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GENMatcher Legacy Edition

Genmatcherthumb_1 GENMatcher is a Windows-based utility that compares two genealogy files for matches, or one genealogy file for duplicates. GENMatcher quickly finds matches between genealogy files. This allows you to quickly test downloaded files for potential matches to your data. In addition, GENMatcher also helps you clean up your genealogy data by finding duplicates.

You can compare files between different file formats. Files do not have to be the same format to be compared. GENMatcher reads and compares Legacy Family Tree and PAF family files, as well as GEDCOM and Temple Submission Files.

GENMatcher lets you set the comparison criteria. Your analysis work is saved in work sessions. An unlimited number of sessions can be saved and restored.

Use GENMatcher with no risk to your data. GENMatcher compares without modifying your data; there's no need to import data to compare files.

System requirements: GENMatcher runs on Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP. It requires 5MB of disk space.

Learn more or purchase

Visit to learn more or to purchase GENMatcher Legacy Edition.

Britain gazetteers online

One of the rules to beginning research in a new location is to learn about that location - its geography, history, customs, etc. One of the most difficult genealogical words to spell (besides genealogy) is one of the best resources for helping us learn about these new localities - gazetteers.

Briefly defined, a gazetteer is a geographical dictionary. For example, a gazetteer of a county would name and describe all of the towns, lakes, rivers, and mountains in the county (geographic makeup of the town and region), and might include social statistics such as how many schools, churches, poor houses, etc. They can be used as locators for a map, but also can be used to locate areas nearby where an ancestor may have attended a church, worked, or originated.

England has a wonderful collection of gazetteers, both in book form and in online databases. One of my favorites was created by the Great Britain Historical GIS Project - A Vision of Britain through Time.

On its home page, just enter the name of the place you are researching. I recently learned about the marriage place of my wife's great-grandfather - Brigham, Cumberland, England. I typed in the name Brigham, clicked Search, and a list of all the locations that included this name in Britain appeared. I then clicked on the "Brigham, Cumberland" entry which gave me a long paragraph about the parish. It taught me about the different towns and chapelries associated with the parish, and about the surrounding villages. When working with English jurisdictions, there can be many that you will need to understand. This gazetteer made it so clear.

In addition to the descriptive information, it also included historical maps of the places. These maps show all the little places surrounding the location. Finally, links to information about the historical population, industry, social classes, housing, roots/religion, and even boundary changes were available.

A Vision of Britain through Time is definitely one of the best online gazetteers for Britain. Learn about your ancestors' locations at

Other good online gazetteers are available via GENUKI at

What is Soundex?

Newcomers to genealogy are sometimes confused by the word soundex. Whereas those who have been researching for decades have likely memorized the soundex codes for each of their favorite ancestors' surnames. With the advent of every-name census indexes, soundex has been somewhat left behind.

A to Zax: A Comprehensive Dictionary for Genealogists & Historians by Barbara Jean Evans, defines soundex as:

A system of indexing surnames that sound alike. Consonants have certain values, vowels are ignored. The first letter of the name and three digits are used, e.g. Evans = E152. This system is used to index the 1880, 1900 and 1910 censuses and some states use the soundex code on drivers' licenses.

Now doesn't that sound exciting??? Evans is right - to be able to search the census records, we used to have to translate our ancestors' surnames into a soundex code. Manuals were written about how to do this.

Here are some coding rules:

1 - B P F V
2 - C S K G J Q X Z
3 - D T
4 - L
5 - M N
6 - R

Do not code A, E, I, O, U, W, Y, and H.

Note that surname prefixes such as van, Von, Di, de, le, D', dela, or du are sometimes disregarded in alphabetizing and in coding.

. . . many other little rules

Confused? You don't need to be. Computers have made this easier - even Legacy Family Tree has a built-in soundex code calculator.

So do we still use Soundex codes?

Not as much as we used to, but still - passenger lists, vital record indexes, and other record groups are still indexed/sorted by soundex code. For example, the Washington state death indexes are arranged this way. To search for my BROWN relatives, I need to know that B-650 is the right code, because all the Browns, and possibly even other surnames are grouped/indexed together.

Calculating this code is easy in Legacy:

  1. Click on the Tools menu.
  2. Click on Soundex Calculator.
  3. Type in the desired surname, and click Calculate Soundex Code.

Locating other surnames with the same soundex code

Perhaps you are researching the Brown surname. Throughout your research, you've found and recorded several variants for the surname. Remembering all the variants is hard to do all the time. Legacy's Search Name List button on the Soundex Calculator will search all the surnames in your family file and give you a list of those surnames that also have the same soundex code as B-650.

If you're still interested . . .

Learn more about Soundex at by clicking here.

Delaware Probate Records Index, 1680-1925

Probate records (wills, estates, etc.) are a major resource for genealogists. They can include wills, records of the final settlement papers where the division of the property was recorded, guardianship papers for individuals under legal age (usually under the age of 21), inventories of property in the state, money used in the on-going affairs of the estate by the administrator. These records may give references to land ownership papers, relationships between individuals and the deceased, or between each other in the estate.

The state of Delaware has an extensive state-wide index of probate records. Unless you know exactly where to search, the index is a bit difficult to locate in Delaware's Public Archives web site. From their description we learn:

These indexes are the primary finding aid to our holdings of manuscript probate records for all three counties from c. 1680 to c. 1925. These are not indexes to all the names appearing in the records, but only the names of the deceased for whom the files were created. Contained in each index are the individual's name, and a date or dates. The dates correspond to the date of the documents within that individual's file and may refer to a date of the will or to a date for probate to begin.

If you've got Delaware ancestry, you will definitely want to bookmark this site:

How to create a list of end-of-the-line ancestors

Question from Bill:

I want to locate all of my end-of-line ancestors. Is there any easy way to do this with Legacy Family Tree?


You bet, Bill! Just follow these simple step-by-step instructions:

  1. With Legacy open, click on the Search button at the top.
  2. Click on the Miscellaneous Searches tab.
  3. Click on Direct-line ancestors with no parents.
  4. Click on Create List.

The Search List then appears with the list of your "dead-end" ancestors. To print the list, just click on the Print button at the bottom.

You also might benefit from reviewing Legacy's Tagging and Searching Made Easy. Here's a link to a preview of the video:

Lifespan of CDs - shorter than you might think

Do you have any CDs or DVDs at home? Chances are you've burned CDs/DVDs of your pictures, important data, or even movies. Many genealogists use these digital storage media to backup their computers, thinking that they're now safe in case of emergency.

In a recent article, an IBM expert warns that the CDs you have burned have a relatively short life span of between two to five years, depending on the quality of the CD.

Read the complete article here.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to protect your CDs. We wrote about this in Legacy News earlier this year:

Read the article here.

Regardless of what digital storage media you use to backup your genealogy and other important files, it is vitally important that you make frequent backups. For tips about backing up and restoring your Legacy family files, visit

The Genealogy Happy Dance

We've all experienced it. We've all had a taste of it. It's what keeps us going when we discover yet another "brick wall."

The "genealogy happy dance" comes in different forms. You'll notice it in libraries, when all of a sudden, an audible "YES!" is heard by everyone. It happens in homes, late at night - you really want to call friends and family to tell them. It even happens at genealogy conferences - the instructor mentioned something that finally made everything make sense.

I remember my first very "happy dance." I was in a university library looking at a microfilmed newspaper. It was the first time I had searched for an obituary. When I found it, I could only stand up about half-way because the microfilm reader's lens colided with my head as I jumped up in excitement.

Last night I had another "genealogy happy dance" as I located my wife's ancestor in the 1891 census - her great-grandfather was listed as a child, along with his father AND his grandfather. I was all alone - nobody to share it with.

These happy dances really do lift our spirits when we've worked so hard, and have stumbled so many times. Think back to your first major discovery - what was it like? Did you get hurt (hitting your head on the ceiling)? Did you wake up your family? Did it startle the other library patrons?

We'd like to hear about it. Share your "genealogy happy dance" with us in the comments section below.

Canadian Great War Project

Because of the great records in Canada, I sometimes wish I had Canadian ancestors. If your Canadian ancestor lived at the time of World War I, the Canadian Great War Project will definitely be of interest.

It claims to contain the largest fully searchable database of Canadians serving in the First World War, or other nationalities who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). The site differs from others like the Libraries and Archive Canada sites, or the Canadian Virtual War Memorial by making all information, including birthplace or next of kin, available as part of the search criteria, making it very useful for genealogical research. There are currently over 70,000 entries, with more being added daily. The site includes many other features, including transcribed/searchable war diaries, book reviews, transcribed letters, images and statistics on Canada in the Great War.

Visit the Canadian Great War Project at