Best Man
Civil Registrar
Foster Child
Foster Father
Foster Mother
Registry Officer
Twin brother
Twin sister

Facts and Events

This is PGV define facts and events:

The naming conventions in Gedcom standard have „Events” and „Facts” (sometimes called „Attributes”). They can both apply to individuals and families. The conceptual difference between events and facts is that Events occur at a definite point in time (while the point may extend as far as a day), while Facts are either extended in time, or don’t have a specific time attached to them. The real life and the reality of information gathering blurs somewhat this distinction. An example of a definite Event is birth, which occurs at a specific time and place (even if date or place is unknown, we expect this to be self-evident). A definite Fact could be Number of Children for an individual or family: we usually do not assign a date to such number. However, if you describe the education, you can use the „Education” Fact extended in time, or „Graduation” Event, or both. A person’s medal or distinction can be described as fact of having or as event of receiving this medal or distinction, etc.

The pull down menu:
Address (ADDR)
Adoption (ADOP)
Adult Christening (CHRA)
Ancestral File Number (AFN) [AFN]
Associate [ASSO]: best man, employer, slave, etc.
Baptism [BAPM]
Bar Mitzvah [BARM]
Bas Mitzvah [BASM]
Birth [BIRT]
Blessing [BLES]
Burial [BLRI]
Caste / Social Status [CAST]
Census [CENS]
Christening [CHR]
Confirmation [CONF]
Cremation [CREM]
Death [DEAT]
Description [DSCR]: physical description (e.g. Tall, dark .. height 165 cm) in lieu of pix
Education [EDUC]
Email Address [EMAIL]
Emigration [EMIG]
First Communion [FCOM]
Graduation [GRAD]
Identification Number [IDNO]
Immigration [IMMI]
LDS Baptism [BAPL]
LDS Child Sealing [SLGC]
LDS Confirmation [CONL]
LDS Endowment [ENDL]
Military [_MILI]
Nationality [NATI]
Naturalization [NATU]
Number of Children [NCHI]: sometimes # of kids is known, but not all their names
Number of Marriages [NMR]: # of marriages; may not all known; 0 IF never married
Occupation [OCCU]
Probate [PROB]
Property [PROP]
Religion [RELI]
Residence [RESI]
Retirement [RETI]
Social Security Number [SSN]
Title [TITL]
Will [WILL]
Custom Event [EVEN] defined by me

  1. Travel: Zhou Xuexi in Japan
  2. ?

Life and death
Birth (BIRT)
Death (DEAT)
Burial (BURI)
Cremation (CREM)
Number of Children (NCHI)
Number of Marriages (NMR)
Adoption (ADOP)
Marriage (MARR)
Divorce (DIV)
Engagement (ENGA)
Marriage Bann (MARB)
Marriage License (MARL)
Marriage Settlement (MARS)
Marriage Contract (MARC)
Divorce Filled (DIVF)
Annulment (ANUL)

Lifetime achievements and facts
Residence (RESI)
Address (ADDR)
Fax number (FAX)
Phone number (PHON)
Email address (EMAI)
Web page (WWW)
Education (EDUC)
Graduation (GRAD)
Occupation (OCCU)
Retirement (RETI)
Military (_MILI)
Physical Description (DSCR)

National / government
Nationality (NATI)
Imigration (IMMI)
Emigration (EMIG)
Naturalization (NATU)
Census (CENS)
Social Security Number (SSN)
National ID Number (IDNO)

Earthly posessions and titles
Property (PROP)
Title (TITL)
Will (WILL)
Probate (PROB)

As the Gedcom standard was originally created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), it is perhaps not surprising that many of the events describe the christian rites and ordinances. With some creativity, however, one can use them to record events and rites in other religies as well.
Religious afiliation (RELI)
Christening (CHR)
Baptism (BAPM)
Adult Christening (CHRA)
Bar Mitzvah (BARM)
Bas Mitzvah (BASM)
Blessing (BLES)
First Communion (FCOM)
Ordination (ORDN)
Ordinance (ORDI)
Confirmation (CONF)
Caste (CAST)

LDS specfic events
LDS Child Sealing (SLGC)
LDS Spouse Sealing (SLGS)
LDS Babtism ([[BAPL)
LDS Confirmation (CONL)
LDS Endowment (ENDL)

There are two generic tags, unsurprisingly called Fact and Event
Fact (FACT)
Event (EVEN)

Information about: Always use main image?

This option lets you override the usual selection for a thumbnail image.

The GEDCOM has a configuration option that specifies whether PhpGedView should send the large or the small image to the browser whenever the current page requires a thumbnail. The «Always use main image?» option, when set to Yes, temporarily overrides the setting of the GEDCOM configuration option, so that PhpGedView will always send the large image. You cannot force PhpGedView to send the small image when the GEDCOM configuration specifies that large images should always be used.

PhpGedView does not re-size the image being sent; the browser does this according to the page specifications it has also received. This can have undesirable consequences when the image being sent is not truly a thumbnail where PhpGedView is expecting to send a small image. This is not an error: There are occasions where it may be desirable to display a large image in places where one would normally expect to see a thumbnail-sized picture.

You should avoid setting the «Always use main image?» option to Yes. This choice will cause excessive amounts of image-related data to be sent to the browser, only to have the browser discard the excess. Page loads, particularly of charts with many images, can be seriously slowed.

Names 姓名

Chinese names
Married name
Thread about names in PGV forum


Last Name is a relatively recent historical invention. Depending on the country, few hundred years ago people were known by their names (John) with possible addition of their professions Smith or a place where they lived (Anaximenes of Miletus). Later those nicknames were converted into the family names, which in some countries can be very complex. PGV gives you the tools to enter the names using the following fields:

This is a display field, which will show the name as you enter data in other fields. By convention, the family name is enclosed in slashes „/” – this is how Gedcom recognizes the last name. You should try to make this name look like the usual way of writing the person’s name, for example John D /Smith/, Gustav /von Aschenbach/, Arthur /Brown/ Jr, Dr. Anna /Clark/ etc.
Name prefix, for example Mr, Dr, Sir, Don etc.
Given Names
One or more given names separated by spaces. If only initial is known, enter it here as well. You can indicate the preferred name with an asterisk after the name, e.g. John Arhur*; in display the preferred name will be underlined.
Surname Prefix
Prefix that comes before the surname, like in German or Dutch Von, van, van der etc. Some common prefixes are already spelled out for you , just click on the name: al, da, de, den, dem, der, di, du, el, la, van, von. The prefix will be displayed together with the surname like in Gustav /von Aschenbach/.
Surname or most commonly used surname (if there are several), or surname acquired at birth, if applicable.
Part that come after surname; typical suffixes are also spelled out for your convenience, Jr, Sr, I, II, III, IV, MD, PhD, but you can add your own.
Many people are commonly known by their nickname rather than first name; a nickname is usually acquired later in life, and is not part of formal name.
Married Name
Like Name it is an display field showing a complete Married Name
Married Surname
Typically after marriage wife’s or husband’s names change. You can enter here the name of a person as known after marriage. In searching for (or listing) people, the person can now be located both by her/his Surname and Married Name, which makes it easier to find him/her (and also causes double listing).

If you use non-Latin alphabets such as Hebrew, Greek, Cyrillic or Arabic, and the administrator enabled additional tags, you will also see fields like Romanized, Phonetic, Hebraic etc., allowing you to store different versions of the name in several alphabets.

Multiple names

It is possible to add additional names to the person record. The preferred name should be listed first, and it is useful to add a note explaining the circumstances of changing the name. It is also possible to enter multiple Married Names (see Married Name above)

Editing / Deleting Names

The Options for individual menu allows one to edit any aspect of individual name. It is also possible to delete a name. When you delete the name, you do not delete the individual, he still exists with all the family link – his/her name will be listed as unknown.

Add new fact


At the bottom left is where you can add a fact to the personal record being edited.

First choose a fact from the drop-down list, then click the Add button. All possible facts that you can add to the database are in that drop-down list.

If you can’t find the fact that you want to add in the list of GEDCOM facts, you can enter a custom fact as well.

Entering a custom fact is just as simple as entering one of the pre-defined ones. The only difference is that you have to name the fact instead of picking its name from a list. You have to do this in the top field: Type

PhpGedView allows you to copy up to 10 facts, with all their details, to a clipboard. This clipboard is different from the Clippings Cart that you can use to export portions of your database.

You can select any of the facts from the clipboard and copy the selected fact to the Individual, Family, Media, Source, or Repository record currently being edited. However, you cannot copy facts of dissimilar record types. For example, you cannot copy a Marriage fact to a Source or an Individual record since the Marriage fact is associated only with Family records.

This is very helpful when entering similar facts, such as census facts, for many individuals or families.

Although the date field allows for free-form entry (meaning you can type in whatever you want), there are some rules about how dates should be entered according to the GEDCOM 5.5.1 standard.

  1. A full date is entered in the form DD MMM YYYY. For example, 01 MAR 1801 or 14 DEC 1950.
  2. If you are missing a part of the date, you can omit that part. E.g. MAR 1801 or 14 DEC.
  3. If you are not sure or the date is not confirmed, you could enter ABT MAR 1801 (abt = about), BEF 20 DEC 1950 (bef = before), AFT 1949 (aft = after)
  4. Date ranges are entered as FROM MAR 1801 TO 20 DEC 1810 or as BET MAR 1801 AND 20 DEC 1810(bet = between)The FROM form indicates that the event being described happened continuously between the stated dates and is used with events such as employment. The BET form indicates a single occurrence of the event, sometime between the stated dates and is used with events such as birth.

    Imprecise dates, where the day of the month or the month is missing, are always interpreted as the first or last possible date, depending on whether that imprecise date occurs before or after the separating keyword. For example, FEB 1804 is interpreted as 01 FEB 1804 when it occurs before the TO or AND, and as 29 FEB 1804 when it occurs after the TO or AND.

Be sure to enter dates and abbreviations in English, because then the GEDCOM file is exchangeable and PhpGedView can translate all dates and abbreviations properly into the currently active language. Furthermore, PhpGedView does calculations using these dates. If improper dates are entered into date fields, PhpGedView will not be able to calculate properly.

You can click on the Calendar icon for help selecting a date.

When you have added a fact, note, source, or multimedia file to a record in the database, the addition still has to be approved by a user who has Accept rights.

Until the changes have been Accepted, they are identified as “pending” by a differently colored border. All users with Edit rights can see these changes as well as the original information. Users who do not have Edit rights will only see the original information. When the addition has been Accepted, the borders will disappear and the new data will display normally, replacing the old. At that time, users without Edit rights will see the new data too.

Setting restrictions on facts

Apart from general privacy settings, PhpGedView has the ability to set restrictions on viewing and editing fact information for individuals and families. The restrictions can be set by anyone who is allowed to edit the information, unless privacy or formerly set restrictions prohibit this.

The following values can be used:

  • None
    Site administrators, GEDCOM administrators, and users who have rights to edit can change the information. Fact information can be viewed according to privacy settings as applied by the administrator.
  • Do not change
    This setting has no influence on the visibility of the fact data. It restricts editing rights to site administrators and GEDCOM administrators. If the information applies to the user himself, he can also view and, assuming he has editing rights, edit it.
  • Privacy
    Site administrators and GEDCOM administrators can view and edit the information. If the information applies to the user himself, he can also view and, assuming he has editing rights, edit it. It will be hidden from all other users regardless of their login status.
  • Confidential
    Only site administrators and GEDCOM administrators can view and edit the information. It will be hidden from all other users regardless of their login status.


  Admin Owner Others
  R W R W R W
Do not change
  • R : can read
  • W : can edit
  • : depends on global privacy settings

Add a new multimedia item

PGV media


1 (Media file to upload) is the usual and most commonly used option and one that allows the greatest flexibility as you upload.

As to option #2 (Thumbnail to upload), some people prefer to create their own thumbnails, zeroing in on a face or feature, rather than letting the system simply create one of a particular size.
As to option #3, you can use an existing file, previously uploaded.

Actually, #3 (File name on server) used in combination with #1 lets you upload a file and have it called something else when it’s stored on the server.

—– old version, in 2011 —–

File name on server: Lv-I1234-001
Title 1955 +- Beijing Mom
Hebrew 妈妈和小姨
Note whatever


Adding multimedia files(MM):
The Hebrew field shows under Media on Personal Facts and Details.
Add a new Note
Will show on the Random Picture
IF the Title field is left empty, the Random Picture will display the content in the field of File name on server.
Chinese name goes into Note

  • Highlighted Image: Use this field to signal that this media item is the highlighted or primary item for the person it is attached to. The highlighted image is the one that will be used on charts and on the Individual page.
  • Always use main image: You should avoid setting the «Always use main image?» option to Yes. Long explaination.

How to name the MM: (Nov 5, 2011)

I use subdirectories to organize the media files by surname. In the case of families, it’s the husband’s surname.

To allow the use of subdirectories, you need to set the GEDCOM configuration properly. Set the “Multi-Media directory levels to keep” option to “1”. This is in the GEDCOM configuration, Multimedia section, General group, 3rd option from the top. This allows one sub-directory. If you need more (unlikely), you can increase this number. This does NOT mean that you MUST use subdirectories.

My media file names reflect the person they’re linked to, with a suffix. For example, I0001 (me, surname Kroll), would have media files “kroll/I0001-01.jpg”, “kroll/I0001-02.jpg”, “kroll/I0001-03.jpg”, and so on. My wife I0008, maiden name “FitzGerald”, would have media files “fitzgerald/I0008-01.jpg”, “fitzgerald/I0008-02.jpg”, “fitzgerald/I0008-03.jpg”, and so on.

My family is F0001, so media files would be “kroll/F0001-01.jpg”, “kroll/F0001-02.jpg”, “kroll/F0001-03.jpg”, and so on.

The use of a file name suffix means each person, etc. can have up to 99 media files. That should be enough.

What you should understand about MM.
There are many formats of MM. Although PhpGedView can handle most of them, there some things to consider.

  • Formats
    Pictures can be edited and saved in many formats. For example, .jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, etc. If the same original picture was used to create each of the formats, the viewed image will appear to be the same size no matter which format is used. However, the image files stored in the database will vary considerably in size. Generally, .jpg images are considered to the most efficient in terms of storage space.
  • Image size
    The larger the original image, the larger will be the resultant file’s size. The picture should fit on the screen without scrolling; the maximum width or height should not be more than the width or height of the screen. PhpGedView is designed for screens of 1024×768 pixels but not all of this space is available for viewing pictures; the picture’s size should be set accordingly. To reduce file sizes, smaller pictures are more desirable.
  • Resolution
    The resolution of a picture is usually measured in “dpi” (dots/inch), but this is valid only for printed pictures. When considering pictures shown on screen, the only correct way is to use total dots or pixels. When printed, the picture could have a resolution of 150 – 300 dpi or more depending on the printer. Screen resolutions are rarely better than 50 pixels per inch. If your picture will never be printed, you can safely lower its resolution (and consequently its file size) without affecting picture quality. If a low-resolution picture is printed with too great a magnification, its quality will suffer; it will have a grainy appearance.
  • Color depth
    Another way to keep a file small is to decrease the number of colors that you use. The number of colors can differ from pure black and white (two colors) to true colors (millions of colors) and anything in between. You can see that the more colors are used, the bigger the size of the files.

Why is it important to keep the file size small?

  • First of all: Our webspace is limited. The more large files there are, the more web space we need on the server. The more space we need, the higher our costs.
  • Bandwidth. The more data our server has to send to the remote location (your location), the more we have to pay. This is because the carrying capacity of the server’s connection to the Internet is limited, and the link has to be shared (and paid for) by all of the applications running on the server. PhpGedView is one of many applications that share the server. The cost is normally apportioned according to the amount of data each application sends and receives.
  • Download time. If you have large files, the user (also you) will have to wait long for the page to download from the server. Not everybody is blessed with a cable connection, broadband or DSL.

How to upload your MM
There are two ways to upload media to the site. If you have a lot of media items to upload you should contact the site administrator to discuss the best ways. If it has been enabled by your site administrator, you can use the Upload Media form under your MyGedView menu. You can also use the Upload option on the Multimedia form to upload media items.

PGV Syllabus 教学大纲 by Finlay 芬莱

Share Your Genealogy and Collaborate with Relatives Online Using PhpGedView

By John Finlay (

PhpGedView (PGV) is an internet based genealogy program that you can use to setup your own genealogy website, edit your data online, and collaborate with relatives working on the same family lines. PGV can do all of the things that a typical desktop genealogy program can do, but this runs over the internet.
While primarily designed for the internet, PGV can also be run as a desktop application. It imports and exports GEDCOM files, so it is compatible with other genealogy software. PGV can be downloaded for free from the website. The installation process is relatively simple. If you do not know how to install it by yourself you can find several hosting services that willingly install and configure PhpGedView software for you. Currently the software has been downloaded over 14,000 times. At least 26 of them support Hebrew.
Being an Open Source project, PhpGedView is the combined effort of developers, testers, and translators from all around the world. From early in its beginning stages we received requests from users to add support for the Jewish calendar. This was just the beginning and PGV now includes a full Hebrew translation, Jewish calendars, and the ability to specify dates, names, and titles in Hebrew and other alternate languages.

Traditional Genealogy Software Compared to PhpGedView

Figure 1 below from the “About PhpGedView” website shows how you traditionally share your genealogy on the internet. From your genealogy application you export HTML files which you then copy onto your web server. The web server makes your pages available on the internet for your family to view. Any updates have to come through you and then you have to start the process all over again.

Figure 2 shows how PhpGedView simplifies this process. You start by installing PGV on your web server and import your GEDCOM file into it. Then you and your family can view and edit the data online. The rest of the world views your data through privacy filters that you can configure.

PGV Viewing Features
There are charts, graphs, and lists in the program which provide you with many ways to work with and navigate your family tree. When you first come to a PGV website, you will see a welcome page. The welcome page features news items related to that tree, statistics, featured pictures, and favorite people in the GEDCOM. It is viewable by anyone who looks at your website.
At the top of every page is the menu bar which you will use to navigate the site. As you mouse over the Menu Icons, drop down menus will appear with links to different areas of the website. From the help icon, you can get help for any of the features on the page you are looking at. Notice that small help icons also appear next to certain features. Clicking on those will give you specific help for that feature.
The pedigree chart is a basic component of any genealogy record keeping. The PGV pedigree chart includes some special features like the magnification glass that shows you more details on each individual when you click on it. Anytime you click on an individual’s name, you will be taken to that person’s individual page.
The individual page has several tabs with different information about the person. Figure 3 shows an example of an individual page. The first tab has all the personal facts and details. The Close Relatives tab lists the person’s parents and siblings as well as all spouses and children. This is a convenient way to move around between family members. From this tab, you can also link to the family group page by clicking on the View Family Link. In the upper right hand corner of the individual page is another drop down menu which links you to charts and reports for that individual. (These menus are unlike the main menus which are always based from the root person chosen by the site administrator.)

Jewish Calendar Support
PhpGedView includes support for the Jewish calendar. One way we support it is by converting and displaying Gregorian dates in the Jewish calendar. There are four configuration options which enable this support: Jewish, Jewish and Gregorian, Hebrew, and Hebrew and Gregorian. The Jewish options will convert dates to the Jewish calendar displaying those using Romanized characters. The Hebrew options will display the dates using the Hebrew alphabet. Table 1 shows examples of converting dates using the four different options.

Gregorian Date Option Converted Date
01 JAN 1850 Jewish 17 Teves 5610 or 17 Tevet 5610
Jewish and Gregorian 1 January 1850 (17 Teves 5610)
Hebrew י”ז טבת תר”י
Hebrew and Gregorian י”ז טבת תר”י ‎ (1 January 1850)

Another way that users choose to support the Jewish calendar is by recording some facts twice. Once using the Gregorian calendar and once using the Jewish calendar. This will enable them to use the Jewish dates for yahrzeits. You can see an example using this method from the two birth records in figure 3 above.

Hebrew Support
PhpGedView also includes support for the Hebrew language, first by providing a Hebrew translation along with 25 other languages. This is helpful as you collaborate with relatives in other countries.
You can also add Hebrew names and titles to individuals, places, and sources. The alternate names will appear in search results and in lists and charts. Figure 3 also shows an example of a person with a Hebrew and a Romanized name. This is important when preserving the accuracy of historical documents. This same support can be extended to other character sets such as Cyrillic.

Online Editing Features
The online editing features of PGV are only available when you are logged in to a PGV website. Once you login, the site administrator may also allow you to view “private” information. Once you are logged in as a user with editing privileges, you will see additional editing features and menus on the screens. For simple and quick updates you should use the “Quick Update” page. The “Quick Update” screen may be helpful for your relatives who may not know very much about genealogy or working with computers.
Whenever you make changes online, they are not viewable by the public until they have been accepted. However, the editing users may view the old and the new data displayed together on the page. The old data is outlined in red, and the new information is outlined in blue. (On the example here, a note has been added to the birth information.) This gives a view of exactly what was changed.
Having editing features online has many benefits. First, no matter where you are or on what computer, you are always working on your main data. This means no more importing and matching and merging of data. Those interested in your research will always have access to the latest and greatest information. It also means that you have a much simplified way to collaborate with others working on the same family lines.

Collaboration Features
One of the main reasons to publish your genealogy information on the internet is to collaborate with others; to share your information with those who are also interested in and also working on the same lines. When you setup a new PGV site, you become the site administrator. As the administrator, you will be able add users to your website. This means that they can login to your website.
You have complete control over what each user can and cannot see and do on your website. A very limited user might only be able to see information on relatives within a certain distance, say second cousins. If you give them editing abilities, they will be able to edit anything they are able to see. Other users might be able to view all private information and edit anything of the information for a particular family tree.
As the site administrator you will see changes that other users make. You can then review the changes and either accept the changes or reject them. The changes are not viewable to the public until they are accepted. This allows you to maintain control over your data, but have a great way to simplify and enhance collaboration with others.

PhpGedView Homepage

Presenters’ Personal Websites, Finlay Family

Dick Eastman‘s Online Genealogy Newsletter review of PhpGedView

Sites Using PhpGedView

Users Guide

This Users Guide is intended to introduce novices to PhpGedView (or PGV for short) so they get comfortable using the program on a day-to-day or more occasional basis for their genealogical research. The Guide aims to provide information about how to use PhpGedView from the basics to some more advanced features. Most importantly, it serves to gently introduce the processes and steps to accomplish specific tasks. More a tutorial and overview than reference manual.

This guide is aimed at researchers and editors and not the casual public visitor who does not login nor the administrator who is managing more advanced capabilities. Some features of PhpGedView can only be modified by the site administrator and are detailed in the Administrators Guide. Online help via the many question mark symbols (insert symbol here yet) can aid the casual visitor as well as novice user to navigate the program.

We start with a Quick Start Guide and overview, followed by more detailed User Tutorials and procedures.

Quick Start Guide

Provided here is a brief overview to get the new PhpGedView user off to a flying start. At the top of each main heading is a link to more detail for that step. For those who are experienced with similar software, skip directly to the detail in the link. For users new to PGV and genealogy programs in general, read through the quick start completely before jumping down the rabbit hole of links. This to first get an overall feel of important points about the setup and flow. Once done, then go back through and hit the detailed pages to get a step by step introduction of how to do a specific task.

Starting a New Tree / GEDCOM

Main article: Starting a New Tree

What layman call a Family Tree is often termed a “GEDCOM” or Genealogical Database in PGV and to genealogists. Each Family Tree or database in a PGV installation is stored in its own GEDCOM file. A tree is possibly misleading and represents a myopic view of the relations of people over generations from one persons perspective. Like a banyon tree, as soon as there is a large enough group of people each with their own view, it is no longer easy to determine a starting trunk or source. It is a dense forest of interconnections. Hence database, web or mesh of individuals is a more correct term overall to represent what you are creating here. But the terms are used interchangeably in this guide and often the software to help ease the casual user into using the system.

You can either start from scratch or import work done previously in another program. Those with experience in some other genealogy program can often export the data from there into a GEDCOM file. Once available, the work can then be imported into PGV to start where you left off. Similarly, the PGV can be archived or exported to a GEDCOM file for loading into some other program elsewhere. Just remember that the GEDCOM file captures the facts but only hints at links to media. A user has to separately handle media files that may have been attached. Otherwise, if starting from scratch, the administrator will have to start a new GEDCOM to allow a new tree. Once available, you can begin entering new data on people, places and families. See the main article on how to perform these tasks.

Once you have a tree or database, you have to start adding or editing information. Information in PGV and GEDCOMs in general revolves around two major objects: Individuals (or People) and Families. Additional supporting objects are Place Hierarchy, Media, Sources and Repositories. To remind yourself of these objects later, look under the main Lists pull down menu in PGV.

Important secondary facts associated with most objects or facts are dates and places. Just realize there is a lot of freedom and flexibility in what you enter. But the more precise and following of conventions, the better the program can automatically process the data for you. So later on click through the links on these two important facts to learn these important conventions.

People and Families

Most genealogical software, as does PGV, strive to avoid islands of disconnected people in the database. Therefore, you are restricted to adding people who are related to people already in your database. Further, the connections between people are made inside and through a Family. People become related by how they relate inside a Family. Some term this the immediate family. In PGV, they are known as Close Relatives as there are usually two and sometimes more immediate families an Individual may be a part of.

Most people become part of two families in their lifetime. A child in their parents family and, when they marry and have children, as a parent of their own family. Philanders and others may create many more families, whether intentional or not. Note that the concept of a family is not the same as a household. In databases such as these, there is a historical focus on biological relationships with a more recent one of legal relationship through adoption or religious connection available as well. So unless adopted, a young child raised by a step-parent will never appear associated with or in the same family as the step-parent. Something to keep in mind when recording individuals, families and their relationships.

Adding/Editing People and Families

Main articles: Editing People and Editing Families

To add a new person, add a close relative to an existing person in the family tree. Generally one adds a spouse, father, mother, or child. A new person can be added in the Close Relatives tab on the Individuals screen, or from a Family screen by clicking to add a child, husband or wife. Adding a child, father, mother or spouse will create the new family if it did not exist already. This because the relationship has to be created when adding the new person and a relationship only exists within a family.

Adding a new spouse will create a new family with the two individuals as parents. A problem arises when trying to add a new sibling before the family exists. It takes a spousal or parent-child relationship to create the family. So even if nothing is known about either parent, one must create at least one parent first to add a sibling. In such cases, create the parent with “Unknown” as their first and last name as a place holder. Later on, the parent can be edited to correct information when known.

There is a distinction between adding someone NEW versus making a link to someone who already exists in the database. Most often you are adding new but occassionaly you may need to link to an existing person. The need arises when distant cousins marry or siblings in one family marry different siblings in another family.

See the main page on Editing People or Editing Families for specifics on each form to add a new or link to an existing Individual.

Rarely there is a need to add an unlinked person first, for example, if you are working on a separate branch that might eventually get connected. While possible, it is purposely inconvenient, requires Administrative privileges, and can only be done from inside the Administrator screen (see Add an unlinked person).

When you add a new Individual, you will have the chance to fill in a lot of information. Do not get too worried, just add what you know. You can always edit or add more information later.

To help with consistency and aid the user, some fields may be filled in for you. Like the last name of a child in a family, or the gender if you selected “Add a son”, “Add a daughter” or the like. But you can change any of the information even if pre-filled in. You can also leave blank any information that is not known.

Generally, a person is minimally defined by their name. Often the gender and maybe one basic event of their life is known as well. The three basic events are:

  • Birth
  • Marriage
  • Death

Note that to add a marriage, you have to add a spouse. The marriage even is actually stored with the family and not the individuals.

Having finished one person, you can proceed to the next person in the family. However, it is likely that you have more Facts and Events on the life of the person, like place of residence, religion, education, etc. You can add this data now as well or come back and do it later.

A Family is created automatically when you add a spouse, parent or child. Just as with an individual, you can add facts, events, and multimedia to the family. Such information will be displayed in the Family screen and with each spouse. A key fact with any family is the Marriage. Another might be a census giving the family members, occupation, and residence. Note that you can add a Marriage when in the Individuals screen. But that fact is actually stored with the family. Something to keep in mind when wondering why your edit disappeared after saving (because it appears staged as an edit waiting for approval with the family and not the individual).

Adding Sources and Repositories

Main article: Proper use of sources

As you become more accomplished, you will appreciate the concept of sources. Every fact in the database can be attributed with a link to where you got that information from along with the details in the source reference. The name, birth, death and so on are all facts that can be sourced from many places. If you can, get in the habit of ALWAYS adding a source to every fact, event or even name and Individual. Many a time you come back six months later, see something that now seems incorrect, but wonder where you got that notion from. Genealogy is more a constant refining process where you develop better and better educated guesses until you feel you have overwhelming evidence to support just one answer. This happens with every fact — the name, birth date, birth place and so on. So while it may appear as a tedious task, adding sources pays later.

You can add a source in the Sources tab on the individual display, and on virtually every fact and object editing screen – whether you are adding or editing new people, events, multimedia etc. The ‘Sources’ tab is appropriate for sources of a general nature relating to the person. If the source applies to the specific fact, event, image etc, it is better to note the source there. And it is just fine to create a use a source that simply identifies it as an attestation by a specific individual. At least you know where it came from in case you need to reconfirm later or decide which source wins out when conflicting.

Sources can be linked to a repository as well. So the source may be your family bible while the repository is a particular household or family that holds the bible. Or the source may be a particular book and the repository a library where you found the book. Get in the habit of listing the repository as well, even if your own collection. Like sources attached to facts, you will not remember later on where you had seen that important document you forgot to make a photo copy of. Leave a breadcrumb to find that trail later.

Adding Multimedia

You can illustrate your family data with a rich selection of Multimedia: images, voice and video, documents, webpages and other illustrative and documentary material. You can illustrate your sources with images of original documents, and include the complete works – stories, memoirs, biographies, as well as links to external sources and pages.

Enriching the viewing experience

After entering a number of people in the family, it is time to think of enriching the viewer’s experience. There are many items that make viewing the family tree more enjoyable:

  • Maps – GoogleMap module allows you to display locations for all events in person’s life.
  • News (the Welcome Page has forms for adding news about family etc.)
  • Message Forum – an add-on module for a on-line forum

The User Functions

Once you have some data in your family tree, you are ready to show them to the users. This section desribes the basic operations the user – either visitor or registered user – can do to find what she wants on the PGV page. The PGV page should be mostly self-explanatory, but there is a lot of functionality under the hood. The user will want to Navigate the tree to find the information she is interested in, to Search if navigation does not get her there, and possibly to Get data – either as a printed report/page to show somebody without a computer, or possibly in an electronic form.


PGV has a very powerful navigation functions, which allow you to move easily between different persons, families and branches of the Family Tree. You can start with a Person, and navigate using this person nearest relatives, a chart of descendants, a chart of ancestors or a chart that includes both. PGV also extensively uses Lists, which are “live”, allowing you to filter, sort, select and jump to another list.

The Charts and Lists appear twice on the user interface: in the Top menu, and repeated for the Individual. The Top menu Charts by default start with the designated root person of the family tree, configurable for each registered user. The Individual menu charts start with the individual. The Top menu lists are global, the Individual menu lists start with the individual or his family.

The genealogy data is often represented as a tree, but one can construct two very different trees, each with an individual at its root. The Ancestry tree shows the individual and two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents etc. The Descendancy tree shows an individual, all his/her children, all grandchildren etc.


Charts can be used as excellent navigation tools, with many options. Start with the Hourglass chart, which combines the Ancestry with Descendancy views, centered around you or the chosen individual. This gives you the nearest family neighborhood, with more people than the Close Relatives tab. The Pedigree chart extends towards the ancestors, and is similar to the Ancestry chart except for the layout. The Descendancy chart has the same layout as Ancestry but extends towards individual’s descendants. The Family Book chart displays descendant families, each arranged in an Hourglass layout. You can achieve similar effect of displaying separate families in the Ancestry and Descendancy charts by selecting the “Booklet” option. The Relationshipchart shows all individuals on the way between two individuals; The Relationship charts from the individual to the user favorites are pre-defined.

Example sub-menu

All those standard charts have common navigation tools. The Zoom Zoom.png icon expands the individual box, showing his/her life details. The Link to charts Link to charts.png icon shows a sub-menu of various charts for the individual and related persons, and the Arrow Arrow.png pointing in different directions moves the display in the direction indicated, and in some contexts also displays a submenu if the destination is ambiguous. A plus or minus sign PlusMinus.png expands or contract parts of the tree.

Other diagrams present the data in different graphic formats. The Circle diagram gives a snapshot of several generations of ancestors, with individual in the center. The Compact chart crams the individual and his/her ancestors up to great great grandparents (with optional images) in one compact page. There are two diagrams showing people and events as they develop in time. The Timeline chart shows all events of one (or more) individuals on a timeline. The Lifespan chart compares multiple individuals, with their events shown with small markers. Once selected, you can switch between those two views. In each diagram you can also navigate to the individual by clicking his/her name.

A summary of available charts:

  • Ancestry tree
  • Descendancy tree
  • Combined Ancestry and Descendancy tree
  • Single line joining two individuals
  • Time span


Lists, like charts, can also be used as live navigation tools. Lists, especially lists of people and families, show up in multiple locations, and almost all lists are connected. For example, viewing a list of people, you can click on the place name, which will bring you to the place hierarchy display with people and families related to this place; if you click at the date, you will be brought to the anniversary calendar with lists of events that occurred on this date (month, year, etc.). all list have column headers that can be clicked to sort the rows alphabetically; the people list have additional options to sort by first name, and to add parents.

People and families

Lists of people and families are displayed in many places: when the “Family List” and “Individual List” menu items are selected; as a result of a search; in the “On This Day” and “Upcoming Events” boxes; as lists of people and families linked to a particular Source or Media object; as lists of people and families related to the selected Place location etc. People lists share the header that allows you to filter and select people based on a range of criteria:

Indi List.png
Fam List.png



Persons whose gender is unknown
Alive in specified year
Alive (individual or both)
Dead (individual or both)
People born more than 100 years ago
People born within last 100 years
People who died over 100 years ago
People who died within last 100 years
Couples both alive
Couples where only male is alive
Couples where only female is alive
Couples where both partners are deceased
Couples with unknown marriage date
Divorced couples
Roots: people who have no parents recorded in the database (both if family)
Leaves: people who are alive and have no children recorded in the database

Using any one of those filters you can narrow the list of choices. Clicking the person or family will navigate to this person (family) display. Selecting the place or date will bring the Place Hierarchy or Anniversary lists.

Place Hierarchy

If places in your GEDCOM are structured (see Place data for details), the Place Hierarchy list will display the list of top level place elements. They typically should be country names, although in some not-so-distant future they could be “Earth”, “Moon”, “Mars” etc. When you click on any such element, you will be presented with a list of its sub-elements, for example States if the country was US. The sub-list will be accompanied by a map, if available. You can continue to lower level sub-units (Counties, etc.), or select “View all records found in this place”. You will eventually see a list of people and families. Birth, Death and Marriage places are listed, but the name will show in this list if the place is mentioned with any event.

As always, clicking the person/family opens this person/family screen, clicking the place opens another another list of all people/families associated with this place etc.


The MultiMedia List menu item will display the list of Media Objects. You can use the “Filter” function to search for media that have the selected phrase in the title. The Objects returned usually include thumbnail, and also a list of people/families it is associated with. You can navagate to any of them by clicking the name.

Sources and Repositories

The Source List and Repository List display the sources and repositories found in your Gedcom respectively. They do not currently have any filtering tools. If you click on a source, you will be brought to the source screen, with its details and a list of people for which this source is cited. If you click on a repository, you will see a the depository details and a list of sources in this repository.


The Anniversary Calendar will display the anniversaries occuring on a specific day, month or year. It will show lists of people and families, and for each the events that match the selection criteria. The list will show events (selectable in the “Show events” option) and also indicate, which anniversary it is, relative to the selected year (which may not be the current year). Only “positive” anniversaries are shown, i.e. the screen will only show events that occurred before (or in) the selected year,. For example if your anniversary date is March 1780, and you are displaying months, events that occurred in all Marches before 1780 will be shown.



On this Day ..



You can select Day, Month or Year from the menu, or switch using the “View Day”, “View Month” and “View Year” options on the screen.

  • View Day will display events that occurred this day of this month in any year.
  • View Month will display events that occurred any day of this month in any year.
  • View Year will display events that occurred any day of any month in this year.

For example, if you want to find all events that occurred on February 29, you need to first select a leap year (latest leap year if you want all events, for example 2008), then click on February and finally on the 29th.

The screen has other useful functionality. You can select all people, living people or limit the range to the last 100 years (the “Show” option). You can select the gender (all, men, women) and select the events that are to be shown (All, Births, Deaths and Marriages and a selection from more common events).

You can also select different calendars. The events that occurred on a specific date may have an anniversary on different dates in the Julian, Jewish or Islamic calendars. Due to different calendar rules, the determination of the anniversary may only be approximate (typically the difference does not exceed one day).

As with all lists, clicking on person’s name (or family names) opens this person or family screen. Conversely, clicking on a date, month or year in any other lists brings this anniversary calendar focused on the selected date, month or year.

Close relatives

When you click the “Close relatives” tab on the individual display, you will switched to a screen showing the individual’s family in which he or she is a child, and the family in which he or she is a spouse. You can navigate to parents and siblings, as well as to the families listed on this display.


Main article: Search

PGV has a powerful search facility, which can be accessed for a quick search trough a Search box, and via the Search menu. The Search box does the same search as the General Search item in the Search menu, but with all Search for options and all Databases selected.


The General Search allows you to search for almost anything – names, places, dates, fragments of text, etc. There are some caveats – dates must be entered in their English abbreviated form (e.g. 12 Jan 1817) and you can use regular expressions if you know how. The search is not case sensitive, and wildcards are assumed – the search term will be found no matter what precedes or follows it. The options are:

Search For
You can check one or more of the following

  • Individual Names. Actually this should say Individuals – this option searches the Individual Records for the text string you entered
  • Family Names. As above, it searches Family Records fro the search string
  • Sources – will search Sources for the term you specified
Exclude Filter
Excludes some non-genealogical data by default, you can turn it off.
Includes records of associates in the search.
Database to search in
select the Gedcom to search for, if there is more than one.


If your database has mostly English names, the General seach works well enough. For non-English families, there are language and culture based issues.Some examples are:

Letters with diacriticals
The General search is exact, i.e. it will not return a result if you substitute Muller or Mueller for Müller, or Lodz for Łódź.
In many languges names undergo declension depending on gender, (e.g. the daughter of Kowalski is Kowalska: looking for Kowalski misses all his daughters).

All such issues cause misses in search results. The best remedy is to use the Soundex Search with Daitch-Mokotoff type, as described below.


Soundex should return search results even if the spelling is not exact. You can use Basic type, but the Daitch-Mokotoff is more efficient in finding close matches, and only this type works for non-English search terms. Of course, the Soundex search may return more results than needed, but it is more likely to find what are you looking for. The search terms can be entered as Given name, Last name, or Place, and modified by selecting a Year.

Get data

In addition to viewing the Family Tree on thew ebpage, you may need to extract some data to work on them off-line. Typically this would include the printed or printable form to be distributed on paper or included in a family book or other publication, and raw data for further manipulation, creating tables or extracts or importing to other programs.

Printable data

You can print any PGV page, with the help of an “Printer friendly version” at the bottom of each page; there is also a menu item called “Reports”, devoted to generation of reports in printable form.


You can select from an array of reports in the Reports menu. For each report you have some options to select, and they can be delivered as HTML (i.e. on the webpage) or as a downloadable pdf file (you need a pdf reader to open the file). You can select family tree reports (Individual, Family, Descendants, Ancestors, etc.), some genealogical information information lists (Marriages, Deaths, Births etc.), as well as other lists like recent changes or address lists.

You can create your own report to be included in the menu. See also the list of XML report templates you can use.

Please note that the Address reports currently show only addresses attached to the individual and family records, not addresses in the Residence facts.


Often a better option to produce a printable version of some section of the family tree is to use the Charts menu. You can tune up your chart using its options, and then select the “Printer friendly version” at the bottom of the page to clean up the display. You can print the result or use a pdf printer driver (for example Open Source PDF Creator) to create the pdf file.

Electronic form

If you have Administrator privileges, you can download the complete Gedcom together with the media. Other user categories can use the Family Clippings Cart to pack into a file a selection of data they can access, if this option is enabled by the administrator.

Family Tree Clippings

Anytime you view an individual, a family or a source, in the Other menu you can access an Add to Clippings Cart submenu. It will present you with a list of options to add just this item or expand the selection by adding other relations or, in case of sources, records of all people and families quoting this source. You can also reach the Clippings cart from the main menu.

You can keep adding items to your cart until you are ready – the content of the cart will be preserved between sessions. The cart will show the list of items, you can also remove unwanted ones. When you are ready, you can download the file which will contain a gedcom with all selected items, plus media files if you selected this option

The User Interface

PhpGedView is a feature rich piece of geneological software and as such there is a plethora of information that can be displayed and edited at any one time, thus resulting in a complex but reasonably intuitive user interface. This section aims to help orientate you by describing the general layout and design of the interface.

When visiting a PhpGedView powered website for the first time you will see the Welcome Page. This page should contain some form of introduction to the website and possibly some basic geneological information. If however, you are a registered user and are logged in, you will see the MyGedView Portal page instead.

Menu Bar

Main article: Menu Bar

Which ever page you visit you will always see and have access to the Menu Bar. Depending on whether you are logged in or not and what modules the site administrator has installed, will determine what menu items are available. In addition, the currently selected theme may determine the “style” of the icons shown.

Editing/Entering Data

Admin approval

Your editing status depends on the Administrator policy, and may vary depending on installation. Typically you can edit your own data, and need editing provileges to edit others.

The changes you make are not immediately visible to other users. They are marked on the page as changes, pending approval by the Administrator. There are several access levels for people that can approve others’ edits. This process of displaying pending changes is not yet perfect, and some entites are not visible: for example creating a new Source does not display it, and if you did not happen to write down the source ID, you must wait for approval in order to proceed.

If you have configured your site with the PENDING CHANGES block, after any changes are made, an email is sent to admin informing him/her of edits to the database. The email is not repeated until 24 hours passes (lest each editing session would create a spam). The administrator approval process is described in a separate article, see Accept / Reject Changes.

Gedcom data structure

Main article: Gedcom data structure

The data model as well as file storage in PGV is based on GEDCOM standard. There are many resources detailing the structure, the meaning of Gedcom Tags and usage, including the draft Gedcom standard that is the base of PGV model. PGV is very flexible in using the model, and allows files with significant departures from the model to be processed. The verification procedure can check your Gedcom file for strict and lax conformance with Gedcom standard. It is recomended that you review the basics of Gedcom data structure.

Basic rules

In working with genealogy data you must remember to always verify, document, write down the sources. Memory is fragile, and years later you will not know if the error was in original source or just sloppy data entry. Two articles on this topic are available here, Evaluating Evidence and Standards For Sound Genealogical Research, with many references to external sources. Before starting entering large amounts of data, review the most basic rules for entering dates, places, sources and other common elements:

Common Elements

Main article: Common Data Elements

In entering Events and Facts you fill data fields, some of which are the common to most entries. In describing and Event, Date and Place are considered most important, and have their special rules for entering data: see the articles on Dates and Places. Other entries that you will frequently encounter are Type, Address, Associate, Source Citation, Restriction, Agency and Note. All those elements are useful and add valuable structure to the data, you should take advantage of them if possible.


Main articles: Editing People and Editing Families

In the heart of genealogy are people and their pedigree. Pedigree, according to Webster (Middle English pedegru, from Anglo-French pé de grue, literally, crane’s foot; from the shape made by the lines of a genealogical chart) is defined as an ancestral line. Adding, modifying and deleting people and their links in families creating the ancestral lines is described in two main articles.

Also at the heart of genealogy are the family relationships between people. Whereas information about a specific person is contained in his individual record, relationships are handled by family (FAM) records. FAM records describe one family: usually husband, wife, and children. An individual record typically contains a FAMC pointer to the FAM record where the person is a child, and a FAMS pointer to the family where that person is a husband or wife. With these two fundamental relationships, all other relationships are derived.

Facts and Events

Main article: Facts and Events

To give life to people and famiy data in your database, you add facts and events. The terminology is a little confused; Gedcom standard talks about Events like Birth, Baptism, Graduation, etc. with a generic “Event”, and about Attributes sometimes called Facts like Education, Occupation or Residence with a generic “Fact”. The conceptual difference is that Events occur at a definite point in time (the point may extend as far as a day), while Facts are either extended in time (e.g Education), or don’t have a specific time attached to them (e.g Number of Children). PGV does not treat the Facts and Events differently, and allows you to add Facts and Events to an individual or family by selecting from a list of possibilities. The Administator can customize this list, adding and removing both individual and family entries, as well as „Quick Add’” items available with a single click. If you don’t see here what you need, ask the administrator to add it.

Editing raw Gedcom record

Each top level record (individual, family, object, source and repository) has its own Gedcom fragment that you can view and edit. In a perfect world, all editing should be possible trough user interface, but who has seen perfect software? Also, imported Gedcom may contain errors or non-standard tags that PGV does not understand, and errors could also be introduced by PGV as well. Of course this should not happen, but who has seen software completely free from bugs?

The Gedcom record has a simple structure, each line starting with a number that indicates the level: after a tag with level 1, subsequent tag level 2 indicates that it is subordinate to the level one tag. For example if the event is Birth (1 BIRT), Date (2 DAT) applies to Birth, Time (3 TIME) applies to Date, and Place (2 PLAC) applies to Birth:

2 DATE 11 NOV 1825
3 TIME 23:55
2 PLAC Greenwood...

The tags are always 3 or 4 capital letters, and are separated by space from level number and from subsequent value of the tag (if any). If a tag is missing, is in the wrong place, or the user interface does not supply the value you seek, you can correct it by editing the Gedcom fragment. For example, if the Media Object you are adding is a painting, and the user interface offers only photoas the type of the file (no photography before 1827 or so :-(, you can look at the raw Gedcom fragment:

0 @M897@ OBJE
1 FILE media/Aunt_Matilda.jpg
3 TYPE photo

and change the line 3 TYPE photo to 3 TYPE painting.


Main article: Privacy

As a user you are possibly concerned with privacy. While it is a responsibility of an Administrator to set the privacy policies, it is usefull to know, what options are avilable. You may wonder whether your personal data will be visible to everybody, and may also encounter restrictions on what you can see. PGV has very detailed privacy rules, which can restrict viewing and /or editing of specific event types, specific events, selected people, people not related to you or only distantly related etc.


Research Assistant

Main article: Research Assistant

Research Assistant is an add-on providing a number of tools and support for a collaborative genealogical research. It allows you to attach a task to a person being researched, assign a task to a used, organize tasks in folders, track task progress etc. It has heuristic tools for doing research (mostly, but not exclusively for the US -based events) and tools to auto-generate tasks. Read the Research Assistant tutorial for more details.