Generations Information Sources by Mike Hobart

v 4 revised 04 July 2012


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SECTION 0 - NEWS and future directions

The Sierra Genealogy Q&A website closed on 25 August 2004. Vivendi is to be commended for keeping the website up for 2.5 years after selling the software line. They had contemplated closing it early in 2002 and then again in April 2003

Vivendi International, parent company of Sierra, sold the Generations software line to A&E, parent company of in the late spring of 2002. Broderbund produced and distributed the software for, but did not make any great emphasis on it at their website. Broderbund is selling two Generations software packages, Generations Family Tree package and the Generations Family Tree Plus and I have also seen these bundled into "Value Packs" by Broderbund. has recently been acquired by, and the software lines continue to be available. There are no plans for any further development of the software beyond v8.5a and it's printing patch according to the latest information from

The best location these days for finding copies of Generations appears to be eBay ( If you wish to find the latest version be sure to look for images of the box/package and make sure that you see "Broderbund" on it.

Mike Hobart has a few copies of the Sierra Generations releases which he received as partial compensation for moderating the Generations message board. Please contact him if you are looking for a copy. These are complete packages.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 compatibility

Mike Hobart has moved his genealogical work over to the parent (so to speak) of Generations, the LeisterPro Reunion software on the Macintosh. He does keep copies of Generations on Windows XP running in a virtual machine on the Mac. This is largely to assist people with problems and data transfer. He has tested Generations under both Windows 7 and Windows 8 and the programs work. The database programs suffer limitations as noted in the Tips due to the Windows NT heritage of Windows XP and later.


The various combinations released to this point are as shown in the following list [none of the Sierra U.S. releases are in production].

*v4.2 software*

Generations Deluxe (original) [Not in production]

Generations Easy Family Tree (EasyTree only)


  • none

*v5.2 software*

Generations Grande Suite (original) [Not in production]

Generations Heritage Edition (downloadable) [Not in production]


  • ggspatch.exe [A/k/a patch in the website downloads section] (fixes MS Internet Explorer 5 comctl32.dll problem on install from GGS v5.2 CD) (important to run after installation, but before rebooting!)
  • gen5211.exe (obsolete, no longer available)
  • gen52to6010.exe (patches v5.2.n.n to v6.0.1) (the "About" screen will still say 5.2 - not to worry) (with a file open, check File menu, Get Info item, System tab, to see version)

*v6.0 software*

Generations Grande Suite v6 (being bundled on certain computers)

Generations Deluxe v6 [Not in production.]

Generations v6 in pre-installed software bundle with certain Dell computers


  • none

*v7.0 software*

Generations Millenium Edition (Easytree and Easychart are essentially at v6 levels, v7 lets Sierra distinguish the different "Generations" graphical shell to the entire package including the databases) [Not in production].



*v8.0 software*

Generations Grande Suite v8 [Not in production]

Generations Grande Suite v8 U.K. (see below)

Generations Beginner's Edition v8 [Not in production.]

Generations Starter's Edition v8 U.K. (see below)

Generations Heritage Edition v8 (this was a downloadable purchase) also known as Generations EasyTree-Easychart, or Generations ETEC NOTE: NO LONGER AVAILABLE - the contract between Sierra and the ReleaseNow company (the company which provides the unlocking 'wrapper' software) has expired. Therefore downloading the software would do no good as one could not activate it. The few remaining people in the SierraHome division do not have authority to reopen this contract ;-(


  • gbe851patch.exe (Upgrades Generations Beginner's Edition v8 to the v8.5.1 level)
  • ggs851patch.exe (Upgrades Generations Grande Suite v8 [U.S. edition] to the v8.5.1 level)
  • (Upgrades Generations Heritage Edition v8 to the v8.5.1. This is available from Don Weymouth's website and from Mike Hobart's website)

*v8.5 software*

Generations Liberty Edition v8.5 [Not in production.]


  • gle851patch.exe (Fixes a problem with the Name Index behavior under certain Windows 98 installations, other fixes including &aauml problem in html)

*v8.6 software*

Generations Deluxe DVD Edition (essentially at the v8.5.1 software level, but a FamilyCD creation wizard has been added to simplify preparation of data for distribution on a CD-rom) [Final Sierra release, no longer available.]


  • none

Note that [Not in production] items may still have remaining stock available at the Sierra online store and at retail vendors. Some of these items may be available at discounts from the original prices.


Information about the Generations Grande Suite v8 U.K. edition and the Generations Starter's Edition v8 U.K. may be obtained at the TWR Computing web site: There is also a "Questions about Generations U.K. editions" folder on the Sierra Genealogy message board.

These releases were modified by a programming team in the U.K. (not the U.S. programming team). It is clear that there are some differences in behavior (and bugs) between the U.K. and the U.S. editions. The initial releases of the U.K. editions must be installed on your C: drive for proper operation. See the Generations Tip on the U.K. editions for information about applying the v8.5.1 patch to the U.K. editions.

Mike Hobart and Don Weymouth now have copies of the U.K. editions.


There is now a French language translation of the v8 Generations release available in France. Further details are scare at this time.


Generations Family Tree A single CD version, software v8.5a

Generations Family Tree Plus A two CD version, software v8.5a. The second CD contains data (Research Center, World Immigration Series, Historic Records, Names Glossary, Family Tree Image Library).

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The Sierra product patch site is no longer available. Mike Hobart has copies of all of the patches which were produced and received permission from Sierra to provide these to others. Please send an email with the patch which you need.

The patches for the v8 releases formerly on the ftp site:

There was a patch for an Easychart printing problem for the A&E/ release. The website with the patch was at Search for "+generations +patch"

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Manual - not with Generations Easy Family Tree or Generations Heritage Edition - early production Generations Deluxe v6 packages had the v4.2 manual in the v6 cover (contact Sierra Customer Service and request a replacement of the misbound manual)

Supplementary notes - manual updates for newer packages, describing changes since the printed manual

Help files - so-so for the v4.2 software - pretty good for the v5.2+ software (essentially a Manual in the Help file)

Readme files - on the CD or in the software folder after applying patches (late news)

Quick Start Guide - information about special offers and web links from the startup screen found here - with printed manuals

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - on the Sierra Web Site (v4.2 software)

Sierra Knowlege Base [no longer available]

SECTION 4 - GENERATIONS WEB SITE (no longer available)

This website was shut down by Sierra on 13 December 2001 as part of their continuing shut down of the Sierra Home division. The Sierra Genealogy message board and the Internet product links for the various software packages remain available. Not all of the product links are to features or sites that are still on the net, but the 13 December changes did not result in any changes beyond the loss of the main Generations webpage.

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The message board was closed on 25 August 2004. Archives of the posted messages are not available.

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Don Weymouth has added a section to his website devoted to the Generations software. The initial contents of this section are the Generations Tips which Mike Hobart and Don Weymouth have published to the Generations Discussion email list. These Tips are also available on the Sierra Genealogy Message Board (see below).

There is an important addition to his website - the free patch for the Generations Heritage Edition v8 (downloadable) version. We are making this available on his web site with the permission of the Generations team at Sierra. Just click on the link for to begin the download. His website also provides an extensive example of the Internet output produced by the latest version of the Generations software.

It now appears that the patched chart8 file is no longer available for download, so I have added it to this website

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Mike Hobart has a web site devoted to genealogy, with a large section on the Generations software. This site is still being developed, but at this time there are enhanced versions of all of the Generations Tips available. The enhancements have generally been the addition of various screen shots and examples. Copies of the Readme.txt files for the various releases are available. Sample 3D chart files may be downloaded. The various surname-related genealogies are all created with the Generations software.

The is also available at this web site (see above for details). Where you are right now!

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The website supported the Broderbund releases of Generations software. This product is now discontinued from futher development and they have moved the support section to their "discontinued products" support page [This site also appears to be discontinued so has been removed]

The support answers available as of 12 July 2002 are listed below. The initial list was drawn in part from articles in the Sierra Knowledgebase for Generations v8 and v8.5. These in turn in part drew on the Generations Tips series:
  • 595 - Using Generations built-in program help
  • 618 - Why isn't my word processor in the Report Options list?
  • 619 - Why can't I get to the child buttons after deleting an event?
  • 620 - A chart prints as blocks of black or an entire page of black
  • 621 - The boxes in Easychart only display one line of text after editing the text
  • 622 - The boxes in Easychart are very long and thin after editing the text
  • 623 - When choosing to Tile multiple charts, some redraw with oversized, garbled text
  • 624 - Copy/Paste or saving a chart as a graphic causes text in boxes to overflow the boundaries of the box
  • 625 - Caption text flows outside its border or box in the Pedigree chart
  • 626 - In EasyChart, fonts over 36 points get clipped in timeline charts
  • 627 - Changing the font in EasyChart changes the format of the tree and boxes
  • 628 - Large texttt causes tex to print outside of the box borders
  • 629 - In EasyTree, data gets cut off if Windows is set to use Large Fonts
  • 630 - Why don't I see Type 1 (Adobe) Postscript fonts?
  • 631 - The Windows Task Bar hides the bottom of the Launch screen and Research Center
  • 632 - The Launch screen and Research Center colors do not display well in 256 colors
  • 633 - Why is the index rebuilding when I start Generations?
  • 634 - What version of Generations do you support?
  • 635 - Have a "Test" family file for experiments
  • 636 - How do I move data between fields?
  • 637 - How do I set up default fields?
  • 638 - Can I add residence information to the family card?
  • 645 - Tips for requesting email support
  • 646 - Why Didn't I Think of That?
  • 647 - Troubleshooting a Printing Issue (Windows®)
  • 648 - CD/DVD is Not Recognized (Windows® 2000/XP)
  • 649 - CD/DVD is Not Recognized (Windows® 95/98/ME)
  • 650 - Installation Steps Explained
  • 655 - How do I create a backup of my Family File?


Mike's Generations Tips are a series of postings which:

  • Show how to take advantage of program features in various ways
  • Discuss program limitations and bugs and how to work around them
  • How to use additional programs to make the Generations software more useful
  • Known significant problems caused by other programs or which Generations causes for other programs

The Tips are initially posted to the Generations Discussion e-mail list. They are then placed in the Generations Tips folder at the Sierra Genealogy message board. All of the tips are available at that site. Expanded versions of the Tips in html format (allowing the inclusion of screen shots and other sample images) are available here on this website.

The individual tips are also available in the archived Generations-Digest mail messages, available from the listserver (see below).

The Tips are mainly aimed at the Generations v5.2 and above software, but there are two aimed specifically at Generations Deluxe (v4.2 software).

I have added a "Version:" line near the start of each of the Tips to show which versions of the software are relevant to the particular tip. This was added due to the bug fixes and added features in the later versions.

See the list of the Tips below with the current numbering relevant for the mailing list..

Mike's Generations Tips

  • 00 - Introduction
  • 01 - Backup
  • 02 - ATM fonts
  • 03 - Using pictures with web output
  • 04 - Web output as a substitute for a dedicated viewer for the family file
  • 05 - Moving data between fields - how to between facts and events
  • 06 - Custom paper sizes
  • 07 - Opening Easychart v4.2 charts in v5.2 or v6
  • 08 - So your Civil War ancestor has gotten religious eh?
  • 09 - Setting default fields etc
  • 10 - Your desktop has turned black after you've installed Snapshot SE #@
  • 11 - Not to belabor the obvious - but use the manual and the online help
  • 12 - Include some system and software info in problem reports
  • 13 - Avoiding extra delays when adding multiple gedcoms or merging family files
  • 14 - Help in cutting and pasting
  • 15 - A limitation in Date Feasibility Checking
  • 16 - Finding anomalous date-related data
  • 17 - Pruning zombie records from the tree
  • 18 - Uncompress your .RB1 files before you remove Generations Deluxe/Reunion for Windows
  • 19 - Complex searching
  • 20 - Moving data from Mac Reunion 4 to Generations
  • Sidebar to Tip 20 - offer to help upgrade files [digest v1.n125]
  • 21 - Extended character cut-and-paste workaround
  • 22 - Marking spouses for gedcom export etc.
  • 23 - Have a Test family file for experiments!!!
  • 24 - You CAN add multiple Residence information
  • 25 - Problem with gedcom export of DIVORCES, and workaround
  • 26 - Certain report titles won't work directly to a word processor
  • 27 - Working with sources
  • 28 - Varying CD drive letter assignments
  • 29 - Family File location shortcuts
  • 30 - If data fields change, update your layouts
  • 31 - Days - A Handy Freeware Calendar Utility
  • 32 - Installing and using Generations software in Windows NT
  • 33 - Source merging when merging family files
  • 34 - Marking tricks from Relationships and Places Lists
  • 35 - You can run date feasibility checks at any time
  • 36 - Clipart included in the Generations packages
  • 37 - Generations and Lotus Wordpro
  • 38 - Some GEDCOM tips and techniques
  • 39 - Program interactions with Generations
  • 40 - Installing and using Generations software in Windows 2000
  • 41 - Caption bug in Left-to-Right charts with workaround
  • 42 - Adjusting the Popup Menus on lists
  • 43 - PDF Output options
  • 44 - Date calculation bug and workaround
  • 45 - Family Quest viewer program differences
  • 46 - Page Setup Problem Workaround
  • 47 - Fixing Cross-Linked Records
  • 48 - Workaround for v8 Relationship List Report crash
  • 49 - Workaround for Easytree RTF files and QuarkExpress 4.04
  • 50 - Publishing on the Internet with Privacy
  • 51 - MS Internet Explorer 5.5 and Beginner's Edition v8
  • 52 - You must have at least one Note field
  • 53 - Preparing a graphic for a chart background
  • 54 - Index and other options for Internet output
  • 55 - Why some couples get split in the Hourglass Chart
  • 56 - Generations v8 U.K. editions
  • 57 - Using font sets with other extended character sets
  • 58 - Using other programs to edit Generations HTML outout
  • 59 - Installing and Using Generations Software in Windows XP
  • 60 - Using the Sierra Generations releases in parallel with the A&E/Broderbund Generations Family Tree Plus
  • 61 - Installing and Using Generations Software in Windows Longhorn (beta)

The various Generations Tips postings as sent to the Generations Discussion email list are contained in the Generations-Digest issues for the relevant dates or the date immediately afterwards.

Mike's Generations Deluxe Tips

  • MGD 01 - Bibliography for the Historic Database CD [digest v01.n124]
  • MGD 02 - Gedcom import problems [digest v01.n158]
  • Gen 42 Tip 03 - Finding source links

Jason Pott's Internet Family Tree Tips

  • [01] - Internet Family Tree Tips [digest v01.n267]
  • [02] - Internet Family Tree Tips - Photos [ibid]

Don Weymouth's Internet Family Tree Tip

  • [01] - Publishing to the web [digest v01.n295]

Terry Dearborn's Tip (from the ReunionTalk mailing list, with permission)

  • [01] - Workaround for the gedcom v5.5 limitation on embedded source citations [digest v01.n342]

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Mike Hobart has written columns on Generations for publication in Everton's Genealogical Helper, Genealogical Computing, and Heritage Quest magazines. From time to time Sierra posted one of these articles in the Research section of the Generations website. A current list of the articles is provided on the Publications page at this web site as well as below.

Some of the articles are expanded from Mike's Tips postings and others are on additional topics. The articles are about 1000 words in length and provide the opportunity to include figures such as illustrative screen captures and examples of charts.

Genealogical Computing

  1. Customizing Reports in Generations Grand Suite (v. 18#4, pp. 19-20, Spring 1999)
  2. Lists, Reports and Marked Sets in Generations Grande Suite (v. 19#1, pp. 19-20, Summer 1999)
  3. Layouts, Layouts, Layouts (v. 19#2, pp. 25-26, Fall 1999)

[The "Hands On" columns were discontinued by Genealogical Computing at this point in an editorial reorganization.]

Everton's Genealogical Helper

  1. Generations Grande Suite - Working With Sources (v. 53#2, pp. 198-199, March-April 1999)
  2. Searching for Items with Generations Grande Suite (v. 53#3, p. 192, May-June 1999)
  3. Genealogical Charts with Generations Grande Suite (v. 53#4, pp. 206-207, July-August 1999) [Errata note, figures 2/3 swapped as published]
  4. Charts in Generations Grande Suite, Part 2 (v. 53#5, pp. 200-201, Sept-Oct 1999)
  5. Generations Grande Suite v6 and Graphical Exports from Charts (v. 53#6, pp. 188-189, Nov-Dec 1999)
  6. Generations output to the Net (v. 54#1, pp. 178-179, Jan-Feb 2000)
  7. Generations output to the Net - part 2 (v. 54#2, pp. 160-161, March-April 2000)
  8. More on charts and a "potpourri" of Generations tips (v. 54#3, pp. 170-171, May-June 2000)
  9. Some of the new features in Generations v8 (v. 54#4, pp. 200-201, July-August 2000)
  10. 3D charts with Generations v8 (v. 54#5, pp. 170-171, September-October 2000)
  11. Generations – databases, companion programs, new releases (v54#6, pp. 154-155, November-December 2000)
  12. Generations - Pictures on web pages, fonts, and new releases (v55#1, pp. 164-165, January-February 2001)

[This concluded the Evertons' columns, due to budget considerations at Sierra.]

Heritage Quest

  1. Generations - Getting Started (#88, pp. 56-57, July-August 2000)
  2. Generations - Data In and Out (#89, pp. 58-59, September-October 2000)
  3. Generations - Finding People, Places, and Data (#90, pp. 38-40, November-December 2000)
  4. Generations - Charting a Path (#91, pp. 76-79, January-February 2001)
  5. Generations - Illustrating and enhancing charts (#92, pp. 78-83, March-April 2001)
  6. Generations - Privacy: Gedcom, Reports, and on the Internet (#93, pp. 52-55, May-June 2001)
  7. Generations - Producing a CD, plus product and site news (#94, pp. 64-67, July-August 2001)

[This concluded the Heritage Quest columns, as that division was sold by Sierra to ProQuest.]

Other Articles by Mike Hobart

The following articles do not specifically address the Generations software, but do contain useful inforamtion for genealogical programs.

Family Tree Magazine [an English genealogical magazine]

  1. Creating Adobe Portable Document Format, pp. 70-71, October 2000.

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Sierra had published a Generations Discussion mailing list which has been discontinued. Zip files containing the Digest versions of the mailing list may be downloaded from Mike Hobart's website.

This mailing list has been replaced by two mailing lists maintained by Don Weymouth. Lead moderator of the former Generations Discussion mailing list and co-moderator of the Sierra Genealogy message board.

The "Generations" list is devoted to general questions about the Generations product line.

Just send an empty note to any of these addresses

Receive future messages sent to the mailing list.

Stop receiving messages.

Retrieve a copy of message 12345 from the archive. Important! be sure to change the number to the number of the article you wish to retrieve!

The "GGS Open" list is devoted to developing other programs to use with Generations. This appears moribund as of August 2004.

Just send an empty note to any of these addresses

Receive future messages sent to the mailing list.

Stop receiving messages.

Retrieve a copy of message 12345 from the archive. Important! be sure to change the number to the number of the article you wish to retrieve!

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Heritage Quest has mailing lists devoted to their products (now seperate from Sierra).

The web page at is used to subscribe or unsubscribe to these lists.

  • Heritage Quest Newsletter (weekly)
  • Local History & Genealogy Librarian News

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SECTION 13 - SUBMITTING SUGGESTIONS TO SIERRA (no longer relevant or possible)

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Snapshot SE

This software is called PhotoArtist SE in the U.K. packages. This package is NOT compatible with Windows XP. No development work is being done and no patches are planned.

SNAPSHOT WEB SITE No longer available


Mastercook Family Heritage Edition

MASTERCOOK WEB SITE No longer available at Sierra for info on continuing new releases

MASTERCOOK MESSAGE BOARD - No longer available at Sierra


iCOLLECT WEB SITE No longer avaialable


- There appears to be no dedicated message board for iCollect, with the package covered by both the Publishing and Web Publishing message boards.

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The Generations software line developed out of the Reunion for Windows software by Leister computing. Leister decided to devote it's programming resources to the original (Mac) version of Reunion and sold the Windows line to Sierra. Leister assisted Sierra with the porting of the Macintosh version 5 code to Windows, but Sierra has been solely responsible for the continued development and support of the Windows-based Generations product. Nevertheless, many of the ideas discussed regarding the Reunion software are quite relevant to using the Generations software. There are columns on the Reunion software in Everton's Genealogical Helper and in Genealogical Computing. Leister has their own website,, which does have a page on the topic of moving Mac Reunion family files over to the Generations product. Leister also has their own active mailing list devoted to the software, ReunionTalk. If you wish to sign up for this mailing list, the details are at the Leister website. Remember, Leister is no longer responsible for the Generations software. They do not have the detailed information on the software necessary to help users with it, nor do they have the time or resources. Please DO NOT CONTACT LEISTER for problems or discussions re the Generations software.

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Copyright © 1999-2005 Michael A. Hobart. This may be freely copied for non-commercial purposes but commercial reproduction without prior permission is restricted.

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