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Customize the way witnesses to events are mentioned

Given this event:

You'll get this sentence:

Moritz Träppengeländer was condemned for gross indecency on 1 June 1811 at the Criminal Court, Klobuck, Poland. Witnesses: Hendryk Grun, judge; Peer Gynt, Mirko Zwieback, Michael Karter, and Elaine Bell, jurys. He was fined 400 zlotys and received a four year prison sentence.


Override the standard "Witnesses: ..." phrase by adding a witness section to the event template you want to modify.

Click the magnifying glass next to the "Template" box and modify it, like so:

This will modify just the event template for this one single event. If you want to modify the template for all events of this type, click the "link" button:

and modify the template there.

If there's a fixed structure to your witnesses for a certain event type, you can fine tune your template further. If you were sure that a "Court Criminal" template always had a judge first, and then a list of jurors, you could create the following template:

Or if you know that for a baptism you'll always mention the godparents first and then all other witnesses, you could do something like this. Given

...the default

[P] was baptized [D+L]

will give us

Mirko Zwieback was baptized on 5 June 1885 at Sablon, Gent. Witnesses: Rachael Geneen, godmother; Joachim De Sutter, godfather; Sally Tregoning, Diana Unglik, and Fabrice Wien.

...but if you change that to

[P] was baptized [D+L]. [W1] and [W2] were [PP] [WR1] and [WR2]; also present were [WWR]

you'll get the (much nicer)

Mirko Zwieback was baptized on 5 June 1885 at Sablon, Gent. Mirko's godmother was Rachael Geneen and Mirko's godfather Joachim De Sutter; also present were Sally Tregoning, Diana Unglik, and Fabrice Wien.

Note that we wouldn't recommend to use this template as is since it will only work if there really are two godparents and more than one other witness. If that's not the case you'll get something like

Rachael Geneen was baptized on 28 November 1984 in London, England. and were her and ; also present were.

Ugh yuck bleah.

Since v.3.1.11 you can take the customization of witnesses a lot further by using the witness' roles in the templates.

More about the Global Template

By default, Genbox will append a list of all witnesses and their roles to an event through the Global Template.

To find this template, select View | Event Templates in the menu, and then change the events group...

...to "Special Processing". The Global Template should be highlighted:

Check if the "Template" field contains the following text:

[...]<. Witnesses: [?WWR]>

The Global Template is a template that is run "on top of" all the other event templates; let's analyze it in somewhat more detail:

  • [...]
    indicates where the result of the "regular" or local event template is to be put. The way the Global Template is set up now it means that Genbox will first generate whatever the local template tells it to generate, and then add <. Witnesses: [?WWR]>
  • [?WWR]
    When you put a code between square brackets Genbox will try to generate data. You can find a full list of event template codes in the help file; the one we're concerned with here is WWR.
    WWR will generate a list of all witness names and their roles; it is responsible for "Hendryk Grun, judge; Peer Gynt, Mirko Zwieback, Michael Karter, and Elaine Bell, jurys" in the example above.
  • [?WWR]
    The question mark is there to make sure that the list of witnesses will only be shown if the local template hasn't already shown them before. If you remove the question mark, Genbox will always show a list of witnesses after an event.
  • <. Witnesses: [?WWR]>
    If there were no angle brackets (<>) you'd get ". Witnesses: " after each event, regardless of whether there were witnesses or not. See Template Basics for more information.

The important bit above is the question mark: since [?WWR] will only yield a result if there was no witness data defined in the local template, this means that we can override the Global Template if we make sure that all witnesses are generated in the local template.

Posted by Michel Vuijlsteke on July 11, 2004 at 08:09 PM in Templates | Permalink


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