Managing Webtrees Preferences

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A Webtrees Manager has the job of Managing Webtrees Preferences for their own family tree, but not for other trees on the same webtrees site.

The initial settings are for the name of the family tree (usually a surname), and for the url to that family tree (the url would usually be the url for Webtrees, plus the surname of the family)

Managing Webtrees Preferences

Language

The Language setting provides a drop-down menu for the default language that will be used. The choices are dictated by the administrator, so if the administrator has deselected all the non-English languages the only options here will be the different versions of English (British or American for example).

Managing Webtrees Preferences – Default Individual

This allows you to select a default individual using the drop-down list.

When members log in and view a chart or report, the chart or report will open at their own entry, but when a site visitor who has not logged in views a chart or report it will open on the entry of the default individual.

It is a personal choice, but my own opinion is that the default person is best taken from the middle years of your family tree rather than either end. For example, if you chose the youngest person no chart would show if they were still alive or their parents were still alive. If you chose the earliest record and someone viewed a chart showing that person’s ancestors then there would be nothing to see. A person in the middle years of your tree has both descendants and ancestors.

Managing Webtrees Preferences – Calendar

Dates should always be recorded using the calendar in which the event was originally recorded, but that may be different to the calendar in use now, so you can specify a conversion to show the dates in accordance with the present day calendar.

Two examples:

  1. If you currently use the ‘Gregorian’ calendar and most of your historical records will be in the ‘Gregorian’ calendar, you would insert ‘Gregorian’ in the first box and ‘No Calendar Conversion’ in the second box.
  2. If you currently use the Gregorian calendar but some of your historical records will be in the Julian calendar, you would insert Gregorian in the first box and ‘Julian‘ in the second box. Any dates inserted during the time the Julian calendar was in force will be converted and displayed in the Gregorian equivalent.

Add Unique Identifiers

If you use different family tree software or have your family tree on different online family tree websites, each individual and each family will be given a unique identifier that will differ from software to software. If you want to add a unique identifier so the same identifier is used in all the different software then this setting should be set to ‘Yes‘.

If you only view your family tree on Webtrees the setting can be ‘No‘.

Family Tree Contact Information

You want long-lost cousins who find your family tree to be able to contact you, and there are contact links displayed at the bottom of each page for that purpose.

The Genealogy contact should be the person who knows most about the family tree. That will usually be you, so select your own name from the drop-down list of family members.

The Technical help contact may also be you, but it may also be the Webtrees Administrator.

Managing Webtrees Preferences – Website

These settings help you get found by search engines.

Add TITLE header tag: An earlier setting displayed the name of the family tree, usually a surname. (Smith for example). The setting in this section allows you to add a little more (Smith Family Tree for example). This gives search engines a better idea of what your site is about, and the same words are displayed at top of browsers and on bookmarks.

Description meta tag: The description meta tag is not visible publicly but is used to describe your family tree in greater detail to search engines like Google (Smith Family Tree and genealogy of John Smith born 1747 London). The first phrase should be the phrase people are most likely going to search for (Smith Family Tree) the second phrase should be another phrase someone may search for (John Smith born 1747). As much as possible you should avoid words Google ignores (the, it, on, a, etc.)

Managing Webtrees Preferences – Media Folders

By default Wordtrees places images, videos, and sound files in a yoursite/data/media folder. I can’t think of a reason why you would want to change the default, but if you do you need to name it here. If you have downloaded media files they will already be in the media folder, so if you change the folder name here you will also need to move the existing files from the media folder to the new folder.

Managing Webtrees Preferences – Media Files

Who can upload new media files: To maintain control of images on your family tree, you can limit the number of people permitted to add images. The first drop-down menu enables you to stop anyone uploading images, to only allow members to upload images, or to only allow managers to upload images. The recommended option would be to only allow managers to upload images, but on some sites you may want to allow other members to do so too.

Show a download link in the media viewer: When people view images in the image viewer there is a link for additional images to be uploaded. The link can be made invisible and only shown to certain categories of person. The setting in this section is best to be the same as the above setting. If they are not allowed to upload new media files it’s best not to let them even see the link to do so.

Image Size: Whilst we’re thinking about images, it’s worth mentioning that when you print an image out, the higher resolution the better, but the same does not apply when viewing images online. Large images and high resolution are not needed. They use a lot of space on a server and a lot of bandwidth with no benefit. To the naked eye, images reduced to 70% of their resolution look exactly the same as images saved at 100% resolution (even high-resolution screens), so there is no downside to saving images in jpg format and reducing the resolution to 70%. The image will look exactly the same but will use fewer resources on the server. The same can be said about the size of the image. There is little point, and some harm, if your image is larger than the size of a desktop screen.

Thumbnail Images

Charts can be shown with or without images. Displaying images improves the look of the chart but increases the bandwidth used on your server. I hide the thumbnail images, but that’s a personal choice. If you want to display them you need to click in the show box.

Charts are coloured in such a way that different sexes are easily distinguishable. However, if you have set the above setting to show, and the person does not have a default image, you can choose to show a thumbnail of a man or a woman.

Managing Webtrees Preferences – Lists

Surnames List Style: Your family tree has several lists, and this drop-down box allows you to choose how surnames are displayed, as a list, as a table, and as a tag cloud. Personal choice will differ, so you can check each of these options to see which works best for your own family tree.

Maximum Number of Surnames: If you have thousands of names in your family tree you will probably not want to have a single list, table, or tag cloud of all the thousands of names, so this option allows you to break the list down into smaller segments. As above, there is no correct answer and different trees will be of different sizes and have different needs, so experiment to see which works best for your own tree.

Estimated Dates: On lists or charts that normally display dates of birth or death, where one is known but not the other, you can choose to show or hide estimated dates.

Date and Time of Last Update: The date and time are recorded whenever a record is edited, and you can choose to show or hide the date and time of the last update. It’s a matter of personal choice.

Managing Webtrees Preferences – Charts

You need some information on charts, but if you have too much information the charts will look cluttered or not look right. In order to make sense of a chart you undoubtedly need the minimum of someone’s name and their date of birth. The options in this section allow you to add other information should you wish to do so.

Age of Parents: In family records you may want to display the age of the parents when the child was born as that can help to find errors in your tree. For example, if the mother is listed as sixty. If the parents are listed as aged thirteen or fourteen, it may also explain why they are not married!

Other Facts: Webtrees charts have the facility to display many other options on charts (but you should use this facility with caution, if at all). The options are a comma or space-separated list of any of the fact tags defined in GEDCOM 5.5.1. For example, if you wanted to list occupations you would add OCCU in this field (not a good idea. If someone has several occupations there would be no room to display them all in a small chart). A list of the GEDCOM Fact Tags can be downloaded from the bottom of the above page link.

Individual Pages

Whilst the layout and size of charts has the practical effect of reducing the number of facts it is worth adding to them, the same is not true of individual pages that can easily carry a lot of information.

Showing events of close relatives on an individual’s page: This option provides a long list of facts that can be added or remove by clicking in the appropriate boxes. It is a matter of taste and every family tree will be different, but on our own Underwood Family Tree we have all these options ticked without pages looking cluttered.

Fact Icons: This option allows you to show or hide icons on the ‘Facts and events’ tab if your theme allows them.

Automatically expand notes: Numerous notes can be added to individual’s pages, and this option controls whether those notes are initially automatically displayed expanded (yes) or condensed (no).

Automatically expand sources: Numerous sources can be added to individual’s pages, and this option controls whether those sources are initially automatically displayed expanded (yes) or condensed (no).

Managing Webtrees Preferences – Places

Abbreviate Place Names: An individual’s record may record the town, county, and country of birth, death or marriage, but there would not be enough space on a chart to display long addresses. This option allows you to limit the length of the place to a certain number of letters. If the town or village is the most important part of the address to you, you can use the drop-down lists to select the ‘first’ ‘9’ letters (for example), but if the county or country is the most important part of the address you want to see on a chart you would select the ‘last’ ‘9’ letters.

Managing Webtrees Preferences – Text

When you type information into ‘Notes’ (for example) that information will be typed in basic text. You may want to format that text in various ways, and Webtrees uses a system called ‘Markdown‘. This option allows you to choose whether to limit text to basic text (none) or whether to allow formatting (markdown).

Markdown: There are several Markdown guides if you do an internet search, and it is quite easy to transform family tree notes with only a few tags.

Markdown Examples:

Double dotted lines create a larger text

heading
=====

Single dotted line creates a

sub-heading
——-

Putting stars each side of a word (or words) makes them bold.

**Bold**

Adding a line at the start of a line creates an unordered list item.

– First list item
– Second list item
– Third list item

Adding numbers will create an ordered list

  1. First list item
  2. Second list item
  3. Third list item

If you’ve never used Markdown before, try writing a note for someone using the above tags. If you get it wrong just delete them and no harm is done. The above few tags may provide enough formatting for you. If not, just check out the above link and try some more.

Managing Webtrees Preferences – General

Allow users to see raw GEDCOM records: Your family tree is written in Gedcom Format, but you wouldn’t know it from viewing your family tree on the screen because the GEDCOM tags are converted into English.

This setting allows visitors no see a separate window displaying the raw GEDCOM data in addition to the usual window.

You would not generally need to display the underlying GEDCOM data permanently, but it may occasionally be useful to see it and this option allows you to view it.

GEDCOM errors: Many genealogy programs create GEDCOM files with custom tags, and webtrees will understand most of them, but if unrecognised tags are found, this option lets you choose whether to ignore them or display a warning message.

Hit Counters: Some pages can display the number of times they have been visited, and this option allows you to show or hide the hit counter.

Facts for Individual Records

All Individual Facts: This box contains a list of all the possible GEDCOM facts that can be recorded by your users on the entry of an individual. Clicking on the cross beside each entry will remove the option, but you can also add additional facts to the box using appropriate GEDCOM facts. Any facts listed here cannot also be included in the following ‘Unique Individual Facts’ section.

Unique Individual Facts: This is the list of GEDCOM facts that your users can only add once to individuals. For example, if BIRT (the GEDCOM tag for a birth record) is in this list, users will not be able to add more than one BIRT record to an individual. As people are only ever born once, you may think this would be a good idea, but this entry is probable best left blank. To give you an example, I have someone in my own family tree who has two different birth certificates, each slightly different. Born to a British soldier in Singapore during the Second World War, their birth was registered once by the Singapore authorities and once by the British Military. If you do add a fact in this list you must also remove it from the above ‘All individual facts’ list.

Facts for New Individuals: When you create a new individual you may only have one or two facts about them, so you probably don’t want the clutter of boxes of all the available different facts. This configuration, by default, creates new individuals with boxes for adding birth, baptism, burial, and death locations and dates.  You could reduce this further by retaining just the birth and death dates, or you could increase it by adding a marriage, but remember this setting only affects the creation of the individual. Once the individual has been created there will be options to add all the other facts.

Quick Individual Facts:

Managing Webtrees Preferences Fact Selection

When members go to the ‘Fact or event’ tab to add a new fact or event, at the bottom of the table they can click on the ‘Select’ box to display the very long list of the many facts or events that can be added. Some facts will be added more often than others, and it can be frustrating to go through the whole long list to find them. To make it easier, there are links to these more frequent facts under the box. The ones shown are the default ‘quick individual facts’ but this setting allows you to select different quick facts if you want to.

Facts For Family Records

All Family Facts: This box contains a list of all the possible GEDCOM facts that can be recorded by your users on the entry of a family.  Clicking on the cross beside each entry will remove the option to enter those facts from the families forms, but you can also add additional facts to the box using appropriate GEDCOM facts. Any facts listed here cannot also be included in the following ‘Unique Family Facts’ section.

Unique Family Facts: This is the list of GEDCOM facts that your users can only add once to families. For example, if MARR (the GEDCOM tag for a marriage record) is in this list, users will not be able to add more than one MARR record to any family. A family will only have one marriage for example. When a couple marries, then divorces, and then remarries, they are treated as having created two distinct families. The first family exists from the date of the first marriage to the date of the divorce (after which there may be two individuals, or one individual and one unmarried family). The second family exists from the date of the second marriage. Each family will have different start and end dates, and may have different children, so a marriage would be a unique act that could only occur once within any given family.  If you add a fact in this list you must also remove it from the above ‘All family facts’ list.

Facts for New Families: When you create a new family you may only have one or two facts about them (date of marriage for example) so you probably don’t want the clutter of boxes of all the other available facts. This configuration, by default, creates new families with boxes for adding whether they are a married family or unmarried family, and whether they subsequently divorced, together with dates and places.  You could reduce this further by retaining just the marriage date, or you could increase it by adding any of the other marriage facts. Remember, this setting only affects the family creation page. Once the family has been created there will be options to add all the other facts.

Quick Family Facts:

Managing Webtrees Preferences Families Form

 

When members go to the ‘Families’ tab and scroll down to the bottom, there is a link to ‘Add a wife’ or ‘Add a husband’. That opens a link to a form which creates a new family. By default, after selecting the individual partner, the only options are the date and place of marriage, and a box to indicate whether this is a ‘marriage’ or an ‘unmarried’ family couple.

Those facts are all you need to initially create a family, but you can add additional facts to the family creation boxes by adding them to the ‘Quick Family Facts’ box.

Facts For Source Records

All Source Facts: This box contains a list of all the possible GEDCOM facts that can be recorded by your users as a source.  Clicking on the cross beside each entry will remove the option. but you can also add additional facts to the box using appropriate GEDCOM facts. Any facts listed here cannot also be included in the following ‘Unique Source Facts’ section.

Unique Source Facts: This is the list of GEDCOM facts that your users can only add once to a source. For example, if TITL (the GEDCOM tag for a source title) is in this list, users will not be able to add more than one TITL to any single source (which is probably what you do want).  If you add a fact in this list you must also remove it from the above ‘All Source Facts’ list.

Quick Source Facts:

This box lists the most common source facts separately so they can be added more easily and quickly

Facts For Repository Records

Repositories are the places where sources are stored. For example, when you record someone’s date and place of birth the source may be a birth certificate, but those reading about the may want to know where they can see that birth certificate, so the repository is the location where the certificate is kept or where a copy can be obtained.

All Repository Facts

This is the list of GEDCOM facts that your users can add to repositories. You can modify this list by removing or adding fact names, even custom ones, as necessary. Fact names that appear in this list must not also appear in the ‘Unique repository facts’ list.

Unique Repository Facts

This is the list of GEDCOM facts that your users can only add once to repositories. For example, if NAME is in this list, users will not be able to add more than one NAME record to a repository. Fact names that appear in this list must not also appear in the ‘All repository facts’ list.

Quick Repository Facts

Your most commonly used repository facts can be listed separately here so that they can be added more easily.

Advanced Fact Preferences

Advanced Name Facts

This is a comma-separated list of GEDCOM fact tags that will be shown on the add/edit name form.

Advanced Name Facts

This is a comma-separated list of GEDCOM fact tags that will be shown when you add or edit place names.

Other Preferences

Surname Tradition

Different cultures list names differently (for example, in England children take their father’s last name, but in Spain children take one surname from their father and one surname from their mother).  This setting allows you to set the default way in which surnames will be added by default.

Use Full Source Citations

Source citations can include fields to record the quality of the data (primary, secondary, etc.) and the date the event was recorded in the source (YES). If you don’t use these fields, you can disable them when creating new source citations (NO).

Source Type

When adding new close relatives, you can add source citations to the records (individual and family) or to the facts and events (birth, marriage and death). This option controls whether records or facts will be selected by default.

Keep The Existing ‘Last Change’ Information

When a record is edited, the user and timestamp are recorded. Sometimes it is desirable to keep the existing ‘last change’ information, for example when making minor corrections to someone else’s data. This option controls whether this feature is selected by default.

Managing Webtrees Family Tree Preferences 

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