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How to best prepare for Legacy 7.5 and the FamilySearch interface - Post #1

We have previously announced that we are getting ready to release Legacy 7.5 - a free update which will add features to interface with the new FamilySearch Family Tree system. You can read all about it here. I'm most excited about the ability to be notified when anything new is found about an ancestor - without me even visiting the website.

This article is the first in a series of articles which will help you prepare your family file for better use with the upcoming Legacy 7.5 and its interface with FamilySearch. Even if you do not plan on synchronizing your data with FamilySearch, these articles will provide valuable insights on cleaning up and standardizing your data.

Important Principle. Researchers should be careful when publishing/sharing information from their family file with FamilySearch, or with any online database. If the information in your family file has errors, duplicate information, or inconsistent data, when that information is published/shared online, the online version will contain those same errors, duplicate information, and inconsistent data. A casual commitment to your personal data entry standards often results in negative unforeseen consequences, especially when publishing your data online.

For this reason, before interfacing with FamilySearch's new Family Tree system, we should all take a closer look at our data.

Tip #1 - Consistency in your locations

Take a look at your Master Location List in Legacy (View > Master Lists > Location). Does it contain more than one variation of the spelling of a place name? For example, in Legacy's sample family file, we intentionally spelled Minneapolis with five different variations to help you see a potential problem:

  • Minn., Henn., MN, USA
  • Minneapolis, Henn., MN, USA
  • Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN, USA
  • Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota
  • Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, USA

Publishing the inconsistent locations may eventually result in you/others not successfully finding what you are looking for because what you are searching for, and what is in the database are two different variations of the same place.

FamilySearch's new Standard Finder, which Legacy 7.5 will utilize, helps you achieve standardization in the way you spell your locations. Its goal is to help achieve consistency in how everyone records their locations. It is not a perfect system yet. For example, we know that correct data entry standards suggest to record the place as it existed at the time of the event. Standard Finder does not yet do a great job with correctly interpreting historical locations. But it has a great start.

Assignment #1 - standardize your locations

Clean up the duplicates and variations of your place names in your Master Location List. Legacy Family Tree makes this simple to do. We've created a video for you to see the step-by-step instructions on how to do this. Watch the video by clicking here.

Assignment #2 - clean up your country/county names

If these locations are not immediately obvious to you:

  • Victoria, BC
  • Carrick, LDY
  • Aberdeen, SCT
  • Paris, Bear Lake, ID

then the researcher has not followed the golden rule of data entry:

Enter your locations so that there will be no misunderstanding by other researchers as to the location you are trying to express.

Legacy Family Tree's Expand/Contract Location Parts tool makes it easy to correct common abbreviations, and for the United States, to add the country name to the end of its locations where it is missing. This tool is found by navigating to:

View > Master Lists > Location > Options > Expand/Contract Location Parts.


In the Parts to Work On section, place checkmarks next to the desired countries to "unabbreviate" the various country and county names.

For United States researchers, use the options in the USA Country Name section. To prepare for full compatibility with FamilySearch, select the Add ", United States" option. This will add this country name to the end of all U.S. locations. To clarify, it will not add "United States" to the end of Bristol, Gloucester, England. If you previously typed "USA" instead of "United States" this option will change "USA" to "United States". Now click the Continue button, and Legacy will update your list.

You're now closer to being ready to successfully work with Legacy 7.5. When working with the FamilySearch interface tools, you will no longer have to spend time "resolving" your place names to match the Standard Finder's version. Cleaning up your locations is just the first suggestion in your preparation. Stay tuned....


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I'm not sure I fully understand which "Location" data the FamilySearch interface will utilise from my tree. I assume it will only look for the Full name and not the abbreviated name? Please clarify if known.

Why is US being used and not USA? The country is the United States of America.

Bob - currently in Legacy there are two parts of a location - the long location name and the short location name. Legacy 7.5 will look at the long location name, and if it matches the Standard Finder's version, it will add a copy of this location to the new "FamilySearch Standardized" name. If the long location name does not match the Standard Finder, you will have the option to map it to the Standard Finder version. It will be clear when you see it.

I did this and now am wondering that to do. The program added United States to MA, ME, & CT, to dates that are pre 1776, before the United States was organized. Do I leave it expanded to include United States or delete it?

Would appreciate your opinion on this matter. Thank you.

I currently use the words Township and County in the locations to make it clear what I am referring to. Would this not be usable in FamilySearch? For burial I would also put the name of the Cemetery first indicating that it is a cemetery. Such as Congressional Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia. Would this need to be changed?

I just did a quick expansion of my data base place names for the USA only. It seems to work beautifully, including NOT expanding Pre-USA/colonial names. Am I seeing this correctly? If so it is awesome.

I followed the instructions but find that the "Expand/contract location parts" feature was inconsistent in it's results, not changing quite a few of the "USA" entries.

On one person there were these results:
b. in North Carolina, USA
d. in Jones, Texas, USA
buried in: Jones, Texas, United States

Why the inconsistencies? I have cleaned up my location via the master list, so they are consistently spelled.


Judy - the locations you've entered above haven't been entered with the leading commas for the missing lower-level jurisdictions. According to the standards for USA data entry, the places should be entered as:

b. in , , North Carolina, USA
d. in , Jones, Texas, USA

If they are entered this way, the Expand/Contract feature works correctly.

Having said all that, it appears that these standards are being revised, as the Standard Finder does not follow the comma-placeholder rules that we've had for so many years. Legacy 7.5 will have additional standardization tools to assist in achieving standardization.

Nancy, yes, this is a gray area. The Master Location List is just a list of your locations, without time periods associated with them. As the Standard Finder evolves to incorporate historical places, I'm certain Legacy will adapt to these situations as well.

Mary Beth - there is certainly nothing wrong with how you are doing this because you are following the golden rule of location data entry as explained above. Why don't you take a look at the actual Standard Finder database at http://labs.familysearch.org and see what it has to say.

How do I deal with the GEO Location Data Base for locations like Baltimore and Saint Louis? I don't know what county they are in; so I go to the GEO Location Data Base, and the counties come up as Baltimore (city) and St. Louis (city). And if I accept the place name as given, the next time I enter Baltimore or Saint Louis as a place name, I get the following message:

There was never a county by the name of Baltimore (City) in the state of Maryland.

(You should check the spelling or the original source documentation.)

I suppose I can assume that it should be "Baltimore, Baltimore, USA" and "Saint Louis, St. Louis, USA" [or would it be "St. Louis, Saint Louis, USA" or "Saint Louis, Saint Louis, USA"?].

Is this something that I need to play around with to see which designation is accepted when I next try to use the location?

Sharon, good questions. Though somewhat uncommon, these independent cities are usually handled by typing "Baltimore, , Maryland, United States". The Standard Finder at http://labs.familysearch.org uses both "Baltimore City, Baltimore, Maryland, United States" and "Baltimore City, Maryland, United States " as standards.

How are estimated places being handled in Family Search? I currently have most of mine with <> around the location. I am finding some with Of preceeding the name rather than the <>. I would like to change them all one way or the other. Can a tool be added that would help to standardize estimated places?

Carol - I haven't seen nor heard anything about estimated places. If I remember correctly, a long time ago Legacy had the ability to create these estimated places for LDS work, but the Family History Department asked us to remove this as their standards evolved. So we did. I'm pretty certain estimated places are no longer in use at FamilySearch.

We come from Derry City in Ireland. There are many "Derrys" around the world. Some people even call it "Londonderry". What should we do to prepare for 7.5?

Edna - do a search for Londonderry or Derry City at http://labs.familysearch.org and choose the Standard Finder. You can do this now, or use 7.5's built-in Location Stanardization tool.

Hi Which is the preferred country - United Kingdom or Great Britain?

The synchronization feature sounds wonderful on its face, however I have concerns.

When first getting into my families genealogy about fifteen years ago, I spent many an hour at the local LDS Library looking through all the records I could find on aparant relatives.

Even back then there were glaring errors. One person who was born in Colorado (my state of birth), and moved to Australia was listed as a Great-Uncle. Many years later through correspondence with an elderly relative in Australia, I found out who this person truly was. Yes, related, but quite distantly, and definitely not my great-uncle.

A few years ago, a well meaning semi-distant relative who devoted much of her life to family genealogy, submitted errant information. She knew I had a brother named Paul, and found a person with that name in a state he/we have never lived. She linked him as my brother and now that as well as all the other errant family data are gleaned by researches around the world using the LDS database as gospel.

What is needed perhaps more than a way to synchronize data resulting in corrupted personal databases that have been developed with proper research, is an easy way to dispute, unlink, and correct family structures.

Obviously many desire such a tool, and I don't know what it would look like myself. The necessary controls requisite to insure only valid corrections and submissions would by their nature be restrictive. A form of aritificial intelligence would have to be implemented to test "verified" links and then add, correct, or remove invalid links. A massive, complicated project I admit.

Having said all that, I NEVER use, and I discourage the use of the LDS database to new genealogists because of the numbers and extent of the gross errors it contains.

Mark - you're in luck. The features of disputing, unlinking, and correcting are all built in to the new FamilySearch system.

Plese put a PRINT This on your web site. I offten need to print but don't want all the extra stuff. I'd like to keep a copy of your helps for future use but have to copy & past to wordprocess so I don't get the whole web page.

Launa - I wish our "blogging" software gave us a print button for each article. In the meantime, just highlight the text, then right-click and select Print. This way you can print only what you have highlighted.

I checked with the Family Search Standard Finder and it does not put a cemetery name first (when I tried that, the Standard Finder just showed the town, county, state and country). I have many locations that start with a cemetery name, and I want to properly standardize my locations. How do I find out all the names that include the cemetery name in the location so I can put that information elsewhere in the individuals record (such as notes or sources) before I delete it by combining it with the standard geographical location?

Barbara - you are correct. Legacy's training video, "Mastering Legacy: Names, Dates, and Places" teaches to record the cemetery name in the "Burial Address" field, which is accessed by clicking on the Plus sign just to the right of the burial field. Here you can easily record the cemetery information, as well as use the Show List button to create a list of everyone in a certain cemetery.

To create a list of everyone in your family file that has the word "cemetery" in a burial location field, follow these steps:

1) Go to Search > Find > Detailed Search tab
2) Enter this for the Primary Condition:

Look for Whom: Individual
Where to Look: Burial Place
How to Look: Contains
What to Look For: cemetery

3) Click on the Create List button

Now you have your list of everyone who had a burial location that contained the word cemetery.

I put the street address in the location field for selected individuals so I can map them. Will I have to change this when I use FamilySearch?

A Reminder:

Access to the new.familysearch.org is currently limited to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although there are plans to eventually make it available to the general public. (At present, some LDS do not yet have access to it.) Owning a copy of Legacy 7.5 will not give Legacy users access to this database unless they are LDS and have registered at new.familysearch.org

Further to the United Kingdom or Great Britain question, as far as I am concerned neither are correct. Both of these refer to a group of countries, England, Ireland [now Northern Ireland], Scotland and Wales. Any individual with an event in any of these should be written so, i.e. born 1880, Pointon, Lincolnshire, England.
Hope this clarifies matters

Does 7.5 require use of the new Family Search feature or is it optional? Can I choose not to have my tree published on FamilySearch?

About estimated places: I do most of my research in old Italian baptismal records, which are written in Latin and often do not include a place of birth. They do include the place of baptism. So, I estimate the place of birth as the same town where the baptism took place. This allows me to see the birth info by location. Otherwise, it would be a blank field. I hate to assume the birth place. What should I do here? There is no chance of any record of the birth in the 1700s and 1600s in Italy, so I will NEVER have verification of the birthplace.

Dee - in Legacy, when there is christening information, and no birth information, Legacy will display/use the christening data.

Linda - no, 7.5 will be the same great Legacy as always, with one new FamilySearch button. You can use it if you want to, but it's all optional.

Bruce - Users will still be able to keep their existing master location list AND "map" their places to the places in FamilySearch's Standard Finder. Therefore, a place of ", , Arizona" can be linked to Standard Finder's "Arizona, United States". So you can have both if you want.

When my son was born, we lived in Bowie, Prince George's, Maryland, USA. The Hosptial in which he was delivered was located in Silver Spring, Montgomery, Maryland, USA. What is his correct birth location?

I'm concerned about privacy. I hope using Legacy 7.5 won't mean my data is shared with everyone who has access to familysearch.

I'm also concerned about the accuracy of my data. I use the data in LDS as a suggestion, never as proof. In so many cases it is inaccurate. I certainly don't want my data corrupted by LDS data.

Joan - first, using the Familysearch tools is completely optional. Second, only that information that you choose to share will be shared. Next, you can choose to use it only for locating potential new information, and can use it only as suggestions/clues.

Tom - your son's birth certificate likely names Silver Spring or the hospital as the place of birth. Is that right? All four of my children were born in a place different from where I lived at the time. But I record the place of birth as the city in which they were born.

I also have been putting addresses in the location field, especially with Censuses. It works well with the Geo Locations, showing exactly where my ancestors use to live, instead of just the city. Where should I be putting the street address for things such as the Census, place of death, etc.?

I have carefully built my location names file to show correct historical localities in the Long Locality field. Now you are telling me that New FamilylSearch wants their (sometimes strange) localities used. I want to be able to link to their standards, without losing the localities that I have spent years of research to enter with accurate historical data. How can I preserve my historical localities?

Warren - you'll be able to do exactly as you describe. You'll be able to link to their standards but preserve the places you've entered in Legacy. Nobody will have to update their locations, but if you link your existing location to their standard, it will allow for easier searching and collaboration with others.


In your response to Barbara Likovich regarding cemetery names, you referred to Legacy's training video, "Mastering Legacy: Names, Dates, and Places" and suggested she use the burial place field to record cemetery names. I have been doing that for some time as I watched the video when I purchased the software.

Unfortunately for me and possibly Barbara in the future, Legacy does not have a report that can list the individuals buried at a specific burial place. I know this because I contacted support to ask about it prior to a visit across the country to two counties with several cemeteries I wanted to visit. The response I received from Sherry in support was "Unfortunately, at this time, there's no way to create a report of Cemetery Addresses. That's why I enter cemeteries as an Event/Fact. Then I can easily create an Event Report of Cemeteries." I have over 3500 individuals and many of those have burial places so adding events for them all would be very, very time consuming and irratating as I have done it the way you told me to do it in the first place.

So which way should we record cemeteries? The way the tutorial says to do it or the way support says to do it?

Personally, I would think it would be pretty simple for ya'll to come up with a cemetery report pulling the data from the burial place. Since you've been telling people in the tutorial to do it that way for years, it would seem to me the best solution for your customers, including me. And I would be very grateful.

Autumn - yes, Legacy can list all individuals buried in a given cemetery. Go to View > Master Lists > Address Lists > Event, select the cemetery, and click on the Show List button. The resulting list shows everyone buried in that cemetery. The list can also be printed. Hope this helps.

All my research is in England, so I am concerned about how English locations will be handled. At the moment I enter a location as "Norwich, Norfolk, England", which is the format given by FamilySearch's Standard Finder. Legacy would read this as "City, County, State" with no country given. In the Location Master List it appears as ",Norfolk,Norwich,,,England". The number of place marker commas suggests that the location should contain six fields.

I'm confused. Should I go on entering locations as I have done in the past, or should I use a different system?

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