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Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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Vol. 5 No. 19 - May 6, 2000


The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy
Newsletter and is copyright 2000 by Richard W. Eastman and
Ancestry, Inc. It is re-published here with the permission of
the author.

Legacy 3.0

A few weeks ago I wrote about the new announcement of Legacy 3.0 for Windows. This week I had a chance to use the program and check out its new features. I'm glad that I did.

Legacy has always been a great genealogy program, but I am surprised that it doesn't obtain the publicity that it deserves. Previous releases have featured a very powerful genealogy program and a user interface that is easy to use. In fact, I wish that some of the more popular genealogy programs would emulate this user interface! I certainly had high expectations when I opened the box containing the latest version of Legacy.

Unlike some of its competitors, Legacy does not include dozens of genealogy data CD-ROM disks in the box. Legacy 3.0 does not claim to be an all-encompassing "genealogy resource." Instead, it focuses on only one thing: being a top-notch program for tracking and recording your genealogy research.

Installing Legacy 3.0 was a snap. If you have installed other Windows programs, you can install this one. Legacy 3.0 includes a sample genealogy file showing the relatives of John F. Kennedy. This sample database is an excellent tool for getting started with the program. Not only does the sample database have the essential data elements filled in, but it also has pictures, full source documentation, a digital scrapbook and even a mini slide show of three pictures already available. This sample database serves as an excellent tutorial for learning the program as you get to see "how to do it the right way."

I found the new version 3.0 to be as easy to use as previous versions. In fact, while reviewing the program, I never found any reason to open the 328-page user's manual! At first glance, version 3.0 appeared to be the same program as the earlier version. However, as I started moving around the menus, I noticed numerous additions and improvements.

Legacy's interface is a bit difficult to describe. It manages to present a lot of information on the screen at one time, yet does so in a manner that always seems intuitive and easily understood. To see Legacy's typical screen displays, take the online tour at: http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/Tour.asp. You will see much of the program's interface in that online tour.

Entering data on individuals is easy; simply fill in the blanks. I added a few fictitious members to the sample Kennedy database and found that I could easily link the newly-entered individuals to existing family members. Later I imported a GEDCOM file of more than 4,000 people, which had been created with a competitive genealogy program. The import was fast and almost error-free. (No GEDCOM import is ever completely error-free on any genealogy program, due to inconsistencies in the GEDCOM standard.)

What I like best is the Sources feature. In my opinion, Legacy is one of the top two or three genealogy programs when it comes to recording sources of genealogy information. When you press the Sources button from the Individual Information, the Assigned Sources window appears. This form shows all the sources that have been assigned to the various pieces of information for the current individual. This includes an Unassigned source, which applies to the individual as a whole as well as specific source assignments that have been made to each event for the individual. Also included are any sources assigned to any marriages for the current person. As you scroll up and down in the list, the full information of each master source and its individual detail appear in the bottom half of the window on the tabs labeled Source Information, Published Facts, Text, Detail and Output. I wish that all genealogy programs would have a sources database as complete and easy to use as Legacy's!

Legacy 3.0 has a long list of printed reports, including:

  • Family Group Sheets
  • Descendant Reports
  • Pedigree Charts
  • Individual Reports
  • Timelines
  • Ancestor Reports
  • Lineage Reports
  • Ahnentafel (Ancestor) Book Generation
  • Modified Register (Descendant) Book Generation
  • Narrative Descendant Report
  • Name Tags
  • Address Labels
  • Age Report
  • Calendar Report
  • Census Forms
  • List Reports
  • Surname Summary
  • Questionnaire
  • Source Citation Listing
  • Potential Problems Report
  • Information Report
  • Relationship Report
  • Research Log
  • LDS Ordinance Report

These reports are generally attractive in print. Many of the reports have the option to include photographs. The pictures in the sample Kennedy database were in color; I only had a black and white printer available when testing the program, but this produced reasonable pictures. I suspect the pictures are gorgeous when printed on a good color printer. You can see samples of the printouts when taking the online tour mentioned earlier.

Legacy has the best merge capability of any genealogy program I have used. A merge probably isn't something that you will use every day. However, when you do use it, you will quickly appreciate the flexibility available. A merge is used when you wish to combine two databases. Let's say that you have a primary database of 1,000 or so people that you have entered as a result of your own genealogy research. You then discover a distant cousin via the Internet, and he or she has additional data that you would like. The cousin sends you a GEDCOM file of that data. You then create a brand new database on your Legacy system and import the cousin's database. After some examination, you decide that the cousin's data looks good; it is properly documented and has source citations as to where each piece of information was obtained. You decide to add your cousin's information to your primary database. There is one problem: your cousin's database contains data on about 250 individuals. About half of them are new to you, but the other half are individuals whom you already recorded in your primary database. In some cases an individual may be shown in your database with only a date of birth, while your cousin's database shows the same individual with only a death date. How do you add the new folks without duplicating the existing individuals? And how do you combine two different records about one individual? Now the fun begins...

First, make a backup of your primary database. I repeat: first make a backup.

Next, open your primary database; then import the new database. This will create lots of duplicates in the newly-expanded database, which you will want to eliminate by merging the data.To do this, click on the MERGE icon, and then select FIND DUPLICATES. Legacy 3.0 searches for all potentially duplicate individuals in the database.

For example: Let's say the program finds two men in your family file that potentially could be the same person, William Johnson and Will Johnson. Legacy compares the two individuals and shows you the differences, if any, between the information contained in the two records. The data in your primary database is shown on the left while the data from your distant cousin's database is shown on the right. After looking the information over, you decide that they are indeed the same person and press the Merge Right Individual into Left Individual button to combine them. Legacy takes a look around and notices that William has two parents linked to him named Daniel Johnson and Mary Anderson. Will Johnson also has two parents named D. Johnson and Mrs. Anderson. These two sets of names look like they could be the same parents, so Legacy adds them into the merge process. The next two people to be displayed are Daniel Johnson and D. Johnson, and then Mary Anderson and Mrs. Anderson. The process is continued until all possible duplicates in that line are presented, including ancestors, siblings, spouses and children. The end result is a combination of names, information and links for everyone in the line who is related.

When searching for individuals in your database that might be duplicates, Legacy compares the following information by default:

  • The last names must be exactly the same.
  • Individuals with blank surnames are not considered.
  • Given names must be exactly the same.
  • Birth dates must be the same (if there is a birth date).
  • Birth locations must be the same (if there is a location).
  • Both individuals must have compatible parents. This means that either both set of parents have the same names, or one person has parents and the other does not, or one has a mother and the other has a father (or the other way around).

However, if you do not want the above defaults, you can easily change them. I would turn off the option that requires given names be exactly the same. I want to find duplicates even if one shows the first name as William while another record says Will or Wilbur or Bill.

Legacy has a feature called IntelliShare that is very useful for people involved in "group efforts." IntelliShare that makes it easy for groups of two or more people to coordinate their works and stay caught up on each other's changes.

The following explanation is from the program's support Web pages:

Form a research group of two or more people. (Each must be using Legacy.) One person in the group is designated as the

"Keeper of the Records" (Keeper for short). This person keeps the master Family File. The first step is to mark all the records in the Master Family File with a serial number that uniquely identifies each individual. This is done in Legacy by pressing the Merge picture button and choosing the IntelliShare option. From the IntelliShare window, make sure the Set IntelliShare Values on Every Individual in the Family File option is selected and then press the Set IntelliShare Values button. This will insert a unique serial number in every individual record. The Keeper now sends a copy of the Family File to all the other people participating in the group.

Any or all members of the group can make changes to existing records, delete or unlink records, or add new records to the Family File. (They should not re-serialize the file.) The Keeper can also make changes and additions to the master file.  At an agreed upon interval, all members of the group return a copy of the Family File to the Keeper for merging and reconciliation.

Most of the features I have already described were in earlier versions of Legacy, with the exception of a few of the printed reports. However, Millennia Corporation has added a bunch of new capabilities to the latest version, including the following:

  • Legacy 3.0 is now a 32-bit program with long file name support. This means you must be using Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000 or Windows NT.
  • A new To Do List makes it easy for you to track future general and individual tasks needing to be done at home or abroad. You can now print a specific list of things to do when you go on your next research trip. This list can be sorted by nearly any field.
  • Global Search and Replace lets you find and replace text in over 100 different fields.
  • Spell Checking is available on all Note fields. This works just like the spell checking in a word processor. Misspelled words are highlighted and suggested corrections are shown.
  • When entering data about an individual, the user can now switch to next spouse, sibling or parents with a click of the mouse.
  • User-selectable information on the Family View and Pedigree View. Choose the fields you want to see for the husband and wife.
  • Automatically set Living to Yes or No for large groups of people. Mark entire ancestral lines that you know are no longer alive and mark them as dead. This catches all your ancient relatives with no birth or death dates.
  • The Location List can now be sorted by any field while you analyze it to combine duplicates. .
  • Quick Bookmarks make it faster than ever to return to key people in your file.
  • New Master Repository List lets you enter the mailing address, e-mail and web addresses of libraries, archives and agencies and use them over and over again.
  • You can add Latitude and Longitude information to addresses and locations.
  • Tagging operations and searching are now faster than in previous versions.
  • Relationship calculation is much faster than previous versions
  • You can scan pictures from within Legacy.
  • Pictures, sounds and video can now be linked to any type of  event. You can also attach pictures to master sources and source citation details.
  • Pictures can now be cropped to focus in on just the people you want to show.
  • A new Sliding Picture show screen saver is available. You can display your favorite family photos as a screen saver.
  • Click on a photo and go directly to that individual.
  • Enhanced Photo Album. Print a family photo album from all individuals or just those who are tagged.
  • Web page creation is now many times faster. You can break large web sites into multiple folders and specify their location. You can also have a common picture folder so that different web styles can share pictures.
  • You can now add unlimited Events to marriages.
  • User-definable Husband and Wife labels for each couple. These are shown on the Family View and used on reports. You can also customize report narrative sentences for special situations (common law marriages, children out of wedlock, etc.).
  • All Notes fields now hold up to 1 million characters.
  • You can now add notes to Births, Christenings, Deaths, Burials and Marriages.
  • Legacy 3.0 can print custom address labels and name tags, including A4 size Avery labels and name tags. Name tags can include pictures and three-generation pedigree charts. (This should be great for a family reunion.)

Actually, there are a lot more improvements than what I listed above. For the sake of brevity, I only listed the ones that seemed most important to me. However, you can find a longer list of all the improvements on Millennia Corporation's Web site.

I finally opened the user's manual, even though I didn't see a need for it. All I can say is that it looked good in my brief scan. It is full of pictures, graphics and examples and appears to be easy to read. It has a large index in the back of the book, so I suspect you can find anything easily. I really don't know as I didn't find a need to use the manual with this intuitive program.

Legacy has always been one of my favorite genealogy programs since the first day that I saw it in operation. The new version didn't let me down; it improves on an already top-notch program. If you are thinking about moving up to a more powerful genealogy program, I would suggest that you consider Legacy 3.0.

You can download a free demo copy of Legacy 3.0 online. You can do everything with this demo that you can do with the full retail version. You can import existing data, print reports and even merge individuals. Everything is available with just one limitation: when your family file contains more than 50 individuals, you will not be able to save changes made to individuals; however, everything else continues to work as normal. Like the full program, the demo version will import PAF and GEDCOM files so that you can try Legacy's features with your existing family information. Even if you have more than 50 individuals in your present database, you can still import all of them, print reports, create Web pages and do almost everything that the full version can do. You will have hundreds or perhaps thousands of individuals in the demo database, but you simply will not be able to add new individuals.

Legacy 3.0 sells for $49.95 (U.S. funds). Users of earlier versions of Legacy can purchase an upgrade for $24.95. You will need to add shipping charges onto those prices, of course.

To learn more about Legacy 3.0, to download the demo version, or to order the program online, go to: http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/Index.asp

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