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Legacy tip: editing a location

Question from Tami:

"Is there a way to search & replace locations? I have several places where I did not include a county, and would like to insert it, but with a huge file, I hate to have to just go through the index looking at places one at a time. I love Legacy, but haven't been able to figure this question out."

Answer from Millennia:

Dear Tami and others - you are going to love our answer - Yes! And it's really quite simple once you understand the purpose of the Master Location List.

The Master Location List is a listing of all locations that you have entered into your Legacy family file. Each location is listed only once, although a location could be linked to hundreds of individuals. In other words, when you click on a location in the Master Location List, it will automatically display all individuals who are linked to that location in any way. Each location in this list can be edited. So, if you make a change to the location (such as adding the county name), this change is updated for everyone. Follow these steps to update a location:

  1. Open the Master Location List by going to View > Master Lists > Location.
  2. Click on the location that you want to update, then click on the Edit button.
  3. Make the change, and click Save.
  4. This question will appear: "This change will affect all records using this location. Do you want to save the change?" Click Yes.

I guess you could still go one-by-one, to everyone in your database to update their places, but I'll bet you will prefer the method above. :)


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Be careful, make sure that the county for that location has not changed over time.

Good suggestion Gene. I suggest creating the U.S. County Verifier report afterwards found at Tools > US County Verifier.

If you are editing changes to more than one location remember not to click 'Select' as that puts your edited location into the current file.

I knew how the master List worked but didn't know that you could then display a list of people to where a particular place linked to. Fantastic!

Sigh! I love Legacy.

To get a list of folks who live in a certain location you need to utilise the search utility which I found using Control and F - you need to be careful to select what is is you want to find or who it is you want to find - It is a powerful tool used correctly and gives you the option to create a list that you can then use in whichever way suits your needs. The search facility also gives opportunity to search using three separate criteria so with a large tree you can be specific when searching for the folks with the name of Smith!!

I agree in saying be careful that you really want to change everyone using that location. In my case this doesn't work so well because counties have changed over time or the county didn't exist way back when. If you update everyone, you end up with erroneous data for people that fall into those types of situations. While this sounds nice and easy, it can cause more problems than it solves.

I'm guessing Tami knew of this feature. Like Tami, I know there are incomplete location files. This, in my case, is particularly true of foreign locations. It would be nice to generate a report of just incomplete (no country) locations and be able to deal with that list.

I find the Master List great for helping to standardize. My file has grown over the years and was started by my mother. For instances St. Louis, Missouri might be in there in 8+ formats (Saint Louis, St. Louis, St Louis etc). Using the Master List, I was able to clean up. The Master List sure makes it easy to see where the duplicates happen. Also like that the Short Name shows up on the bottom of the screen.

One feature that I personally would welcome would be to be able to search and replace within the Master Lists so that where an abbreviation, such as AUS or Aust. is used, it could be replaced with Australia throughout the full list without having to go to each separate location to complete that change. Boy wouldn't that save some time?
I’m one that finds abbreviated place and State names to be not only annoying but misleading as they introduce the possibility of confusion into research such as using WA for Western Australia whereas northern hemisphere residents, as well as all lists, assume that to be Washington.
Local usage abbreviations should not be used when the idea is to share information as they sometimes mean something entirely different to those receiving a list or a GEDCOM File.

Jeffrey - you can currently do this. Go to Search > Search/Replace. In the Find where field, select "Lists-Location".

I agree with Jack - the Master List is particularly helpful to standardise spellings, formats etc. Going through my master list I have found several addresses NOT associated with any person. Is there a way to delete these obsolete addresses, or is it OK to simply combine them with any other address and get rid of them that way?

Sylvia, in the Master Location List, click on Options > Purge Unused. This will remove any locations that no longer have anyone attached to them.

On location name changes over time - the correct name is that in operation at the time the record was made, not that in use now. You might have to use a modifier with the place name - eg "Smithtown 1888" to distinguish it from "Smithtown Neb."

There's no point in looking in a modern county/city/etc for records when the ones you want may be in somewhere completely different. Just consider what Mrs. Thatcher did to English Counties and Shires.

Location! Location! Location!

1. I have a few locations which can be no more specified than a country, eg "England", or a county/state/province, eg "Cavan, Ireland". How do I get these to appear in the list without inserting blanks and commas to seperate the null data, eg " , , , England" and " , , Cavan, Ireland". If I don't put in the blanks and commas, the entry appears out of order on my Master List.

2. "changed over time" ... Some of my ancestors came to New South Wales from a village in the Duchy of Savoy now Haute-Savoie, Rhône-Alpes, France. For a time, the area was under French occupation (Napoleonic period). I can include such information in the Notes field on an entry in the Master List but how do I get reports to accurately reflect the historical situation?

How can abbreviations for Township (Twp) and/or County (Co) be added to locations, without doing it manually? I feel it is confusing when a county name ends with a comma, or is this a township, leaving you to wonder if there is something you don't know about the area (or is this a sub-district or ?). This begets even more questions when you are entering foreign locations. (re: Provinces, Departments, Districts, Divisions, etc. etc.)

A related issue concerns changing names and counties. As an example, my father in law was born in Lasdehnen, East-Prussia, Germany. In 1938 the name was changed into Haselberg and he left this town in 1944. After WII the name was changed into Krasnoznamensk and belongs to Russia. At this moment I have not decided how to handle these name-changes. Any advise would be appreciated.

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