have Access installed on your computer, you may also not have the database engine. If it is not present, Genesis will detect it and provide instructions for installing it.

Finally, Genesis requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 4 or later on the user's computer. Genesis cannot check for its presence since it cannot run at all without it. This product can be obtained free of charge from Microsoft.

Getting Started

The first time you launch Genesis, the Genesis window will appear with the Database to use box empty. You have to connect one or more databases to Genesis to populate this box. When at least one database has been connected, you can select it from this box (it is a dropdown list) and then click Open to open it.

Standard Functions

The main windows in Genesis - those used to display information about people and to follow lines of descent or ascent through the database - all use a standardised set of function keys (and corresponding choices in a right-click context menu) for the functions listed below. You only have to point the mouse at a person or some other item of interest (or even an area of a window relating to a person) and then either press one of the standard function keys, or right-click the mouse and choose an option:

F1 = Display help for the item under the mouse pointer. If no specific help is available for the item of interest, help is displayed for the next available item, in ascending sequence, within which it is contained. For example, if a textbox in located in a panel (such as those for the parents in the Family Group window (see illustration below), help for the panel will be shown if none is available for the textbox, or for the window containing the panel if none is available for the panel.

Control + F1 displays Context Menu help at any time.

F2 is disabled, being reserved for future use as the Edit key

F3 = More detail. The detail displayed depends on context.

F4 = Display ancestor tree.

F5 = Display descendant tree.

F6 = Display sources of information.

F7 = Set a person as 'Me' so that others' relationship(s) to that person are displayed as you move around the database

F8 = Set a person as 'Direct Line' person, so that his or her direct ancestors are highlighted in a colour of your choice wherever they are displayed

F9 = Display the current settings for 'Me' and Direct Line person

F10=Display location and address information for the place under the mouse pointer.

F11=Reset window to its default size and screen position.

F12 = Close the active window and revert to the window from which it was opened. The Escape key has the same effect. This function is not valid in the List of people window.

Some of these function keys have no effect (and the corresponding context menu choices are disabled) if options are not relevant or unavailable in the current context. In some windows, there may be additional context menu choices and/or additional function keys, but for the most part you can drive the application using the options listed above. Occasionally one or two of the above standard keys may be used for a different function when its normal use is not relevant in a window.

Another standard is that lists of people (such as in the picture below) always have a button in the margin to the left of each person in the list which, when clicked, navigates to further details about that person (it is equivalent to pointing at the person and pressing F3).

In the Family Group and Particulars windows, there are buttons for moving backwards and forwards through the people you have previously viewed.

Root and Direct Line

You can set an individual as

The "root" and "direct line" persons may or may not be the same. There are context menu options and corresponding function keys (see Standard Functions above) to assign one or both of these roles to an individual. There is no perceptible delay when you perform either setting and, once you have done so, you can always find out who the current "root" or "direct line" person is by using the F9 function.

This facility is very useful to help keep track of where you are in a large database.

Information or 'Tip' Windows

Genesis makes extensive use of small pop-up windows (as in the picture below) to provide information or tips on how to proceed.

If any piece of information is too long to be fully displayed in the space available for it in a window, just point the mouse at it and Genesis will display a pop-up window showing the complete item. If the item is too long to be shown in this way, there will be a button to open a larger window to display everything.

If you point the mouse at someone who is highlighted as a direct ancestor of the current 'Direct Line' person (you can choose the highlight colour) the relationship is displayed in a pop-up window (for example, Mary MORGAN, 4th great-grandmother of Peter SMITH - assuming that Peter Smith is the current "direct line" person).

In the Family Group and Particulars windows, the list of children includes two image columns, one showing spouse(s) and the other children of each child. Pointing the mouse at either of these images displays the names of the spouse(s) or children, as in the picture above.

In other cases, instructions for the use of a button or box may be provided in a tip window.

Colour Schemes

You can choose the colours of most elements in the windows displayed by Genesis, and you have a choice of images to use as window background, as alternatives to solid colours.

To set colours and related items, choose Genesis Appearance from the Options menu in the Genesis window.

Multi-Lingual Capability

Genesis has built-in infrastructure to allow it to operate in different languages. Terminology used by the program (messages, captions and labels in windows, etc.) is kept in a separate file for each language. In addition, Help text is also kept separate by language and language files can be created for translations of certain elements of database content.

All of this material can be translated using facilities built into Genesis. There are two applicable choices in the Options menu in the Genesis window: Translate (application or database) and Translate (help text).

In normal use, the user can select the desired operating language in the Genesis window, by choosing Language and then the language. The current selection is always "remembered".

Help documentation is displayed in the chosen language, but if any specific help topic is not available in that language it is displayed in a related language (if available) or, failing that, in English.

Apart from material requiring manual translation, Genesis automatically displays dates in the selected language.

The Windows in Genesis

Genesis Window

This is the first window to appear when the application starts. It provides the means to connect databases to Genesis (or disconnect them), to open or close a database and, through menus at the top of the window, gives access to options governing the behaviour of the application, translation functions and help.

Connect a database to Genesis

This window lets you locate a family database (an .FDB or .GDB file) and connect it to Genesis. The database can be one which is resident on your computer (for example, a database you maintain using Legacy) or a “shared” database, which is in zip format.

Database Maintenance

This window is for analysing attachments to a database (for missing or redundant items) and for renewing database material. The latter function is applicable only to "shared" databases - databases which are delivered by their compiler to your computer in zip format.

There is also a Show Changes button, for displaying a list of changes in the latest version of the database as compared to the previous version.

Publish New Material

This window lets the compiler of a database publish new material for delivery to those with access to the shared folder for that database.

The publication function automatically adds new of changed files (database, translation files and attachments) to the shared folder in zip format so that the file sharing system (e.g. Dropbox) can distribute it automatically and Genesis can install it automatically on group members' computers.

'List of People' Window

Once a database has been opened, the Show List button in the Genesis window opens this window. It lists all the people in the database, with columns for the person's ID number, surname, given names, date of birth or christening, and date of death or burial. If a date of birth is not available for an individual but a christening date is, the latter is shown, prefixed by an asterisk (in this window and elsewhere). Similarly, if a death date is not available, the burial date, if known, is shown with a leading asterisk. Genders are colour-coded in this list, as in all windows in Genesis. The colours used for female, male and unknown gender can be changed to suit your preferences, as can a variety of other colours used by the application.

The purpose of this list is to allow you to select a person as a starting point for investigation. The list can be sorted into ascending or descending sequence on any of its columns (by clicking on the column heading) and filtered on one or more of those (for example, by name and/or birth/christening date). It can also be scrolled to display any part of the list. Once the desired person is visible, he or she can be selected for detailed viewing, by using the Family Group or Particulars button to display the Family Group or Particulars window. You can also display the Family Group or Particulars window (depending on the current setting for preference in the context menu) by clicking in the left-hand margin alongside an individual, and you can of course use standard functions by means of a function key or context menu option.

List of Changes Window

This window is accessed from the List of People window and the Database Maintenance window. It shows changes in the current version of a shared database compared with the previous version, in the following categories, indicating (for each record) the items which have changed or whether it is new.

Family Group Window

This window is accessed from the List of People or from the context menu in several other windows.

It shows a couple in the centre, giving basic details such as name, date and place of birth, christening, death and burial.

In addition, there is a dropdown list for each of the two central people, giving their relationship(s) (if any) to the current "root" person (“Me”). You can select any relationship in this list to display the lines of descent from the common ancestor to each, in a separate window like this:

To the left and right the central couple are the parents of each. Their names, birth or christening dates and death or burial dates are shown.

At the foot of the window there is a list of the central couple's children, giving names, dates and places of birth or christening, dates and places of death or burial, and status (e.g. "Adopted").

There are two special columns in the list of children, showing small images representing the number of their spouse(s) and children respectively. If you point the mouse at an image in one of these columns, the names of the spouses or children are displayed in a small pop-up window.

Immediately below the couple, above the list of children, basic information about the marriage is shown. Directly above that, below the principal life events, there are two buttons with left and right facing arrowheads, which are enabled if more than one marriage is recorded for the individual. In that case, there is also a label to the left of the buttons to tell how many marriages there are and which one is currently displayed. Clicking the Previous or Next button causes the previous or next spouse and corresponding children to be displayed.

In this window, you can navigate

You can also perform queries from this window. Below the list of children on the left, there are buttons labelled Query and Cancel Query with another pair of Previous/Next buttons on their left. The Query button creates an empty screen, highlights the boxes that can be used for specifying a query, and changes the caption of the Query button to Submit Query. When in this "query mode", a bar containing buttons for special characters (such as "ê", "ô" and "ß") becomes visible immediately above the list of children, so that you can enter names containing such characters. You can add and remove characters from the bar, and the program "remembers" the current set for future use.

Once a query has been specified, click Submit Query to obtain results. The number of results is shown above the Previous/Next buttons and the first result is dispayed. You can then scroll back and forth through the results using the Previous and Next buttons.

Particulars Window

This window shows all the information available in the database about an individual, or provides direct access to it. The name of the individual is shown in the title bar of the window, which contains five "bands" from top to bottom, each occupying the full width of the window.:

Family Tree Window

You can display an ancestor or descendant tree for any individual in the database simply by pointing and pressing F4 (ancestor tree) or F5 (descendant tree) or by choosing the corresponding options from the context menu.

Both trees are displayed in a similar way to the structure used in the Microsoft Windows® File Explorer, which means that you can easily collapse or expand the tree or specific branches. In addition, the context menu in this window provides options for

Marriage Window

This window is reached from the Family Group or Particulars window, by clicking a button labelled More... in the area of the window where basic marriage details are displayed. It displays all available information about a marriage, and provides direct access to the contents or enlargements of attachments.

The format of the window is similar to the Particulars window with bands, from top to bottom, for:

The thumbnails in the Marriage window also appear in the Particulars window for both partners in the marriage.

Location Window

This window is opened by pointing the mouse at a place name wherever it may be displayed in Genesis and pressing F10 or right-clicking and taking the Display Place Information option from the context menu. It displays available information about a place, including geographic coordinates, notes, attachments and, if geographic coordinates and an Internet connection are available, a map showing the place.

If the place name includes an address, Genesis displays a small window which allows you to display both the location window and the address window (see below).

Address Window

This window is similar to the Location window. It is opened by pointing the mouse at an address wherever it may be displayed in Genesis and pressing F10 or right-clicking and taking the Display Place Information option from the context menu. It displays available information about an address, including geographic coordinates, notes, attachments and, if geographic coordinates and an Internet connection are available, a map showing the address.

If the place name includes an address, Genesis displays a small window which allows you to display both the location window and the address window.

Translation Windows

There are two of these, both accessible from the Options menu in the Genesis window:

Translation (Application or Database)

This window provides facilities for translating the terminology used in the Genesis application (such as messages and captions iin windows) and to translate certain elements of the actual data in a database (including place names, fact/event names, fact/event descriptions among others).

Translation (help text)

This window provides facilities for translating help text to another language.

These windows provide the facility for you, or any user, to translate material from an existing language into a new one, to translate items in your own database, or to modify existing material for your own benefit. However, in the last-mentioned case, installing a new version of Genesis would overwrite your personalised material, and it it therefore not recommended.

Other Windows

Apart from the small pop-up windows discussed earlier, there are a several other windows used by Genesis: