What Behold Will Do For You

I really tried hard to find a program that I'd be happy with to record my genealogy. But they all were basically the same. They made you input your data via forms, and then you had to generate reports to see some (why not all?) of the data.

So here is a list of the problems we as genealogists need solved, the solutions to these problems that I've incorporated into Behold, and how you will benefit from them. I hope you like the descriptions this way.

1. The Everything Report

Problem: You want a concise, organized compilation of everything and everybody in your family information file.

Solution: The Everything Report is the central focus of Behold, and Behold was built around it. This report puts all your data in front of you where you can see it in a clear and organized manner. Its many useful index views and extensive use of hyperlinks and modern navigational tools make it easy to find the data you want.

The important thing is to be able to present your data so you can make the most use of it. Too often in genealogy programs, the reports are an afterthought, and only the "standard" ancestor, descendant, and family group reports are available.

Benefits: Your report is always there. Nothing is hidden. Save time and frustration in not having to run different reports to find what you need. In future versions (2.0) you'll edit right on the report, making data entry easy and fast.

2. Include Everyone

Problem: You have included families in your family file that are not directly related to you. They may be related through marriage or may be possible connections that you are tracking. Unfortunately, your program ignores these people when it comes to viewing information or printing reports.

Solution: Behold includes everyone. It organizes separate family groups into their own sections, and provides hyperlinks between the same people in different sections (in case cousins marry cousins, etc.). It also lets you specify exactly how the families should be organized and who you want the primary people in each group to be. But often, the default organization Behold does may be good enough for you.

Benefits: Getting Everyone in one report means you only need one report. You'll see clearly how all your family is related.

3. See All Your Notes, With No Size Restrictions

Problem: You have a lot of notes entered with your data. But how do you see them all?

Solution: Behold's lists all notes, no matter how large, just where you would expect to find them. You'll never again have to search for the right report to display your notes.

Benefits: Now you'll want to add more notes that will further enhance your family research.

4. Display What You Want the Way You Want

Problem: Want to show everything? Or maybe you want to hide some data. What if some of the events should be identified differently - maybe with another language? This usually isn't simple to do.

Solution: Behold's default Everything Report may be good enough for you. Or you can easily customize how each event and every GEDCOM tag is displayed. Then simply pick which ones you do or don't want to display. Save your Organize settings into Behold files and reapply them at any time to any set of data.

Benefits: Do it your way.

5. Find Errors Fast

Problem: You've entered a lot of information about your family. You know you've made some mistakes. But there's no way to find them easily.

Solution: Behold's Everything Report lets you to scan all of your data quickly. Mistakes will just pop out at you: speeelllling errors; bad dates; inconsistent place names; the right info for the wrong person. You'll probably find many mistakes in your data the very first time you look at the Everything Report. Then after you fix them, Behold's Everything Report will be very useful to help keep your data clean and error-free.

Benefits: It feels good to get rid of errors - especially ones you've had in your data for years.

6. Compact Printouts

Problem: You want to print lots of family information without using hundreds or thousands of pages of paper.

Solution: Behold prints all or part of its Everything Report in an extremely compact yet easy-to-read and easier-to-use format with minimal repetition of data. It is designed so that all your information about 10,000 people can be put into a binder that you can take with you whenever you go to do research. Having a paper copy as a backup or to give to someone is not a bad idea either.

Benefits: Paper is still king. Have you ever tried to print 3000 family sheets one-by-one so that you can get all your data printed? Printing one report is effortless, the indexes make it easy to find everything, and you won't have to go onto the computer everytime you need to look something up.

7. Organize Families Your Way

Problem: You want to send a report to a relative, or are meeting relatives on one side of your family. You want a report that only includes people they are related to.

Solution: Behold makes this easy to do. You can choose, group, and order the families however you want just by picking the individuals of interest. Within families, Behold can display people by in Ancestral Order (top-down) or Ahnentafel order (bottom-up). Instantly include or exclude families related through marriage. Leave out everyone else, or include them - it is your choice. Save your various family groupings each into its own Behold files and you can recall them easily any time you want them.

... But it's Behold's Instant Organize function that really sets it apart. Pick any person, press the Instant Organize button, and there it is - the report customized for that one person. If you want, you can easily make personalized reports for everyone in your family. Choose between starting at the person and work your way up to each ancestor, or starting with each ancestor and work your down to the person, however you like it. If your third cousin calls you and wants a copy of the family tree, all they really want are the people they are related to. A genealogy program should make it easy to do this.

Benefits: Your relatives will love the personalized reports that only contain your common relatives. The way it's laid out will make it easy for them to identify their family. They'll want to correct the data for you and send you updates.

8. Auto Organize

Problem: You just received someone else's GEDCOM file but when you load it into your Genealogy program, you can't see the forest for the trees.

Solution: Behold automatically organizes your family information for you. It starts with the first person in the file (who is usually the person who the genealogy is about) and their spouses and builds the Everything Report around them.

Benefits: Figure out what's in someone's data quickly. See the families. See everyone who is related through marriage. See those not related at all.

9. Simple Yet Complete Searching

Problem: Your Genealogy program's find tool is so complicated, you can't figure it out. Then once you do, it skips some fields and gives something less than complete results.

Solution: Behold gives you the very simple Find tool you are used to in most Windows programs. Because everything is in the Everything Report, there is no way you can miss anything. With one keypress or click, you can search forward or backward or use the search history to redo your past searches.

Benefits: Simple to do. No complicated commands. Just the way you'd expect to do it.

10. Multiple Files at Once

Problem: You have several different families that you want to keep in different family files, but you also want to be able to view or edit them together. Or ... you just received someone's family file (in GEDCOM format) and you want to see if you might have connections. Or ... you are a Genealogical Society and you want a way to view many of your members' family files at once.

Solution: Behold can open and work with multiple GEDCOMs at the same time. The data remains separate but the Indexes are integrated for maximum usefulness.

Benefits: Keep your data in as many different datasets as you want.

11. Save Your Settings in Behold Files

Problem: It takes time to set up the reports just the way you want. Sometimes you'd like to vary the way the report looks. But your program makes you manually change the settings every time.

Solution: Behold has all its organize settings in one convenient tabbed window. It includes setting of what files to load (see #10), how to organize the families (see #7), the ordering and numbering to use, the GEDCOM tags to include and the text to display for them (see #4), and other report options and text definitions to use. You can save these settings into a file with a .bho extension, called a Behold file. This file does not have the data, but only the links to the data and instructions to Behold on how to present the data.

You can save as many Behold files as you want. If you give them descriptive names, then you'll be able to find the one you want quickly and easily. You might for one GEDCOM file create different Behold files like: "Aunt May.bho", "Mary Jane.bho" and "Norman Osborn.bho", all referring to the same "Parker.ged" file. Or you may have Behold files with generalized settings, say "English.bho", "French.bho" and "German.bho" which will have the text translations you want to use and apply to any of your files. Alternatively, you could have "Everything.bho", "Public.bho" and "Minimal.bho" that define what Tags and data you want displayed.

The nice thing is you can merge the settings from a saved Behold file into your current Organize settings so you can change say, from English to French by merging from your "French.bho" file. Similarly, you can merge your current Organize settings into one or more saved Behold files on disk, which is great if you want to change a setting in many of them at once.

This is a very powerful capability. There isn't anything else similiar so it may take getting used to, but you'll love it once you start using it.

Benefits: You'll be able to save your reports your way, for instant and convenient recall later.

12. Modeless and Standard User Interface

Problem: Your program doesn't work the way you think it should. Icons and menu items and buttons aren't in the standard places that you expect them. Then there are these windows that pop up to fill in data all the time, and you can't do anything else or even view anything else until you close them.

Solution: A simple and recognizable user interface is a top priority for Behold. It looks just like most of your standard Windows programs. All major windows are modeless, letting you to switch windows and continue working without having to close the active one first.

Benefits: You'll feel comfortable using Behold from the first time you try it. It will be a pleasure to use.

13. Extended GEDCOM

Problem: Some GEDCOM files give error messages when you try importing them. Your program won't read everything.

Solution: There is a "standard" for GEDCOM, but it has changed over time. Every genealogy program, and every version of that program, writes its GEDCOM out in a slightly different manner. For Behold, I've extended GEDCOM to allow all flavors of it to be read in. Behold will figure out where best that data goes and include it. If you have a GEDCOM file that Behold cannot interpret properly, please let me know and I'll make the changes necessary to make it work.

Benefits: Always be confident that all data is included.

14. Read Broken Data

Problem: Some GEDCOM data you need to look at got corrupted. Maybe the file got truncated through e-mail, or accidentally edited by someone. Whatever happened to it, your current program refuses to read it.

Solution: Behold will get whatever data it can from any file with data that resembles data in GEDCOM format. It can piece together relationships from the links in the file and figure out everything that can be figured out.

Benefits: When all else fails, Behold will recover whatever data is possible.

15. Multiple Languages

Problem: Your data isn't all in English. You may use another language, or your ancestors may be from Europe or Asia and you need multiple languages. Many genealogy programs let you to enter some accented characters and a rare few let you to enter non-English alphabets. Some only allow these characters in a few fields, such as comments.

Solution: Behold uses a full implementation of Unicode, the standard used for word processing programs around the world, to allow almost all languages to be used not just in specific fields, but anywhere and everywhere. Now text and names as originally spelled can be displayed along with their translations. When editing is added in Version 2.0, multi-language editing will then be something practical and easy for genealogists to do.

Benefits: nutzen; ventajas; avantages; benefici; benefícios; الفاءدات; 利点; 이득; 福利


Planned for Version 1.5: Selection-based GEDCOM Export

16. Export Selected Information from Selected Families

Problem: You've selected the families and information you want to see. Now you want to put it into a separate file so that it can be loaded back into a genealogy program, or sent to someone else.

Solution: Most programs make it nearly impossible to select some of the data for export. Behold will take whatever data you've included in the Everything Report and export that to a GEDCOM file. This will let you to use Behold's Organize functions to select whom to include, and then output a GEDCOM file including only those people and the supporting data about them. Everything you see in the Everything Report will be exported. Simple!

Benefits: You'll always know what's going in the GEDCOM. Give out only what you want to. No surprises.


Planned for Version 2.0: Onscreen Editing Customized for Genealogy

17. Efficient Free-Form Editing

Problem: You're sick and tired of entering data into forms. You always have to look up to see where you are and use your mouse to move around or click buttons to get to other forms. A form to enter this and a form to enter that. Then to see your data together you have to close the form and run a report and when you see a mistake, go back and open the form again to correct it, and then run the report again, and then open the form... Isn't there a more efficient way?

Solution: I can't believe nobody else has thought of this. Everyone knows how to use a word processor. You enter your data right into your final product and it is WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). With Behold, you will efficiently type right into the Everything Report. That's it. It's done. No forms to slow you down. No forms to limit what you can enter. Behold will include an extensive set of customizable abbreviations, shortcuts and tools to help you enter your data many times faster than you ever thought you could.

Benefits: Finally, editing right on the report! No jumping around field to field. No pop up windows to enter specialized data. No need to generate a report after because you're editing right on the report! Simple. Enter your data many times faster than you ever dreamed possible. Make no errors because you can see it all in front of you!

18. Source-Based Data Entry

Problem: Most programs make it an extra step to record your sources. First you enter the data, then you enter the source information for it. Several other mistakes programs make with sources are:

  1. They don't make it very easy to include them.
  2. They don't encourage that it be done at data entry time.
  3. They don't let you see what data is given by each source document.

Solution: Behold will have a "current source" window always visible at the bottom of the Everything Report window. You first enter what source you are working with, and then all the data you enter in the Everything Report will automatically be linked to that source. This will make it easy to document everything about a source, or all the information received from one e-mail, etc.

Benefits: Finally, a tool to help you document your sources, and encourage you to do so. You'll be forever grateful to know where your data came from when you find that piece of conflicting evidence. Otherwise you'll pull your hair out trying to remember.

P.S.: Recording your sources is very important. Many people fail to take this seriously or do this rigorously, mainly because their Genealogy program makes you take that one extra step to record sources. Often they might say "I'll get back to entering the sources later" and they never do. Behold will encourage the entering of sources by making it an inviting and simple thing to do.

19. Evidence/Conclusion Modelling

Problem: Your current program has no ability to properly document the evidence you used and the conclusions you formulated.

Solution: Behold's source-based data entry is the first step. Each source you use becomes evidence - evidence you use to formulate a conclusion. While you enter your sources, Behold will make it easy for you to add your conclusion information to your family information while quickly linking it to the evidence.

Benefits: You'll never forget how you arrived at your conclusions. You will in the future be able to update your data with confidence as you compare your new evidence to your past evidence to allow you to properly modify your conclusions.

20. Record Your Sources Your Way

Problem: You've got your own filing system for all your evidence and you want to use your own numbering system. You want to make sure all your sources are documented.

Solution: Behold will have very advanced sourcing capabilities and full capability to handle GEDCOM sourcing. You can number your sources your own way: B14, SmiJ82a, File 1 - page 13, Photo953, ... whatever! And Behold's "smart numbering" will always sort them properly. Sources will be ordered and listed by your Reference number/Abbreviation to make it easy to ensure your source documentation matches your source documents. Finally, a program that will work the way you want it to, and not the other way around.

Benefits: Now where is B14 filed? Oh, over there, under B14!

21. Easy Tag Entry

Problem: What do you do when you get a certain type of data? How should it best be entered? What fields should you be using to store what, or will it all have to go into the notes?

Solution: Behold knows about all the GEDCOM tags. It allows you to display those tags in any way you want. You can even add your own custom tags. But there are so many, it's hard to remember them all. So Behold will have a tag selector to make it easy to remember what's what and include tags on the basis of the text you used to describe the tags. If I can, I'll make this dynamic, so the tags relevant to what data you are entering will be the ones that show up.

Benefits: This will allow an alternative method to direct typing for your data entry. You'll be able to structure your data the way you want, while Behold ensures that your data will still be GEDCOM compliant and compatible with other programs.

22. Think of it as "Virtual Merging"

Problem: Someone sends you a GEDCOM with some info on parts of your family. You want to include that info into your family tree. Some programs have merge routines that help you do this. It takes time, and then when you're done, how do you know what was your original data and what was theirs?

Solution: Don't bother merging their data with yours. Behold lets you to load in multiple GEDCOMs and datasets. You can identify people who are the same, and Behold will display the data together for you in its Everything Report.

Benefits: You'll never again need to manually merge other people's data into your own.

23. Keep Other Data Separate

Problem: It took you a week comparing each cousin one by one, but you've finally merged your cousin's data into your own. Then she sends you a new version of her data. I guess you've got to just merge it all over again.

Solution: If you keep their data separate, then there's no problem. Just replace their old data with their new one. If they have a few new people to match up, it will only take a couple of minutes.

Benefits: You are now in control of the data.

P.S.: Merging other people's data into your own is one of the worst things you can do. Do you have any confidence of how reliable that data is if you haven't checked it yourself? So called "junk genealogies" are circling the globe, and the "merging" phenomena has created this.

24. Photos, Multimedia

Problem: Few programs handle media well, especially in their reports.

Solution: This will be a tough one. Pictures are large. Sound files and video files are even larger. How to implement these into Behold will be a challenge. But like everything else, I'll work out the way that will be most useful to you. Can't think about this until almost everything else is done, though. I'll continue to work towards this.

Benefits: Media support is essential.

2 GB is more than enough to hold Behold and all your genealogy data 25. Take Behold Wherever You Go

Problem: You're on the road and you want to take your genealogy data with you. These new USB/pen drives have lots of room for your GEDCOM files. But when you get to the library or your friend's house, they don't have a genealogy program installed to view it with.

Solution: Don't just carry your data with you. Take Behold with you as well. Behold will allow you to export itself to any other drive. You don't have to install it on other computers to use it. It will work directly off the drive.

Benefits: You'll be able to take all your data and view it (and soon edit it as well) wherever you go.

26. Even More Portability

Problem:You have a Mac, or on Unix, or use a Portable Device (iPhone, iPad, iTouch or Android handheld). Behold won't work.

Solution: One day it will. Plans in the future are for Behold to run on all computers and handhelds.

Benefits: Obvious.


and there's even more planned ...