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September 2009
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November 2009

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....

Legacy seminar in Fresno, California - November 21, 2009

If you're in the Fresno, California area on November 21, 2009, we invite you to a Genealogy Technology seminar featuring Legacy Family Tree's Geoff Rasmussen.

Hosted by the Fresno County Genealogical Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution, the full-day seminar will have classes about the latest in genealogy technology, including instruction on the use of genealogy's best software (I just had to throw that in!) Legacy Family Tree.

Topics include some of Geoff's most popular classes - each class comes with detailed handouts:

  • Genealogist's Guide to Working with Digital Images
  • Timelines & Chronologies: Secrets of Genealogical Success
  • Organizing, Planning, and Sharing with Legacy Family Tree
  • Sharing Genealogy Electronically: Publishing to CD/DVD, the Internet, email and more
  • Market Your Ancestors Using Message Boards, Mailing Lists, Blogs and more

The seminar is held at the Holiday Inn Fresno Downtown at 1055 Van Ness Avenue. Pre-registration is $20. Click here for the registration form. Registration at the door is $25. For more information, please contact Corky Peterson at 559-322-1743 or via email.

We'll also have great door prizes and special seminar pricing on Legacy and other genealogy products. Hope to see you there.

How my Windows 7 installation went

IMG_1453 As you know, I've been pretty excited to install Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 7. It was released today. Early this morning I checked out different software store's websites to see if they had any great specials. To my surprise, many of the stores said the software was already out of stock. I quickly got in my car and headed for the stores.

Well, all of the stores I tried didn't open for another 1 1/2 hours. I guess stores aren't usually open at 6:30am, but I thought I might get lucky. When I returned home, I did one final inventory of my software and files on my Windows XP computer, just to make sure that I had backed everything up properly.

By 8:20am, I was back at the mall where I easily located a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate edition. No lines. No hassle. No problem.

At 8:52am I inserted the Windows 7 CD. The computer restarted a few times, asked me a few questions (like what is my time zone, etc.), and by 10:02 it had restarted for the final time and was ready to use.

Win7The hardest part of the entire process was locating my Windows 7 product key. I finally found it after removing all the literature in the CD case. It was glued to the back of the inside cover.

First impressions

So far so good....I was actually quite impressed that Windows detected that I had two monitors hooked up. I didn't have to install the video card drivers like I usually do. The interface is clean and modern. Some will say it looks a lot more like a Mac now. I was also impressed that it didn't come with a bunch of "bloat-ware", or pre-installed software that I usually just go into the Control Panel and remove before I do anything else.

So what's next?

The first thing I did was install my anti-virus software - don't ever "leave home" / use your computer without it.

The next thing I did was write this article. :)

The next thing I will do is reinstall Legacy 7.0, my email/calendar software, and my photo organizer/editor.

Since most of my documents (pictures, letters, etc.) are on my second hard drive, I won't need to spend any additional time restoring them. I'm glad I have that second hard drive - sure saved me a lot of time.

I'd better be going now. I've got to get things back to normal as soon as I can so I can get back to finding more ancestors. I'm sure you understand. :)

What are your impressions?

Let us and others know how it went for you by commenting below.

Windows 7 - available Thursday, October 22, 2009

I've cleared my schedule for the rest of the week. Because I'm upgrading to Windows 7 from Windows XP, maybe I should clear next week's schedule too....

I admit, I'm really excited for the new operating system to be released tomorrow. From everything I've read and heard, it's going to be a great upgrade. In case you're wondering, Legacy Family Tree 7.0 runs just fine in Windows 7.

Two of genealogy's "techies" recently wrote about their experiences with Windows 7 and provided good suggestions about preparing for the upgrade.

Dick Eastman, in his article, "Windows 7: Read Before Upgrading" stated that XP users will have a rocky transition, and I agree. If you have Windows XP (like I do), to install Windows 7 requires that your computer's hard drive be completely reformatted. That's right. This means that you will need to reinstall all of your programs and restore all of your data files after installing the new operating system. I mentioned previously that I don't really mind doing this every once in a while - it gives my computer a fresh start. Dick's article gives good advice about how to best prepare for the upgrade, including making an inventory of the software you will want to reinstall after the upgrade. Read the complete article here.

Marlo Schult, in his article "Windows 7 - The Mystery Unveiled: A Simple Non-Technical Evaluation" wrote about his experiences in installing the evaluation version of Windows 7. To his surprise, it was quicker and less painful than he anticipated. He was happy to report that his software, Heritage Collector Suite, a Legacy add-on program, worked well. Even his old scanner worked. He also wrote about some of his favorite new features. Read the complete article here.

Where will I be tomorrow? I won't be in one of those midnight lines camping out in front of the store. I'll wake up as normal, help get the kids off to school. But as soon as they're gone, I'm headed to the nearest software store. Most people will probably wait a couple of months until any major problems with Windows 7 are resolved. I'll let you know how it goes here.

What will you be doing tomorrow?

New records online for Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Argentina, England, Mexico, and Ghana


There are some fascinating new collections in FamilySearch’s Record Search. Ten million new records and images were added this update. Some particularly interesting highlights included the 1865 Massachusetts State Census, Wisconsin 1855 State Census, and 1869 Argentina Census—all now complete, the Ghana Census, 1982–1984 digital images, and the England, Cheshire School Records, 1796–1950, collections. See the chart below for a list of all the newly added collections.

These collections can be searched for free at Record Search pilot (click Search Records, and then click Record Search pilot).

Hats off to the online volunteers who help make these collections freely available by donating a few minutes of their time or talents through the FamilySearch Indexing program.

  • Argentina, 1895 Census - Updated index and images. Project is now complete.
  • Argentina, 1869 Census - Updated index and images.
  • England, Cheshire School Records, 1796–1950 - New index only collection. Project is now complete.
  • Ghana, Census, 1982–1984 - New browse image only collection; project is ongoing.
  • Mexico, Coahuila, Catholic Church Records, 1627–1978 - Updated browse image only collection. Project is now complete.
  • U.S., 1920 Federal Census - Added indexes for Wyoming, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.
  • U.S., Illinois, Cook County Birth Registers, 1871–1915 - Updated index and images.
  • U.S., Massachusetts State Census, 1865 - Added indexes. Project is now complete.
  • U.S., Wisconsin State Census, 1855 - New index and image collection. Project is now complete.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

New book in our online store: Crash Course in Family History

CCB-2T Crash Course in Family History is the number one, best-selling "how-to" family history book in bookstores. And finally - we're now selling it in our online store for the introductory price of $29.95 (save $5 for a limited time).

For beginning genealogists, this book contains simple, step-by-step directions on where to begin, how to easily search for your ancestors using today's technology, and how to connect with the lives of your ancestors in 3-Easy-Steps.

For experienced genealogists, the book has plenty to offer - learn about the latest technology, the newest tools and tips, and the Best-of-the-Internet web sites.

Extensively used as a family history teaching and training manual, the expanded updated third edition is now 240 pages with full-color, rich-illustrations on every page. Its large format (9 1/2" x 11 1/4") and special binding allows pages to open flat.

Here's the detailed Table of Contents:

Introduction (Where do I Start?)
- Why Family History?
- Connecting the Generations
- Turn Your Heart to Your Fathers
- Loving Your Ancestors
- Importance of the Internet
- Family History is Booming
- Use Wisdom and Order
- Getting Started
- Do Your Ancestors Want to Be Found?
- Help From the Other Side: Inspirational Stories
- Quotations About Help From Our Ancestors
- 10 Things You Can Do Today to Get Started
  Free Beginners Tutorials and Lessons Available
  Free eNewsletters Online
  Genealogy Magazines
  Blogs: Interactive Web Sites
  What is a PodCast?
- Books, Forms, Supplies, Marketplace

STEP 1 - Identify Your Ancestors Using Your Family
- Write Everything You Know About Your Ancestors
  Forms and Computers Make It Easier
  Free Genealogy Charts and Forms
  Why Keep a Research Log?
- Look for More Information at Home
- Choose a Family or Ancestor You Want to Learn More About
- Ask Relatives for Information
- Documenting Your Information
  Organize & Document as You Go
  Evaluate the Evidence
- What is a GedCom?
- 20 Tips to Help Keep You on the Right Track

STEP 2 - Add New Branches to Your Family Tree
- First, See if Someone Has Already Found Info on Your Ancestors
  Search Existing Family Tree Web Sites
  Search for Published Family Histories
    How to Use the Family History Library Catalog Online
    What is a Family History Center?
    Other Resources
- Search Other Records For Missing Info
  "Search Engines"
  Using Free Research Guidance, Research Outlines, and Research Guides
  Census Records: A Snapshot of History
    Census Web Sites
    Census Comparison Charts
  Immigration Records
  Military Records
  Libraries and Archives
  African American Roots
  Hispanic / Latino Americans
  Native Americans
  Asian Web Sites
  Other Ethnic Resources
- Additional Ways to Do Research Online
  Social Networking Web Sites
  Mailing Lists
  Surnames and Family Associations Queries
  Help Lists

STEP 3 - Connect with the Lives and Stories of Your Ancestors
- Benefits of Connecting with Ancestors
- Appreciating Your Heritage
- Honoring Your Ancestors
- How Would You Like to be Honored?
- Timelines and History
- Photographs, Videos and Scrapbooking
- Newspapers and Periodicals
- Maps & Geographical Information
- Court and Land Records
- Tracing Your Medical Heritage
- Royalty and Nobility
- Heraldry and Arms

A Directory of Software and Tools
- Which Software is the Best?
- Popular PC Software Programs
- Web-Based Software
- Mac Software
- Handheld Software
- Software Tools and Utilities

Best of the Internet
- Top 10 Web Sites to Search
  "New FamilySearch" Preview
- Existing Family Tree Web Sites
- Web Directories/Portals
- Other Valuable Databases
- Tools to Make It Easier
- Published Family Histories
- Libraries and Archives
- Vital Records
- Surname Searches
- Census Records
- Immigration Records
- Military Records
- Cemeteries, Graves, Obituaries
- Historical Data
- Maps & Geographical Information
- Court, Estate and Probate Records
- Ethnic Resources
- Newspapers and Periodicals
- Photographs

The Best LDS Web Sites
- Why are Latter-day Saints Interested in Family History and How Does that Benefit All of Us?
  Who are the Mormons?
  Unique Beliefs Drive Search
  Controversy About A Mormon Belief
- Online Web Site Directories
- Where Do I Start?
- Adding New Branches to Your Family
- Specific Utah Resources
- Finding Your Family Stories, and Photos

Organizing Your Information
- Computers Save Lots of Time
- Getting Started
- Organize Folders by Surname
- Color Code Your Files
- Filing Your Documents
- Using 3-Ring Binders
- Organizing Your Letters
- Archiving Your Family Photos & Documents
- Keeping Up with Technology
  Handheld Computers and Software
- Organizing Your Personal Library
- Do What Works For You

Leaving an Enduring Legacy
- One Hundred Years From Now
- Hidden Benefits of Keeping a History
- Resources for Writing Your History
  Helpful Computer Software
  Specific Web Sites
  Books to Consider
  Web Articles
- Gathering Your Family Stories: Oral Interviews
  Conducting an Oral Interview
  Interview Questions

Other Rewarding Opportunities
- Sharing Your Family History
- Publishing on the Web
- Creating Your Own Family Web Site
- Creating a Family Blog
- Creating an Online Photo Album
- Organizing Your Family
  Family Association Goals
- Holding a Family Reunion

 for just $29.95 for a limited time.

Update on Legacy 7.5's release (new FamilySearch tools) and a sneak peek

By now, you've probably read about the next great update to Legacy - version 7.5. If not, we've written about it here, here, here, here, and here. This article will explain what version 7.5 will add to Legacy 7.0 and give guidance on how to best prepare for the update.

What's coming in Legacy 7.5

For years, FamilySearch has worked on developing a web application for researchers to be able to interact with a very large, unified database of connected genealogical information. This new system is being released in phases - first for members of the LDS church while it is tested and perfected, and then to the public.

Legacy version 7.5 will add new tools to help researchers collaborate, backup, and optionally synchronize their Legacy family files with the data in the FamilySearch databases. These new tools should encourage better research collaboration and prevent research and ordinance duplication.

What will Legacy 7.5 cost?

Nothing. Legacy 7.5 will be a free update to Legacy 7.0. When it is available, all you will need to do is download and install the update as you usually install Legacy updates. The new FamilySearch integration tools will be available as part of both the Standard (free) and Deluxe editions of Legacy.

Who should download Legacy 7.5?

Everyone. Although the only "new" addition in 7.5 will be the New FamilySearch integration tools, we will still correct bugs and add new features as we usually do with our normal updates. However, gaining access to the new FamilySearch databases requires an account. Currently, registering for a new account is restricted to members of the LDS church.

When will Legacy 7.5 be released?

As we've previously announced, 7.5 is still on track to be released before the end of the year. We've made great progress and have completed the software certification requirements for Access certification. We're putting the final touches on the next phase of software certification right now. Stay tuned here for the official release announcements.

How to prepare for Legacy 7.5

Even if 7.5 were released today, nobody should begin using the new FamilySearch integration tools without first performing some clean-up and standardization techniques in their Legacy family file. We will begin to publish these suggestions in upcoming Legacy News articles.

The Sneak Peek

Click on the image below for a sneak peek of one of the FamilySearch integration screens.


Yeah, I know. Sorry for the blurred-out sections. Stay tuned....

How to use Windows System Restore to undo changes to your computer

Computer Most of the time when your computer does not do what you want it to do, it is usually because you have not given it correct instructions.

For example, if you try to maximize a program's window, but instead the program closes, it's likely that you clicked the tiny close button (the small X in the upper right of the program's window) instead of the tiny maximize button (the button immediately to the X's left). Has this ever happened to you? This is known as "operator error". In other words, your computer did exactly what you told it to do, but you gave it wrong instructions (clicked the wrong button).

Sometimes your computer just does the wrong thing. This could be evidence of a bug in the software, or a virus on your computer.

What about the situations when there does not seem to be any reasonable explanation for a computer problem? Sometimes it's easiest to just go buy a new computer or reinstall the operating system. I must admit, I love the new computer smell. (Is there such a smell?)

Before spending/wasting your money, try Windows' System Restore tool to see if it can fix your problem.

Here's what happened to me. While setting up for our last day of classes on our recent Legacy Genealogy Cruise, I could not get my laptop and projector to work together. I restarted each, replaced the cable connecting the two, reset the projector's settings, invited the ship's technology expert to help - we tried everything. I actually arrived ninety minutes early to class to set up (I love teaching). Still, with just five minutes to go, nothing worked. We finally replaced my projector with the ship's just in time for class to start. It mostly worked.

What was the problem? Was my new projector at fault? What about the cable connecting the laptop to the projector? Could it be the laptop's outgoing signal? Usually I press Function-F5 on the laptop which sends the correct signal to the projector and all is well. I've done this hundreds, if not thousands of times successfully. Function-F5 did nothing.

Yesterday as I considered just "upgrading" both laptop and projector, I had one last idea. I remembered about Windows' System Restore tool. Windows gives this explanation:

System Restore is a component of Windows XP [and probably Vista and Windows 7 too] that you can use to restore your computer to a previous state, if a problem occurs, without losing your personal data files (such as Microsoft Word documents, browsing history, drawings, favorites, or e-mail). System Restore monitors changes to the system and some application files, and it automatically creates easily identified restore points. These restore points allow you to revert the system to a previous time. They are created daily and at the time of significant system events (such as when an application or driver is installed). You can also create and name your own restore points at any time.

Again, using this tool will not revert your data, such as your Legacy Family Tree family file, to an earlier version. Also, any changes that System Restore makes to your computer are completely reversible.

The tool is located in Windows XP by navigating to:

Start menu > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore

This is what the screen looks like. (Click on the image below for a larger view.)

After I initiated the process yesterday, my laptop restarted, chugged away for a little bit and completed in less than ten minutes. At the end, it told me that my computer had been reverted back to September 1 which is the date I selected, and that I could choose to undo this restore if I wanted.

Immediately I hooked up my projector to see what would happen. To my delight (and surprise), it worked! Pressing Function-F5 actually did what it was supposed to do. I had a brief moment of sadness as I realized I didn't need a new laptop and projector, but that didn't last all that long. I remembered how much work I still had to do that day.

So...Windows' System Restore saved the day, and saved me about $1,000.

Digitizing the Family History Library's records - a status report

The Family History Library has around 2.5 million rolls of microfilm - the largest collection of genealogical sources anywhere in the world. A few years ago, FamilySearch announced their plans to digitize, index, and publish these records online. Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager, recently said that their goal is "to create a searchable world index."

This searchable world index is actually progressing nicely. Its results are being published to FamilySearch's Record Search databases here thanks to FamilySearch Indexing volunteers. Anyone can volunteer by clicking here.

In an article published this weekend by the Deseret News, (thanks Leland for the link) Nauta gave us an update on the progress of the digitization efforts of the 2.5 million rolls of microfilm. He stated that "FamilySearch has 185 camera teams filming 60 million new images annually. Also, the Granite Vaults are having all of their microfilm (2.5 million rolls) digitized and that process could be completed as early as next year."

We should all do a Genealogy Happy Dance for the FamilySearch filmers and digitization teams. Or, even better, sign up to help index these records at

Legacy tip: how to print multiple Family Group Records at the same time

Question from Christine:

I'm trying to print several family group sheets for a family member who wants to put them in a notebook (she doesn't use a computer).

I have Legacy 7. Is there a way to print several at a time, rather than going in, opening each family and printing them one at a time?

I know there must be an easier way!

Our answer:

Recordselect Great question Christine. The answer lies in the Record Selection button, found in the lower left of the Family Group Record report screen.

After clicking on the Record Selection button, you have six options of how to print multiple family group records:

1) Only the current family or individual. This is selected by default.

2) Focus Group records. This is the easiest to work with. Just select it and click on the Edit button. Here you can choose to:

  • Add an individual
  • Add a family
  • Add the current search results
  • Add an Individual and Ancestors
  • Add an Individual and Descendants
  • Add an Individual and Entire Family Line

Or you can use a combination of any of these choices so you can print whatever you want.

3) All individuals in the entire family file (with spouses)

4) All Marriages in the entire family file (sorted by MRIN)

5) Individuals by tag value

6) Marriages by tag value

Or Christine, you could convince your family member to use a computer for their genealogy so all you'd have to do is send them a backup of your Legacy family file! :) Anyways, hope this helps.