BKDATA. Data entry, modification and databases in general.


  1. How do I correct dates?
  2. How can I insert words into a nearly full message line?
  3. Can I export the Collapsed Ancestor chart to a text file?
  4. How can I create a list of all persons in my data base born between 1620-1633?
  5. How do you access the BK text editor from the edit page?
  6. Is it possible to search for people entered between two dates or any specific date range?
  7. Is it possible in BK5 to make a list of all those who may have been alive at a specified period of time?
  8. Is it possible to list more than one source for an entry?
  9. What does the Redraw button on the edit screen do?
  10. Is there an easy way to move message lines into a text file?
  11. What is the significance of having an asterisk appear in the right-most column of a child, when at the parent's screen? (DOS ver5).
  12. How can I join children to their parents when their parents have been entered as New Individuals?
  13. Is there any way to redirect a report to a file?
  14. I am having trouble correcting source errors caused by being too quick with F8 and F10. Help.
  15. Can I search for empty fields and can I list records that do not contain something?
  16. Can I enter dates with dual years such as 15-MAR-1680/81 and have BK5 calculate age at death?
  17. I keep getting the message: "sex is not female and you are adding a wife". Why?
  18. Can I reuse deleted records in my database?
  19. Why is the report format not saved when I press the "Save Button" on the Page Option Screen?
  20. In the edit screen, can I show that a couple who have children are not actually married?
  21. Is there a way to have the BK numbers of individuals print out in the Ancestor charts?
  22. What should I put in the REF box in BK5?
  23. How do I select all persons linked to my mother in law?
  24. Is there a way to search for people that I entered and or changed data for?
  25. I want to send a relative all the data in my files concerning his family. What's the best way to do it?
  26. How do I send a copy of my database to someone when it is too big to fit on a floppy?
  27. Are there any shortcuts when I have a batch of data to enter?

  28. I was creating new databases, importing GEDCOMs etc. Now when I click on "File", "Open Database", I get an "Error: 68 Device unavailable"
  29. ????


1: How do I correct dates?

To fix any date(s), go to the Edit screen and pull up the person and over write the offending date.

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2: How can I insert words into a nearly full message line?

Currently there is not an easy to insert a word on a full message line.

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3: Can I export the Collapsed Ancestor chart to a text file?

The Windows version can not export the Collapsed ancestor chart to a text file but the DOS version can.

As an alternative in Windows 9x you can try writing to a generic text only printer. To do this from your START button select SETTINGS then select PRINTERS, then select ADD PRINTER. The add printer wizard will pop up, select LOCAL PRINTER and click NEXT, from the list of printers select GENERIC and click NEXT. Then select FILE as port and click next. Leave the printer name as "Generic / Text Only" and click NEXT. On the test page dialog box select yes or no and then click FINISH. You may need your Windows 9x CD-ROM. In the BK program from the File menu select PRINTER SETUP and select the "Generic / Text Only" printer from the list of printers installed on your system. Please note you will lose the graphics (lines) characters.

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4: How can I create a list of all persons in my data base born between 1620-1633?

In the latest update (24 Jan '97) there's a new feature in the word search report. You can put 1620==1633 in the birth date field and get exactly what you want.

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5: How do you access the BK text editor from the edit page?

To use the BK text editor go to the options from the file menu on the main screen. Under the "text editor" tab choose BK editor. At the "edit person" screen click on the small button to the left of a message line that contains a file link and the BK text editor will be used to read the file. If you click the button to the left of a blank line the BK editor will be used to create the file

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6: Is it possible to search for people entered between two dates (e.g. January 1, 1997 & Feb 1,1997 ) or any specific date range?

There is no way to search for people entered between two dates, but you can print a list of everyone with the date of last change (which is the date entered if you have not modified them since they were entered.) Pick Lists, Numeric, and print the BK code number, and the name, and field 40. You can then preview the list. Since you print in BK code number order, the new entries will also be near the bottom of the lists. The date will show (field 40)

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7: Is it possible in BK5 to make a list of all those who may have been alive at a specified period of time?

First make a back-up! Change your date format (temporarily) to yymmdd and enter into the list the fields you would like to have, starting with birth date, death date, name and other details that make it easy to know who you're working on. Also enter 91 (the delimiter code) as a field. This will make it possible to have all details in a separate field. Now create your list and export it as a text file. Load the text file into a spreadsheet and you'll get the BK- fields in separate cells, enabling you to manipulate the data.

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8: Is it possible to list more than one source for an entry?

Currently you can only have one three line source for each event. As there have been many requests for more and longer sources this is on the list for the next major update.

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9: What does the Redraw button on the edit screen do?

The Redraw button is only used if some other screen overlapped your Edit screen and it did not redraw correctly (if some areas are blank.) It just redraws the data on the screen again.

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10: I have people with biographical notes starting in the 7 message lines. Some are complete, others continue in a text file. I would now like all of this information in the text file. Is there an easy way to move the message lines to the text file?

Move the lines one at a time by highlighting one line and cut it by pressing CTRL-X. Then go to the text file and paste it in the appropriate place by pressing CTRL-V. Be sure to save the text file before you go back to get the next line else you will lose the line you've just pasted. It would be safer to use CTRL-C instead of CTRL-X. That way the message lines will still be there after you've copied them to the text file. You can delete them after they're safely in the text file.

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11: What is the significance of having an asterisk appear in the right-most column of a child, when at the parent's screen? (DOS ver5).

If you do not have a birth date for the child but you do have a baptised date then the baptised date shows where the birth date normally is and the asterisk appears on the right. In the WIN version, "(baptised)" appears instead of the asterisk.

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12: How can I join children to their parents? I recently received new information about my family line and learned that two people entered as individuals are in fact siblings. Their parents have been entered as New Individuals.

To add children, pick the add children button and type the BK code number and press Enter. That should bring up the person with that number.

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13: I would like to be able to print a Descendant Report to a file so that I could include it in an e-mail message. Is there any way to redirect the report from the printer to a file?

From the descendants report options screen, from the file menu, click on create text file. See the second part of question #3 or choose Rich Text Format (RTF) which is useable by most word processing software.

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14: I am having trouble correcting source errors caused by being too quick with F8 and F10. Sources, for example, that ended up as "mar". Now, did I mean Marriage Record, maybe a book by Martin? Or one by March? I can't find out unless I can find the event sourced by "mar". I try word search. No - "mar" gets me all of the above. I try "mar" followed by some spaces. Same result. I go to the list of fields for custom reports, thinking I can generate a report listing sources with "mar" in them. No, sources aren't one of the choices. (Page numbers for event are possible choices). This is interesting! I am sure John included them for a reason, but I can't seem to think of one. I tested it. Yes, all you get is the page #, and not the source.)

You have found some of the things you CAN'T do with the custom reports not printing sources and not excluding selections. Meanwhile here are some things you CAN do which may or may not help you in organizing your efforts. You can print out a list of all your sources from the lists menu on the main screen. With some extra effort you can create a custom report for each one of these sources that lists all the names that use that source. To do that, enter enough of the source to make it unique in the source field in the word search custom report. Put the BK no, last name, first name and other fields as appropriate in the report. Print the report to a disk file via the generic printer that windows provides. You can open that file in a text editor and copy the source itself at the top to show what that list is for. Granted this is a LOT of extra effort. As to the "mar" source; a word search on the letters "mar" (no spaces) will show you every source that contains the sequence "mar" anywhere in the source. The only thing I see to do is make a list to edit, look at each one in turn, and edit it as necessary. If you don't finish in one session you can make a note of the person you got to and next time, go down the list to that person to start. Try selecting SOURCES from the File menu and select Change Sources Globally (or something like that). Put MAR as the source you want to change, and in the "change-to" box on the bottom put something like HELP and then Go. That will change the source for that entry (and any others that use it) from MAR to FINDIT, which you should be able to find with your word search.

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15: I like the custom report feature in BK, and use it a lot to organize for research. The addition of the ability to search for a range of dates is great. What is still missing, for me is, (1) the ability to search for empty fields (example - who am I missing DOB's for, so I can look them up at vital records), and (2) to search for fields that don't contain something (e.g. search for all people with a certain surname NOT born in Vermont.)

This feature is in the DOS version but, as yet, not the Windows version soon. There are some other reports not yet in the Windows version that are available in the DOS version, so you might like to have that installed.

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16: The BK manual says that 'you can also enter dates with dual years such as 15-MAR-1680/81. I haven't been able to find a way to enter the date and have it convert to one of the BK formats and have been typing them in the final format I want. However, the 'age at death' feature doesn't seem to work with a date entered this way. Is it possible to type a birth date which is something like 15031680/81 and have it convert to 15 Mar 1680/81 and have the age of death calculated by BK5?

Answer 1: In the example given enter 3/15/1680. Move to the next field and the date converts to the chosen format: 15 Mar 1680. Then back up and add the /81.
Answer 2: You can enter dates with dual dates, but not automatically i.e. for those type of dates, you need to type in the day, 3 letters of the month, and the year. The Age routine is not currently designed to handle dual dates. Well, not all of the age routines at least. Some reports may handle the dual dates (like the reasonableness report.) So you can enter dual dates, but they will not be handled the same as "normal" dates.

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17: Recently I wanted to change all my (____ Smith etc.) people into (?? Smith etc.) people. I used word search for ____, and all went well till I came across a person I had entered with ? for sex. When such an entry came up in the word search and I tried to edit it, up came a notice saying SEX IS NOT FEMALE AND YOU ARE ADDING A WIFE. If I pressed OK, all the information I had on that person disappeared from the screen, so the only alternative was to press cancel, and regain my information. I then discovered that if I moved from that screen to the parents of the person, then made the first non-sexed child top, I could edit from there and everything was then perfectly OK. This was NOT a random occurrence. It happened 43 times (all ? sex entries) in the course of my 300 or so word search changes for ____, and appears to be a minor bug with word search, followed by edit.

Pick Help, About BK5 and check the date of your program. John has fixed the bug that says "sex is not female and you are adding a wife" when editing a person with sex ? and the problem was fixed on Jan 3, 1997. If your version is older, download the update.

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18: Can I reuse deleted records in my database?

There is not currently a way to reuse numbers that have been deleted, but it does not matter as far as the program is concerned (see under Tips & Tricks).

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19: Why is the report format not saved when I press the "Save Button" on the Page Option Screen? Using BKWin (version 5.2 from Jan 97 on Win95) I discovered I could not use the "Save Button" on the Page Option Screen. Is this button only active when you are using a report previously saved?. I was able to go to File, Save Report Options and save the format. Can anybody else verify this possible bug or tell me what I am doing wrong?

The "save options" button on the custom report list should work. It will save the margins and if you want today's date and those things. If you want to save your report layout (field numbers etc.) then do not use the "save options" button, but pick File, then "save report format"

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20: I'm a relative newcomer to BK and find it a great program to work with. But, is there any way when working on the edit screen to show that a couple who have children are not actually married.

In the marriage area, put N in the ceremony field. Then the printouts will not refer to the couple as man and wife.

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21: Is there a way to have the BK numbers of individuals print out in the Ancestor charts, rather than the Ahnentafel numbers?

If you have the Windows version of BK, then go to the ancestor chart and pick a person. It will then display the chart. Then pick Options from the top menu and then the option to show the BK Code numbers. In the version that will be released shortly, you will also be able to set an option to show the REF numbers on the ancestor chart and also the collapsed ancestor chart, e tree and box charts.

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22: What should I put in the REF box in BK5?

The Ref box in BK5 enables you to give your own reference to the individuals in your database, quite separate from the BK5 number which the program automatically generates. For example, in a database, everyone with the surname WEBB has the letter A followed by a number -- so I am A1, my father is A2 my grandfather is A3 and so on. So A1, A2, A3 etc are the numbers which I put in the Ref box. I find my Ref numbers much easier to remember than BK5 numbers and it is very easy to search -- if I want to find the record for A20 for example I type /A20 in the name box on the search screen.

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23: My database consists of relatives for husband and wife and they have been entered as they were available. I want to select all persons linked to my mother in law. There are many ancestors backward and there are descendants to many of the "ancestors". As the BK-numbers are mixed through both families using the BK number is not possible. I could use ancestors of a person but would need to note all the ancestors, and for each link, take the descendants to the same person. Along the wife or/and husband and children of each family. That is quite a job. Is there a easy way?

Answer 1: To split out a database containing all the relatives of your mother-in-law: First, use the on-screen ancestor chart to locate and identify each earliest ancestor of mother-in-law in each family line. Make a note of each one of them. From the "split database" choice screen, choose to add the descendants of each one of these "earliest ancestors" one by one. They can be added and accumulated. When all have been chosen, do the split.
Answer 2: Make a Collapsed ancestor chart for the mother-in-law, and then for the split, pick the Descendants of the "end of line" ancestors and that will be the entire side of the family. (Pick Descendants of and type the numbers of the ancestors at the end of each line.) John intends adding such a routine to the Split program when time permits.
Answer 3: A "not so easy but it works" method. Print off a collapsed ancestor chart for the person who is to be the "starting point." This is only for own use to ensure inclusion of the BK numbers to make the following steps a little easier (you may have many people with the same name), and do NOT check the box for "Include duplicate ancestors if cousin marriages." Take the collapsed ancestor sheets and circle all the "end points" for each line. Basically, if you see a person with no further ancestors, they're circled. Go to split the database and select (add) "ancestors of a person plus family of ancestor" with the starting point person being that aforementioned "person". Next select (add) "descendants of a person" repeatedly, picking each of the circled individuals on the printed collapsed ancestor chart. Then deselect (subtract) "descendants of a person" with the "person" being that first starting point individual. Now it is necessary to go back and select (add) that starting point again by adding "family of a person". This last part will add the kids & spouse of your starting point, you can't just add the one person. All done! Your starting point person will not be person #1; rather they'll be at (or near) the end of the new range of numbers, but it you aren't too picky it doesn't matter.

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24: Is there a way to search for people that I entered and or changed data for?

If you have the Option set to use BKAUDIT then that file will show the changes you have made. If you have the Option set to show the date of last change, then the date of adding or modifying will show on the Family Edit screen. Also, you can print or preview a custom report (List - use field code 40) that shows the date of last change for each person even if you do not have either of the other options turned on. You can not currently search for only changes during a certain period, but you can send the custom report to a disk file and then use a sort program in Windows or DOS to sort on that column. Pick File, Create TXT file when setting up the custom list.

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25: I want to send a relative all the data in my files concerning his family. What's the best way to do it?

To send a relative your entire database, pick File, Backup database. To send a relative part, pick File, Split database. If your relative does not have BK, then generate a GEDCOM file.

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26: How do I send a copy of my database to someone when it is too big to fit on a floppy?

One of my databases is in the 3-5 MB category which far exceeds the capacity of a 3.5" DSDD floppy, of course. Is there a way that I can transfer the information from BK5W to an appropriate medium to send to a cousin

Make a Gedcom file of your entire database and zip it into a zipfile that spans multiple disks. You will want a zipfile utility that will support multi-disk spanning .and so will most any zipfile utility such as WinZip If the person you wish to send the file to also uses BK you could make a backup of your database from BK and choose the "compress multi-disk to A" option and send backup disks. He could then restore them to his computer. He would need to have the same directory pathnames as you, though, else the text file links in the message lines would be wrong for his computer. But then he COULD use John's BKSPEC5.EXE program to globally change those links to the appropriate pathname for his system. A zipped Gedcom would be less bothersome.

Latest version of BKW do have function to zip database and txtfiles to multi-disk.

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27: Are there any shortcuts when I have a batch of data to enter?

Yes, there are several:

When entering a children's names, just enter the first names and use CONTROL+ENTER to automatically insert the last name.

To enter a source, starting with the 21 Oct 98 version, for a field push F6 then either enter "=" to use the last source used, or "= =" (two equal signs in a row) to use the last source, page number and quality indicator used or enter part of a previously used source and push F8 and select of the list of matching sources.

To automatically enter the last location used when in a location field enter "=" and the ENTER key.

To automatically calculate a birth date, when you only know the death date and how long the person lived in years, months and days push F2 and fill in the information requested.

To save changes push F10.

ALT+A to bring up the address lines, where you can add a mailing address & phone number for a person
ALT+V to save a source

Some general Windows shortcuts:
CONTROL+C to copy the selected text
CONTROL+X to cut the selected text
CONTROL+V to paste from the clipboard
SHIFT+INSERT to paste from the clipboard.

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28: I was creating new databases, importing GEDCOMs etc. Now when I click on "File", "Open Database", I get an "Error: 68 Device unavailable". Under procedure it says "+BKMAIN.FRM (OpenFile_Click)" I can only access the database that was current when the problem began. Is there any easy way to fix this?

It is uncertain what is causing the "device unavailable" message. Suggest first you turn off the computer and then try BK again. If you still get an error, then RENAME the BKOPTION.DT5 file to BKOPTION.WAS and restart the program. If you have several directories of BK data, be sure each directory name is no more than 8 letters long and contains no spaces.

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29: ??????s

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Last update July 7, 1999

These web pages have first been created by Simon Quill,
but now updated by James J. Dell and