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Creating a custom event type

The basics

Go to View > Event Templates. Select Data > Add New Event Tag (or hit the blue * on the toolbar, or press CTRL-N):

Let's say we want to create a custom event to record that someone had a business of some type.

  • Enter a unique name in the "Tag" box. Since the tag name will be used for exporting to GEDCOM it's a good idea to use a GEDCOM-like code, in capitals. We'll use "BUSN".
    • Note: The GEDCOM 5.5 spec says "We do not encourage the use of user-defined GEDCOM tags. Applications requiring the use of non-standard tags should define them with a leading underscore so that they will not conflict with future GEDCOM standard tags."
      For best compatibility with other programs, use a leading underscore for custom tags, like so "_BUSN".
  • "Name" is what you'll see in the drop-down to select events. We'll use "Business".
  • "Class" gives an indication of whereabouts in the typical life of a person the event type is situated. We'll use "Mature/Default".

Your event template should now look like this:

We'll return to it in a moment, but first: time to test the event out on a real person.

Go to any individual, and add a Business event (hit CTRL-L and pick "Business", or go to events and select "add..." and then select "Business", ...). You'll see a screen like this:

Let's say we want to record that Basilius Gilliet ran a printer's shop in the Stalhof in Gent, between 1838 and 1853. We could enter the following data:

In reports this would give the following sentence:

Basilius Gilliet participated in business between 1838 & 1853 at Stalhof, Gent. He ran a printer's shop.

Not bad, but it could be better. The type of business was entered in the notes field, but it's not really a note, it's an integral part of the event data. And the wording is a bit awkward too: "participated in business". Click on the button with the chain link to go back to the "Business" event template.

Template and secondary

Change the secondary label and the template:

Now go back to the event you just created, and rearrange the data you entered, like so:

Hit the button with the magnifying glass to preview the way this event will look like in a report:

There you go.

Note 1: don't forget to source the event!

Note 2: it's a good idea to make sure that the event template makes sense even when not all the data was entered, so in this case we're going to make one more change to the template. Instead of

[D] [P] ran a [T] [L]

which would give us

Between 1838 & 1853 Basilius Gilliet ran a in the Stalhof, Gent.

if the business type wasn't filled in, we'll use

[D] [P] ran a <business|[T]> [L]

which gives us this for an unknown business type:

Between 1838 & 1853 Basilius Gilliet ran a business in the Stalhof, Gent.


Posted by Michel Vuijlsteke on July 11, 2004 at 12:07 PM in Templates | Permalink


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I would like to add an event "Voyage" for ocean trips that may or may not be for emigration. My version is not letting me do what you have outlined above. Any suggestions? Thanks.


Posted by: Sherri | Mar 13, 2006 5:13:35 AM

I'm trying to evaluate GenBox, and was pleased to read your tutorials.

The version I'm using doesn't have:
View > Event Templates. Select Data > Add New Event Tag

Nor does it have a blue * on the toolbar
And, when I press CTRL-N, I get a screen for adding a New Individual....

Do you know how to create a new type of event in the current GenBox?

Thank you for posting these tutorials -

Posted by: Marion | Jul 9, 2006 6:01:17 AM

Interesting, I`ll quote it on my site later.

Have a nice day

Posted by: Joker | Mar 2, 2009 6:32:32 AM