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Legacy Family Tree 8 Revealed - Potential Problem Alerts and "Gaps of Unusual Size"

The pinnacle feature in the soon-to-be-released Legacy 8 is already making its impact in the world of genealogy. This new feature will change the way every genealogist looks at their data. It will begin to prevent bad data from being shared with others and published online. It will cause us to be a little more careful about what information we accept and add to our family files. It will help us more easily visualize the potential problems with data from online databases. And it will even help you find missing ancestors that you did not even know existed.

Others are already trying to copy this feature. And for the sake of everyone researching their ancestors - I hope they do. In fact, I hope this new feature pops up in every known genealogy management software and online database. Interestingly, as a result of me previewing this Legacy 8 feature at a recent genealogy conference, it has already made its first appearance in another software program. Good for everyone! I showed off this feature at a seminar in California last weekend, and the attendees could not stop talking about it afterwards.

Okay, is that enough build up yet? Drum roll please. Here's what it looks like:


That's it! This small warning icon will prevent typos, incorrect assumptions, the exchanging of bad data, and will even help you find missing relatives. Here's how....

Legacy 8 monitors your family file for any potential problems and immediately displays this symbol when it finds one. For example, in the Pedigree View, the warning appeared next to Jesse Brown.


When you hover the cursor over the icon, this screen appears. 


Click on the icon to learn more about the potential problem. In this case, his parents' marriage was recorded as having occurred in 1817 - some 23 years before Jesse's birth - which although is still possible, it begins to be more improbable the longer the marriage lasts. If it's really not a problem, just right-click the icon to exclude it. And Shift-Right-click it to exclude this type of problem from being suggested for anyone.

Every potential problem is customizable. The option that triggered this warning was "warn if birth after 20 years of marriage." The number can be changed to whatever you would like. The higher this number, the more improbable the birth.


Look what happened to this family when I changed the marriage year (to illustrate a possible typo) from 1832 to 1932 (66 years after Asa's death):


Yikes! Pretty simple to detect this typo, eh?

Gaps of Unusual Size

Check this one out, again from the perspective of the Family View:


Here, warning symbols appear next to children 3, 5, 11, and 12. The warning for child #3 shows:


Reviewing the warning, it appears that there is indeed a large gap between the births of child #2 and #4. Samuel was born in 1835. William, the next child, was born in 1841. The length of years between these births is abnormally large. There could be two additional children (born in 1837 and 1839) that I have overlooked. The amazing thing is that I've never really noticed this before. The warning symbols make it visually obvious that I might not have the complete family! Could there be one or two more children buried in a cemetery somewhere?

For another example, below is a warning symbol next to child #1.


Hovering the cursor over the icon shows this:


Myrtle, the first child of David and Clara Brown, was born March 8, 1872. Her parents were married January 1, 1868 - over four years earlier. Children, especially in this time period, were usually born within a year of their parents' marriage. This warning symbol, representing another "Gap of Unusual Size" could suggest that there are other children in this family that I have not yet identified. Here are other Gaps that Legacy 8 analyzes:


If these gaps really do exist, and you have proved that there are no other children, great! Just mark the potential problem as being 'not a problem.' But until you have explained the gap, you just might not have the complete family.

Legacy 8 will also check for these potential problems:


I love the "buried date before death date" warning. I guess if this really did happen, you would have a clue as to the cause of death....

Legacy 8 will also help your data entry become standardized.


Remember that all of these potential warnings can be optionally turned on or off.

These potential problem alerts appear in the Pedigree View, Family View, Marriage Information screen, and the Individual's Information screen in Legacy 8. But the feature is not completely new to Legacy. These warnings have been included in Legacy's FamilySearch tool for years. Notice below that the same potential problem alert symbol appears next to Jesse's birth year on the "My Legacy Person" side. If this date really were incorrect, this warning symbol might be enough to prevent the researcher from clicking the "upload" button to publish it to FamilySearch without first verifying the date.


The same would be true if you noticed a potential problem alert on the "FamilySearch Person" side of this example. You might actually think twice now before downloading/copying the information about this person into your personal Legacy file.

Imagine the decrease of the sharing, republishing and downloading of bad data if every genealogy software program and online database added these potential problem alerts to their data!

Thanks to Legacy Family Tree 8's new Potential Problem Alerts, it's not going to be as easy to accidentally record incorrect information. Typos happen. But you're just not going to get away with them as easily anymore. And with the new "Gap" checker, you might pick up an additional family member or two!

What are the other new features of Legacy 8?

Here are links to the articles I've previously written:

Legacy Family Tree 8 Revealed

Legacy Family Tree 8 Revealed - Q/A, new Tagging options, and other surprises

Legacy Family Tree 8 Revealed - Migration Mapping

Legacy Family Tree 8 Revealed - Instant Duplicate Checking

Legacy Family Tree 8 Revealed - Shared Events and Automated Sorting

When will Legacy 8 be released?

There's still more than one truthful answer to this:

  • I'm not really sure, but probably before the end of the year, and hopefully way before then
  • When it has been thoroughly tested by our development team and beta testers

But if you are considering downloading either the free or deluxe editions of Legacy, don't wait! Any purchases of Legacy 7.5 from May 8, 2013 forward will receive the new Legacy 8 at no charge. And as always, anyone who has purchased Legacy Deluxe previously will qualify for special discounted upgrade pricing. Get started today - you won't have to relearn everything when Legacy 8 is ready, but you'll get some really nice new features when it is.



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Not really new information, as it is already in the current version as a report, but much better to make it immediately visible.

Can we generate a report with all of these potential errors that need to be checked?

Yes, the Potential Problems report can still be generated, giving you a report of all of the potential problems. This is currently in v7.

Love this feature! Looking forward to buying version 8!

Well, I can see why everyone is excited. One of the first tasks I set myself when I picked up doing my family's genealogy was to document and verify every single connection. I immediately began picking up errors, but it has been tedious to find them. A few more good solid links will give me a basic genealogy I can then put online feeling it is accurate, and then begin building out from. This feature will make my task much easier.

A nice feature, but I think most bad data is the result of people accepting undocumented data, posting it online, and having others copy it unquestioningly.

Have used the potential problem report feature and find it very helpful. Caught some of my own typos along with errors you mentioned above. Look forward to the additional new features.

I suspect I have a huge task of correcting once this new system comes into operation - but I welcome it. Isn't the truth always the best!

So that's what the little exclamation mark is for. Thanks, Geoff, and thanks to the designers. Really useful feature.

What will happen to all of the "already entered info./data" you have already entered -- will it still come up with "alerts" on each person/etc. - or will it ONLY start with any "new" info./data you enter using/upgrading to the Legacy 8?

Eileen - the alerts will appear for everyone where needed, not just newly-added people.

This is fantastic. A very much needed alert system. I am finding more errors on family trees on Ancestry than correct information. Too bad Ancestry not only will not include something like this, but they insist on continuing making it easier to "click and attach" from anyone not matter how completely wrong it can be. Thank you!!!

I am very excited about Legacy 8. I have found many of my own typos but this is wonderful for all that I have missed and other gaps I have not even thought about. Will you be doing this type of class on the Cruise? I am so excited about learning more and enjoying the cruse at the same time. See you in San Diego in September!

Beth - sounds like a good class for the cruise!

Any way to differentiate between informational or real problems via this indicator to focus on the serious things first?

A 5 year gap between children is more of a hint, but a child born when the parents were 10 years old could be a typo (or
this one is in truth a sibiling to one of the parents).

Ingo - yes, you will be able to select which alerts to display.

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