GedScape automatically provides various indexes into the GEDCOM data. These are all accessed from the main menu. The indexes can be customized in many ways (see below).
The Master Index lists all individuals ordered by surname and forename.
Three place name indexes are available. The Index of Birth Place Names and Index of Marriage Place Names list individuals ordered according to their place or birth/marriage. The Index of All Place Names includes a separate entry for every place name associated with an individual, again ordered by place name. E.g. places of residence, occupation, immigration etc. will be included as well as births, marriages and deaths.
Several date-based indexes are also provided. The Index of Births by Date, Index of Marriages by Date and Index of Deaths by Date list individuals according to these events, in chronological order. The Index of All Dates includes a separate entry for every dated event associated with an individual. This will include dates of residence, emigration etc. as well as dates of birth, marriage and death.
The marriage date/place indexes automatically include each marriage twice, once listing the husband first and separately listing the wife first. This is so that when many marriages are associated with the same place or date (range), it is easy to locate a particular individual from the ordered listing of the spouse names.
There are a number of ways you can customize the indexes.
Most index customization options are achieved by customizing the main menu, for which you use the Main Menu tab of the Preferences window. Here you can rename and reposition the indexes, or remove particular indexes altogether. You can also opt to have individual indexes be included in the menu bar (quick links) that is shown at the top of every page apart from the main menu (the default is for the master index, only, to be included).
You can also control the appearance and structure of each index page. There are many options available to tailor each index e.g. with a very large GEDCOM you might want to switch to 2 or 3 level indexes for place names to avoid individual index pages becoming unwieldy. You might choose to have 'letter jump bars' along the top so you can quickly jump to entries starting with a given letter. You can choose whether or not the index includes counts.
In addition to the main menu customization mechanism there are various other settings that can affect indexes:
- You can set the overall date format using the Style tab of the Preferences window, under the General section. This affects date formatting throughout, not just within indexes.
- The Style tab also has options to control the case formatting of individual names and place names. E.g. to force all surnames to appear in upper case throughout, and/or have forenames appear in Title Case.
- You can adjust the format in which an individual's life span is appended to their name whenever they appear in an index. E.g this can be the concise form YYYY-YYYY or a fuller form say 'b. DATE d. DATE'. This option is found in Miscellaneous tab of the Preferences window.
- The place name indexes are affected by another option on the Style tab called 'hierarchical place name entries' that is easiest to explain with an example. E.g. your GEDCOM file contains an individual whose place of birth is given as "Blandford, Dorset, England". If you have the hierarchical place name entries option turned OFF, then the place of birth index (and master place name index) would contain a single entry for this birth, literally "Blandford, Dorset, England" and which would be indexed under 'B'. But if you have this option turned ON, you would get 3 entries in each index: (a) "England"; (b) "Dorset, England"; and (c) "Blandford, Dorset, England" as before. I.e. your place name indexes also contain the higher level elements of place names, making it easy to browse e.g. people born in a given country, state etc. The usefulness of this option depends a lot on how well structured the place names are in your GEDCOM file.