One of the first features I put into Behold was the AutoOrganize function. That was in Version 0.90.1 alpha, way back in 2005. I thought it was a great feature. It went through all the people, determined how many generations their tree had on their father’s and mother’s side, and took the parents of the person with the best combination to be the person who was central to the genealogy.
But Tamura Jones was patient with me. And for maybe the third time in three years, he mentioned again that AutoOrganize was not picking the logical person. That person should be the first person in the file.
Well, I was under the assumption that many Genealogy programs do not necessarily organize or store their INDI (individual) records in the order they are entered. So I expected that there would be many files where the first person was not the correct one. So I took a look … and I was surprised. I looked in several dozen test GEDCOMs produced by many different programs, and I couldn’t find one where the first person would not be a logical person to use as the main person. But Behold’s AutoOrganize only came up with that person 80% of the time, often deciding on their parents or grandparents or someone else.
But I was missing the simple fact that most people enter themselves first. And most (all?) genealogy software puts the first entry first into the GEDCOM file.
I thought my AutoOrganize was a great function. I wondered why no other programs had something like it. Now I know.
If by some chance the first person is not the best person to use, Behold’s allows you to easily add other people to the families list and organize around them instead. Then this info can be saved to a Behold file to remember it. So the few times that might happen, it would be simple to remedy.
I’ve decided I’m going to remove my AutoOrganize code and simply use the first person in the file and spouses as the primary people. I’ll still need to keep the generation counting, because that’s what I use to determine loops where one person is their own ancestor, but it still should simplify the input within Behold somewhat and be better in the long run.
I don’t mind taking something out of Behold if it doesn’t add a useful function. If you know of anything that AutoOrganize IS doing for you that picking the first person wouldn’t, please let me know fast before I start taking it out. If I don’t hear from anyone, It’ll be gone in the next beta release.