Please understand that in most cases, the merge process is exactly that. . . a PROCESS. Rarely do you just combine two people together. Most often it involves connections to other individuals such as children, spouses, siblings and parents. It is important to properly handle the surrounding links, and the links surrounding the links, and so on. Legacy is an expert at the merge process. When you tell the program to combine two people, Legacy looks around to see who else should be considered for a merge. It then automatically adds them into the process. This goes on until all the associated links have been handled. You may start out thinking that you are only going to merge two individuals and end up merging an entire line. This is the only way to do it correctly.
For example: Let's say you notice two men in your family file that you think are the same person, William Johnson and Will Johnson. You start a merge process by clicking on the Merge picture button. Legacy compares the two individuals and shows you the differences, if any, between the information contained in the two records. 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. This goes for both ancestors, siblings, spouses and children. The end result is a combination of names, information and links for everyone in the line who is related. Click here for additional information on the merge process.
When searching for individuals in your Family File that might be duplicates, Legacy compares the following information by default (these settings can be changed by the user):
- 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).
Using the above settings, Legacy finds most matching pairs of individuals in a Family File. If these settings are acceptable, press the Continue button in the upper right corner to begin the duplicate search and merge process.
To print a report of the duplicates that will be found with the current settings, press the Print button near the upper right corner. The Possible Duplicates report options window appears where you can preview or print the report.
Below is an explanation of each Merge Option setting and how it is used:
Normal Duplicate Search
Comparison of Last Names
Last names, (or surnames) can be compared either by exact spelling or by the way the names sound. When using the Sounds Like option, standard Soundex codes are used.
Include Blank Last Names
If this option is selected, individuals with blank surnames will match each other. This, combined with the given name comparison below, may find some duplicates that would otherwise be missed, but it will also find many pairs that are probably not duplicates.
You can select how much of the given name field is compared for duplication. For example, if the value is set to 5, Susan will match Susanna but Diane will not match Diana. If set to 3, Don will match Donald and Dave will match David. But be careful, Mark will match Marsha, Marshall and Marilee. The fewer characters compared, results in more mismatches.
Check Birth Dates
By default, exact birth dates result in a match. You can specify the allowable year range by increasing the value. The larger the spread, the lower the accuracy.
Include Blank Birth Dates
If you select this option, blank birth dates will match other blanks and any other birth date. This option, combined with matching last names and given names, can find some elusive matches, but be careful, many mismatches are usually found.
You can specify how many characters to compare for matches. The lower the value, the more matches (and mismatches) will be found.
Check Blank Birth Locations
With this option selected, blank birth locations will match with any other location, blank or not.
Check Death Dates
If you would like to insist on matching death date entries, select this option.
Include Blank Death Dates
Check this option if you want to have blank death dates included in the comparisons. A blank date will match any other date.
You can specify how many characters to compare for matches. The lower the value, the more matches (and mismatches) will be found.
Check Blank Death Locations
With this option selected, blank death locations will match with any other location, blank or not.
Other Criteria to Take Into Account
Ancestral File Numbers
If you would like to always have matching ancestral file numbers trigger a match, no matter what other information doesn't match, select this option. Theoretically, any two people with the same AFN number are the same person. (These numbers are only assigned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to names submitted to the Ancestral File collection.)
If you would like to always have matching reference numbers trigger a match, select this option. Reference numbers can be assigned by anyone, so unless you are certain that they are unique, the value of this option is questionable.
Insisting on compatible parents means that matches are found when the parents of the two individuals being considered are not incompatible. This means that they either both have parents that are named the same, or one has parents and the other doesn't, or one has one parent and one has the other. If one individual has parents named Bob and Mary and the other has parents named Pablo and Maria, no match is considered unless this option is turned off. When comparing the surnames of the parents, you can specify an exact letter-for-letter comparison or a sounds-like test. You can also specify how many letters to compare if you are doing an exact spelling match.
A few other options are also available when doing the duplicate searches:
Only Include People Who Are Part of the Current Search Results
Normally, Legacy looks through all the individuals in the entire Family File when searching for duplicates. If you would like to narrow the search down, you can limit it to only the individuals in the current search results. This means that if you have just done a search for all individuals with a last name of Jones, Legacy will only look at the entries in that subset when searching for duplicates. Another example might be; From the Name List, you tagged all the ancestors of a particular person with a tag level of 3. You have then pressed the Display List of Everyone with a Level 3 Tag button to include only those ancestors in the list. You can now limit the duplicate search to the entries in this list.
You can select this option to tag individuals when they are merged. This will only tag the individual who remains after the pair is merged. You can select the tag level to mark. You can also choose to have any existing tags of that level cleared before the merge process begins (the tags are cleared when you press the Continue button).
Two special-case searches are provided by Legacy. These two processes only look at the Ancestral File Number or the User Reference Number when determining matching individuals. No other information is used. If you are not using either of these number fields, these special searches won't be of any use.
The Merge Two Individuals window appears when you either press the Merge button on the toolbar or after you have selected Merge/Find Duplicates from the Tools menu. Before this window is operational, you are offered the opportunity to create a backup of your Family File. This is highly recommended because the merge process deletes some individuals who's information would otherwise be irretrievable if you make a mistake.
If you have come to the Merge Two Individuals window by pressing the Merge button, the current individual is automatically loaded on the left side. You must now select the second individual by pressing the Select Right button and choosing the name from the Name List.
Automatic Duplicate Searching
If you have come here by way of the Merge/Find Duplicates option on the Tools menu, Legacy has already searched through the Family File and created a list of possible duplicate records. The first pair is shown in the window.
What Does This Window Show?
The Merge Two Individuals window shows two individuals side-by-side that could be duplicates. There are nine tabs across the top corresponding to the various pieces of information each person has. When the pair is first displayed, the General tab is selected automatically.
Below the tabs are several command buttons and a check box:
- Edit Left: Displays the Information window for the individual on the left, allowing you to edit their information.
- Select Left: If you are in manual merge mode, this button can be used to change the left person to someone else. (This button is not visible if you are doing automatic duplicate searching.)
- Swap Left / Right: Trades the positions of the two individuals. The right-hand person moves to the left side and the left to the right. (The person on the left is always the individual who is retained. The information and links from the right are merged into the left.)
- Select Right: If you are in manual merge mode, this button can be used to change the person on the right to someone else. (This button is not visible if you are doing automatic duplicate searching.)
- Edit Right: Displays the Information window for the individual on the right, allowing you to edit their information.
- Merge Right Individual into Left Individual: Performs the actual merge operation. The information that has been selected from the right person is moved into the record of the left person. The relationship links from the right person are also moved to the left person. The right person is then deleted from the Family File. This button should only be pressed after you are sure you want to merge the two individuals. If there are any questions as to whether these are, indeed the same two people, perhaps you should do more research before merging them.
- Skip to Next: Skips the current pair of individuals and moves to the next pair of possible duplicates. (This button is only visible if you are doing automatic duplicate searching.)
- Back to Prev: Displays the most recently Skipped pair of individuals. Successive pressing of this button moves back through all the skipped pairs. (This button is only visible if you are doing automatic duplicate searching.)
- Close: Stops the merge process and returns to the Family/Pedigree screen. Your location in the merge process is saved to disk so that you can resume the process at a later time. Remember, merging records is a process that must be completed from beginning to end in order for the operation to be successful.
- Undo: You can undo any changes you have made to the current pair of individuals before merging them.
- Print: You can print a Family Group Sheet, Individual Report or Duplicate Report for the current pair of individuals. This may help you decide if they are the same person.
- Help: Displays the help system and shows the information you are reading right now.
- AutoMerge: When the information for two individuals is complete enough and matches exactly, Legacy can go ahead and automatically merge them. If this option is checked, Legacy will ask you if you would like to use the AutoMerge option when the first pair that is eligible for auto-merging appears.
Below is a description of each tab contents:
This tab shows the names of the two individuals and when they were born, christened, died and buried. It also shows the preferred spouse's name and the preferred parents. Below this information is the Differences box. This section shows a list of all the information that is different between the two individuals. Each piece of information has an option button to the left of it. The option button shows which piece will be kept. You can change the settings by clicking on the option button next to the information you want to keep. If the list is taller than the box, a scroll bar appears to the right which can be used to display subsequent information.
When you are merging duplicate individuals you will often want to save some of the information from the person you are deleting. Legacy allows you to copy this information to several different places, depending on what kind it is:
You can either create an entry in the Alternate Names list or copy the name to the General Notes field.
Birth, Christening, Death and Burial
You can create an Event entry made up of the date and place, or you can copy the information to the General Notes field.
To copy a piece of information:
- Press the small black-colored button to the left of the information in the Fields that are Different window. Only lines that can be copied will have the button.
- Select the destination for the information. Only the allowable destinations will appear on the pop-up menu. The information that is not marked to be kept (the empty option button) is then copied to the selected destination.
This box shows all the surrounding relationship connections to each person. It includes the parents, siblings, spouses and children. This is often very helpful when trying to determine if the two individuals are the same person. The birth, christened, death and buried information for the currently highlighted person is displayed below the grid. If the current line is a marriage with two names on it, a button appears below the list indicating whether the mom's or dad's information is shown. Pressing this button switches to the other person.
This box show a list of all additional events recorded in each person's record. As you click on each event line, the details of that event are displayed below the list grid. Using the buttons at the bottom of the tab box you can:
- Edit Left: Edits the left, highlighted event, allowing you to make changes to it. (Any event can be highlighted by clicking on it.)
- Delete Left: Deletes the highlighted event in the left window.
- Delete All Left: Deletes all the events in the left window.
- Copy: Copies the highlighted event from the right window to the left window, adding it to the end of the event list.
- Copy All: Copies all the events from the right window to the left window, adding them to the end of the event list.
- Edit Right: Edits the right, highlighted event, allowing you to make changes to it.
You can view, add, edit or delete the source citations connected to the events on the left or right side by pressing the corresponding Source button.
This tab shows any pictures that have been attached to each individual, along with their caption, date and descriptions. If a sound file is connected to picture, it is shown also. Using the buttons at the bottom of the tab box you can:
- Edit Left: Edits the left, highlighted picture, allowing you to make changes to it. (Any picture can be highlighted by clicking on it.)
- Delete Left: Deletes the highlighted picture in the left window.
- Delete All Left: Deletes all the pictures in the left window.
- Copy: Copies the highlighted picture from the right window to the left window, adding it to the end of the picture list.
- Copy All: Copies all the pictures from the right window to the left window, adding them to the end of the picture list.
- Edit Right: Edits the right, highlighted picture, allowing you to make changes to it.
Notes, Research, Medical
These tabs displays the various note fields associated with each individual. Using the buttons at the bottom of the tab box you can:
- Edit Left: Edits the left note, allowing you to make changes to it
- Delete Left: Deletes the note field on the left.
- Replace: Copies the note from the right window to the left window, replacing the contents of the left note.
- Append: Copies the note from the right window to the left window, adding it to the end of whatever is in the left window.
- Edit Right: Edits the right note, allowing you to make changes to it.
The Medical tab also shows the Cause of Death field. There is a copy button between the two sides that allows you to copy the right field contents to the left field, replacing whatever is in the left field, if anything.
Addr / Ref
The Address / Reference tab shows the Ancestral File Number, User Reference Number and the address entry for each individual. Using the buttons at the bottom of the tab box you can:
- Edit Address: Edits the address entries above the button, allowing you to make changes.
- Delete Left: Clears all the address and phone fields on the left.
- Copy Addr: Copies all the address and phone number fields from the right window to the left window, replacing the contents of the left note.
Between each line on this tab are also Copy buttons that can be used to copy the contents of the corresponding right field to the left, replacing it with what is in the left field, if anything.
This tab shows the LDS ordinance date and temple fields for each individual, if used. Using the buttons at the bottom of the tab box you can:
- Edit Left: Edits the LDS ordinance fields on the left, allowing you to make changes.
- Delete Left: Clears the current, highlighted ordinance field on the left.
- Copy All: Copies all the ordinance information from the right window to the left window, replacing the contents of the left fields.
- Edit Right: Edits the LDS ordinance fields on the right, allowing you to make changes.