Our Family History

Cunningham, Walker, Finney, Benner, and Related Lines

 Help - Navigating the Site

The pages of Our Family History are generated using the excellent software package The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG), written by Darrin Lythgoe.  Thus, only the Family History Home page, along with a few others such as this one, is static or hard-coded.  All other pages are generated on the fly by the software, using a database where all the genealogical information is stored. Moreover, Our Family History is a single tab (Family History) of a WordPress package used to generate the John Tracy's Tracings website that you are on, which includes my blog and other pages separate from the family history pages.

An Our Family History page starts with the horizontal line below the WordPress header:

And the page ends with the horizontal line above the WordPress footer:

This help page shows you how to navigate around the pages of Our Family History.  However, this page is not a complete how-to guide for the site; there is a help button on most pages.  And you have to be a registered user, and logged in, to see and use some features.  (To register, go to Register for New User Account.)  If you have any suggestions or observations, you should Contact Us.

This walk-through will introduce you to the primary features of our family history site.  A link on this page will open a new tab in your browser; you can follow the steps on this page in the new tab while referring to the steps here.

Navigating the Site

On the Family History Home page, and in fact on every page, you see a dark green menu bar with various menu headings, and a search area above the menu bar at the right.  Many pages also have some links below the menu bar.

On the menu bar at the left:
Family History Home takes you to the front page of the site.
Search takes you to the Advanced Search screen (see below).
Login (or Logout) logs you into the site, or out of it.

On the menu bar at the right, you see four menu headings: Find - Media - Info - Help. These can be used to quickly access any area of the site.  If you hover the mouse over one of the four (don't click), you will see a drop-down menu that gives you more options for navigating the site.  Click on where you want to go.

You will see below how to use the search area above the menu bar at the right.

Below the menu bar at the right:
Share allows you to share the page on various social media.
Print prints the page without the menu items.
Some pages also have the Bookmark icon. This lets you keep a list of your favorite pages on this site.

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The Individual Record

On the Family History Home page, in the search area above the menu bar at the right, type "Samuel" (without the quotes) into the First Name box and "Cunningam" (without the quotes) into the Last Name box.   Press <Enter> on the keyboard or press the "Search" button to the right of the text boxes.  (In the search area, you can also press "Advanced Search" to go to that page (same as "Search" in the left part of the menu bar), or "Surnames" to see a list of all the surnames in the database.)

Searching for "Samuel Cunningham" will give you a list of all matching people in the database; then you can click on the name you want.  If there is only one match, you will go directly to that person's individual page.  Because there is only one Samuel Cunningham in the database, you are now at his Individual Page:


Take a while to familiarize yourself with the layout of the page.  This is the basic display of the family history pages. 

This standard view shows "All" information about the "Individual", including the "Personal Information" and the "Event Map".  You can limit the display to just one of these by clicking "Personal Information" or "Event Map".  Clicking "PDF" will generate an individual report in PDF format.

Personal Information is divided into three sections: The individual, his/her parents (missing in this case because I don't know who they are), and his/her family/families with spouse(s) and child(ren).  Click on "Group Sheet" next to "Family ID" to bring up a family group sheet with the individual as a child (if he/she never married) or a family group sheet with the individual as spouse/parent, along with the other spouse/parent and the children if any.  Try this out.

The Event Map is a Google Map showing the locations of events in the individual's life.

  • Click the + to zoom in on the map and the - to zoom out, or you can use the slider to control the zoom.
  • Click an Event Number Pin on the map to open an information window about the event.  Here you can get directions to and from and location.
  • Click an Event Number Pin in the list at the right to open a new tab with Google Maps showing the location.
  • Also in the list at the right, click on the blue globe to download a Google Earth KML file to your computer for later use.
  • You can toggle between Map and Satellite views using the buttons at the upper right of the map.

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Now let's look at the five tabs to the right of the "Individual" tab: Ancestors, Descendants, Relationship, Timeline, and Suggest.  First, search for "Tracy" "Cunningham" and click on "Tracy Cunningham Jr.".

Click "Ancestors" and you will see a pedigree chart with the previous individual at the left (the root) and ancestors of that individual to the right. The default is four generations, Standard format (father up and right, mother down and right).  Clicking any name on the chart will take you to the individual sheet for that person.

If you hover your cursor over a person's box and see a small tree icon at lower right, clicking on the icon will produce a new pedigree with that person at the root.

If a person's box shows a left-pointing yellow arrow, clicking on it will either make the person's only child the root of a new pedigree, or display a list of children from which you can select who will be the new root.  If a person's box shows a right-pointing yellow arrow, clicking on it will show the previous generation (and the youngest generation will slide off the pedigree chart to the left).

In the dark green bar above the pedigree, you can change the number of generations in the pedigree chart.  If the chart becomes larger than the window, you will need to use your mouse to drag the chart so that you can see the various parts of it.

Also in the dark green bar are a number of other Ancestor chart views available by clicking Vertical, Compact, Box, Text, Ahnentafel, or Media.  Vertical shows the root individual at the bottom, father up and left, mother up and right.  Compact is like Standard with only names and boxes just big enough for names.  Box is like Standard with birth, marriage, and death information showing in boxes.  Text is like Box without the boxes; children are connected to parents by lines.  Ahnentafel is a tabular and narrative display complete with all children of the parents in each generation, along with all birth, marriage, and death information; see the Wikipedia article.  Media is a display showing a camera icon beside the name of any person who has at least one media item in the database.  Try clicking the Ancestor display options to see what they offer.

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The "Descendants" tab gives you a listing of all descendants of this individual (below we use two generations to save space).


The default view is four-generation Standard.  You can change the number of generations.  The Compact and Text display options are similar to those for Ancestors.  The Register option is similar to Ahnentafel.  Click the Descendant display options to see what they offer.

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The "Relationship" tab allows you to determine the relationship between this individual and any other person in your tree.

The current individual is already loaded as Person 1, but you can select another person by clicking "Find".  Then select Person 2 by clicking "Find" for that person.  There are three other settings.  You can select the number of relationships to show; many people are related in more than one way.  By choosing "No" in "Show relationships involving a spouse", you can limit the relationships to purely genetic.  To eliminate very tenuous relationships, set "Maximum generations to check".  Most Europeans are related within the last 15 generations, which is the default. 

To try out this feature, click Person 2's "Find", enter "Martin" "Eloise", then click on "Anna Eloise Martin".  Her ID is entered under Person 2.  Now click "Calculate'.  You will see a chart showing how Tracy and Eloise are related, and a verbal statement of their relationship.

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The "Timeline" tab allows you to view events that occurred during the individual's lifetime, arranged on a horizontal calendar.  The individual's life is shown as a line, and events are marked with dots.  The lower, darker band can be moved left and right with your cursor to display many years quickly.  Use the upper, lighter band with the months for fine tuning.

The "Toggle Lines" at the bottom is inactive.  You can add Timelines for up to four other people to the display by clicking "Add People".  Refresh the display by clicking "Refresh".

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Use the "Suggest" tab to propose any changes or additions to the individual's record.  We will evaluate your proposal and add the information to the database.

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Search and Find

Where the people are.  There are three primary ways to see the records of an individual:

  • Clicking "Surnames" will show you the directory of surnames in the database and allow you to drill down to the person you want.  Click "Show All Surnames" to see an alphabetical list of all surnames in the database.
  • Searching for a name in the database.  Use the Search box at top right of the Family History Home page, and you will be shown all the records in the database that match your request.  If you need to be more specific in who or what you are looking for, click the "Advanced Search" button in the Search box or click the Search icon at the left of the menu bar.  In Advanced Search, you can specify several different criteria to search against.
  • Searching for a woman using her Married Name:
    (1) In Advanced Search, use the "Spouse's Last Name" field with Gender set to 'Female'; this will show you a list of all women married to men with the family name given; or
    (2) If you also know her first name, click "Search Families" in Advanced Search and enter both the husband's name and her first name.

Find anything in the database.  Hover your cursor over "Find" at the right of the menu bar, then click on the type of thing you want to find.  You will be taken to a search form for that type.  Also see "Media" below.


The database can hold photos, documents, recordings, videos, and other types of media.  All of these are attached to individuals, families, places, etc., and can be seen when you are looking at a particular individual or family or place.  To search the media, hover your cursor over "Media" at the right of the menu bar, then click on the type of thing you want to find.  You will be taken to a search form for that type.


Hover your cursor over "Info" at the right of the menu bar.  Here you can find housekeeping, utility, and miscellaneous items such as What's New, Most Wanted, Reports, Statistics, Notes, Sources, and Repositories.


This pull-down menu contains this help page, the Terms of Service/Privacy Policy, and Contact Us.  Hover your cursor over "Help".

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Adding to or Editing the Database

You cannot add to or edit the database directly.  Please use the "Suggest" tab for each individual to propose any additions or corrections, as described above.

If you wish to tell or ask us something general, rather than related to a specific individual or family, then use the 'Contact Us' link on the Family History Home page or in the 'Help' drop-down menu.

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More Features

This walk-through has provided you with an introduction to the site.  There is much more functionality to be discovered.  Feel free to poke around; you can't break it. But if you find anything wrong, please let us know so we can fix it!

If you are a relative of anyone on this site, then register to see information on living people in your line.

If you are a Latter-day Saint, then register to see ordinance information.

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