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Legacy Tip - Using the Advanced Set Living feature

"Intelli-Murder" was the name given to this new feature by our programmers. For some reason, they decided to rename it to "Advanced Set Living" before its release to the public. I can't imagine why....

Using Legacy Family Tree's Advanced Set Living feature will prevent problems like this (click on image to enlarge):


In Nathan Brown's pedigree chart, his 18th century parents are displayed as "Living". This happened for two reasons:

  1. When these parents were typed into Legacy, they were entered without a birth or christening date, and without any death or burial information. Consequently, their Living Status was left as "Living". Normally, a person's living status is set when you type a new person's information. The process is automatic if their death or burial information is entered, or if their birth or christening date is more than 120 years ago. If no birth, christening, death, or burial information is entered, their status remains at the default Yes, if not changed to No.
  2. Then, when I created this report, I turned on the option to "Suppress details for living people" and to "Change their name to 'Living'". This pedigree chart was displayed according to the options that I set.

It is an easy task to set the Living Status of a few individuals manually if you need to, but you may already have hundreds of individuals in your Legacy family file whose living status is marked as "yes" even though they lived hundreds of years ago.

This is where the "Advanced Set Living" feature comes in handy. This tool does an intelligent search through your entire family file looking for people that are older than the cutoff age, which is usually 120 years old. (This 120-year-parameter can be adjusted at Options > Customize > Data Entry tab > Presumed Dead section.) When someone of this age is found, it is assumed that all of their ancestors are older than that and that they are all dead. Legacy then sets their Living status to No as far back as the line goes from there, regardless of whether or not they have birth or christening dates.

Do you see now why the programmers wanted to call this feature Intelli-Murder?

To use the Advanced Set Living tool:

  1. Go to Tools > Advanced Set Living.
  2. Set the cutoff age at the desired level by either typing in the number or by using the up and down arrows.
  3. Click Start. Legacy goes through your entire family file setting the Living status to No when it is determined that they are older than the age you specified. When finished, Legacy asks if you would like to see a list of all the people who had their Living status changed to No. You might be surprised by all the people you "killed" off.


So now it is your turn. Use this feature and then report back to us using the comments section below.

(No ancestors were killed, murdered, or otherwise harmed during the writing of this article.)


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Thanks - there's another similar thing I like to do. If you know a child was born 1800 for example, then you can assume their parents were born before then, but a bit farther behind. If the minimum age someone can give birth is 10 years old, then you know they were born before 1790. Choose your own minimums.

I have to manually set this for some people. I like to see "before 1790" in a report more than I do a blank field. If there was a way Legacy could generate this, it would come in handy and clear up some blank fields in the database.

A long awaited feature - but you don't seem to say what version this works for !

37 zombies sent back to the realm of death! Great feature!

Changed 445 entries. Good tool.

Sadly I have murdered 228 people in a database of 4986. Very useful. Thanks

Thank you for the tip I have used it and found 53 people that I have now killed


I had 32,000 incorrectly set!

So many producers of documentary history programmes insist on presenting their programmes in the present tense. I imagine that they assume that we will find their “living history” very much more appealing and interesting but I find it extremely irritating... Having run the ‘Intelli-Murder’ feature, I can see that the perpetrators have, obviously, mistakenly, been using Legacy files wrongly and have assumed their subjects to be still alive. Well, I have now consigned 391 of my ‘historical character’ ancestors, including William the Conqueror and many others, forward and backward in the mists of time, to an incontrovertible honourable or dishonourable death. I hope that the programme producers will now take due note... Richard

Great new feature. I always found it frustrating when I sent info from my files to other researchers only to find it peppered with "Living" individuals that were born long before 1900, simply because I didn't have a death date for them.

as soon as you click on the person in the list you getting the person( so You can verify), now you want to go back to the list, guess what, the list is gone.
this means you can only do one verification, the other 97 are gone.
So it would be handy to have the list at hand.


I wish you had publish this article ages ago - Before I manually searched my 3000 names.
Used the tool and it still managed to find another 185 walking zombies.

Thanks, I tried it and that was great. 1149 out of my 62000 research file was adjusted. Some of my lines I have not been back through for a while.

I was surprised to have "killed off" only 112 individuals (cutoff at age 105) out of over 15,000 in my family file.

I decided to do this and I was suprised by how many. I had 820 individuals that were changed to not living. I had not thought about this till now. This feature is a great idea.

Over the years, I have always tried to be meticulous in marking people in my file as dead when it has been obvious, but since the file now contains nearly 29,000 people, I decided to make sure I have them all marked (and also see how well I've done over the years).

Since I had already backed up all my most recent data, I followed your instructions and sure enough, was able to "Intelli-Murder" some.

A great feature! (But hey, only 6 out of 28924 ain't bad, either).

Good job, programmers!

I sent in a similar suggestion months ago and am glad to see this in use, whomever's suggestion was actually used. When I first began using Legacy Deluxe this was one of my initial Things-To-Do. It took months to track down and kill off the zombies in over 75,000 entries. This will save a lot of people a lot of time and is a great feature. And now it's found my last five zombies! Thanks!

David - this feature has actually been in Legacy for a number of years. It may have been introduced in Legacy 6.0, I don't remember.

This is a good feature. I only 'killed off' one person. Lucky me

I killed one individual. Had her marriage date as 1655 so I would assume she has probably expired. Thanks for explaining what this tool was, I had not been able to figure it out.

Roland - the 98 are still there in the Search List. To access the Search List, click on the small blue arrow just to the right of the Search button in the main toolbar.

Just used this and changed 90 people, very usefull tool, thanx.

I now have 147 less walking dead relatives - may they rest in peace!

17,627 kills out of 269,774. Talk about a serial killer. Thanks for the hint.

Great tool! I just "killed" off 12% of the people in my database.

I've been so careful about that sort of thing, but somehow there were 97 zombies walking around in my file of 13,646. Glad the "living" dead have been purged from my family tree. At least now, they won't be showing up at family reunions to scare their descendants.

Sounds a great idea. One connected problem that I often face when entering a new person born less than 120 years ago is that Legacy gives me a message: "This person has no death information and was born x years ago. This person is currently set as Living. Is this person still alive?" But the only choice of answers is "yes" or "no". In many cases, particularly with more distant relatives, I simply don't yet know. Could the program developers explore the possibilty of adding "Don't Yet Know" to the choice of answers?


Killed 200 people in my database of 4,171. Couldn't imagine to transfer to a such cruel serial killer !

Knocked off 1372 of my 3805 and walked away without even feeling guilty...

Intelli-Murder killed 954 in my file.....funerals pending.

Oh gosh what a problem has been created. Out of the 22,000+ there are now some 500 more dead folks BUT they have never been alive! Having "inherited" a lot of data from other folks via GEDCOM files I didn't have the time (nor the inclination) to review the data and so I now find folks didn't even hazard a guess at dates of birth - result - names but no dates and now I have given them a bullet!!

I know now what my next project is - tidying up my trees!!

My death toll was 299. R.I.P. Great tool.

Been good, no murders in my family. This is a fanastic tool. Also lowered the death year to 105 yrs (haven't come across any people dying in their 90's yet, so I think I am safe setting it at 105 yrs.)

"Killed off" 60 people :) Nice.

53 deaths of 26,737. Not too bad, but I really thought I was careful! LOL Thank you very much, great tool!

Out of over 11,000 entries I only found 53, but better than nothing
Great feature!

Christie, who would like a "Don't yet know" as well as "Living" and "Dead" options, should consider how fragile is our hold on life. Even if you mark yourself as "Living" today, someone may have to correct that to "Dead" tomorrow, so the "Living" status could well be renamed "Don't yet know".

Great idea, nd thanks for the tip about reviewing the search list. Is there anyway I can save this list (258 people from 120 years) so I can try again at 105 without losing the original list?

Glad you added this. I had been using LTools to kill off people. I ran the Legacy version and I still managed to kill off 25 more :)

Great feature! Killed 89 people w/o any bloodshed. You should change the name back to Intelli Murder!!!!

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