This is the third in a series of blog posts by Anna Hopkins-Arnold, genealogist for Rootfinders Genealogy Research, in Durango, Colorado reviewing the ability of Family Tree Maker 2012 to accurately represent real families with complex relationships. This series was inspired by a challenge issued in a blog post by George Geder of Geder Genealogy in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In his original blog post, George showed that Family Tree Maker 2012 could show a couple with the same gender.
Represent Transgender Family Member in Family Tree Maker 2012
Then, George mentioned trying to represent a transgender family member. This is a challenge since Family Tree Maker does not allow us to associate a date with either the “Name” or “Gender” facts. I have often found people using different names at different times in their lives, It would be very handy to have a date associated with the “name” fact for all kinds of individuals.
Since both “name” and “gender” facts change for a transgender person, I would represent the person with two different profiles: one for the birth name and gender and another for the transgendered name and new gender. Both individuals would have the same birth date, birth place, and parents. On their parents family group sheet this one person would look like two people: boy and girl twins, but the birth identity would contain only the facts documented for the birth identity, so that timeline would end when the person began using the transgendered identity. After that, documents will show the new identity and facts would be recorded under the new identity, so when the timeline for the birth identity ended, the timeline for the transgender identity would begin.
Review: Family Tree Maker could document separate timelines for the two different profiles of a Transgendered Individual, but not a single unified timeline
I was able to document timelines for the two different name and gender profiles to represent a transgendered individual, but that representation made the person appear to be twin siblings. Additional text will be needed to clarify the situation. Because Family Tree Maker 2012 does not allow users to change the properties of the name and gender facts, I could not use just a single profile and have the name and gender change with time. It worked, but it was clunky.
This is just one of many instances when I have wished I could add a date property to the name fact. Many people throughout history have used different names at different periods in their lives. Allowing users to add a date to the name fact would make it much easier to see name use patterns.
Allowing users to add date properties to both name and gender will allow them the flexibility to represent every one in their family tree. So I’d like to see Family Tree Maker add these two options to future versions:
- Allow users to modify the properties of the name fact to include a date.
- Allow users to modify the properties of the gender fact to include a date.