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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do I need to run TNG?
It's web-based software, so you'll need to have a website, and your hosting provider will need to support the following:

1) PHP (a scripting language, 7.0 or higher required)
2) MySQL (a database, 5.7 or higher recommended).

Most web hosting providers already support those. Some that don't are and (different than If you're not sure, ask them.

You'll also need a way to move files to and from your site, and for that I recommend an FTP program (stands for "file transfer protocol"; a good, free one can be found at You'll need a username and password to connect to your site. Your hosting provider can help with that.

Does TNG run on a Mac? Does it run on a PC?
TNG is web-based software, so it doesn't matter what kind of computer you've got at home. You'll install TNG on your website, then run it in a web browser (e.g., Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Edge). Nothing gets installed on your home computer in a typical setup, so your operating system isn't an issue.

Could I run it from my home computer anyway (without a website)?
Yes, you could do that, but since TNG is web-based, you must first turn your home computer into your own private web server. In other words, you'll need to install a web server program, plus PHP and MySQL. That may sound a little challenging, but there are free software packages out there that contain all the components you'll need. If you're running Windows, look into something called Wampserver. If you've got a Mac, use MAMP instead. An alternative that also works on Linux is called XAMPP. If you can get one of those packages installed on your home computer, then you can run TNG right there with no website or Internet connection required.

Why are you charging for it?
Well, for a few reasons. First, it gives me an incentive to continually improve the product. Second, it provides me with the means to give you prompt, excellent support. Unsatisfied customers are not acceptable! And finally, I believe that people who pay a little for their software are more likely to use it and take pride in it. Because of that, most of the TNG sites you see are very well done, and that makes all of us look good. If you think the price is too high, please let me know. If enough people tell me so, I will consider lowering it. So far, however, the only feedback I'm receiving is that I'm not charging enough. I'm taking that as a compliment!

What is PHP? What is MySQL?
PHP (which at one time stood for "Personal Home Page" and now stands for "PHP Hypertext Preprocessor"), is a server-side scripting language. In other words, it's program code embedded in a web page. When somebody on the Internet asks for the page, the code is executed on the server and removed from the page before the finished product is returned to the user as HTML. When used with a database, PHP can be a powerful tool for creating dynamic web pages.

MySQL is a database ("SQL" stands for Structured Query Language). MariaDB is basically the same and will also work.

Do I have to know PHP and MySQL? Do I have to know HTML?
You do not have to know PHP or MySQL, although anything you do know will be a bonus. You will have to know your database name, your hostname, and your database username and password. Your hosting provider can get these for you. You don't really need to know any HTML either to run TNG right "out of the box." In fact, achieving a professional look and feel is also a snap when you use one of TNG's built-in templates (or purchase one at Genealogy Web Templates). If you want to customize your site beyond that, then some basic HTML and CSS knowledge will be needed.

How can I tell if my provider supports PHP and MySQL?
First, check their website. Most hosting providers will mention it with their plan features if they do. If you don't see it there, ask them directly.

My host doesn't support PHP/MySQL. Can you recommend a hosting provider that does?
Absolutely. There are quite a few respectable AND affordable providers out there, some only about $5/month. I'm happy with mine (Simply Hosting), so you could give them a look. They will give TNG users a month of free hosting, and they'll even install the software for you if you need it. If you need more suggestions, ask me about it in an e-mail message and I'd be happy to name a few.

Do you offer a free trial?
No, I don't (sorry). Since all the scripts that make up TNG are merely text files, it would be virtually impossible to include any "expiration" code. If you want to try the product, please try the demo on the menu above. You'll find that the demo lets you see just about everything. If you're worried about how TNG will display your data, you can email me your GEDCOM and I'll import it into a test area for you to review. If you want to do this, please ask me first before sending the file.

Do you have a money back guarantee?
I offer free support if you need any help getting the software up and running. If you find any bugs, I will fix them for you. All small and incremental updates are also free. If you still have an awful experience that I can't help you with, or if you find your web host doesn't support all the system requirements (ie, PHP, MySQL), I will cheerfully grant you a refund (minus the original transaction fees, which PayPal always keeps). In other words, you must make an attempt to install the software, and you must let me help you before you give up. It is not enough to simply decide not to use it.

Has TNG been translated into any other languages? Can it be translated into my language?
Yes (to both questions). Full translations (except for the Help and installation guide) have already been made in Afrikaans, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarianm, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish, and partial translations are available in Croatian, Greek, Icelandic, Romanian, Russian and Serbian. If you want to translate everything into a new language not listed here, that's fantastic. The display messages should be fairly easy to translate into any other language, since they have been separated out into their own files. In other words, you don't have to hunt through any code to find the text.

How can I customize TNG?
You can add your own touches in a few different ways:

  • You can apply one of TNG's built-in templates to get a professional look and feel in an instant (or purchase one at Genealogy Web Templates).
  • The 'Template Settings' page allows you to configure most aspects of each template.
  • All fonts and colors are controlled from the same few style sheets included on every page, so you can change anything you want with regard to appearance if you have a little knowledge of style sheets. Or, you might try the TNG Colouring Book.
  • A special file called "meta.php" is included in every script header. That means that you could include other style sheets as well if you'd like, and in whatever order you want. You could also put other style elements or Javascript on the header of every page by including it in this file.
  • Two other HTML files--a header and a footer--are included at the top and bottom of each page, so you can build one header/footer combination and have it show up everywhere. Some basic HTML knowledge is required to change these files and the home page.
  • All the display text has been separated in its own set of files, so you make it say whatever you want in whatever language you choose.
  • Quite a few system variables are configurable (ie, number of generations on the pedigree chart, etc.)

Is source code included?
Yes. All PHP scripts are merely text files, so the code is easily accessible. You may make any changes you'd like, but I may not be able to support you from there. Be sure to keep good documentation!

How does data get into TNG? Do I need a GEDCOM file?
If you already have your genealogy in a desktop program (like RootsMagic, Legacy, FamilyTreeMaker, Reunion, PAF, etc.), then the quickest and easiest way to get your data into TNG is to have your program output a GEDCOM file (standard method of genealogical data exchange) and then import it into TNG. The whole process takes only a few minutes (or less, depending on how big your file is). Of course you don't really need a GEDCOM file. If you want to enter your data by hand directly into TNG, you can do that through the administrative interface.

What does LDS mean?
LDS refers to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka, "Mormons"). The LDS church invented the GEDCOM standard, so there are several LDS-specific tags. TNG supports these tags, but these fields will not be displayed if you don't use them. If you don't even want to see them in the data entry screens, you may turn that off as well.

How many names can TNG support?
Theoretically, there is no limit to the number of names it can support. I have 14,000 names in my database and have never had a performance issue. Some have many more (I know of one user with about 1,250,000 names). If your database is that huge, however (a few hundred thousand names or more), you may begin to notice a slight performance drain (pages will take a few seconds longer to display). The vast majority of people will not experience any problems, since most files consist of 10,000 names or less.

Can TNG be my only genealogy program?
It certainly can. You may still find reasons to use a desktop solution as your primary repository (simply because you don't need to be connected to the Internet to use it, and also because those programs usually contain many features that a web-based application can't), but if you're looking to collaborate with remote users, or if you do most of your work away from home, using TNG as your only program is ideal.

Can TNG run on the same site as WordPress and other content management systems?
Yes, TNG can run on the same site as WordPress and other similar systems. A few integration options allow you to run TNG from within WordPress. More information can be found on the TNG wiki.

Do you have a support forum?
Yes, there is a support forum, a wiki, a blog and two mailing lists.

Can TNG be used with any other databases?
No, it can only be used with MySQL (or MariaDB).

Can I use TNG on more than one website?
You can, but it would require you to buy an additional license. TNG may be used on one website only, although you may also install it on your home computer, provided your home computer is not also your Internet web server. :)

I am a web hosting provider. Can I resell TNG?
Not without permission, but if you would like to do this I would be happy to set up an arrangement with you.

Can I charge people to use TNG on my site?
You may, as long as we're talking about one installation and you are the chief administrator. If you are installing TNG multiple times so that each user can have their own independent environment, you will need additional licenses.

Can TNG be used to put my genealogy on a CD? Can it make a book?
Since TNG requires PHP, MySQL and a web server, it will not work on a CD. Besides, making a static CD defies the whole premise of TNG, which is to make your genealogy dynamic. As for making books, TNG does not have a specific "Create Book" function, but you may certainly print off your web pages and form them into a book. I know of people who have done that. You could also export your information to a GEDCOM file and then import that into a program that does create books.

I already have another application using my MySQL database. Do I need another database to use TNG?
No, you should only need one database. Each database can contain many tables, and TNG's tables are defaulted to have a "tng_" prefix to keep them separate from any other tables you may already have. On top of that, you can still change the name of any TNG table just in case you're still having a collision problem.

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Vertical Descendants Chart

"TNG! The only server-side genealogical program to use. Look no further!

"Since I started using TNG a few weeks ago and have little knowledge with this type of program, I found it very easy to install and got it up and running in no time. Of course, I wanted some of my own tweaks and through the TNG Forum, TNG Wiki and especially with Darrin, I learned very quickly how to get things my way. Thus, I have to thank the Forum, Wiki and Darrin for the quick response to questions asked. I have added two mods and found that they, too, were simple to install and worked without flaw.

"Finding the TNG software was an answer to my dreams of a family website that was so easy to install, easy to adjust, easy to run and easy to maintain.

"I doubt that anyone can find a similar system for the little cost of the product! KOODOS to Darrin Lythgoe and his TNG software!!!!!!!"

—Paul Turner, Gooderham-Worts Family

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Family Chart

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