Using UFT for Regional Genealogy

By Moody K. Miles, III

Tree (UFT) software can be used and customized to suit different purposes, such as using a very large database for Regional Genealogy.

my database I had no idea of the final form or product that would result. I just started loading dates, places and sources and printing out family group sheets, pedigree charts and small family journal reports. I set one simple goal: to trace all my ancestors back to the first American and to then trace all their descendants to today. I had no idea how big a job this would be or how successful I would be in doing it. My 1
stnd goal modification came when I contacted a third cousin, also from the same county, and found that he had been working on many of the same families even longer than I had. I convinced him to switch from his genealogy program to Roots 3 so we could join efforts and share information better. My 3rd goal modification came when I realized that we were being so successful in tracing our ancestors that this would never fit in one book and the Internet would be the only way to publish, share and get input for completing our genealogy. My 4th goal modification came when I joined an Internet genealogy group of about 100 users from all over America, all with ancestors from the same area of the country where my wife, my cousin and I were from. They called themselves GHOTES (Genealogy and History of the Eastern Shore) of Virginia, which includes Accomack and Northampton counties. At this point the goal became Regional Genealogy.

the families of a geographic region, especially when these families are interrelated through intermarrying over many generations. This was the situation for the Eastern Shore of Virginia for its first 300 years. Another unique fact about the Eastern Shore of Virginia which makes genealogy so fertile is that its court records go back to 1632, which are the oldest continuous English speaking court records in America. There have also been many secondary source books published for this area that are extremely thorough and reliable. These are on subjects such as land records, wills, marriages, tombstone recordings, census, death, and Revolutionary War pensions. Through these plentiful sources and the input from the 100 GHOTES on the Internet, the current goal is to post family, where the families intermarried) on the GHOTES Homepage. This will enable sharing and updates to make each of these family genealogies as complete as possible.

Database Statistics - Currently our database contains about 29,000 individuals of which about 500 were born before 1500 and about 5,000 born after 1900. See Figure 1 for more details.

figure1.gif (8208 bytes)
Figure 1-- Additoinal Project Information

the resulting slow response to certain searches, report generation, etc., the use of some functions of UFT should be limited or avoided. In other cases there are some work arounds that can help improve response time. Here are some guidelines that I use.

functions not available in the Normal Mode. All the unneeded options only adds to the confusion of using the program and adds extra screens to step through.

record, etc. Use reliable published secondary sources, deed book, will book, marriage book, original microfilm roll, etc. as your sources. For example, I cite either the published book containing a transcript of the 1850 Accomack County, Virginia census or the household. I also simply reference the county deed book number and page in lieu of creating a separate source record for each deed. Remember I will be using the same deed books, will books, census records, etc. repeatedly. Also remember that I have all this new as possible in my lifetime.

3. Use the following to navigate or move around in the database in lieu of searches:

Figures 2 and 3. Click on the edge of the list to bring it to the foreground. Use [Find] & key in "/surname/" to jump to that area of the list. Move up or down to background as well, see figures 2 and 4. Dragging the bar up & down the list is probably quicker than using the [Find] function to locate a marriage. Click on the ancestors, children or siblings, to move them to the focus point of the chart and then

figure2.gif (22995 bytes)
Figure 2 -- Composite View, Showing Individual List in the Foreground & Individual Record and Marriage List in the Background

figure3.gif (12651 bytes)
Figure 3 -- Individual List Showing Use of Reference Field

figure4.gif (14879 bytes)
Figure 4 -- Marriage List, Sorted by Husband's Surname

already in the database before creating new records for the parents. On my 133 mhz Pentium notebook with 40 mb of RAM this AutoFind takes about 15 seconds if it does not find a duplicate. However, if it finds a duplicate it then builds an alphabetical name list of everyone in the database (in this case 29,000) by first name, placing the name you entered in a window within this list so that you can scroll up or down to pick the correct unacceptable to me. There is an option under Utilities, Preferences labeled "Disable the automatic highlighting of the candidate name. It still does the name search and list building, but the name is not highlighted. To avoid this searching and list building do the following:

Marshall). Since it will not find any individuals whose name begins with an "x" it will complete the search in about 5 seconds and not have to build a name list. However, would have to move to their records to add event dates and places anyway.

I suggest viewing the name list manually before adding the parents, i.e., look for duplicates manually. If you find duplicates one of the following can be used to link the existing parents to the new child.

paste) and then click on [Find] or press "Alt D" and pick the correct name off the short list presented.

"x" and click on [Find] or press "Alt D" and pick the name off the short list presented. If you have been removing the "x" placed in front of

Consistency - Most users want some level of consistency in the way their data is presented to aid their readers/viewers in understanding the data. The most desirable formats would be easy to achieve if I started over today. However, I brought over about 25,000 names from Roots 3 into Visual Roots with certain format restrictions. In some cases I manually edited a few thousand records, but in other cases I decided to stay with the restrictions for consistency in lieu of editing 25,000 records. One of the key decisions was not to use the secondary role feature that was added in Roots 4, such as linking the members of a household to the head of the household in a census record. Another thing that was not changed was the use of "circa" instead of about to edit some 20-30,000 dates just to replace "circa" with "about". In Roots 3 the names of cemeteries were embedded in the place names, so I decided not to use the "detail A & B" function added by Roots 4 for such items as cemeteries. As a result most of my place names do not fit the city, county, state, country format, but that is transparent to the reader/viewer.

to enhance the capabilities of UFT.

1. Locating Duplicates - Keeping in mind that our database contains 29,000 individuals in interrelated families, reducing the number of duplicates is a major problem. Most of the spouses in one family will be primary members of other families. Every time someone new is added, there is a good likelihood that they are already in the database, primarily family (the family of his surname) is that he has no parents linked to his record. Of indicator is needed in the name list to be truly useful in a database this size. Therefore, I adopted the use of the Reference Field for this purpose. I simply add an "#" to the Reference field if the individual has no known parents. I then adjust the widths of the columns in the Individual List so that I can see the Reference column when I bring the list to the foreground, see Figure 3 for examples

individuals fit, and into which families they fit, is the geographic location where they lived, bought or purchased land, got married, etc. For instance, there seems to be two different Fisher families in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. One migrated north from Northampton Co, VA and the other migrated south from Sussex Co, DE. Given names of Thomas and John are common in both families. In order to track the geographic locations of these individuals so that they could be seen on the Individual List, I also use the UFT Reference field. A simple entry of N (Northampton), A (Accomack) or S (Sussex) into the Reference field can be used as a geo-code. The author of the land ownership book for this area also drew maps further dividing the Virginia counties into the original land patents and tracked the ownership of these patents from the early 1600s to the early 1900s. Each of these land patents was assigned a tract number on his maps and in his book. Of course locations of land ownership and other events are obvious when you list as well for quick reference. Having the county geo-code and land patent tract numbers in the UFT Reference field is another way to look at a list of names and quickly see who appears to be tied into which family. See Figure 3 for examples.

3. Custom events - The following custom events were created in UFT. Details A & B were not used. The (text) was built into the event sentence and the sentence following the (text) is then keyed into the accompanying text file, customized for each use of the event by filling in the blanks with the data from the census, will, obituary, deed, etc.


shown in census] age ___ to ___. Listed with him were __ other males ___ [age ranges] & __ females ____ [age ranges].

For 1850 add this text file: He/she was shown as the head of HH#____, age ___ and a ____ [occupation], with a wife _____ [name of wife], age ___, and children ___, _ [each

For 1860 add this text file: He/she was shown as the head of HH#____, age ___ and a ____ [occupation], with real estate valued at $___ and personal property valued at $___. Listed with him were his wife _____ [name of wife], age ___; sons ___, age _ [each & age].

He/she was shown as age ___ in HH# ___, headed by _____ _____, age ___ and a _____ [occupation] and his wife _____, age ___.

She was shown as age ___ in HH# ___, headed by ___ ___, age __ and a _____ [occupation].


She was shown as age ___ in HH# ___, headed by ___ _____, age __ and a _____ [occupation], and his wife ____, age __.

I also made similar census events for being with a brother, sister, mother, daughter, son, father-in-law, etc. Using these custom census events enables you to quickly see on find this most useful in tracking orphans and widows who lived with various family members.

figure5.gif (14227 bytes)
Figure 5 -- Illustration of Custom Census Events


He/she was given ____.

#L!) He/she was given ____.

He/she was given ____.

I also made similar events for being named in the will of a mother, grandmother, brother, sister, wife, etc.

figure6.gif (14219 bytes)
Figure 6 -- Illustration of Custom Will Event


#D! #L!) He/she was living in ____.

obituary #D! #L!) He/she was living in ____.

#D! #L!) He/she was living in ____.

I also made similar events for being named in the obituary of a mother, grandmother, brother, sister, wife, etc.




this date that ____ was named to settle his/her estate with ____ & ____ securities.

chose ____ as his guardian.

There are two primary benefits of using these custom events: 1) it enables you to members of the family, and 2) it provides a more detailed time line of events in their lives which helps in estimating their birth and death dates.

work was to post the results of our Regional Genealogy on the Internet. UFT has enabled this to happen, but with needed adjustments. The following is an outline of the process used and the adjustments.

My first attempt to use the Instant Web Page function of UFT to publish our entire 29,000-name database ended with an Error message. First, the "Family" format must be used for this purpose as it is the only one that will built a web page for the entire database. After discussions with Palladium and sending them a copy of our database, it was determine that the controlling factor was the amount of free hard drive space available for the building of the web page files. Our database needed about 1.0 gb of free hard drive space to generate the web page files. Since I only had about 600 mb of free hard drive space on my computer, I had to send it to my cousin who had just purchased a new 266 mhz Pentium II, with 64 mb of RAM and a 6.0 gb hard drive. The 120 mb set of database files squeezes down to about 30 mb on a Zip Disk, which we use to send each other file updates.

Although it took over 50 hours to generate, it did build the web page files. There were over 7,000 files in all, consuming about 50 mb of disk space. The problem was with the size of the name index file (about 5 mb) and the endnote file (90,000 endnotes at about 9 mb). As you probably know if you use the Web, downloading files of this size in a real time application is unworkable. Although discussions with Palladium regarding solutions to his problem left me hopeful for future enhancements, it was obvious they would not be timely.

After discussions with the GHOTES Webmaster it was decided that I would reduce the size of the database that would be put on the Internet and the Webmaster would try to develop a method of subdividing the name index and endnote files. I performed several groupings to eliminate those born after 1900 and a few thousand one and two person families. This resulted in about 12,000 names, a name index file of 3.5 mb, and an endnote file of about 5 mb. The Webmaster then worked his magic and manually subdivided these two files into subsets of files with no more than 100 k per file. The final results of about 365,000 lines of HTML text can be seen at <>. Some sample screen captures follow.

figure7.gif (18841 bytes)
Figure 7 -- Introductory Page

figure8.gif (14388 bytes)
Figure 8 -- Information on Creator & Beginning of Table of Contents

figure9.gif (20809 bytes)
Figure 9 -- Illustration of Hyper Text Links to Endnotes & Other Families

figure10.gif (16733 bytes)
Figure 10 -- Illustration of How to Navigate Around within the Web Pages on this Site Created by UFT

Return to the top of this page.
Return to the GHOTES home page 
 Page accesses to date: (sorry) 

>>> Advertise Here <<<