TNG Glossary

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The following is a Glossary of terms as used in TNG relating to genealogy, computing and archival organisation. The Glossary uses the titles of terms as they are displayed in TNG so as to facilitate . Definitions indicate where they differ from typical use and any possible confusions due to similar terms in other software and contexts.

Contents: Top - 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


See Website Administrator.
An Album in TNG is a grouping of Media. An Album can include any number of Media, and any particular Media item can belong to multiple Albums. Like individual Media, Albums can be linked to People, Families, Sources, Repositories or Places. More details.
Anonymous Visitor(s)
See Guests.
An Association is a record of a relationship between two People in your database that may not be obvious from the regular tree structure of your genealogy. In fact, two People who are linked in an Association may not be related at all. More details.


  1. In genealogy, a branch refers to two very different groups of relatives.
    • An ancestral branch is a line of relatives diverging backward in time from a Lineal Ancestor. For example, your Mother's Mother is the start of an ancestral branch of your family which blossoms backward in time.
    • A descendant branch is a line of relatives diverging forward in time from a Collateral Ancestor. For example, your Aunt and her descendants form one of the descendant branches of your family which blossom forward in time.
  2. Branch is a specific TNG term for a set of Individuals within a Tree that all share a common label. This label allows the administrator to restrict access to these labeled Individuals based on user permissions. More details.
A backup is a common computing term for copy of a file, directory, or database on a separate storage device. The TNG installation files provide a backup of your original install and a method to backup your database. Your hosting service may provide a backup of your site. You can also FTP all files, directories, including the TNG database backup directory to your computer as a full backup. More details.


  1. In most genealogy applications, including TNG, Places at which burial Events take place are often (but not always) cemeteries - and mausoleums, graveyards, etc. They may also be just a city, state, or country, if that is all that is known about the place of burial. Places have no attributes or relationships that distinguish Places tied to burial Events from other Places.
  2. TNG has a Cemeteries object that is separate from Places, and is intended to allow site adminstrators to focus on specific burial places of interest to them, and to treat them like real-world burial places. Distinctions between TNG Cemeteries and Places associated with burial events are explained in the Wiki article on Cemeteries.
A chart is essentially a report of People (and generally Families) with graphical structure or indentation that helps to represent the relationship among the People and Families.
In genealogy application, a citation is a reference to a previously defined source which provides evidence about some aspect of an database record, for example, where the date and place of an Individual's birth is documented. More Details
The same source can be cited multiple times. For example, a single source such as a death certificate can provide multiple pieces of evidence, such as a person's name, the date and place of death, the cause of death, and the age at death.
Collateral Ancestor
A collateral ancestor is a brother or sister of a Lineal Ancestor. For example, your GrandMother's brother - your GrandUncle - is one of your collateral ancestors. He is related to you because you both descended from your GrandMother's parents; but you did not 'descend' from your GrandUncle, that is, you are not one of his GrandChildren.
Collateral Descendant
A collateral descendant is a descendant of a Collateral Ancestor. For example, your Uncle is a collateral ancestor; so his children - your cousins - are collateral descendants.
Each collateral ancestor who has a child is the founder of a separate descendant Branch on your family tree.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used to describe the presentation semantics (the look and formatting) of a document written in a markup language. Its most common application is to style web pages written in HTML and XHTML. See CSS Syntax Reference for additional details.
In principle, Cascading Style Sheets do for HTML what styles do for word processors. They allow you to define styles (e.g., for typography and page layout) that will be followed throughout a page or throughout a web site. They achieve the goal of separating style from structure and may also reduce the amount of code in the file. Like the styles of a wordprocessor, they promote consistency across a project, and they make universal changes across a project easier because only the style needs to be changed to affect all pages linked to it.


Data Protection
Data Protection means having a complete data backup and recovery plan for all the content of your TNG site, your files, your configurations, your customizations, and your MySQL database, both the database structure and database table content. See the Category Data Protection for additional articles.
A date records the calendar day on which an event took place (for example, 5 Jun 1987), or the series of sequential days over which an ongoing event or condition occurred (for example, FROM 3 Apr 1901 TO 31 Mar 1911). In TNG, uncertain dates may be qualified by the addition of date modifiers (for example, BEF 1835).
See Dates for more details.
See Inputting Dates - Eingabemoeglichkeiten on guidelines for inputting dates in a multi-language environment.
Default Photo
TNG provides the capability to make one of the photos associated with a person or family, the default photo, which is used on the individual page, family group sheet, and charts associated with the person or family name. More details
  • 'Documents' is one of the TNG media collections (aka Mediatypes). The Documents collection is generally used for Media Items that represent formal documents such as census, birth, marriage, and death records.
  • 'Documents' (such as Word Documents or PDF files) that contain stories about a person or family are generally stored in the Histories collection. Researchers on different TNG sites (and possibly different trees on one site) may make different choices about creating custom collections for documents that represent wills, military records, censuses, birth records, and so on.
Dynamic Web Page
Unlike a static web page that physically exists on the website and never changes, a dynamic page is created by scripting on the server or in a browser, and it only exists for the period of time it is being viewed. When the browser finishes, the page is removed from memory and no longer exists. Because TNG consists of PHP programs, which generate HTML documents on-the-fly, all TNG pages are dynamic.


In genealogy: a significant happening, typically occurring at a specific time and place, that characterizes a person. In genealogical databases (including TNG) Person and Family data records consist of Events rather than Attributes. In general, even data elements like Name and Sex are often treated as Events. Of particular interest are dates and places of birth, baptism, wedding, death, and burial.
Note that in TNG and the Gedcom standard, Events correspond to this general definition, but at a technical level, TNG Events and Gedcom Events are slightly different.
Generally, saving data from an application's internal storage to a file format that can imported into another program - or, perhaps, that can be viewed by a person, or stored and later restored to the application.
In TNG, this usually refers to exporting database data either for backup or to be transferred to another database, or to exporting genealogical data into a Gedcom files (at Admin >> Import/Export)


  1. Traditionally, a social unit made up of one or two parents and their children, or any variations on that theme such as "immediate family", "nuclear family", "extended family", etc.
  2. In TNG and other genealogical applications, a "Family" is essentially a "couple", married or not. A Family record contains fields called "Husband" and "Wife", which point to Person records. Though children are logically part of a Family, at a technical level, Children are not part of a Family record; they are defined by a linking table that connects People to Families
There is no nomenclature in TNG to distinguish the Family defined by a Family record from the larger notion of a Family as a set of all people in the database who are related.
A FamilyID is the unique identifier of a Family record within a Tree. A FamilyID must consist of one capital letter (almost always 'F') and an integer number. To identify a Family records uniquely across all Trees in a TNG database, the FamilyID must be combined with a TreeID.
File Transfer
Because TNG is installed on a Web Host, installing and modifying TNG involves moving files between a person’s home computer and the web host's computer. Systems such as FTP and SSH have been developed to accomplish this file transfer securely. See File Transfer for more details.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
  1. A widely used protocol for exchanging files over any network (such as the Internet) that supports the TCP/IP protocol.
  2. 2. A program that uses the FTP protocol to transmit or receive files across a network.
  3. 3. The act of using FTP to transfer a file. ("You need to FTP that file to your server.")
See the FTP article and the the article on FileZilla - FTP Client, which is a free FTP client that can be used on most personal computers.


GEDCOM, an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunication, is a de facto text file specification for exchanging genealogical data among different genealogy applications. It also, unintentionally, turns out to be a genealogical data model.
gedcom (in lower case) is the field name used in the TNG database for a TreeID. It is a key value in most database tables. Its name derives from the fact that many TNG databases are built from one or more Gedcom files, and each Gedcom file can be associated with a Tree.
See GEDCOM for additional details.
See Import_Data for an approach to importing GEDCOM data.
See Setup Tree for option on preventing anonymous GEDCOM downloads.
Geocodes are the latitude and longitude for a location (and sometimes, the zoom level applied to a map that includes that location). In TNG, Geocodes can be applied to Places, Cemeteries, and Media Item (where they generally represent the location where a photograph was taken) Geocodes are needed for Events and Places to be positioned on the maps that TNG generates.
The process of looking up the Geocodes for a location is known as "Geocoding". TNG provides a utility that takes Placenames and uses Google Maps to look up their geocodes. TNG users can also establish Geocodes by clicking on a place on a Google map. Google Maps - Geocoding Places for more details.
(Also referred to as Anonymous Visitors). Anyone able to access a TNG website. See Users and Guests for more details.
Guest is also one of the roles assigned to the User Record by the TNG Administrator that can be used to grant access to a specific branch within the tree to view information on living individuals for example, but not allow editing of information. See User Roles for more details.


'Headstones' is one of the TN media collections (i.e. MediaTypes). This collection is primarily for photos of headstones and cemeteries, and allows you to both to associate those photos with a TNG Cemetery, and to specify where the grave is within a Cemetery, and whether the grave has, in fact, been located.
'Histories' is one of the TNG media collections (i.e. MediaTypes). This collection is typically used for things like historical photos, scans of anecdotes from books, and stories that could be in text, PDF, and/or Microsoft Word format. more information
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML elements are the basic building-blocks needed by a browser to display a webpage. For a comprehensive article on this subject, see Wikipedia - HTML. Additional details may be found at HTML Intro and HTML Reference on the w3schools website.


Image Map
In HTML and XHTML, an image map is a list of coordinates relating to a specific image, created in order to hyperlink areas of the image to various destinations (as opposed to a normal image link, in which the entire area of the image links to a single destination). For example, in TNG you can use the Image Map section of Add or Edit Media record to create a link for an individual in a group photo to that individual's page within your TNG site. See Image Map for an example of how image maps are created in conjunction with the Tooltip Mod
To bring external files or links into TNG. This can refer to GEDCOM data or Media.
A person (record) in a genealogy database. Due to lack of evidence or error more than one Individual could refer to the same actual person.


  1. Natural Language - English, French, German, etc. TNG has been translated into over 20 languages through the use of Language Strings in TNG code. Languages strings are in the TNG subfolder named Languages.
  2. Computer Language - HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript are the four computer languages that are fundamental to TNG. PHP and JavaScript are programming languages; they consist of statements that can be executed. HTML is a "markup language" that describes the document in which it is embedded. CSS is a 'formatting language'. It describes how HTML documents are to appear when they are rendered by a web browser.
Lineal Ancestor
A lineal ancestor or relative is a direct ancestor - parent, grandparent, great grandparent, and so on back in time. Each lineal ancestor is a founder of an ancestral Branch on your family tree. Often the female ancestral branches become more difficult to research as you go back in time because their surname was not recorded in earlier birth, marriage, and death records.
A file whose entries describe an action that has taken place. TNG logs are all text files, and, for the most part, one log entry is described on one line in the text file. TNG log filenames end with "log.txt".


Representation of geographical data which in TNG refers specifically to geo-referencing of Places managed through TNG Administration backend. Places associated with a database entry (Individual, Cemetery's etc.) are automatically displayed on the relevant page. For Individuals several Events are displayed on the same Event Map. Another common use of the term by TNG users is the Image Map used in Media records.
Media in TNG is a general term for files not directly stored in the TNG database. It is primarily used to refer to images, whether photos or scanned documents.
Media Collection
A Media Collection in TNG refers to a type of Media. TNG's standard collections are Photos, Documents, Headstones, Histories, Recordings, and Videos. TNG also allows you to create your own media collections. A collection is not restricted to a single file type. For example, .jpg images can be part of any collection, not just Photos or Documents, and the Photos collection does not have to contain only image files. More details
Merge in TNG means to combine records. In TNG, you can combine or merge People, Places, Repositories, or Sources. Note that if you use a gedcom import to replace your data, then merges made in TNG will be lost next time you do an Import.
Mobile Mode
TNG V10 added the automatic detection that it was being used on a mobile devices. It automatically sets the $sitever to mobile on smart phones and adjusts some of the displays. It automatically sets the $sitever to tablet for tablets but the displays continue to be in standard mode. Some mods like the Census Plus International mod reduce the size of the census transcript display when on a tablet so that the tables fit within the screen width.
Mod Manager
The Mod Manager (an administrative control built into TNG from v8 onwards) is a facility which provides an integrated way to install/remove and manage modifications (mods) to a TNG site installation using config files that have been coded according to its syntax rules. More details
A TNG Mod is a package of files whose purpose is to change or add some aspect of TNG's functionality by modifying TNG files and/or installing new TNG files. The essential component of a TNG mod is a command file (with the filename extension .cfg) that tells the Mod Manager what changes to make to existing files, and where to install any other files packaged with the .cfg file. Mod .cfg files are normally referred to as "cfg files") to avoid confusion with the other meaning of config files) in TNG.
MySQL (pronounced "My S-Q-L" or "My sequel") is a free, open source, Relational Database Management System (RDBMS). TNG is essentially dependent on MySQL as its database application. (MariaDB, which is a RDBMS that is designed as "plug-in" replacement to MySQL, is being used on a few TNG sites.)


Formally, in TNG (and other genealogy databases), a Note is a record that consists of text and that is linked to some other kind of record - most often a person or event. There is no structure to a note, and notes cannot be linked directly to Sources, so notes often contain their own source information.
In most genealogy applications, Event records have a text field that can be, and too-often is used like a note, but that is 'supposed to be' just an Event value (such as the occupation associated with an Occupation event, or school name and/or degree associated with a Education or Graduation event).


In TNG, the database table that contains information about Individuals (i.e. People), is called the People table.
Person ID
The unique identifier of a Person (i.e. Individual) record within a Gedcom file or a TNG tree. It must consist of a single upper-case letter (almost always 'I') followed by an integer number. Note that TNG databases can consist of multiple Trees, so the actual unique identifier of a Person record in a TNG database consists of a Person ID and a tree identifier.
PHP is an interpreted programming language designed to run on a web server, and to produce dynamic web pages.
For almost all practical purposes, PHP runs only in the context of a web server. In particular, PHP programs cannot be compiled and run independently on a personal computer. For a comprehensive article on this subject, see Wikipedia-PHP.
See PHP net for additional details.
In TNG, media items are assigned to media collections (aka 'mediatypes'). One of those mediatypes is called "Photos", and, not surprisingly, is intended to contain photographs of people and families. (There are other collections for photos of other objects.)
In genealogy applications such as TNG, a Place is the location where an Event occurred. Place values are known as Placenames. In TNG, Places are database records whose attributes include the Placename (of course), geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude), descriptive text, etc.
The text string that identifies a Place. Placename components (city, count, state, etc) are not divided into separate fields, but are all in the Placename string, where they are separated by commas. In TNG, Placename values are not taken from or checked against a "place authority" that is supposed to know all placenames in some jurisdiction. As a result, more than one Placename value can refer to one actual place. That is, for example, Placenames such as "Chicago, Illinois", "Chicago, IL", and "Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA" can all exist in the same tree (and in the tree's Places list).


'Recordings' is one of the media collections or 'MediaTypes' in TNG. Like all Media Items, Recordings can be associated with People and Families in the TNG Database.
Registered User(s)
See formal definition of User(s).
A TNG Report is a custom-built listing of people contained in your TNG database. Using the report builder you select which fields to display, which people to put in the report, and how to sort them.
Optionally, a TNG Report can also use a raw MySQL SELECT statement to extract any data contained within a TNG database. For example, you could create a report giving the ID# of each record containing a citation of a certain source. The language of a mySQL statement can become quite convoluted and requires some studying before its full power can be realized. There are a number of examples to be found via a TNG Wiki search on the word "report". See Reports or Category:Reports for more details.
A Repository is a place where Sources are stored, such as a public or private library, a county courthouse, a bookstore, a web site, or even an email system. Of course, many Sources exists at more than one Repository. It is not necessary for researchers to record where they obtained a source, but is generally best to record a Repository from which the Source can be obtained. More details
Restore is the act of returning something to its original or usable and functioning condition. TNG provides the capability to restore your database from the backup tables in your TNG backup directory. More details


See the various articles in the Setup category in the left sidebar.
In TNG a source is defined as any form of evidence cited to prove or substantiate any part of your data. The same source may be cited multiple times for multiple individuals, families or events. More Details
Structured Query Language (SQ; pronounced either S-Q-L or "sequel") is a database computer language designed for managing data in relational database management systems (RDBMS). TNG uses SQL for most of its database operations. for See Wikipedia article on SQL for history and W3school for tutorial on SQL.
Though SQL is a "standard" language, most RDBMSs implement some extensions or omit some functions. As a result, applications tend to be dependent on a specific RDBMS product. TNG uses an RDBMS called MySQL.
SSH or Secure Shell is a system of secure file transfer over the Internet using encryption. See File Transfer for more details.


TNG v10 automatically detects that it is running on a tablet and set the $sitever to tablet. The display continues to be in standard mode, but some mods like the Census Plus International mod reduce the size of the census transcript display when on a tablet so that the tables fit within the screen width. SeeTuning for Tablet Display
See Timeline - Setup
A Tree in TNG is a container for any independent set of family data. Trees do not just contain People, but also Families, Sources, Repositories, Notes, Media objects, and, usually, Places. The people in a tree do not necessarily all have to be related, but the reason for setting up separate trees is usually to separate one person in one tree to a person or family in another tree.
Most TNG sites have only tree, though multiple trees are not rare. One common use for two trees is for a TNG administrator to set up separate trees for "his" ancestors and "her" ancestors. In such a case, any common descendants must either be recorded in both tree, or be missing from one tree. See Setup - Tree.
Tree ID
The Tree ID in TNG is a short, unique, one-word identifier for a tree. It can only contain alphanumeric characters. In TNG databases, the Tree ID field is universally named "gedcom", or a variant of "gedcom" when a record has more than on TreeID field)
Tree Name
The Tree Name in TNG is a short display name or phrase to identify this tree. This will appear in all tree selection boxes, and will be the name by which visitors know this tree.


UTF-8 stands for Unicode Transformation Format-8. It is an octet (8-bit) lossless encoding of Unicode characters. See UTF-8 for more details on the UTF-8 character encoding.
  1. Formal TNG definition: Those persons approved by a website administrator to assist with the entry and maintenance of the data displayed on a TNG website. See Users and Guests for more details.
  2. In some applications, and in some TNG documentation, the term user is simply a generic term for anyone using an application or web site - as in "be kind to inexperienced users", which could refer equally well to a TNG user or to a TNG guest.


Videos is one of the media collections or categories in TNG. Videos allows you to associate video clips to a Person or Family in TNG.
See Guest(s).


Website Administrator
TNG defines a website administrator as the primary user: the person who maintains a TNG website and has full access to all its components. Generally, the main website administrator is the person who bought and setup the TNG components in the first place. This administrator normally approves those who request login access and assigns certain rights to them. A TNG website can thereby have multiple administrators, if desired. Such administrators ("admins") have access to the Admin Home page, which displays a variety of administrative controls, as determined by their assigned rights.
Web Host(ing)
Web hosting is any arrangement that makes files accessible on the Internet. In general, a web host refers to an organization or company that provide this service. See Web Host for more details.