This article appeared in the Jan/Feb 2001 issue of Everton's Genealogical Helper.

The Master Genealogist Tips

By Lee H. Hoffman


Reassigning Unused Person ID Numbers. For various reasons, a user will note that some ID numbers are not being used in a dataset.  This may be due to the merging of persons (where one person is essentially deleted after the data is moves to another person), the deletion of a person as unneeded in the dataset, merging of someone else’s data into this dataset, or some other cause.  Many users do not want any unused ID numbers in their datasets and would like to re-use those now unused ID numbers.

Although TMGW doesn’t care whether there are unused ID numbers, there are a couple of ways that a user may re-use those now unused numbers.  One method is to select the  Tools=>Advanced Utilities=>Renumber People option to renumber All People or to renumber One Person.  The renumber All People option only renumbers those persons above the lowest unused ID number.  That is, TMG compresses the dataset such that there are no unused numbers.  For example, suppose there are six persons in the dataset numbered 1,2,4,6,7, and 9. After the renumber process is completed, numbers 1 and two remain the same while numbers 4,6, 7 and 9 are renumbered to 3, 4, 5, and 6 respectively.  

If the renumber One Person option is chosen, the user would enter the “old” ID number of the person to be renumbered in the From field (by default, the ID number of the current person will be pre-entered and may be changed).  Then the “new” ID number (it must be an unused number) is entered in the To field.  If the “new” ID number is known, it may just be keyed into the field, but if the new number is not known, place the cursor into the field and select Search=>Search for ID Number from the top menu (or press F2).  This will search for all the unused ID numbers for the dataset and display them in order from lowest to highest.  So in the above situation where the used ID numbers were 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, and 9, then the unused numbers would be 3, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, etc. Note that TMG presents you with a list of numbers beyond the highest used.  This list is actually infinite in length, but TMG only presents about 50 for display purposes, but you may enter any number desired.  So again using the dataset above, you may enter any number from 10 (numbers 1 through 9 are still used) up – e.g., 10, 11, 12, 101, 1533, etc. regardless of whether the number is displayed on the list.  From the table of unused numbers, double-click on the number desired to enter it in the To field and click on the OK button.  Then click on the OK button to perform the renumbering.  A warning will display allowing you to cancel the  procedure if you decide not to 

renumber the person.  When you click on the Yes button, TMG will renumber the person to the selected number.

The above methods renumber persons already entered in the dataset, but how do you insure that new persons use an unused ID number without first having entered the new person and then have to renumber it later?  When you add a new person and the Add a Person window is displayed, click on the ID# field and select Search=>Search for existing values….  from the top menu  (or press F2).  This will again display the table of unused numbers as before.  Double-click on the desired number to enter it into the ID # field.  Then continue entering data in the New Person window.  The person will be added using the number you have chosen.

Renumbering Source Numbers. The reassignment of numbers to Sources follows similar procedures with two exceptions.  One is that access to the function for single renumbering and for the renumbering of all sources (compressing) is via the Renumber button on the Master Source List when displayed from the Tools option on the top menu.  The second difference is that new Sources will automatically take the lowest unused number if you have changed the Master Source List window to the Expanded version.  When in the Master Source List, click on the More>> button on the Master Source List window.  This will change the display to the Expanded Master Source List and change the More>> button to a <<Less button. When you click on the <<Less button on the Expanded Master Source List window, the window will return to the display of the normal Master Source List window and new Sources will again take the next highest unused Source Number after the current highest used.
Renumbering Repository Numbers.  Repository records may be renumbered in a similar manner to that already given for persons and for Sources.  Select Tools=>Master Repository List from the top menu to display the Master Repository List window.  Click on the Renumber button to renumber all Repositories (compress) or to renumber a single Repository in a similar way to persons and Sources.  The only difference in this area is that new Repositories will always take the lowest unused number – there being no choice.  Thus there will always tend to be fewer unused Repository numbers in the Master Repository List.


Further information about The Master Genealogist can be obtained from Wholly Genes, Inc., 5144 Flowertuft Ct, Columbia, MD  21075, on the TMG website <> or toll free at 1-877-TMG-FAMILY.   TMG Tech Support is available at 1-410-715-2260 or by e-mail at <>.  More help is available on the TMG Tips website <>.

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