FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Who came up with the idea for this app?
A. The original design and idea for this app is thanks to Mags Gaulden, WikiTree guru. Greg Clarke has programmed it and (hopefully) turned her vision into a reality.
Q. What's the primary purpose of this app?
A. The primary purpose of this app is to generate a list of Surnames related to a person's ancestors. This list can then be shared with relatives and family researchers, and posted on a WikiTree Profile page or Free Space page.
Q. How does it determine which surnames to list?
A. You specify a number of generations, and the app finds all the ancestors back to that level in your tree. Those are the surnames that will be listed.
Q. Does it go any further back in time than that?
A. Once it reaches the desired generation, it follow each of those specific surnames back in time as far as WikiTree will go with a direct ancestor (of the same surname). Thus, for each of those core surnames, the app will find the Earliest Known Ancestor (EKA) who bore that surname.
Q. How is the EKA (Earliest Known Ancestor) shared?
A. In the Compact version of the Surnames List, the EKA link is embedded in the Surname - you can click on the surname, and the link will take you that EKA's profile page.
Q. What is the Detailed Surnames List?
A. Whereas the Compact List is just the list of surnames (with embedded links to the EKAs), the Detailed List gives a larger picture of each surname. For each surname it gives the name of the First Person in the Family Tree that bore that surname, and their birth date and location, as well as the EKA and their birth date and location, as those facts are listed on WikiTree.
Q. What are the funny symbols in the Detailed Surnames List?
A1. 𐂷 is a link to the First Person's pedigree chart, which will show their family tree going back in time.
A2. ⇟ is a link to the EKA's Descendant List, which will show their descendants going forward in time.
Q. What happens if you click on a Surname in the Detailed Surnames List?
A. In the Detailed List, clicking on the surname will show a window on the screen with the full lineage of that surname, from First Person to EKA, with names, and birth dates & locations. (In the Compact List, clicking on the surname opened up the Profile of the EKA. )
Q. Wait a second ... the numbering is off? I'm confused ...
A. Ah ... good eyes! The first version of this app used a slightly different numbering system. Now, in this current version, I have synced the numbering system so that it works exactly the same as with the Fan Chart app. Both apps now count the Primary Person as Generation # 1. Your parents are at Generation #2, grandparents at Generation # 3, and so on. This consistency will make it easier to go back and forth from one app to the other, and compare the same set of names.
Q. Are there other options for formatting the Surnames?
A. You can choose to have all of your surnames listed in black and white
- OR - colour coded in 2 ways by Paternal and Maternal ancestors
- OR - colour coded in 4 ways, using a unique colour for the ancestors of the Paternal Grandfather , Paternal Grandmother , Maternal Grandfather , and Maternal Grandmother.
As well, for any coloured list, there is an additional option to break up the sorting by colour. With that option, for example, all the Paternal ancestors would be listed first in a group (alphabetically), followed by a blank line then the Maternal ancestors listed.
Q. What is that "Sort by Generations" button about?
A. An alternate way to look at surnames that was requested - to list the surnames as they appear at each generation. For each generation, the surnames from that generation only are listed. For many surnames, you'll see them listed over and over again. You'll also see them morph as you go back in time.
Q. What are those checkboxes about when I click "Sort by Generations" ?
A. Since this list shows every ancestor, you can choose to show the unique Ahnentafel numbers associated with each ancestor. Also, there is the option to show only the NEW surnames that appear as you go back each generation. There is also the option to sub-sort the list by colour, if you have also chosen the 2 colours or 4 colours option.
Q. What is the 'Split Ahntntafel ordering ..' input box for in "Sort by Generation" mode ?
A. At each generation, the names are sorted using either Ahnentafel ordering, or sorted Alphabetically. This input box will determine when it changes from one sorting routine to the other. By default, the early generations use the Ahnentafel ordering, which is how you see the surnames as you go around a ring of a Fan Chart, for example, progressing from the Father's Father's line around to the Mother's Mother's line. With a low number of names in a generation, it's easy to find a name in that list, while simultaneously showing you how they fit into the tree. However, after a certain point, the number of names are too many to easily scan, and the app switches to alphabetical sorting, which makes it easier to find a surname. By changing the value in the input box, you can adjust where that split or switch over takes place. If you prefer one system exclusively, you can change the number to 0 so that ALL the surnames are listed alphabetically - OR - change it to 99 (or any number greater than the number of generations you entered), and the names will continue to be listed in Ahnentafel order.
Q. What happens if I click on names in "Sort by Generation" mode ?
A. If you are viewing the Compact Surname List, clicking on the Surname will take you to that specific Ancestor's profile page. In the Detailed Surname List, the same thing is accomplished by clicking on the First Name link. Similar to the other Detailed Surname Lists, clicking on a Surname will give you a Lineage report from the First Ancestor to EKA with that surname. Also, in the Detailed Surname List, there are the special and symbols that will show the Pedigree and Descendants List for that ancestor.
Q. At the bottom of the list, I notice a note about "Manual Surname Mode" - does that mean there is an "Automatic" mode?
A. I have introduced the option to go through your ancestors using a "Manual Surname Mode". The default is always "Automatic Surname Mode". In AUTOMATIC mode, the app follows each surname up through the Father's line. The one exception, in Automatic Mode, is if the Father's surname is NOT the same as the Child's surname, but the Mother's surname is an exact match - then - for that generation - it follows up through the Mother. (And the Father's surname, which was different, will start a new surname search.)
Q. So, what does "Manual Surname Mode" do then?
A. In "Manual Surname Mode", if the Father's surname is identical to the Child's surname, the app follows that line up. However, if the Father's surname is NOT IDENTICAL to the Child's surname, then a dialog will popup and you will have to manually indicate whether the app should follow this surname up through the Father's line, or, up through the Mother's line - OR - you can choose Neither - in which case it will start two new surname lines of research.
Q. Why the "Manual Surname Mode" ? This seems complicated ...
A. You're right, it is a bit, and - fair warning here - can be time-consuming, and possibly annoying since most of the decisions will likely be - to pick the Father - and there is just a slight variation in name spelling causing the popup. HOWEVER, for some family trees, this is the only way to actually get an accurate surname report. There are too many variables - adoptions / last names at birth = mother's maiden name because the couple wasn't married yet / NPE'S. It's not possible to program for all those different possibilities - so - this is my way of making it possible, where you know what's best for your family. For the MAJORITY of people, though, the Automatic Surname Mode will work just fine. This Manual method is to help out those with the exceptions that break it.
Q. I'd like something like this, but with more people listed, with some additional information, maybe organized differently ..
A. Sounds cool, but, maybe you want to check out another app. There is an existing Ancestor List on WikiTree, as well as the excellent Ancestor Explorer app by Chase Ashley, the Profile Explorer app by Ian Beacall, or the BioCheck app by Kay Knight, or even the Fan Chart by the same author as this app. Maybe one of these will work for you?
Q. It takes a long time to generate some of these surname lists .. I like the changing messages!
A. Thanks. That's not so much a question as a compliment - but I'll take it! If you'd like to contribute your own suggestion(s) of quippy catch-phrases, one-liners, waiting messages, ec.. to add to the list, feel free to contact Greg Clarke, the app developer.
If you have other questions you'd like answered, please contact the author!