GenDetective v3: My Research Progress Enhancements

What is the My Research Progress view?  The Research Progress view provides a unique look at your family research, focusing on basic demographic research areas and identifies which people have or have not met your personal goals.  These demographics include:

  • Birth date and location
  • First name and last (maiden) name
  • Death date and location, estate records, burial locations
  • Name of a mother and father
  • Census records each person may expect to be found in (national, state or local)
  • Military service (if applicable)
  • Immigration information (if applicable)

GenDetective v3 provides new flexibility in how you configure your research goals.  For information about these enhancements to My Research Progress see the announcement detailed in this blog post.

In addition to this flexibility, My Research Progress has undergone a several visual enhancements.  The one with the most impact is the right side panel is collapsible, providing additional flexibility for your workspace.  Change the size of each of the “sections” in My Research Progress to best fit your screen or second monitor!

My Research Progress showing right panel

GenDetective v3 offers additional functionality in the My Progress View providing multiple ways to size each area of your screen.

My Research Progress with right panel collapsed.

While examining each of these screenshots you may notice that the tabs that ran down the left side of the screen are no longer present, giving another way to squeeze more screen real estate out of todays smaller laptop screens.  Navigation between GenDetective’s different views is now controlled in three different ways:

  1. The View menu
  2. The current view drop down list
  3. Individual buttons in the toolbar

New Navigational Options in GenDetective

Each of the navigational methods are highlighted in different colors.

These navigation options are continued into each of the GenDetective views providing a consistency in use and appearance.

Coupled with the enhancements to My Research Progress that have been made in GenDetective v3, you now have greater flexibility and control over the presentation and analysis of your research!

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GenDetective v3: My Video Library Enhancements

In GenDetective v3 the My Video Library feature has undergone a major enhancement.  New to v2, My Video Library, started the process of building video content to help users get the most from GenDetective.  In v3 My Video Library has undergone been upgraded.

The GenDetective Video Library now appears as a pop-up window, and the videos when launched are played outside of GenDetective!  This change enables the playing of a video side by side with GenDetective, or if you have two monitors, provides the option to follow along with the video and step by step click as the videos demonstrate!

My Video Library

As in the prior version of GenDetective, one of the primary functions of My Video Library is to download GenDetective videos to your computer.  Downloaded videos are installed into the “My Documents\GenDetective\Videos” directory on your computer.  Once these videos have been downloaded to your computer, you can move them to your tablet (Android or Apple), phone, or any other electronic device that can play mp4 videos, providing an alternate way to view the videos!

A small change, but one that provides additional flexibility.

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GenDetective v3: Enhanced Research Progress!

In GenDetective v3 we have introduced major enhancements to the My Research Progress and My Research Goals.  My Research Goals and My Research Progress, identified by the footprint graphicMy Research Progress, showing your progress, at a glance, of your walk in the path of your ancestors.  This functionality provides a way to identify the information, in an ideal world, you would locate for each relative.  Reality is, these goals can take years to meet, even something that sounds as simple as finding everyone’s census record.  A daunting task.

My Research Progress provides a way to pinpoint, at a glance, the progress you have made in locating the information you say you wish to find.  In GenDetective v3 we have introduced major enhancements to the My Research Progress and My Research Goals:

  • My Research Goals — Now allows the specification of research goals by relationship.  This provides a way to acknowledge that while you may want to look for estate records for your direct relatives, you may not care to do this work for 3rd cousins, 4x removed!
  • Faster — The process of analyzing the research and identifying your Research Progress while importing a GEDCOM file is over 70% faster!  The time to “save the people and events” is unchanged, but the computational processing is significantly faster

The new the enhanced My Research Goals configuration screen is shown below (click image to make larger).  You now have the choice to make all goals the SAME regardless of relationship, or you can configure different research goals based on relationship (Direct Relatives, Close, Intermediate, and Distant).  To return to the earlier example, you can specify “wills and probate records from 1700” for direct relatives and uncheck the same records for Close, Intermediate and Distant relatives.

Configuration of My Research Goals

Configuration of My Research Goals

Faster processing and more flexibility, what’s not to like?

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GenDetective v3: Remove MS Access Report Engine!

One of the biggest issues we’ve had with GenDetective is the installation of the MS Access report engine. Sometimes it will install, other times it won’t, and sometimes when updates to other Office products install, they helpfully remove the version of MS Access GenDetective is using. Not very helpful from our perspective, not helpful at all.

With the end-of-life for Windows XP and Windows Vista (11 Apr 2017) having passed, GenDetective v3 will no longer support either of these operating systems.  What does that have to do with the report engine?  We have developed our own reporting toolset with the goal of mimicking the formatting and layout of our existing reports, and we are very happy with the results.  The technology used is largely unsupported on XP & Vista, which caused us to delay deployment until now with GenDetective v3.

A side by side comparison shows that the style of the reports is the same.  They are slightly different, with a different browser-based font, but they look and feel the same!

GenDetective v2: No Family Search Id

GenDetective v3: No Family Search Id










For those users who were unhappy with our dependency on Adobe PDF’s this is no longer the case.  You will be happy to know that this new reporting engine does not create PDF files, and inclusion of the PDF software during the install has been removed in v3!

The removal of both the MS Access reporting engine and the PDF creator installation have the side benefit of shrinking our installation program and speeding installation, faster report generation, with the same look and feel as v2 and a smaller, quicker installation! A win-win all the way around.

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GenDetective and new WWII Draft Registration Cards

Recently, Fold3, released a new collection of WWII Draft Registration Cards, basically for the “younger” men.  The collection is not yet complete, only draft cards for men in 21 states are available.  This collection will continue to receive updates for some time.

How can you generate a list of the men from your family that you would expect to find in these draft registration cards since GenDetective doesn’t know about this new collection?  The answer is simple:  you can define this new collection for GenDetective!  In GenDetective v2, take the following steps:

GenDetective Program Options

  1. Launch GenDetective
  2. Go to the Configuration menu, and select Program Options.
  3. In the GenDetective Options panel, check Show power user options and press OK.
  4. You may notice some additional tab views and menu options.
  5. Go to the Configuration menu, and select Military Conflicts.
  6. Press the New button (has a green leaf on it) and provide a name for this new draft.  Suggested title: World War II Draft (USA, Younger)
  7. Fill out the remaining fields for this new WWII draft as  you see on the screen shot below.  Most people do not have the custom tag WW2_Draft in their family trees, so you can leave this field set to the default of “No event associated with this conflict”.
  8. Press the Save Changes button.

Definition for new Fold3 WWII Draft Registration Cards


GenDetective will prompt you to consider sharing the new definition with the wider community, but you can ignore this prompt.  Next GenDetective will prompt you to analyze your tree.  You will need to take this step by pressing the Yes button as this enable GenDetective to identify the men in your family that would have registered with this new draft.

After the analysis of your tree, you can get a list of the young men by going to Reports By Task, selecting What information should I research, then Possible military service, and selecting report Who may have served in this war?  For the Military conflict drop down, select the newly defined World War II Draft (USA, Younger), and press Generate report.  Your report should look something like this:

GenDetective Military Service Report for new WWII Draft Cards

Happy hunting, and remember the collection isn’t complete yet!

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GenDetective v3: Different Screen Sizes

One of our top goals for GenDetective v3 is to run and display well on different size computer screens.  Over the last several years technology has changed (yea!) and we now have a wider variety of screen sizes on tablet computers, small laptops, all of which can connect to external monitors frequently running up to 27 inches in size.

In the current version of GenDetective there is a known issue when running on the smaller high-resolution screens where the default magnification is 150%.  The text overlaps itself and the software is difficult to use.  The workaround in GenDetective v2 is to change the scaling so that the words are smaller, which makes them more difficult to see.

We have redesigned the user interface in GenDetective v3 so that you have more screen real estate and you can now select your own font sizes.  When on small devices you will have the flexibility to control how much information is displayed your screen.

This second screen shot was captured on the exact same computer, with no changes to the computers screen resolution.  Instead we asked GenDetective to use much larger text (size 5), and we hid the right section of the program!
You control the text size you want, based on the screen you are using, big or small, high-resolution or low by using the Program Options screen.  It shows you the different size text and you make your selection.  When you run GenDetective on a different computer, or move the program to an attached monitor, simply adjust the text size.  It’s that simple.

GenDetective v3 Program Options

GenDetective v3 Program Options


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Is there going to be a GenDetective version 3?

Yes, we are busy working on GenDetective v3!  When will it be available?  The short answer is, we don’t know for sure.  Our best guess, at this time, is in the Fall of 2017.

What’s going to be in it?  Our feature list will be a “slow reveal”, with information being announced as we complete the new features.  However, we have several goals for this release that I can share, and will discuss in more detail over the next several posts.

Our must have features:

  1. Redesign the user interface so that it runs well on screens both big and small, at various resolutions (think 10 inch Surface Pro screen) as well as 27 inch monitors
  2. Remove the Microsoft Access report engine that has caused so many installation issues while retaining our full featured, nicely laid out reports.
  3. Mac support — By doing the first two items above, our hope is that we will be able to run natively on a Mac, similar to other genealogy software.  This is a big question mark, and we are not to the testing point yet, but our hope is that we will be able to run on the Mac without requiring Windows!  This is not a promise.  Please understand we are a very small company but we are shooting for this goal.
  4. Additional enhancements to be announced as we complete these exciting new features!

Now for the bad news.  As Microsoft and other technology companies have done away with support for Windows XP and Windows Vista, we will be doing the same.  It is the removal of support for XP that has allowed us to move onto newer (free) technology for reporting that allows us to achieve reports that look the same as always, but are created using a different tool set.

We look forward to bringing the next version of GenDetective to you soon!

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