Gigatrees Revision History


What is Gigatrees?

Gigatrees is the free family tree website builder, written by Tim Forsythe, that was used to build this family tree. Check out the Gigatrees website for complete details. Gigatrees is updated occasionally to add new features, improve performance, optimize viewing and, of course, squash the nasties. Below you will see listed some of the most recent changes.

  • I also just noticed that Bonkers, as improbable as it might seem, labelled Improbabilities as Impossibilities. Impossible you say. I say no.

  • When the new location parser was put into place back in August, locations without detectable countries were left off the Location index and no pages were created for them. Links to those missing pages were still created however. Thanks to Christa from Germany for pointing this out. I also removed those pesky Location id from the Location index.

  • It would appear the location maps became broken a while back and I just noticed it. It doesn't look like this was caused by a code change. Troubleshooting showed that Google maps embedded within HTML tables won't display, but do display fine when they are embedded within DIVs. Perhaps Google changed their underlying code, or some other such twerk. I modified to code to quit using those archaic tables. It should work now.

  • Based on user input, I added some alternate country names (in German) so that they are recognized as such. Stripping of Great Britain is currently hardcoded, so I added 'Gro├čbritannien' to that list as well. Can you spell kludge.

  • Census Table Reports (CENtaRs) have been added as a new tab on the profile page of qualifying individuals in your Gigatree. This means that you can view, at a glance mind you, the entire census history of every person in your tree and that of their ancestors. That's pretty cool. Persons without any ancestors that could have been living during any of the specified census years will not include the new tab.

    With these new tabs in place, it eliminates the need for a stand alone census page, so that option has been removed from the configuration options. You still have the option to use a configurable set of census years or allow Gigatrees to attempt to determine them automatically. This is generally not a good choice. Autodetecting census years is best used simply to determine which census years are found in your database. It is not uncommon for Gigatrees to find one or more sparse census years in your database that you would not otherwise want included in your table. The more years that are included, the more columns are needed to display the report, and the less likely it will display properly on handheld devices.

    The Census Table Report, as before, shows the census location as an ISO county abbreviation. If the census record should have been found for a particular year, but was not, a lowercase 'm' is shown instead of the location. If it is not known whether a census record should have been found, and was not, a question mark is shown for the location. When a census record should not have been found (and wasn't) a dash is displayed. Together, these make it easy to decide where to direct future research. Also, persons whose birthname, i.e. given name and surname, is included in the census record are delineated by using bold text for their location. Persons whose married name is shown in the census record, i.e., given name and spouse's surname, are underlined, and persons whose presence is counted but no name is specified are italicized. Together these give some indication of certainty.

    Wait, wait, there's more. Locations are also linked to a census record's most reliable source reference. Hovering your mouse over the location link will also display the source descriptor in a popover window.

    If you want to remove an ancestor from the census table reports because you are certain that the person was not living in any census location for any of the configured years, you can do this by adding a dummy census record for a person for every census year in which a lowercase-m or a question mark appears with the text "[Not Applicable]" in the cause or the note field of the census record. If by doing this no census years apply to the person, they will not be included in the table. Non-applicable census records will also not appear in a person's timeline.

    Lastly, a new option to allows you to disable Census Table Reports if you really, really don't want them.

  • I lumped all of the claims on the Source and Location page back to a single Claims tab with total count. I also defaulted the Referer and Claims tabs to open on the Source and Location pages. Lastly, I changed the personal name background on the claim tabs to distinguish it from other types of claims.

  • Ancestry.com has a problem with leaving behind unused source records when using the web interface solely. This happens usually because you remove a claim or more likely an entire person without first going to the extra effort to remove the source references for all of their claims first. Ancestry.com does not currently go back through their database and locate these dangling references and remove the source records they point to. To compound the problem, Ancestry.com also doesn't permit direct access to the referenced source records so that a user could go back and delete them manually (and with them all of their citations and references). So to alleviate the problem of having a bunch or empty source records in your family, Gigatrees now hides them so that they don't show up. Remember if you rebuild your tree, download it, extract it and then copy it over an existing file folder without first emptying the folder, obsolete files will remain and still be accessible via web links, so take care to remove them before putting your tree back online.

  • I'm still cleaning up source references, citations and page numbers. Gigatrees now displays page anchors on source pagess when missing citations, so that named anchors referencing these will work also. A new CSS style has been added to these to allow further formatting of the empty citations if you wish. It also will remove duplicate source references from a claim when it is easy to do so. In other words, if there is a duplicate source references that has no other data than a matching page number, we'll drop it. Ancestry.com has a habit of populating claims with dozens of the same reference. No need for that I say.

  • With the addition, in the previous release, of using named anchors to redirect visitors to source citations, displaying page numbers along with source references becomes less important, and are now omitted when the page numbers exceed 15 characters in length. This is especially useful when used with Ancestry.com trees where they have a tendency to stuff great big gobs of data into the page number causing profile pages to become cluttered with spurious info. These long goofy page numbers are still displayed under References on the popover window that appears when you hover your mouse over a source reference.

    I also added a new source reference style that will prevent splitting of the source reference name when wrapping. Well that looks better don't it!

  • Gigatrees has been updated again. This time, the horizontal tabs have been replaced with collapsible vertical tabs. Vertical tabs provide several advantages over horizontal tabs. They work better with small screen sizes. Where horizontal tabs try their best to wrap, they usually don't look very good, especially when the fonts change size. Collapsible (and expandable) vertical tabs allow you display all of your information on a single screen, which for genealogists who may want to print an individual's profile, is a big advantage. With horizontal tabs, there is no way to do this. Visitors would need to print the contents of each tab separately. There is a shortcut that can be used on any screen with tabs to expand them all -- just add "?all" to the end of the URL in your address bar. Using vertical tabs also allows me to group data in an optimal way without being concerned about how many tabs are being used. When using horizontal tabs, only a limited number can be used without looking clunky. Finally, and this is a biggie, vertical tabs do not make use of named anchors to select a tab. This allows us to use named anchors to direct a visitor to a section on the page. Links to Disqus comments from their website now redirect to the actual comment on the page, but most importantly, clicking on source references that have page numbers, now redirect to the appropriate citation on the page, rather than to the top of the page -- a feature we lost when we switched over to horizontal tabs several years ago.

    The vertical tabs are controlled completely by CSS styles found in the "gigatrees.css" stylesheet. This means savvy users who built a family tree, can override these styles to change their look and feel.

    I also added a version number to the "Built by Gigatrees" link at the bottom of each page. This will allow you to monitor version changes.

    While I was at it, I rewrote many of the pages to use the Bootstrap grid system so that the pages scale easily to different screen sizes. I've tried it on several mobile device sizes, and it seem to work splendidly. This means, of course, that many of the style classes have change, so if you override any of these for your site, watch out, this is gonna hurt.

    I have not tested all of the possible application specific features like source templates and shared roles to see how they look, so if you run into any issues post a comment or send me a message using the contact form. Also, if you upload a Gigatree online please post a link to it in the comment section of the Gigatrees page. This will allow me to look closely at other configurations to see how they look.

    One other change, not as dramatic, but still noteworthy, estimating birthdates has been improved slightly by including in the list of living events, several that were missing.

  • Gigatrees now supports the very popular Disqus commenting system. You can now easily allow your visitors to provide feedback on your family tree. When enabled, a new User Comments tab will be added to each individual, source and note profile page.

    Disqus has a lot of cool features including the ability to add images to comments, liking/voting and sharing buttons as well as complete moderation for approving comments and flagging spam through Disqus' very friendly admin interface. Best of all ... it's free.

    To get started, just go to http://disqus.com and create a profile if you do not have one already. Then on your profile page, there will be a gear icon in the upper right corner of the page that when clicked will display the Settings dropdown menu. One of the options is to "Add Disqus to Site". Click on this and you'll be redirected to their publishers page where you can click on the "Engage" button to go to your Site Profile setup page. There you will give your Commenting system a title and a shortname. Click Finish Registration and then go to the Settings tab to finish configuring your options. Don't worry about the install, I'll take care of that.

    Once your site profile is complete, you can go to the Gigatrees page to add your shortname and the URL where you will be hosting your Gigatree. That's it, now just build your tree, download the zip file and extract it onto your hosting server. Now when you visit your tree, you will have a fully functioning visitor commenting system.

  • Gigatrees's Location Parser has been updated. Gigatrees now attempts to fill in missing counties and states for locations whereas before it only attempted to fill in missing countries. This involves some guesswork, so if you find the wrong name being used in your tree, then you should update your database with a more descriptive name. Gigatrees also now does a better job of looking up coordinates from third party databases and should find more accurate coordinates when street addresses are provided. The location parser is still dependent on matching your descriptions with "semi-official" descriptions used by Google, Open Street Maps, and Geonames, so if you are using inaccurate or archaic descriptions, all bets are off. Gigatrees also expects the descriptions to be comma delimited with the most specific locator on the left, though Gigatrees can handle reverse descriptions to some extent. Gigatrees also does a better job of handling user provided coordinates.

    Resolving location coordinates takes time and resources to complete, so, as before, users are still limited on how many locations will be processed each time your tree is rebuilt. For large trees, it may take several builds before all your locations have been fully resolved. Once resolved, locations will be saved to the Goldilocks database along with their coordinates so that further checks won't be necessary unless your descriptions change or missing counties, states, or countries have been determined. Unfortunately the existing database of over half a million locations had to be scrapped so we're starting over. Gigatrees will also rerun some of the more recent GEDCOM files automatically in an attempt to speed up the process.

    A few other changes were made in this release. Ancestor Distribution Heatmap tabs have been removed from individual profile pages. The main Population Distribution Heatmap has not been changed.

    RootsWeb's shared event support has been changed to copy the event to each linked person's profile page as well. This means that shared census events will be reflected in the census table reports also.

    There is also now better support for source citation page numbers and personal name prefixes and suffixes.

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