Webmaster’s Guide to TNG


I’ve had several inquiries from fellow geneabloggers about a product called TNG – The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding over the past few weeks and I have to admit my own interest has been piqued as well.

Why A Website For Your Genealogy Research?

One of the best ways to get family members involved with your own genealogy research is to have a website where they can visit and view information.  Many sites like Ancestry allow you to build a family tree online and others such as Geni let you upload a GED file exported from your own genealogy database and then let others contribute and connect.

In the past, I’ve simply used a program such as GED2Web which converts your exported GED format file to a series of HTML pages.  You can see the result at my personal genealogy site.  While it is rich in information, there are no graphics, no source citations, etc.  It also lacks that “oomph” needed to engage and encourage family members.

What is TNG?

If you’ve ever wanted to create a website based on your genealogy research, TNG is one option besides using online collaborative family tree websites.  A recent press release from TNG states:   

“Unlike conventional desktop genealogy programs that build Web sites by converting GEDCOM files to HTML Web pages and then uploading all of the pages to a Web server, TNG allows users to upload a single GEDCOM file to a database hosted on a server. Web pages are then rendered dynamically based on requests by site visitors. Using cutting-edge technologies, the data is easily packaged for fast and efficient display including individual pages, family pages, family trees, media galleries, specialty reports, and more. More importantly, when the data changes – such as when you locate additional family members or extend the knowledge about your families – you do not need to regenerate all of the Web pages from the GEDCOM file and then re-upload them. You or your designated site users can modify the data directly in the database.”

TNG Features

Of interest to me are two features:

Security:  I may want a general welcome page and then only allow family members or fellow researchers access to the actual data via login credentials.

Collaboration:  I want to encourage others in my family to contribute photos and information to any website containing my research.  One drawback of online collaborative sites is the data residing on their servers and not on my own.  Another drawback is capturing contributions from family members and making sure I have the data available to me as I need it.

An entire list of TNG 7.0 features can be viewed here.


TNG By The Book

If you are unfamiliar with TNG or if you currently have TNG and you want to master its possibilities, there is a new book by John Pfost entitled Webmaster’s Guide to TNG 7.0: From Novices to Experts.

The book is meant as a companion to using TNG to create a “custom, feature-rich, expandable, secure, and collaborative family history Web site.”   So whether you own TNG and need to get a leg up on its vast capabilities, or you are thinking about TNG, Webmaster’s Guide to TNG 7.0: From Novices to Experts is a useful resource.

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If you’ve considered using TNG or building your own family website, take a moment to visit the links above.  You can also visit various user sites which have been created using TNG.   And I’d be interested in any feedback from our Geneablogger readers.

Thomas MacEntee

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About Thomas MacEntee

What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during The Great Recession of 2008? You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional who’s also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. He also created an online community of over 3,000 family history bloggers known as GeneaBloggers. His most recent endeavor, Hack Genealogy, is an attempt to “re-purpose today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy.” Thomas describes himself as a lifelong learner with a background in a multitude of topics who has finally figured out what he does best: teach, inspire, instigate, and serve as a curator and go-to-guy for concept nurturing and inspiration. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.

11 thoughts on “Webmaster’s Guide to TNG

  1. I’ve been thinking about TNG myself! It looks fabulous. The websites it makes are pretty easy to navigate and allow for a pretty decent range of creativity. I’ve done the blog. Now to get brave and actually learn how to do my own website….. :)

  2. I use TNG for my family tree site. I basically started it because myfamily.com got too expensive.

    Personally, I love it! I wish I had more time to work on my own family. Some of my favorite features are:

    the ability to password-protect the whole site, and individually assign rights to different users.

    integration of the place names with Google Maps (!!) A map with events marked shows up on each person’s info page.

    ability to link photos (inc. document scans) to people, places, events, or even sources.

    the ability to overwrite people with updated information when you update your GEDCOM.

    The only problem I have is not with TNG itself, as it uploads the GEDCOM accurately. I use The Master Genealogist, which does not export its source citations accurately into GEDCOM format. I have been considering switching to using the plug-in program Second Site, which creates web pages directly from The Master Genealogist files.

    Of course, I have also been considering switching to Rootsmagic 4 – I was involved in both the private testing and the beta testing and love it! I just don’t know if this will end up being better or worse when converting source citations to GEDCOM….

    Oh the dilemma

  3. A number of you have requested additional information on TNG. So I have posted a couple of white papers that introduce TNG:

    ** “Introducing The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding” – provides a brief history of genealogy Web sites, an overview and description of TNG, a listing of its notable features and functions, a discussion of the underlying technologies, and a description of the system and personal requirements to implement a TNG Web site.

    ** “Getting Started with The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding” – provides a detailed description of the products and services one would need to develop a dynamic TNG-based family history Web site. It describes the key components – TNG, the Webmaster’s Guide, a domain name, and Web services hosting provider – that are required, as well as the many additional resources that are available.

    You can download these papers by:

    1. Going to the TNG-Resources site at http://www.tng-resources.com

    2. Then subscribing to the TNG-Resources newsletter

    3. And accessing the Additional Resources page

    You can of course continue to send me any questions you might have concerning TNG.

    Many thanks and best regards,

    John Pfost
    info – at – tng-resources – dot – com

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