GED2HTML: Eliding Information about Living Individuals

You may wish to arrange that information in your GEDCOM about living individuals not appear in the HTML output. There are two ways you can accomplish this with GED2HTML: a manual method and an automatic method. Under either of these methods, the standard output program will suppress all information about a living individual except for the name and an explanatory note. If different behavior (more or less information) is desired for living individuals, this can be achieved by modifying the output program.

Manual Method

Either edit your GEDCOM directly using a text editor, or use your favorite genealogy program to add a note of the following form to the 0 INDI records for each living individual: 1 NOTE !LIVING This individual is still living. The note has the form of an ordinary NOTE field, and the text following the !LIVING is up to you to choose. You may use CONT or CONC to continue the line if you wish. If you are using a genealogy program to enter the note, you should skip the 1 NOTE and begin with !LIVING.

When GED2HTML sees a note of this form in the information about an individual, it sets a special "living" flag for that individual. The "living" flag can be accessed in the output program by applying the qualifier "living" to the individual. When the standard output program encounters an individual for which the "living" flag is set, it outputs only the name of the individual and the note that begins with the !LIVING string. No other information about the individual is output. The name of the individual will appear in the index of persons, but it will not appear in the GENDEX.txt file.

Automatic Method

If you don't want to manually flag each living individual in your GEDCOM, you can ask GED2HTML to decide for itself whether an individual should be regarded as living. To enable this option, you should set the option variable LIVING_CUTOFF_YEAR to an integer value; for example, 1900. Under Windows, this would be done by putting -D LIVING_CUTOFF_YEAR=1900 in the "Additional Options" field of the GED2HTML dialog box. Under Unix, you would add the above to the command line when invoking GED2HTML. See here for more details on variables and the output interpreter.

If you have set LIVING_CUTOFF_YEAR to a nonzero value, then each time GED2HTML reads an individual from your GEDCOM file, it performs the following steps:

  1. If the individual has already been flagged as living, by the presence of a "!LIVING" note inserted manually, then nothing else special is done.

  2. If the individual has either a birth or a christening date, and if the year of birth or christening is greater than or equal to the value of LIVING_CUTOFF_YEAR, then the individual is automatically flagged as living. The living flag can be accessed from the output interpreter by applying the qualifier "living" to the individual, just as in the manual method. The text of the explanatory note can be changed by assigning a string value to the variable LIVING_NOTE.

If LIVING_CUTOFF_YEAR has been set, and an individual was born or christened after the specified year, then the default behavior of GED2HTML is to assume the individual is living and that information about that individual should be suppressed. The default is set this way because in some countries (France, for example), is against the law to distribute information about persons born too recently, whether or not they are already dead. If you want the program to output information about recently born individuals if they are known to be dead, then explicitly setting the variable LIVING_IGNORE_DEATH to 0 (the default value is 1) will cause GED2HTML to assume that an individual is dead if there is any death or burial information for that individual.

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Copyright © 1995-2000 Eugene W. Stark. All rights reserved.