Using Filters

When viewing a large GEDCOM whose contents are unfamiliar, it can be difficult to identify particular individuals or families of interest to be displayed. To help with this, GEDCOM Viewer provides a facility for applying filters to the GEDCOM being viewed. Filters are used to temporarily "hide" GEDCOM records that do not have desired characteristics, leaving only the records that do have these characteristics to be displayed. The following kinds of filters are currently implemented:

To use filters, you must first have loaded a GEDCOM to be displayed. Filters are applied and unapplied using the Filters menu. This menu has one item for each of the types of filters. To apply one of the types of filters, select the corresponding menu item. Once a particular type of filter has been applied, a check mark will appear in the menu next to that type of filter. The filter can be removed by selecting that menu item again. Each type of filter can be applied and removed independently of the other types. Specific instructions on how to use each of the four types of filters are given below.

Ancestor and Descendant Filters

To apply an ancestor or descendant filter, it is first necessary to select the individual or family to be used as the "root" of the filter. Then, select the Ancestor or Descendant item from the Filters menu. A dialog will appear that describes the filter to be applied and may give you the option of specifying some additional parameters. Click on Add Filter to apply the filter. After a brief time required to compute the results of filtering, the information displayed in the various GEDCOM Viewer windows will change to reflect the application of the filter. To remove the filter, re-select the same menu item.

Surname Filter

The procedure for applying a surname filter is essentially the same as for the ancestor and descendant filters, except that you must first select an individual having the surname you want to match. Then, select the Surname item from the Filters menu. Click Add Filter in the dialog that appears to apply the filter. To remove the filter, re-select the same menu item.

Event Filter

The event filter is somewhat more complex than the other kinds of filters. The basic idea is to use characteristics of individual and family events (e.g. birth, marriage, death) to determine which individuals and families are to be shown. In brief, an individual or family directly matches an event filter (and is shown) if there is an associated event that has the specified characteristics. In addition, an individual indirectly matches the filter (and is shown) if that individual is a spouse or child in a family that directly matches, and a family indirectly matches if that family contains as a spouse or child an individual that directly matches. Currently, events can be selected on the basis of their type, place, and date. So, for example, you could use an event filter to restrict the display to all individuals born in a place matching "France" having a birth event between two specified dates.

When using the Event item in the Filters menu, it is not necessary to have first selected any particular individual or family. When you select the Event item, a dialog will appear to permit you to specify the desired criteria (event type, place, and date range) for matching. Entering a string into the place name field will restrict matches to those events whose place name has a component that contains the string. If you check the "exact match required" checkbox, then the place name will only match if it has a component that equals the specified string. The matching is not case-sensitive.

A date can be entered into one or both of the "not earlier than" or "not later than" fields. Enter dates in the format indicated by the example date. In addition, there are two checkboxes that modify the way approximate dates in the GEDCOM are treated. If these boxes are left unchecked, then events with approximate dates can match the filter, and "open-ended" date ranges (e.g. "before 1700") are treated literally. This can sometimes produce some strange results. For example, if a person was born in 1650 and died "before 1700", then the death event will match the specification "not earlier than 1600 and not later than 1601". To avoid this, there are checkboxes that can be selected to modify the treatment of approximate dates. One checkbox can be selected to cause open-ended date ranges to be treated as if they were exact dates. The other checkbox prevents any approximate dates at all from matching the filter.

Once the desired matching criteria have been selected, clicking on Add Filter will apply the event filter, just as for the other types of filters. To remove the filter, re-select the Event menu item.