These are an advanced feature of Family Historian, and are used within Expressions that occur most commonly in:
- Querying is a very powerful feature that allows you to specify and save criteria for identifying a set of records of a given record type. to specify Columns, Row filters, and Titles
- Diagram Text Schemes to define the content of Diagram Boxes
- Diagram > Options > Boxes > Conditions to define box style since ƒh V4
- Reports to define Data items in certain Report Sections
- Customise or Print The Records Window provides a comprehensive view of all the information stored within a Family Historian project. Columns or Named Lists are a way in FH to group related items — which can be records of any type(s) — so that you can easily find them to work with. Columns
- Captions in Property Boxes
- Narrative Report Fact Sentences are used in conjunction with Fact Sets to produce Narrative Reports; their templates are highly customisable. since ƒh V6
- Override Templates for Fact displays since ƒh V6
For a full list see Expressions and Contexts of Use.
Expressions are composed from two technical features:
- Data references are expressions which are used to provide a way of referring to particular items of data in your project, such as records or particular fields within records. They can be used for advanced customizations of diagrams, websites, family that often appear enclosed within percentage signs, e.g.
- A ‘function’ is an expression which returns values based on computations. Typically, functions require data to be supplied to them as ‘parameters’. A function in Family Historian is similar to a ‘function’ as used in spreadsheet applications (such as MS that begin with an = sign (except when used within another Function), e.g.
A Function is a predefined computation that returns a value, often based on data supplied as Parameters. They are similar to ‘functions’ used in spreadsheets (such as MS Excel), macro languages (such as Visual Basic for Applications), or other programming languages. For example:
=ChildCount()supplies the Child Count, for the current record
=RecordId()supplies the Every record in Family Historian has a numeric Record ID, which uniquely identifies it within its type of record. for the current record
Any Parameters are enclosed in parentheses
( ) and separated with commas
, as shown below:
=CalcDate(%INDI.BIRT.DATE%, 10, 3) returns a Date that is the Date of Birth plus 10 years and 3 months.
For full details see Understanding Functions and then the subsidiary topics Functions (by category), Functions (all), Data Types, Operators, etc.
The Basicsƒh offers nothing equivalent to the Data Reference Assistant for constructing Functions, so they must be composed manually, and if ƒh says that an Expressions are composed from two technical features: Data References and Functions; they also often involve Operators to compare values. is invalid, then you must deduce where the error lies.
An alternative is the Utility ~ PSPad Family Historian Functions editor that helps you compose the Function syntax correctly before pasting it into an Expression.
Therefore, to start with it would be best to focus on the simpler Functions that have no Parameters until some experience has been gained.
Some Functions are more complex than others, and may take several Parameters. To use these, it would help to find an example in an existing Expression, and try to copy how it is used.
One common misunderstanding is whether to include or exclude the leading
= sign on the Function name.
- If the Function is NOT within the parentheses of another Function then the
=sign is required.
- If the Function is within the parentheses then the
=must be omitted.
So for example:
||returns the Year of Birth of an Individual|
||returns a Date that is the Year of Birth plus 10 years|
In the second example the
Year() Function must NOT have the
= sign prefix.
It is also essential that the parentheses
( ) are in matched nested pairs. In other words every opening parenthesis
( must have a matching closing parenthesis
This becomes quite difficult to check for complex nested Functions with multiple Parameters, that are larger than the Expression box display.
To overcome this it is a good idea to compose the complex Expression in a simple text editor such as Notepad, and build up the components bit by bit. At each step, copy and paste the Expression into Family Historian to check its syntax is valid, before adding the next component.
Several functions calcuate an Age or Date from recorded information. These include:
=AgeAt() only uses the first Birth event Date and the supplied Date parameter. If either is a Range or Period with two When an Event happened, or an Attrribute was true. then only the earlier Date is used. If either Date is undefined then the function returns an empty string.
=EstimatedDeathDate() are far more sophisticated and use much more database information together with Tools > Preferences > Estimates to produce a value. They give precedence to Birth and Death Events are things that happened to an Individual and Attributes are things that described them., but may also use Baptism, Christening, Burial, or Cremation events, or other Facts are one of the key concepts at the heart of Family Historian; they are how you record the things that happened to, or described, each ancestor (Individual). for the individual and their relatives.
In reply to a question about these functions Simon Orde said:
These functions work hard to try to estimate a person’s birth or death date based on known information about them. For birth date, for example, obviously, if a person’s birth date is given, that trumps everything. But there may be other ways of calculating the date. For example, if the date of an event is known, and the person’s age at the time of the event is also given, we can calculate the birth date precisely. If we can’t do that, we will guess that an ordinary baptism or christening year, is the year of birth. If that doesn’t give us a date, we will try to calculate a person’s birth date from their date-of-death, from the dates of birth of any children they have (together with some reasonable assumptions about child-bearing ages for men and women), from the dates of their marriages if known (together with assumptions about marriage ages), from their parent’s birth dates (together with assumptions about child-bearing ages for their parents), and from their spouse’s birth dates.
If all that fails to deliver a usable result, we will look at the dates of any other events in the person’s life that we may have. At this point (and only at this point), if we have a ‘generation’ figure, we will also start to go off and look at ancestors and descendants and see if we can estimate their birth dates. If we can, that will give us some kind of range (using reasonable estimates about child-bearing ages again), and we will also factor in the dates of the ‘any other events’ that we may have, as an additional check.
The ‘number of generations’ to check figure is used, but only for last-stage checking, if earlier checks failed to deliver a usable result.
Despite that, there are scenarios for which
=EstimatedBirthDate() gives erroneous dates that may also affect
- If a fact has a Date and an Age then that may be used to establish the estimated Birth Date.
- If a Death event has a Before Date Range then that Date is set as the Earliest Birth Date.
In such scenarios, the Earliest Birth Date may be later than the Latest Birth Date, and both may be later than the Date of a life fact such as a Baptism or Census records are national collections of population statistics. They usually record details about members of a household on a particular date, and are typically collected every ten years. event.