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....