Second Site is a great way to make a CD or DVD to share information with your family!

What You Need

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

Media: CD or DVD

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, especially if you do not have access to a high-quality printer.

One attractive alternative is to publish your data on a CD or DVD. Discs are inexpensive to produce and easy to distribute. A CD will store a lot of information, with plenty of room for your genealogy data and hundreds of images, if you have them. If a CD is not big enough, you can use a DVD instead; DVDs have at least 6 times the capacity of a CD. If most of the people in your intended audience have a personal computer, distributing your family history via CD or DVD is a compelling option.

If you want to create many copies of your disc, consider using the CD & DVD Duplication service from Wholly Genes.

Format: HTML

Once your audience has your disc, they need some way to review the data. You could put your TMG database on a disc, 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 RTF, but browsing a large collection of data in a word processor can be 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.

  1. Decide what people in your database you are going to include on the disc. 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 the CD or DVD 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 CD 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 a disc in your CD or DVD burner. 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

You'll have to review the documents and/or help files that came with your computer or CD/DVD burner to learn how to copy files from your hard disk to a writable disc. The software for many CD and DVD burners supports writing to discs via drag-and-drop or cut-and-paste.

IMPORTANT! Before you make many copies of a disc, make sure that you test it 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 CD or DVD, especially if the disc 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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