Tinderbox and Scrivener and Family History

Hi all,

I’ve been reading a lot about Tinderbox on the forums, and from what I’ve seen on the website it could be just what I need, but before I try to learn scripting and programming and whatnot, I wonder if anyone could tell me whether the following is possible with Tinderbox and Scrivener:

I am doing a catch all One Name study for Family history research, and every reference to a person with my surname of interest is being placed in Scrivener in the following sort of heirarchy:


Each person is titled with firstly the year of the event, then their name (and a descriptive if possible). Those events for the same person are then all grouped in a single folder.

Where many people are mentioned I make a new note for each with the same source information, and then scrivener links between each, listing what their family relationship is, and then each family is nested in its own folder. The families of the children are then nested in their own folders within the first and so on.

My system works fairly well, although visually it can become a pain once people start moving parishes, and it all becomes too much for me to make sense of.

And so, finally, my question:

Is it possible to batch export or through some intermediate process transfer these multiple folders to Tinderbox and retain their heirarchies (and labels)?

And, something that would be the cherry on top, I’m hoping that as my scrivener links are the exact words in the titles of the notes, there would be some way to tell tinderbox to create its own links following those already listed.

The tree views in Tinderbox would be of immense help, I think, and if I could then task it to show heirarchies by area or by family relationships, it would do all that I could ever want.

If anyone out there thinks that it is possible, please let me know.

After this long post, I’d be happy with just a yes or no, if that’s your considered opinion. :smiley:

I’m willing to figure it out, but I’d hate to spend all of that time becoming expert enough to know that it’s just not possible. :unamused:


Mention family history for a Mac, and my first thought is Reunion 9 from Leister Productions. It’s always the highest-rated genealogy software for Macs. I’ve used it to construct actual family histories and ones for fictional characters. Your project sounds very complex, but basically you need good database software, and that’s Reunion 9. It imports and exports GED files, provides both standard and custom fields, including locations, and supports web publication, too. The developer is very responsive and makes regular updates. leisterpro.com/

Hi Druid,

Thanks for your reply.

I actually got stuck into family history through using Reunion to track the Welsh Genealogy of the characters in my book (stilll in progress) about subroman Britain.

It is incredibly effective, but I find when you don’t really know how someone is connected, you can end up with little families and couples floating unheeded all over the place in the index.

I know that you can ask it to search for similar people who may in fact be the same, but in general I’ve had limited success - especially when you have the high proportion of Thomas’s and Hughs and Annes etc that I’ve found in all branches of the family.

This was the original reason I started using Scrivener to group by place (apart from wanting to use Scriv for everything I can).

I thought that if I could put everyone within the village with which they were associated, and those villages which were nearby were actually nearby in my database, I could pick when someone decided to go to the Church three miles West of the farm for a baptism, instead of 3 miles East.

I’ve looked further on the tinderbox website, and think that I might be able to have a map as an image adornment in the background, and have the parishes as loci, then the links between parishes would become evident (i.e. in say a will, when someone refers to a brother here, money to a church there &c &c &c.)

The ability to generate a webpage would be a big bonus in tinderbox as well.

The designer, Mark, in the forums was asking about using for family history in January, so there may be potential for me - at least I’m leaning more towards it now, though I’ve read Amber mentioning a few other things - CMAP looks very good as well, especially being able to click on a node and have a box with links to all of the notes inside it pop up ready for your perusal.

The more I look the more options I have and the more confused I become. :frowning: :wink:

Since you’ve worked with Reunion, you know basic database concepts, like fields and records. Your description suggests that you’re trying to see relationships in the data, which takes some scripting or programming knowledge, and usually a more high-powered DB program, like FileMaker Pro.

It sounds as though you are caught between building a scrupulous genealogy but also writing a historical novel out of that material. I work in the same genre, so I can testify that one can waste much time and energy worrying about whether a harness shop really stood at the corner of Third and Main in 1884. The only readers who care about such detail are local historians. You may always use some license in building places and events that involve your characters, who are the main attraction for nearly all readers.

So, my caveat: don’t get so hooked on research that you never write the story!


Since no one has addressed your original question directly, I’ll have half a go. I’m writing as an intermediate-level Tinderbox user. In its own way, Tinderbox is a wonderful programme and once you have your data in it I’m sure it will do all you want and more, but it’s much easier to export from than import into, other than by drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste. My experience is that within a workflow Tinderbox is a tool for origination rather than transformation. In other words, I’m not sure you can easily batch import in the way you wish. But there are others here who know more than I. It may of course also be worth raising your question on the Tinderbox forum; I’m sure Mark Bernstein will respond.