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Is the table layout an accepted format for a family tree and how easy it to use such layout for creating a tree? I have seen such a one on the GenPro website.

Although the graphical representation of a tree is easy to use for some younger generation, it is hard for older people to consume the relationship. I am looking for an alternate to present as a table where it starts with a person and show all the generations in a table.

For example "Who is my cousin living in England?"

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    What do you mean by "accepted format"? Accepted by whom? A table is not really a family tree, but of course you can use a table to present family tree data. For what purpose do you want to use a table format? It is impossible to say without more information whether or not a table will serve your intended purpose. – Harry Vervet Jul 23 '15 at 14:08
  • Although the graphical representation of a tree is easy to use for some younger generation, it is hard for older people to consume the relationship. I was looking for an alternate to present as a table where it starts with a person and show all the generations in a table. For example "Who is my cousin living in England?" – wonderful world Jul 23 '15 at 15:09
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I did all my trees in Excel from the start (1993), as I am a relatively advanced user, and have now been undertaking the tedious and lengthy process of migrating all the data to a dedicated genealogical program. Excel is not really up to the job.

I chose TMG (which is now unsupported) which illustrates one - probably the only one - reason to keep information in Excel, as it is unlikely to be dropped, unlike any of the proprietary genealogical programs.

But I've come to the conclusion that using any GEDCOM-compatible software program is better than Excel, even though GEDCOM itself is pretty rubbish. Personally I have steered clear of online solutions such Ancestry etc because I want to own and control the data.

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  • A couple of tools that may make this easier are the XL2Ged programmes. There are several on Cyndi's List and in Google. Also If you are looking at replacing TMG several ex TMG users have moved to Family Historian and that has an Excel import plugin. – Colin Jul 25 '15 at 7:02
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If you find the table format easier then it is obviously acceptable to you, and that is all that really matters.

Most of the GEDCOM programmes that I have come across have an option to export the data in a spreadsheet format. This means you can use view the data as a table if you so wish.

If you keep your primary tree information in spreadsheet form, you will find it becomes unwieldy as it grows. Spreadsheets are not designed to be repositories of data. Maintaining cross-references between individuals will become increasingly labour-intensive and error-prone.

If you wish to avoid the use of dedicated genealogy programmes, you would be better served using a simple database programme. For example Microsoft Access, or the database elements of Open Office or Libre Office. This has advantages including:

  • The data fields stored are then completely under your control
  • It is trivial to export the data as a table if that is what you want
  • If you keep the GEDCOM field names then you can export in GEDCOM format
  • Relationships are maintained easily
  • You can keep all your notes and evidence within the database

But before you convert your records to a database, bear in mind that the dedicated GEDCOM genealogy programmes are likely to be easier to use.

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  • I'm curious how you would export to GEDCOM format from Access or any other database program, even if you do have the GEDCOM field names (tags). – lkessler Jul 24 '15 at 13:31
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    You would need to keep your field names consistent with GEDCOM names and construct a custom report to output from your main database. I've done this for a simple subset of the GEDCOM features. I hope during the long winter evenings to produce something more extensive. – Chenmunka Jul 24 '15 at 13:53

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