Pocket Genealogist - free update (3.30) now available
New E-Book Available for Download - The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy

Legacy Tip: Marking Your Direct Line

Sometimes, as you’re navigating through your tree, whether in the family view or the pedigree view, you get lost. You’re working with your 6th great-grandfather, and you’re trying to get back to you or your parents, but you can’t remember which child you descend through. Or, when you print a family group record, some researchers would like a small indicator next to the child who is your direct-line. By marking your direct line as preferred, Legacy with automatically set all the direct-line ancestors of a specified individual to preferred. Then, as you navigate up and down through the generations, you can find your way back down the same way as you went up. I generally like to begin, not with me, but with one of my children. By setting their direct line as preferred, your spouse’s line is also marked appropriately. It does not matter which child you choose.

The step-by-step instructions are included in a short video. Click here to watch the video.

For more video tips, click on the Preview buttons on this page.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Fantastic post, I have always struggled to find my way home without jumping back to the start.

It also works very well to use all caps for the names of direct ancestors.

Another helpful tool in marking direct lines is selecting in the "Tools" section the tab "Apply Ancestor Colors" this will make your direct lines from preferred person be shown with ease.

I just noted the information on marking your direct line in Legacy, and that is indeed a wish come true! I have gotten lost in my ancestry many times...so this tool will be terrific, especially when sharing with a cousin, because they can easily see your direct ancestor on the forms. Thank you!

This is a VERY useful tip, and solves a long-time inconvenience. Thank you

Do you have the information available in a non-Active-X format i.e. a simple, non-interactive download or simple 1-2-3 text instructions?

Gene Siscoe - this is from the Legacy help file:

As you move from younger generations to older one in both the Family View and the Pedigree View, Legacy automatically chooses the preferred parents of the current individual. (You can change the preferred parents, if there are more than one set, by right-clicking on an individual and choosing View / Parents List.) As you move back down to younger generations, you will often get "lost" because you can't remember which child to select.

You can have Legacy automatically reset all the direct line ancestors of a specified individual to be preferred and display them in a bold typeface. This way, as you navigate up and down through the generations, you can find your way back down the same way as you went up. (In the Family View, you can click to the right or left of the Children window to automatically select the preferred child to be moved up to the Husb/Wife position. This is a fast way to move back down a preferred line.)

To set all the direct-line ancestors of a particular individual as preferred:

1. Display the Set Direct Line Ancestors as Preferred Line window by choosing Set Direct Line as Preferred from the Tools menu.

2. Make sure the starting individual is shown in the text box. If you need to select a different person, click Change.

3. Click Set Preferred Line to automatically mark each ancestor as the preferred one.

Now, when you move back down to younger generations, each preferred child is marked with an asterisk. You can either double-click the preferred child or click to the right of left of the Child List to move the preferred child up to the current Husb/Wife position. (Note, to turn on the bold names feature, you must select the Indicate direct-line children in lists option on the Data Format tab of the Options > Customize window. See Customize - Data Format for more information.)

This works fine if you are only descended from one child.

Twelve generations down, I have found that I am descended from 3 children of Edward Doty of the Mayflower. (2 sons and 1 daughter)

How do you mark ALL THREE as Direct Lines? They can't all be "preferred" children of Edward.

Videos are wonderful if you have high speed connections, but typed instructions are much easier to follow if you do not have regular access to broadband (like me). Is it possible to do a step by step tutorial?

Can I set a prefered line for more than one child? I have children with 2 wifes and a step child. I would like work both mothers lines for my respective children.

OMG - The direct line is just what I needed. Thanks so much for posting this.

The comments to this entry are closed.