Surnames | Names index

Family pages introduction

The family history pages are mostly dynamically produced with the basic family data being kept on a mySQL database alongside the Happy Valley families web site pages. The history pages relating to specific people or families are also dynamic pages of the history class.

Family pages

The family pages are the cornerstone to the whole system and provide entry to any family or person on the database. By clicking on a person on the names index page you will get a page displaying that person in the context of their family. The page will show any one spouse (the one marked for prefered display), any children will be listed, and any parents of either partner will be shown in the correct positions.

The partners in the family will be highlighted:

  • Yellow background is standard
  • Green background indicates a living person whose name and details will not be displayed to the general browser, just to the registered maintenance user
  • Orange background shows a person marked as deleted*
  • Pale blue background shows a person whose record has been marked as suspended - not deleted, but not visible to the general browser

Clicking on either of the partners will display that person's full record, enabling update of the record.

Clicking on any of the children or the partners' parents will result in the display of that person's family record.

It is not possible to create or delete a family record - they are created by person record creation or updating, and they may be deleted (marked as non-displayable) only by deleting person records. Only the basic family record is created by this process. Additional information and sources can be added by updating the family record. This includes Separation, Divorce, Note, Note link and Source link records

Person pages

Person records are of two kinds, standard, and aka (also known as). aka records are created from a standard record update. They contain nothing more than the aka names and a display control flag. They can also have a source linked to them. aka records do not have any connection to a family record, neither can they have note records linked to them. When a standard record is read, a check is made to see if there are any asociated aka records. aka records are listed in the names index, and if selected, they are recognised as aka and the related standard record is also read.

Every person in the database has a standard person record with a unique ID. They are also connected to at least one family record, even if not married. If they had multiple marriages then they will be connected to the same number of family records.

New person records can be created with or without connection to any other person. A new family record will be created automatically when required.

Persons will only be displayed on the public pages if they are known to be deceased or if they are older than the minimum age for display which is presently 97 years. This parameter can be changed in the common/ file.

How are people and families related together by the database?

A family record can contain a link to each of two partners, standard person records. Each person record can contain one link to their parents family record. Children can therefore be found by looking for the parents family record ID in their person records. Each person will have at least one family record even if they are not married - they will be the only person linked to in that family record. Where a person has more than one marriage then they will be listed in more than one family record, one for each marriage.

Further data is also stored on the database:

Picture and Picture link records

Separate records are provided to define a picture and to link it to the appropriate person. The picture records contain the file name of the picture together with fields for the Alt and Title information, and a picture Credit. The picture link record links the picture record to a person record or a family record. A person can have more than one picture linked to them. A picture can be linked to more than one person or family. The pictures must be in the 'pictures' folder associated with the family pages and they must have been sized to the appropriate dimensions for the family site. My preference is for pictures to be 350 pixels high - a standard height is more important than width.

Source and Source link records

Each record contains data and dates regarding one information source. The record ID is the source number, so it is best to avoid deleted records. There is no command for deleting a source record. If one becomes redundant I suggest updating it with a new source as a replacement.

Each source link record provides a connection between a source record and a person record, or family record, or separation record, or divorce record, or note record, or history item record. There is also a code regarding the particular information field in the target record that this source refers to, known as the tag. Each source can be referred to by any number of persons or families, or more than once in any person record via different tags. There is only one tag for family records. There are additional tags for Notes, Separation and Divorce records.


The following tags are used in person records:

  • General
  • Birth
  • Baptism
  • Death
  • Burial
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Religion
  • Military
  • Residence
  • Note

These tags are used in family records:

  • Marriage
  • Separation
  • Divorce
  • Note

The use of these tags enable one or more sources to be indicated for each of the listed specific areas of information.

The mySQL database

The database is maintained online within the 1&1 IONOS contract covering the web site.

The following tables are maintained for family history purposes:

  • Person (standard) - each record recording the details of one person;
  • Person (aka) - a limited record providing alternate names for a standard person;
  • Family - each record detailing one relationship between two people or relating to a single person;
  • Source - details of one source of data;
  • Source link - each record linking one source to one person, family, note, separation or divorce (known as entities);
  • Source type* - each source record must be of a particular type (eg. book, census , document, etc.) This table provides a list for selection when a new source record is built;
  • Source tag* - a list of tags to relate sources to entity data fields and their associated processing information, used during the processing of new sources;
  • Picture - each record describing one picture;
  • Picture link - each record providing a link between a picture and a person record. The pictures are not held in the database itself but in a separate directory;
  • Note - all notes. A person, family, separation or divorce record can have one or more notes linked to them. Any note can be linked to more than one record or any type;
  • Note_link - each record provides a link between one note record and any one of person, family, separation, or divorce records. Any note can be linked to multiple resources;
  • History -
  • History Item -
  • History link -
  • Country - we use country codes for recording country of residence. The codes are the same as high level internet address sufixes for the relevant countries, ie. uk for United Kingdom, za for South (Zuid) Africa. The one exception is us for United States of America;
  • User - a record for each registered user of the family system. Users only need to register if they are to maintain the database. Casual users who only wish to read the data do not need to register;

* These tables are maintained through the Database Administration pages rather than through purpose built family web site pages.

The fields within the tables are described in files held in the families folder, all beginning table_~.

Maintaining the database

Registered users

Only registered users can maintain the database. All other users, as well as registered users who are not logged in, can only display information from the database - surnames index, names index, family records, person records and the list of sources.

At present a registered user will be given access to the entire family history database and will be able to add new records, update or mark 'deleted' existing records. It is planned to limit registered users to specific areas of the database - the exact details of this are yet to be worked out, and in the meantime only very few users will be given such access.


Adding new people

Fill in the fields on the New Person page.

Forenames, Surnames and Nicknames receive special treatment as follows. Note that Forenames get different treatment to Surnames.

  • The program contains a list of name prefixes which require some lowercase and some uppercase rather than the standard of always storing forenames in capitalised lowercase and surnames in all uppercase;
  • A further list contains names that must not be so treated. This presently contains one name - Macclesfield;
  • Where forenames are entered with a leading capital, Mc and Mac will be followed by a capital letter;
  • Where a forename is entered entirely in lowercase only the initial letter will be capitalised;
  • Where a surname is entered in lowercase or capitalised lowercase it is stored in uppercase with a capitalised lowercase Mc or Mac;
  • When a surname is entered entirely in uppercase it is stored in uppercase;
  • Hyphenated names are treated as multiple names, so - McDUFF-McDONALD, and the rules above are applied to each name separately;

It may be easier to understand by studying these examples:

  • mcintire macsweeny mcdonald = Mcintire Macsweeny McDONALD
  • Mcintire Macsweeny Mcdonald = McIntire MacSweeny McDONALD
  • McIntire MacSweeny McDONALD = McIntire MacSweeny McDONALD
  • McIntire MacSweeny Macclesfield = McIntire MacSweeny MACCLESFIELD

Birth date - where the birth year is unknown it is necessary to enter an approximate year of birth in the approx year field. This enables calculations to determine whether or not to display the person in the public pages. For persons who obviously lived more than 102 years ago it doesn't need to be in any way accurate. For those who may still be living, accuracy is more important. The approx year is not displayed to browsing users.

Deletion of records

The maintenance pages enable the 'deletion' of persons, pictures, picture links, sources and source links. It is not necessary to be able to delete family records - these are automatically removed when the number of persons belonging to the family drops to zero (no husband or wife).

In practice no record is actually deleted from the database. The act of deletion merely marks the record as deleted while the physical record remains in the database. Once marked as deleted the record will not be shown to those who seek to display the record, nor will a person record appear in the online names index, or even in the surnames index if it is the only person of that name. However, it will be shown to those in update mode, and it will appear in the names index.

Deleted records are marked by 'display_flag' = 9. Non-deleted records are marked by 'display_flag' = 1. Non-display records are marked by 'display_flag' = 0.


Local This refers to the maintenance of the database held on the webmaster's PC.
UID The User ID field on many of the database tables - the user ID (user record number) of the user who created or last modified the record. At present these are all set to 1, the record ID of the webmaster's user record on the database. The UID field always directly follows the record's serial ID, create date and update date, and is present on all records except those that list parameters.