Previous month:
July 2009
Next month:
September 2009

Legacy Tip: how to enter cause of death

Legacy's Family View displays five fields of information for the main person and their spouse. One of the default fields displays the person's Cause of Death. (See the image below.)


The person's Cause of Death will only display if you have already typed it into the Cause of Death field. This field is located in the Medical Notes. Just click on a person's Notes icon, and click on the Medical tab.


Whatever is entered in this Cause of Death field will appear in the Family View.

I've seen a lot of interesting causes of death in my ancestors' records. This ancestor's death record says he was "gored by a bull". That doesn't sound fun. Have you seen anything unique in your ancestors' records?

Happy 4th Blogiversary to our Legacy News blog

4bday I still love birthdays. When I was little my mom hung streamers, balloons, and a big Happy Birthday sign on the wall. Today, my wife continues the tradition, minus the streamers and balloons. I still get the big sign. And I still look forward to it. Maybe I'm just trying to hold on to my youth. (I did find my first grey hair this year though....)

Today marks the birthday/anniversary of a different kind. It's now been four years since our first Legacy News blog article was published. This is blog post number 731. I had high hopes of writing every single day. Turns out that I've only written every other day . . . for four years. I seriously thought that after finishing my four-year degree in Genealogy that my laborious writing days were finally over. Writing is no longer laborious, I actually look forward to contributing to this blog. I'm certainly no expert in writing, but I do try to help our Legacy Family Tree users stay updated with genealogical news and every once in a while, I try to throw in a good tip or two.

Four-and-a-half years ago, I had no idea what a blog was. I remember talking with Leland Meitzler at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. He hinted that he had an exciting new idea. His idea turned into the first well-known (maybe the first ever?) blog dedicated to genealogy - Today, according to Chris Dunham's Genealogy Blog Finder, there are over 1,400 blogs dedicated to our "addiction". Over 250,000 of you subscribe to this blog. (To subscribe, enter your email in the Subscribe Me! section in the upper right of this web page.) This year, Legacy News even made the first-ever "25 most popular genealogy blogs" list.

Our first blog article, published on August 25, 2005, was entitled "WorldCat Reaches 1 Billion Holdings". It taught how to search this wonderful database, but it could only be accessed via subscription. Today WorldCat is freely searchable either online at or on your mobile phone at My how times have changed - in only four years.

I've also announced the births of my last two children in Legacy News. Braden in 2005 and Kaitlyn in 2009. Thanks for putting up with these "personal editorials".

Below are many of the most-read and fun Legacy News articles. Are there others that you have enjoyed? (Have a suggestion for an article? With Legacy running, just click on the "Submit News" link in the Legacy News section of the Legacy Home tab.)

Topten Thanks to all of our readers for all of your comments. Interacting with you has been fun and educational, and has helped make our software, Legacy Family Tree, the number-one rated genealogy software in the market.

Got Swedish Roots?

I'm a big fan of FamilySearchIndexing. Looks like they're getting ready to revolutionize research for Swedish researchers. I wonder what the differences are between their project, described below, and the subscription-based Genline. At any rate, these projects make me wish I had more Swedish ancestors....

... a few minutes later ...

SwedenI do have Swedish ancestry - lots more than I thought I had. Using Legacy's Search tool (click on image below) I found that I have 332 individuals who were born in Sweden - 72 of those are my direct line (mostly 18th century).

Here's the press release:

Volunteers to Bring Historic Sweden Church Records Online
400 million names included in largest indexing effort to-date

FALKÖPING, Sweden—FamilySearch and Svensk Arkivinformation (SVAR), a division of the National Archives of Sweden, announced today the launch of the largest online indexing initiative undertaken to-date. The two groups unveiled plans to engage Swedish volunteers throughout the world to help create a highly searchable, free online index to the historic parish registers of Sweden—200 years of recorded Swedish history as documented in the Sweden church records—comprising over 400 million names.

In 1608 the Archbishop of Sweden asked the clergy to begin making records of births, christenings, marriages, and burials of all the residents of Sweden. By 1686, they were conducting regular examinations of the population of each parish. The church records (often called “parish registers” or “church books”) span over two centuries and chronicle the vital life events of an estimated 418 million people who moved in and out of parishes in Sweden.

“The church records are a key source for genealogists seeking Swedish ancestors because nearly everyone who lived in Sweden was recorded in a church record,” said David Rencher, FamilySearch chief genealogical officer. “The challenge now is to make those records, which are written in Swedish, available to researchers worldwide,” concluded Rencher.

“We are very pleased with the excellent cooperation we have enjoyed for many years between FamilySearch and the National Archives to microfilm and scan the Swedish church records. Now we are going to create an index that will revolutionize the genealogy research in Sweden. The simplicity of finding and reading about one’s ancestors on the Web in the millions of scanned records will attract many beginners of all ages,” said Anders Nordström, director of SVAR. “To the academic researcher, this is an entirely new means. It makes it possible to do research within disciplines on a micro level, an extent that was never possible before now,” added Nordström.
The way Swedes passed on a family name throughout the centuries is another reason why the indexing initiative is so important to family historians. “Imagine being in a Swedish community 200 years ago and 10 out of 100 people have the same first and last name as you. That’s how small the naming pool was in Scandinavia,” said Jeff Svare, FamilySearch Scandinavian collection management specialist. 

If you were Anders Andersson, your father could have been Anders. Your brother could have also been named Anders, as well as your uncle. To help distinguish which Anders Andersson you were referring to at the time, locals added the name of the farm (residence) of an individual to keep them straight. “Otherwise, when you’re trying to search for Anders Andersson today, your ancestor falls into the proverbial fog of same-named people and you don’t know who they are without the additional context,” added Svare. The FamilySearch index will include the residence or farm name from the individual’s vital record. This information has been extracted to assist patrons in identifying their Swedish ancestor.

The goal is to engage the Swedish community in creating a highly searchable, free online index to the Sweden church records. When complete, the index will be the single largest point of access to information contained in the historic parish registers of Sweden. The free index will link to images of the original records hosted by the National Archives of Sweden (SVAR). In addition to the free public index that will be made available, SVAR might charge a nominal fee for public patrons who want to view or print the images.
FamilySearch is the global leader of online indexing. It launched its online indexing program in 2008, and tens of thousands of volunteers recently helped reach another major milestone by indexing their 250 millionth name. FamilySearch currently has 65 online indexing projects underway.

For this project, FamilySearch will create digital images of the Sweden church records provided by SVAR. Volunteers worldwide will then use FamilySearch’s Web-based indexing tool to view the digital images and extract only the desired information from the image. That data will then be processed and published online in searchable indexes linked to the digital images.

Volunteers need only Internet access and the ability to read Swedish to contribute to this historic effort. A unique quality control process ensures a highly accurate, finished index. Each document is transcribed by two different indexers, wherever they are in the world. Any discrepancies in their two extractions are then forwarded to a third volunteer—an arbitrator—who makes any needed corrections between the two interpretations.

The project will start with records from Örebro, Uppsala, and Södermanland counties. Indexing will begin with the earliest year available for each parish and continue through 1860. A typical downloaded “batch” (group of records) will take a volunteer about 30 to 40 minutes to complete. The indexing utility has built-in tutorials and helps. Anyone interested in volunteering for the Sweden Church Records project can do so at


FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.


The National Archives ( and the regional state archives supervise all public records of the agencies of the central government, as well as regional and local authorities in Sweden. The Military Archives and the Research Center SVAR (Swedish Archive Information) are part of the National Archives. SVAR provides research facilities, produces and distributes microfiche, and provides scanned and digitalized records on the Web (

Dangerous temptations in genealogical research

What do you do with genealogical information you find on the Internet? Do you quickly download and add the information to your family file? If you've ever been tempted, read on....

The Internet is booming with user-contributed lineage-linked databases. These databases are often the first place researchers look, and for good reason. Before performing original research, we should find out if someone else has already published information on the family. But what should we do with the information we find?

The easiest thing to do is to simply add the newly-found information to our family file, either by downloading a GEDCOM file, copying/pasting, or manually retyping the information. We have all faced this dangerous temptation. This week as I searched for and found new information on Oliver STROUD and his wife Mary BROWN, I was faced with the decision - accept what was published, or research and verify the information.

I was looking for Oliver and Mary's marriage information. I found information in nine separate databases.

Six different researchers published their marriage information as November 21, 1870 in Mills County, Iowa.

Two different researchers published April 25, 1871 in Butler County, Nebraska.

One researcher published April 28, 1871 in Butler County, Nebraska.

How should you determine which is correct? Is the 1870 Iowa marriage "most correct" because it was published the most? No. This most often indicates that one person originally published it, and the others copied and republished.

Quality research requires more investigation - not relying on published, undocumented findings as fact.

Just yesterday I obtained a copy of the original marriage record and was astonished at what I found. First, I learned that a marriage license was issued in Mills County, Iowa on November 21, 1870. Although six different researchers published this date/place as the date/place of the actual marriage, they were 5 months and 7 days early and about 120 miles off. The marriage record showed that they were married on April 28, 1871 in Butler County, Nebraska.

The record also gave the birth place, age, current residence, and the names of each set of parents. Imagine what I would be missing if I relied on someone else's published information. My research rule is to obtain original documents whenever possible, and always locate as many other records as I can to corroborate my findings. A careful evaluation of my findings is now possible.

User-contributed databases are wonderful tools as they can help us get in touch with other family researchers who may have other pieces to our ancestral puzzle. However, maintaining a "sense of skepticism" in any genealogical research is crucial to to our genealogical success.

Legacy Family Tree update available (

We have a great new update for you to download. This update adds new blank census forms for England, Wales, and Ireland, some "handy" additions to the SourceWriter, and fixes a few minor problems you have reported. Many of the additions/changes are the direct result of your suggestions - thanks everyone!

What's New

Forms Center - added blank forms for the 1911 Census of England and Wales, and forms A & N for the 1911 Ireland census

Search - Added a new "This Couple Did Not Marry" to the Marriage Detailed search. This lets you create a list of all couples who have the "This couple did not marry" option checked on their Marriage Information screen.

SourceWriter - We've added a new "Today's Date" button next to the Date Accessed field, making it even easier to fill in the date.

Changed Items

Expand/Contract Locations (View > Master Lists > Location > Options > Expand/Contract) - If USA is on the end of your location and you select the option to Add ", United States" we now change ", USA" to ", United States". In the past you had to first remove the USA and then add the United States.

Sources - In the Source Detail, we now separate the "required" fields of a citation from the optional surety level, etc. to make it easier to know what information belongs to the citation

US County Verification - A few updates and changed were made to the US Historical County database.

What's been fixed

For a list of what has been fixed, click here.

How to Update

For our Deluxe Edition users, all you have to do is connect to the Internet, start Legacy 7.0, and click on the "Install and Download Now" link on the Legacy Home tab. (If you're reading this from within the Legacy Home tab inside of Legacy 7.0, you'll first need to click on the Home button in the top left of the Legacy Home tab which looks like the following picture:


If you are a Standard Edition Legacy user, you will need to visit our website. Go to and follow the instructions.

Free Access to WorldVitalRecords for 3 days - Ends August 13

Free Site Access 300x250 For Genealogists

Here's a great opportunity to do some free searching. is opening their virtual doors to the public for free starting today, August 11 (credit card NOT required!). The promotion runs through Thursday, August 13 (my birthday!). also recently published the genealogy social network, (Have you joined the Legacy Fans group yet??)

Here's their press release about the free public access:

PROVO, UT, August 10, 2009 –, an online family history resource, today announced the addition of the largest number of records to be released in a single day since the site launched in 2006.

To commemorate this milestone, for the first time WorldVitalRecords is offering free public access to its entire online collection of historical and genealogical records beginning August 11 and continuing through August 13, 2009. The public will have unlimited access to more than one billion records in over 11,000 databases from around the world including newspapers, census, birth, marriage, death, immigration and military records; family trees; stories and publications; and yearbooks.

“As a genealogy enthusiast, I’m thrilled that people can go to one place like, try family history research for free and find their parents or grandparents, and see how simple it is to start tracing back and discovering stories that bring family history to life," said Jim Ericson, Vice-President of Marketing for Family Link.  “This is a rare opportunity to delve into the records and discover information about your family and ancestors you may have never known.”

Featured records in this release include:

Historical Newspapers
Through a partnership with Newspaper Archive, WorldVitalRecords is adding access to pages from a variety of newspapers from all over the United States, dating from 1759 through 1923. This collection features images of entire newspapers from the western frontier, the Midwest at the turn of the century, and the long time standard of our nation's news, "The New York Times" which includes over 7 million names.

Newspaper Archive produces the largest historical newspaper database online, and the collection is fully searchable by keyword and date, and individual pages can be saved or printed.

According to Gena Philibert Ortega, Genealogy Community Director for FamilyLink, "Part of the fun of family history is uncovering details about our ancestors’ daily lives -- the events of the day, the goods and the services they bought. Newspapers allow us to better understand our ancestors."

Immigration Records
Living in a country of immigrants, ship passenger lists and other records documenting immigration can be an essential part in learning more about your family history.  “It is a thrilling experience to see their names transcribed on paper the day they entered this country through the Port of New York. Browsing and searching these passenger lists is a perfect way for someone to start researching their family history.

The database, Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York, 1820-1832 provides documentation of over 150,000 passengers who arrived on nearly 8,000 ships at one of the busiest ports in the United States, New York.

In partnership with the website, WorldVitalRecords is doubling its collection of digitized yearbooks.  This collection features university yearbooks from the late 1800 to mid 1950’s. houses the largest collection of old college yearbooks on the Internet. Universities featured this week include Duke University, University of Oklahoma, Iowa State and the College of William and Mary.

Vital Records, Military Records and Tax Lists
Other records being released on the site include birth, marriage, tax lists, military records, and death records from Maine, North Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Focused on helping users discover and share their family history, WorldVitalRecords adds new records to their online collection everyday.

Free Site Access 468x60 For Geneologists

Bring your Legacy family file with you on a USB drive, cell phone, or PalmOS device

Usb If you have a USB drive, Windows CE-powered cell phone, or a palm device, you can take your Legacy family file on the road.

So whether you're doing research in a library, a cemetery, or the subway, you can bring your genealogy with you. Here's how....

USB drive

Using Legacy's free add-on, GENViewer Lite, you can view your entire Legacy family file on any Windows computer that has a USB port. You'll first need to download/install GENViewer Lite, then copy your family file's GEDCOM to the USB drive. Follow these easy steps....

  1. Download and install GENViewer Lite. Click here to start the download.
  2. After you have installed GENViewer Lite, insert your USB drive into your computer and copy the gvlite.exe file from the c:\Program Files\MudCreek\GVLite directory to your USB drive.
  3. Create a GEDCOM (File > Export to > GEDCOM) of your family file and then copy the file to your USB drive.

You can now insert your USB drive into any Windows computer's USB port and view your family file (by running the gvlite.exe file). GENViewer Lite lets you view the Individual and Family Views. The full GENViewer program (free for 15 days) lets you also see the following tabs: Pedigree, Descendants, List, Highlighted, Islands, Sources, Internet. If you already purchased GENViewer, just copy the GenviewerLegacy.exe file to your USB drive.

USB drive using MojoPac

Lots of Legacy users have had success running Legacy from a USB drive after installing MojoPac. I haven't personally experimented with it but it sounds quite promising. This has been discussed in our Legacy User Group mailing list. To learn more, you can search its archives by clicking here. Learn more about MojoPac by clicking here.

PGA-2T Windows Mobile based devices

I carry my cell phone with me nearly everywhere. Everywhere my cell phone goes, my Legacy family file goes too! I've installed the Legacy add-on, Pocket Genealogist, which directly imports and synchronizes my Legacy family file. In fact, Pocket Genealogist is the award winning leader in Genealogy software (PC Magazine winner 5 years in a row) for Windows Mobile based devices. This includes the PocketPC, PocketPC Phone Edition, Smartphones, Handheld PC/Pro and Handheld PC 2000.

Pocket Genealogist on your mobile device is more than just a viewing program. You can actually add the names/dates/places you find directly into the program. When you come home, it will synchronize with your Legacy family file on your computer, adding all the new information right where it's supposed to go.

For more information, or to purchase Pocket Genealogist, click here.

PalmOS handheld PDA or smartphones

Gedstarpro GedStar Pro is the premier product for viewing your Legacy family file on your PalmOS handheld PDA or smartphone. It is optimized for the latest devices with color screens, fast processors, and increased storage space.

GedStar Pro will directly import data from your Legacy family file. In this way it can take advantage of most of your genealogy program's features to store and display virtually all of your important data. All events — primary and alternate, standard and custom — can be converted, along with their source citations, sureties, notes, and repositories. It will even include your research task to-do list.

The new GedStar Pro V3.0 has powerful a name-search feature with Soundex support, several new lists of resources, a data export function, and even an "On-This-Day" feature that shows events that occurred on a particular day of the year.

For more information, or to purchase GedStar Pro, click here.

Legacy Charting tip: How to hide those "first marriages"

Question from Wayne:

"I am preparing some charts to take to an upcoming family reunion. There are some family members who had a first marriage that ended in divorce with no children. They had children with their second marriage. Is there a way to keep the first marriage from printing in the Legacy Charts?"

Our answer:

Great question Wayne! This is actually quite simple if you know about Legacy's Privacy settings. Follow these step-by-step instructions.

  1. In Legacy, navigate to and open the Individual's Information screen for the person you want to hide. In your case, this would be the first spouse.
  2. Next, in the lower right of this screen, click on the Privacy Settings button and mark this person as "Private". Click Save, then Save.
  3. Do steps 1 & 2 for each person you want to hide in the chart.
  4. Launch Legacy Charting by clicking on the Charting button in the main toolbar.
  5. After selecting the desired chart type, click on the Privacy Options button on the Home tab. Select the first option to "Suppress private individuals".

All "private" persons will no longer appear in the chart. If there are children from this first marriage, they will still appear.

Asa Clark Brown with both of his wives in a descendancy chart:


Asa Clark Brown with his first wife marked as private in a descendancy chart:


Three Large Legacy Family Tree Events - August/September 2009

We've just returned from one of the most successful genealogy conferences ever in Provo, Utah where we gave away numerous prizes including an Acer Netbook computer. Congrats to our netbook winner - Christine Baird!

Byu2 Byu1 The highlight of the conference was our Thursday evening class where, for the first time ever, we demonstrated our highly-anticipated FamilySearch integration software. There were so many of you attending the class (over 300) that we had to move everyone to the big auditorium (thanks to Marlo of Heritage Collector Suite for switching rooms with us!). Although the software was not yet complete, I must admit it was fun to hear the applause and cheering as we showed how the software works. I'm really excited about it and cannot wait to start using it with my Legacy Family Tree database. We announced that within the next two weeks we would begin its certification process with FamilySearch and have the free update available to you before the end of the year (of course we hope it's much sooner than that but we're learning not to announce "soon" anymore :)).

Upcoming conferences. In the next two months, we will participate in some of the largest genealogy conferences in the country. If you're in the area, we hope you'll stop by and say hello.

Salt Lake Family History Expo, August 28-29, 2009, Sandy, Utah

Beau This event, organized by our friends at, will likely be one of the largest genealogy events in North America this year with over 100 classes presented by the industry's best. We are lucky to have one of the genealogy industry's most entertaining speakers, Beau Sharbrough, present two classes on how to use Legacy. Beau will present:

  • Timelines and Citations: Digging Deeper in Legacy 7.0
  • Research Guidance

Leonard Plaizier, assistant director of the multi-stake Family History Center in Bountiful, Utah, will also present two overview classes on Legacy Family Tree.

We will once again be giving away an Acer Netbook computer at the conference, so be sure to be present for Don R. Anderson's keynote address, "Learn the tech to trace your roots" Friday morning at 8:00am where the entry forms will be distributed. Your paid registration for the conference includes:

  • Concessions and tables available in the Exhibit Hall for lunch
  • Printed event program
  • Name tag
  • CD syllabus
  • Goody Bag stuffed full of coupons, discount offers, information and free trials
  • Lots of classes
  • Much more

For more information, or to register, please visit

FGS 2009 Annual Conference, September 2-5, 2009, Little Rock, Arkansas

Visit us in booths 319 and 418 for conference-special-pricing. We love these national conferences because we get to meet so many of our Legacy users. Bring along your suggestions and questions.

For more information, or to register, please visit

Legacy Genealogy Cruise (6th annual), September 5-17, 2009, Mediterranean/Greece

Med All the other conferences are great, of course, but we cannot wait for this one. We've got a great group signed up, ready to see parts of the world I've only dreamed of visiting. On the sea days we'll have lots of genealogy/technology/Legacy classes and time to make lasting friendships with our Legacy users.

Our ports of call include Rome, Naples/Pompeii, Dubrovnik, Venice, Katakolon, Athens, Ephesus, and Istanbul.

In addition to bringing along my laptop and projector for the classes, I'll also be bringing my wife and 8-month-old daughter. I'm a bit nervous about the long plane ride to Spain with my baby, but it will be fun to "show her off".

For more information about our 2009 genealogy cruise, visit