Use Second Site to share information with your family on DVDs or flash drives!

What You Need

It's a short list: TMG, Second Site, and a DVD burner or flash drive.

Removable Media

Most researchers want to share information with their family. The time-honored method is to print a large report that amounts to a family history book. If you are willing to do the work, the results can be impressive. But printing can be expensive.

One attractive alternative is to publish your data on removable media. Removable media is inexpensive to produce and easy to distribute. Removable media has the capacity to store a lot of information, with plenty of room for your genealogy data and hundreds of images, if you have them. Distributing your family history via removable media is a compelling option.

Format: HTML

Once your audience has your data, they need some way to review it. You could distribute your TMG database, but then your audience would have to purchase and install TMG in order to read the data. You could create reports in one of the more common word processor formats such as PDF, but browsing a large PDF is tedious.

A better choice is to use HTML. Most people who have a computer have a web browser, and a web browser is specifically designed to browse through a large collection of related documents.

Second Site will transform your database into web pages in a matter of minutes. It makes links between people who are related or took part in the same events, adds images to the pages, makes indexes... Second Site does it all.

What You Do

Let's assume that the data in your TMG database is ready to be published. That's a big assumption, because genealogy projects never seem ready to publish. There's always something left to fix. Publish anyway: you'll never be done.

  1. Decide what people in your database you are going to include. If that is a subset of your data, not all of it, you may want to use a custom flag in your TMG database to define the subset. Use TMG's List of People report to set the flag to "Y" for every person you want to include on the disc.
  2. Make sure the Media.Add CD Autorun Files property is checked. On older PCs, these files signal the Windows operating system to open the Main page when removable media is inserted into the drive. On newer PCs, that functionality is usually suppressed by security features, but when the option is on, Second Site reorganizes the Output (-o) folder contents to make the removable media easier to use. See the Media Section.
  3. Make a site using Second Site. Experiment with Themes and option settings until you get it just the way you want.
  4. Copy all the files and subfolders in the Output (-o) folder to the removable media. The Output (-o) folder is where Second Site stores the generated pages. All the files you need are in there. Do not copy the Output folder itself; copy the contents of the Output folder.1

The specific procedure for writing the site to removable media varies based on the media itself. Thumb drives are easy: you plug them in, then drag the files to the disk. For DVDs, you have to follow the instructions for burning to a DVD, and those vary according to your operating system and hardware.

IMPORTANT! If you are making DVD, before you make many copies, make sure that you test one on a different computer from the one where you created the disc. Sometimes, the computer that wrote the disc can read it, but other computers can't. Don't create a coaster!


1. There are other ways to organize the contents of the removable media, especially if it will contain other content in addition to the site made by Second Site. Explaining all the options is beyond the scope of this help page.

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