Featured User Sites: Craxford Family

Craxton Genealogy Home Page
Alan Craxford has put together a magazine style site for the extended Craxford Family. This site looks like it is running a dozen different instances of TNG, but it is actually all one TNG database. The genealogy portion is one tree, and the yearbook portion is another.
The family area is divided into 9 “magazines” each specializing in one branch of the very large Craxford family. He has a very creative scheme where he has adapted the Template4 that comes with TNG to match the various color themes, and is using a customized template switching facility to handle the modifications for each branch. Each magazine section has its own color scheme, customized banner, and unique left menu.
Over a dozen associate editors handle the various magazines and the customized TNG user rights allow them to be able to curate their area with little help from the admin. The magazines are nicely content rich, with numerous articles, letters, editorials, photos, birth, marriage and death certificates, and census studies.

The high level of customization of TNG here is impressive, and the site is a wealth of information for those working on the Craxford lines and those that tie into it. The entire site is w3c validated.

The “Share” feature

Did you know you could share your TNG pages in Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Google+, right from your site? The feature is turned off by default, so I’m sure that more than a few of you are unaware of it. To turn it on, go to Admin/Setup/General Settings/Site Design & Definition, then set “Show Share Link” to Yes. Now you should see a “Share” link near the top of every page in the public area. Click that link and a row of popular social media buttons will fly out, allowing you to share the current page on one or more of them. The “Share” link also changes to “Hide”, so click it again to conceal the buttons.


Backing up your work in TNG

Every now and then, someone tells me that they made a mistake during a GEDCOM import, or that they installed the full version instead of the upgrade, or that something else happened to cause them to lose their data. When that happens, the first thing I ask is always, “Did you have a backup?”

More often than not, however, there is no backup. In fact, I’m surprised at the number of people who have never backed up their data. Even if you never make any mistakes with your data, there’s always the chance that something out of your control could happen, and without a backup, you could lose months or years of work.

The easiest way to do a backup is to log into your TNG Admin area and go into the Utilities section. From there you can back up all the tables at once, or you can do them one at a time. Either way, you should see a date there indicating the last time you did a backup (if you don’t see a date, you’ve never done one!).


While you’re there, it’s also a good idea to back up the table structure (the second tab). If for some reason an upgrade adds a new field in the wrong order or fails to delete an obsolete field, or if a mod you installed is responsible for something like that, then the layout of your backup files might not match the default table structure. If this has happened to you, and if you ever move your site to a new host and try to restore your backups there, you could have a problem. Having a backup of the table structure could save you there.

Once you’ve backed up a table, a file with the extension “.bak” is created in the backups folder on your site. For a little extra insurance, use an FTP program or an online file manager to download those .bak files to your computer for safe keeping.

There are other ways to back up your data, and some might be better than the one I just described, depending on your situation. For example, if your database becomes extremely large (we’re talking more than 100,000 names), then TNG’s built-in backup utility might time out on you. You can read more on these other methods on the TNG Wiki.

Whichever methods you use, make it a point to do backups regularly. If you install an upgrade, do another backup immediately afterward, as a backup done before the upgrade may no longer work completely if the upgrade altered the table structure.

Restoring a backup

Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to restore a backup you made within TNG, just go back to the Admin/Utilities page. As with backups, you can restore all the tables, or any subset you require.

Upgrading TNG

In this video, Darrin walks you through the process of upgrading TNG from version 7 to version 9. If you have another version you are upgrading from, the steps might be slightly different. 7 to 9 is a little tricky, and upgrades from 8 or 9.0 should be easier. If you are a new user doing a fresh install, you’ll want to follow this video tutorial instead.

TNG upgrade from v7 to v9 from Darrin Lythgoe on Vimeo.