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Tuesday's Tip - Keeping Track of DNA Contacts in Legacy

  Keeping Track of DNA Contacts in Legacy

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Keeping Track of DNA Contacts in Legacy

Did you know that you can keep track of contact information for living relatives in Legacy Family Tree? With a little creativity you can also keep track of cousins who are DNA matches. 

DNA is a big thing these days and you will talking to more and more distant relatives that are shared matches. It is important that you have a way to record all of the person's contact info as well as some notes about the connection. Legacy can do that!

All you need to do is make sure that the person is in your database. You know they are related (shared DNA) but even if you don't know how yet you can add them as an unlinked individual. Click on the Address icon, the one on the main Individual's Information screen.


You can add their complete postal address, two phone numbers, email and a webpage, if they have one. You can write everything you need to know about this person in the notes tab. You can copy and paste correspondence in here if you need to. If you save your correspondence as a file, you can simply attach it via the media link. You can attach screenshots of their chromosome browser when compared to you either here or in their main Media Gallery via a DNA event that you add.


HINT #1 - If they use a screen name on the DNA websites that is different than their real name enter that as an AKA. This is especially helpful if they are on all three of the DNA sites but use different names on each. You can easily look someone up by their AKA to see if you have had contact with them before. It is impossible to memorize 800 matches. If you put the AKA in privacy brackets [[IndianPrincess04]] these AKAs won't print in reports.

HINT #2 - I would reserve a tag just for known DNA matches.

HINT #3 - You can use the USER ID field to record important info that you can see at a glance, for example, you can record which line they are in. There are many different possibilities that you can use this field for. You also have the Prefix and Suffix fields at your disposal. Just remember to use privacy brackets if you are putting DNA info in the Prefix and Suffix fields.

HINT #4 - This one is a little timesaver. If you pull up their address in Legacy you can email them from within the program by clicking the << to the right.

HINT #5 - Next to their name on the Address screen you can put some extra info in privacy brackets. If you put [[DNA]] before their name all of the DNA addresses will default to the top. You can then put any specifics after their name also in privacy brackets [[SIMMONS yDNA kit 469534]]. None of this will print. You can then print labels just on these people if you need to do a mailing. There is an option to included only tagged addresses.

The more information you can keep in a single program (Legacy) the easier things are!

I am sure you can come up with some more creative ways to keep track of DNA matches in Legacy.


Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.




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Is there a way to prevent these posts from coming up in a gedcom produced to send to someone?

Anything you put in privacy brackets can be excluded in a gedcom. Addresses can be marked private (there is a checkbox on the address screen) . If you entered a DNA event you can mark that event private globally. When you export a gedcom you can tell Legacy not to export anything that has been marked private. Just click the Privacy Options button and it is the section at the bottom.

Michele, Good information on all topics you covered. I wanted to chime in on Legacy's ability to create lists based on various pieces of data. Legacy has what I call temporary tags for records but it also has the ability to store permanent tags and make those tags private. For example, I may want to tag everyone that attended a family reunion or all the individuals who are active genealogy researchers. There are many groupings that could be useful in addition to the DNA possibilities. What I do is create a master source like "Taylor Reunion Aug 2015" or "Johnston Family Researcher". Then I cite that master source for each individual as desired. When I want to compile a list of everyone that attended that Taylor Reunion, I just go to View>Master Lists>Source and highlight the one for that reunion. Then I click on Show List to display all those that have that source cited. From there I can set one of the temporary tags or print or create a search list. After that, use your imagination. I have master sources like "Taylor Family Association Member" or "Taylor DNA Participant". You can also check "Exclude this Master Source from reports" . A similar method could be done with Events including making the event definition Private. So there is really no limit to how many things can be tagged permanently whereas only 9 temporary tags are available per individual and those tags might be cleared and re-used for various purposes.

Thank you Michele Lewis for making suggestions on how to add autosomal DNA info into Legacy.

I'm hoping, in the next edition of Legacy, that we'll be able to add autosomal DNA info into the DNA tab. I would like to see all DNA info I have on a person in one place...under the DNA tab. Hopefully, AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and FTDNA's autosomal tests will be added to the drop-down list of tests under the DNA tab.

Also, an empty box where we can type in a person's haplogroup # is important, too. 23andMe provides a maternal and paternal haplogroup number with it's autosomal DNA test. I frequently find new cousins that are related to a particular family line by comparing with others that also share the same haplogroup number.

Lastly, I'm hoping Legacy will add a series of boxes to write down people's Gedmatch numbers. More than one box is needed for Gedmatch numbers because, if people have taken tests from more than one testing company, and uploaded the results to gedmatch, they will have a separate Gedmatch number for each autosomal DNA test.

There is already a box under the DNA tab for notes, so that would be a great place to do as you suggested and add chromosome browser screenshots and correspondence.

Thank you for you great idea of using a tag for known DNA matches.

As you know, millions have taken these autosomal DNA tests. It would be helpful for Legacy to add the ability to record info about autosomal DNA results under the DNA tab. Your solutions are very appreciated as work-arounds for now, but hopefully the info on autosomal DNA will be able to be added under the DNA tab in the next version of Legacy.

Thanks for bringing up the topic.
Patricia Ann

Autosomal DNA is not reported in the same way as yDNA or mtDNA are. yDNA and mtDNA results are easy to enter because they have values attached to specific fields so Legacy provides a place to enter this information. Autosomal is different. If you download your raw data you will see a text file approx 8MB in size with thousands of values. Entering these is not practical especially considering these number really aren't helpful to the average researcher (or even the above average one).

There are some suggestions in the queue for the programmers to consider involving DNA including being able to add yDNA and mtDNA haplogroups. I will say having a place to add GEDMatch numbers (and test kit numbers for that matter) isn't on the list yet so you might want to send that in. You can do that here If you send your suggestion in this way it will get logged into our tracking system.

Thank you, again, Michelle, for the info on how to add a suggestion about Gedmatch numbers to the list for future versions of Legacy. I will add it to your tracking system.

I understand that autosomal data files are to big. I'm not looking for Legacy to hold the entire file.

Having the name of the various autosomal DNA tests from 23andMe, FTDNA, and AncestryDNA in the drop-down list and then having a few fill-in fields like user name, a note box where I can place a screen shot, and write connection info, and paternal and maternal haplogroup boxes would be sufficient, and it would keep all DNA info under the DNA tab.

I would like to see all DNA info about a person listed under the DNA tab.

Thanks again for addressing this topic.

When you make a suggestion try to put as much detail as you can and explain how this would would be helpful. The more examples/illustrations you can give the easier it will be for the programmers to understand what you are asking for. Having said that, sending in a suggestion is no guarantee but I can promise you that the programmers will look at it and consider it. There are a lot of things for them to consider when adding new features :)

I appreciate the comments regarding using Legacy for DNA notes and information. Most of my research & time is with the atDNA, I manage several DNA accounts, three of which are Y-dna, and even though I have tested the mtDNA, I've just not gotten into that. Y-DNA is much easier to keep track of, unless you're advanced. Working with atDNA is a massive amount of paperwork and yes, using Legacy does help.

I already use an Event in Legacy which in my opinion is much easier at a glance. In the Description, I style mine: Chr 4, matches Jane & Jim 47 cM, Chr 9 matches Jane 20cM etc. With this information in the description line, it's easily seen if I go to that person. Then, I add the name used, the start and end numbers, Common Ancestor or Possibly Common Ancestor, their e-mail address, what company they tested with etc. in the Notes section of that DNA event.

If they respond to me, I then make another Event: "E-mail" and add the information there. I mark these as "Private".

What I'd really like, is to have something by their name that would bring attention to me as I scroll through the Name List. This would remind me to go back and check to see if I need further followups, etc.


Try as I might, I kept getting error messages when attempting to add a note to the suggestion list.

One of the programmers just sent us an email letting us know that our mail servers are down. He is hoping to have everything back up and running by the end of today so... hold that though! :) :) :)

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