Friday, January 23, 2015

Legacy: Using all of the different notes fields

Most Legacy users know about the five main notes fields, General, Research, Medical, Marriage and Event but are you taking advantage of all of the other notes fields Legacy has?  Just in case you are not familiar with the Big 5 we will look at those first.  I will tell you what I put in each field.  You can click any of the screenshots to make them bigger.

I use the General Notes to hold biographical information.  I try to write a short bio on every person in my direct line and for the siblings of my direct line at the very least.  Sometimes this is a paragraph and sometimes it is several pages.



I use the Research Notes to document my current theories and my train of thought.



I use the Medical Notes to record all kinds of medical things I find.



And here is a Marriage Note.



Here is how I use the notes for an event.  This happens to be a newspaper article so I have put the transcription in the notes. 



Now we will look at some of the notes fields that people seem to overlook.  I like to keep my notes with the fact they are describing.  To get to the Birth, Baptism, Death and Burial Notes fields all you have to do is click the + (plus) sign to the right of the field.  You will also see some other options listed for each of these fields.



Here are some examples of what I put in these 4 notes fields.






Ah but we are just getting started! Any attached Media can have notes.



You can have notes attached to locations. 



You can have notes on addresses.



You can have notes for repositories.



To-Do Tasks have two tabs of notes, the Task Description and the Results.  If you take the time to fill these out properly you will have a nice research log.



Did I miss any?  A lot of Legacy users will jam all their notes into the General or Research notes.  They will get lengthy and then it will be hard to find things.  I like to attach my notes to the fact that they actually pertain to.  It just makes more sense.  Your reports will also read out better. 


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Legacy: Creating GEDCOMS

Why would you need to create a GEDCOM?  If you want to upload your tree to one of the online tree websites like Ancestry or to one of the DNA websites like FTDNA you will need to create a GEDCOM.  If you want to send your file to someone that does not use Legacy then you will need to send your file (or portion of your file) as a GEDCOM. 

Legacy makes creating GEDCOMs easy.  There are many options when creating a GEDCOM so you can get it formatted just the way you want.  Before you get started, you need to think about why you are creating the GEDCOM and who you are creating it for because that will affect what options you will select.

I am going to walk you through creating a GEDCOM using your entire file.  You can also create GEDCOMs from a portion of your file using either Tagging or Focus Groups which will be covered in the future.

To get to the GEDCOM screen select FILE > EXPORT > GEDCOM on the main ribbon/toolbar. (You can click any of the screenshots to make them larger).



And here is the main dialog box.


Normally I just leave this first page at the defaults.  There are two drop down boxes, Produce file for: and Character Set:  If you look at the options you will be able to see that you can fine tune your export depending on where the file is going to eventually end up.  For example, there is a special GEDCOM format just for Ancestry.  If you are exporting to one of the things on the list, choose it.  The programmers have designed these specifically to take into consideration any quirks the destination program might have.  If your reason is not on the list then here are some general guidelines.  If you are creating this for someone using any of the top genealogy programs out there then use the Legacy option.  This will include all of the custom tags that Legacy uses and the top programs can read them just fine.  If you are going to be sending this to someone using a very old or very basic program you might want to tone it down to a GEDCOM 5.5 format. If you don’t like the output, you can delete the GEDCOM and try a different format. 

Now we are going to look at the four buttons on the side, Privacy Options, Compiler, Customize and AutoSource.  Some Legacy users don’t realize that there are more options to consider.


Here is the Privacy Options screen:



Here is the compiler screen:



Here is the Customize screen.  You will want to spend a little more time on this screen because it is very powerful.  What you see in the Items available for export and the Export these items box depends on what type of GEDCOM you told Legacy to create on the first screen.  The items with the asterisks (*) are the barebones basics that will be exported no matter what.  You can’t delete these.  Any tag that has an underscore (_) in front of it is a custom tag that Legacy has created. If you scroll down you will see tags that have no asterisk and no underscore.  Those are GEDCOM 5.5 compliant tags that any program and any website can read.  You can move tags from left to right or right to left.  Only the ones in the right box will be exported.  You can customize exactly what you want to export and what you want to exclude by using the Include and Remove buttons in the middle.  The buttons below those are sets of tags.  You can click one of these buttons and you will get the set of tags that goes with that particular format.  I very rarely change what defaults into these boxes.

The next section are additional things that you can exclude out of the GEDCOM.  If you don’t want the recipient of your GEDCOM to see any of your Research Notes or any Causes of Death this is where you will exclude them. 

The last section has some formatting options. 



The last screen is the AutoSource.  I do not use this because everything (well, almost everything) in my file is sourced properly.  If you use AutoSource, every person in the file will get the same source.  If you are going to do this you will want to create a source that basically states that the information came from you. 



The only thing left to do is to click the button that says Select File Name and Start EXPORT which you can see in the top right corner of the second screenshot on this page.  You will get a Windows browse box.  I always save my GEDCOMs to my desktop where they are easy to find.  I don’t save GEDCOMs after I have sent them to where they are going because if I need another one I just create a new one so that I know it is completely up-to-date. 

One very important note.  If you are sending your file to another Legacy user you do not want to send them a GEDCOM.  What you will want to do instead is to either create a backup file and send that to them (if you want them to get your file 100% intact) or you can go to FILE > EXPORT > EXPORT TO A NEW LEGACY FAMILY FILE.  You will save the new file first (save it to your desktop) and then you will get the Options screen.  You will have the familiar Privacy Options and the AutoSource screens.  The rest of the available options are on the main screen.  You can export your entire file or you can use tagging or focus groups to export part of your file.  If you send your file as a GEDCOM there is a chance some of your data will not be exported correctly because of the limitations of the GEDCOM protocol, some of your formatting might be off for the same reason, and all of your SourceWriter sources will be converted to Basic style because the GEDCOM protocol can’t handle the template format.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Legacy: More about the Source Clipboard

There are two other things you can do with the Source Clipboard and some Legacy users get confused between the two so I am going to explain both.

You can have up to 5 different sources on the clipboard at the same time.  If you do, whenever you click the Paste icon ALL of the sources on the clipboard will be pasted at the same time.

Open the Source Clipboard, click Options at the bottom, select Allow multiple sources on the clipboard. (You can click on any of the screenshots to make the image larger).


Click on each tab and load the Master Source and Detail just like you did YESTERDAY.  Now when you paste your citation ALL of the sources you have loaded will paste.  This is very different than saving a citation for later use which is what I will show next.

You can save up to 10 different clipboards.  They can be single citations or up to 5 citations on a single clipboard.  This is very handy if you have some favorites.

Start by loading a Master Source to the clipboard.  You can even add the detail if the detail isn’t going to change.  Now click Save Citations to Disk at the bottom of the screen.



Now I can open the Source Clipboard and select Load Citations from Disk and I will have my quick pick list of favorite citations.



Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Legacy: The Source Clipboard

I had someone ask to see more about the Source Clipboard so here it is.  The Source Clipboard is there to save you some time.  I will give you an example from my file.  I very often get death certificates or marriage certificates in batches.  I can load a master source onto the clipboard and then just change the detail when I change certificates. 

Here is the process step by step.  (You can click on any of the screenshots to make them bigger).









The Source Clipboard has already saved you some time but here is where it will save you even more.  Now I am going to add another Louisiana Death Certificate.  I don’t need to change the Master Source, only the Detail.  I go to my new person and click the Source Clipboard icon.




I can now paste this citation in all the places it needs to go.  When I am done I will go to the next person.

Tomorrow I will show you how to save source citations to use again later and also how paste more than one source at a time.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Monday, January 19, 2015

Legacy and AniMap

I love AniMap and I use it all the time.  I want to show you how I use it and I will also be showing you one of the built-in error checkers that Legacy has.

I was entering a information from a death certificate into Legacy. The deceased was born in Salley, South Carolina in 1845. When I tried to enter

Salley, Aiken, South Carolina, United States

into Legacy I got an error message.




I clicked the Online County Info button which brought me to the Aiken County, South Carolina FamilySearch Wiki Page. Many people don’t notice this very useful button (and there are two more very useful buttons, the Show County List and Online County Maps).  There I found,

“10 March 1871: Aiken was created from Barnwell, Edgefield, Lexington and Orangeburg Counties.” 

Now I have a problem. Which of these three counties was Salley in in 1845?  This is where AniMap comes in. AniMap allows me to pinpoint a specific location and then I can see how the state and county boundaries changed around that location over time. I chose 1832 because that is the date of the last boundary changes prior to 1845.




Salley was in Orangeburg County in 1845. Now I can enter the correct information into Legacy. You always want to record your location as it was at the time of the event.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Legacy: Changing the Burial label to Cremated

You can change the Burial label to Cremated on the Individual’s Information screen.  Click the + (plus) sign to the right of the burial field.  Click the word Cremated and you will see a checkmark appear then the box will disappear.

(You can click on any of the screenshots to make them bigger).



Now your label will say Cremated instead of Buried.



Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Legacy: Changing the labels on the Family View

When someone sees a screenshot from Legacy and they notice that the labels on the Family View are different than what they have they want to know how they can change them.  Easy peasy. (You can click any of the screenshots to make them bigger).

You can see that my labels are Born, Died, Age [at death], Cause of Death and Cemetery



All you have to do to change these is mouse click on one of the labels and a Customize Family View Information box pop up.  This is where you can tell Legacy what you want to be displayed.  Notice that you can display up to five fields. 



To change one of the fields click the little square to the right that has the in it. and you will get this.



You have 99 options to choose from.  You actually have a lot more than that.  Event is only on the list once but if you choose that you will be able to pick any event that you have.  Here is where it gets really cool.  You can save up to 10 different sets of labels!  Depending on what you are researching at the time, you might want other things to display on the Family View.

Here I am saving my current view.  I am going to Save it to number 1.  If I want to use one of my custom sets of labels I would only need to click Load (above the save button).



I went ahead and saved a second set of labels.  Now when I click on the labels I have a quick pick list I can use but I can still go to the customize screen if I prefer and can click Load there.  You can see the labels that I have now are Birth, Death, Age, FSID [FamilySearch ID] and the Modified Date/Time [the date/time I last made a change to this person].



Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Friday, January 16, 2015

Legacy: Expand/Contract Location Parts

“How do I change all instances of USA in my locations to United States?”

On the main toolbar in Legacy, select View > Master Lists > Location. On the right side of the screen select Options > Expand/Contract Location Parts.

Here is the Expand/Contract Location Parts dialog box. Check the box that says, Add "United States."  It won't add United States to the USA that is already there but rather it will change USA to United States. Hit Continue.


This is what the Master Location List looks like before the change


And here it is after


If you choose Add “USA” it will change all of your United States entries back to USA. You can also do this with the names of states and there are additional options to expand/contract names associated with other countries. To see all of the abbreviations that Legacy will recognize and convert, select the country you are interested in under Parts to Work On then Preview a list of Codes/Names.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Legacy: Boys are blue and girls are pink

At least they are in my file.  If I don’t know the gender of the child then they are green.  I love color and I try to use it to my advantage.  Here is how you color your children. You can click the the screenshot to make it bigger on your screen.

Select the Options tab on the main ribbon/toolbar and then select Change Colors.



A Set Color Scheme box will pop up but for this task you don’t need it.  All you need to do is mouse click anywhere in the children’s list and the Set Gradient Colors box will appear.  This is the box where you can change the gender colors.  You can see how I have mine set in the screenshot.  When you are done click Save and then Close.


I will be out of town for a four day weekend.  I will have my laptop with me and I will be posting to the blog everyday.  It might take me a little longer to answer emails and get comments posted to the blog but it will get done.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I think I am going to do a series of Legacy specific posts.  I answer a gazillion questions about Legacy while I am working but I am also answering them on several different Facebook pages.  If you have a question about how to do something in Legacy let me know and I will post it on the this page.  I love to do screenshots so I should be able to show you how to do anything you want to know how to do.  If you don’t use Legacy (yet) this will give you an opportunity to see what the program can do.  You can email me at

One thing I would like to mention.  Legacy is a very full-featured program and it takes awhile to learn all of the things it can do.  We have some things that will help you.  Here are some FREE videos and webinars.

You can find more free Legacy specific webinars HERE.

Don’t forget the Help File.  If you go to Help > Help Index over on the right you will see links to Tutorial Lessons, Step-by-step Instructions and my favorite, Tips and Tricks. We also have an online Knowledge Base that is searchable. 

Also, there is usually more than one way to do something in Legacy.  It is set up that way on purpose because different people like to do things in different ways.  Legacy is pretty flexible.  Here is one simple example, some people like to create a Census event and then attach a copy of the census page to the event.  Other people prefer to use the census as a source and they attach a copy of the census page to the source.  It is totally personal preference. 


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group

The group I will be leading will start on 06 April 2015.  It will be an asynchronous chat on Google+.  One chapter will be discussed per week.  For more information click HERE.  When you register, you can ask to be placed in my group but be advised there are only 10 spots available.

Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis 


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group

I have mentioned the Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Groups before on the blog.  They are based on the book, Mastering Genealogical Proof, by Thomas W. Jones.  Dr.  Jones’s book is in a workbook format so it is perfect for a study group. 

I will be leading one of these MGP study groups starting in April or May.  I went through the program the first time with Harold Henderson, CG and he was awesome.  The second time I went through it as a mentor I went through with Dr. Jones himself.  This time I will be leading a group and I very excited about it.  As soon as I have all the details for when and where I will let you know.  I would love to see you guys there.

Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

For those visual learners

I have two really good resources to learn about the Genealogical Proof Standard for you visual learners. The first is a colorful Genealogy Research Process map by Mark Tucker. The second is a slide show, Navigating Research with the GPS,  also by Mark Tucker. 

There is one point I would like to expand on,  the Define Research Goals step on the Genealogy Research Process map.  I think this is where a lot of people mess up. You need to make very specific goals and if you have more than one, you need to address them separately (separate research plan/log).

Where was John Doe born?
Who were John Doe’s parents?
Who did John Doe marry?
Did John Doe serve in the Confederate Army?

What you want to avoid are very broad research goals such as “What does FamilySearch have on John Doe?”   If you find something that is relevant to a different search goal go ahead and save it while you have it in your hands but don’t take the time to analyze it yet.

Tomorrow I will be posting a cool announcement about the GPS that you might be interested in.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Ich wünsche euch ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest!

1622Gerard_van_HonthorstAnbetung der Hirten, Gerard van Honthorst, 1622, im Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Köln untergebracht.

Use Google Translate if need be.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis