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Introduction to Legacy
Getting the Most for Your Money
by Richard S. Wilson La Habra, California
Reprinted from the NGS Newsletter, Vol. 24, Number 6 (November/December 1998)

WilsonRS.gif (5006 bytes)Genealogists are discovering the amazing value of the Legacy family tree program. This is a fairly new genealogy software program by Millennia Corporation. The development of Legacy started a little over three years ago in 1995. It was first reviewed in the Nov/Dec 1997 issue of the NGS CIG DIGEST. The programmers (Ken McGinnis and Dave Berdan) took more than two and a half years to prepare the first release which appeared on the retail market in June 1997. They continue to generate updates at an astounding rate. So far these updates have been absolutely free—a thing nearly unheard of in the retail software market.

Perhaps this is because Ken McGinnis and Dave Berdan have been involved in genealogy for the past 23 years, researching their own personal family lines. They have utilized their years of experience developing small business applications, primarily database programs, to make Legacy.

This program is available from Millennia for the reasonable price of $49.95and includes a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. They also have a free demonstration version available for downloading from their Web site ( If you don’t have Internet access, they will send you the demonstration copy on CD ROM for $5.00 shipping cost. The demonstration copy has all of the features of the full version, however, it will not allow you to save changes to an individual record if there are over fifty people in the database. So you can GEDCOM or import your entire database into the demo copy, check out all of it’s features and check out all of its printouts, before you have to spend any money on the program.

Here are a few of the requirements and facts about the program:

System requirements:
  • IBM compatible 486 or better (Pentium recommended)
  • 8 Megabytes of memory (16 recommended)
  • 20 Megabytes of free hard disk space
  • Windows 3.1 or Windows 95/98
  • VGA or better monitor
General program capacities:
  • Individuals and families - over 1 million
  • Children per marriage - 60
  • Events per individual - unlimited
  • Sources per event - unlimited
  • Spouses per individual - unlimited
  • Parents per individual - unlimited
  • Pictures per individual - unlimited
  • Pictures per marriage - unlimited

This program has many powerful and easy-to-use features that will be covered in detail in future articles. One of the best features is that they continue to update the program every few weeks. These upgrades are available to download off their Web site for FREE. The current version of Legacy is 2.0. The version number has stayed the same, every time they release an update they just change the “build date.” The current build date is 15 August 1998. To find the build date of your version select General Information from the Help pull-down menu of the main program screen and the Build Date will be displayed.

Another thing that is great about Legacy is that the programmers respond to the complaints about their program. It is not uncommon to let them know about a “bug” in their program and have them post an upgrade that fixes the problem within a week. They also add many new features because they actually listen to what their program users want. The constant updates are the result of the many requests they receive from their users.

The program has two main screens, the “Family View” screen and the "Pedigree View". As you can see, Legacy has a little different look to it than most genealogy software programs. It is very graphical and works well with the Windows environment. From this screen you can see three generations of data with space for 15 children (with a scroll bar to see the others). There are icons for the husband and wife which represent many functions available with the “click” of a mouse. The icons are colored if they are linked to additional information, otherwise they are faded.

The second screen available is the “Pedigree View” screen. This screen shows five generations in a standard pedigree format. You will quickly find the icons and buttons in this program are well thought out and intuitive. They offer you many shortcuts. Of course for those fans of keyboard shortcuts, the program is sure to please. The back cover of the manual gives a list of great single and double keystroke tricks. Legacy Tools & Techniques.

In addition, for those who like their instruction manuals printed on honest-to-goodness paper, this program is the answer. Legacy comes with a well-written User’s Guide with over 250 pages. It is written so a beginner can understand, yet with enough detail the more experienced computer genealogist should be satisfied.

Legacy is available on either 3˝” disks or on a CD ROM. It is also available for downloading from the Internet. Installation of the program is quite simple. You select “Run” from the “Start” menu for Windows 95/98, or “Run” from the “File” pull-down menu for Windows 3.x. Insert the CD ROM or the first diskette into the drive, then type “D:\Setup” and press the [Enter] key (substitute the letter of your drive for the “D”).

The program will then install itself in the directory C:\Leagcy, it will also add a “Legacy” program group with icons for the program, a readme file and uninstall. To start the program double-click on the “Legacy” Icon (Windows 3.x) or select the “Start” button, then Programs, Legacy, Legacy (Windows 95/98).

This program is user-friendly enough to start using immediately. It includes the ability to customize almost every aspect of the program, you do not have to make any choices until you want to. To learn more you can take the tutorial lessons (34 lessons in six sections). You can access the tutorials from the Contents section of the Help pull-down menu.

You have two options to get started inputting data into Legacy. Start a new family file, or import your data. You can import from either a GEDCOM file or directly from a PAF 2.31 database. To create a new family file you would select “New Family File . . . ” from the “File” pull-down menu. Give the file a name and you are ready to input data.

To import your existing data you would select Import From from the File menu, then select either GEDCOM File or PAF 2.31 File, or PAF 3.0 File. (Use GEDCOM to import from a PAF 3.0 file).

If you are using a GEDCOM file, the “Import GEDCOM file” screen will appear. From this screen you locate the name and location of the GEDCOM file you have created from your other genealogy program, Ancestral File, or other source. Once you have selected the name and location click on the “OK” button. If you already have a Legacy family file open, you will see the warning screen. This will insure you don’t accidentally add the new GEDCOM file data to your existing data.

Once you have made the selection about where to put the new data, you will be asked to give your new database a file name.

At this point you can also decide what directory you want the file saved in also. After you have given the new file a name and location, you click on the “OK” button. The file will then be analyzed and the “GEDCOM Import Into Family File:” screen will appear.

From this screen, you can quickly see many details about the GEDCOM file. It indicates the number of individuals, families and sources are in the file. It indicates the program that created the file, the date it was created, and even who created the GEDCOM file and any comments. If the program finds any information it doesn’t recognize, it will offer to display it.

The GEDCOM import gives you many choices for importing a GEDCOM file, they are:

  • Change Underlines to Spaces,
  • Put Unrecognized Terms in Notes,
  • Extract Sources from Notes (Birth, etc.),
  • Extract Events From Notes (OCCUPATION, etc.),
  • Try to Keep Original ID Numbers,
  • Check for Valid Date Formats,
  • Put Copy of Invalid Dates into the Notes Field,
  • Format Names and Places (Init. Caps, UPPER CASE, etc.)

The “Extract Sources from Notes” option allows you to extract sources from PAF or Ancestral Quest notes, if they’ve been kept in the standard tagged note format.

Once you have made all of your selections you click on the “Start Import” button. The “Autosource Reminder” screen will appear. The “AutoSource” feature lets you assign a master source to all records imported. This is a great way to remember where these records came from in the future. In the past, if you wanted to add the note “Information from cousin John DOE, received August 20, 1998” to every record in the GEDCOM file that cousin John sent you, you would have to manually enter the note in each record. With the Legacy “Autosource” feature all the records will automatically be given any note you want them to have.

Once you have decided on the “Autosource” feature, the file will be imported and you will see a message indicating the import is complete. Click on the “OK” button and you will be taken to the “Family View” screen.

You are now ready to learn more about this great new genealogy program. Remember to return here next issue and discover more of the features available in the Legacy program.

Heritage Collector
Collector Suite
more info

Passage Express
Passage Express
more info

Map My Family Tree
Map My
Family Tree
more info

Charting Companion
Legacy Charting
more info

for Legacy
more info

Tree Draw Legacy
for Legacy
more info

Pocket Genealogist
more info

for Legacy
more info

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