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Legacy Tip - Syncing with FamilySearch to Solve Brick Walls

Did you know you can sync to FamilySearch without sharing any information to FamilySearch and without downloading any information from FamilySearch to your Legacy file?

Why would you want to do this?

This is especially helpful for brick walls. You can sync your brick wall and then wait. If you see your FamilySearch arrow turn from green to red you know that someone has edited your brick wall on FamilySearch. You can then open the FamilySearch screen, click the Changes tab (probably a good idea to click Refresh) and you will see what change was made and who made it. You can message the person by clicking the Goto Person link on the main FamilySearch screen to open up FamilySearch itself.

My #1 brick wall of all time is James Simmons, Sr. of South Carolina who was born 14 August 1764. This morning I noticed that James' arrow had changed to red. Four days ago someone added a child to James. I will be emailing this person as soon as I post this!

So how do you sync without uploading any information from Legacy to FamilySearch and without downloading any information from FamilySearch to Legacy?


All you do is you go ahead and tell Legacy that a certain person on FamilySearch is a match.

Legacy will automatically add that person's FSID number to your person in Legacy. Now click the Share Data tab. Without transferring any information in either direction click the I am Finished Sharing Data. This will reset your arrows to green-green. I just clicked my button so that James will reset to green-green again.


Syncing with FamilySearch


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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I need more detailed info on how to do this. the image is very hard to read. step by step process please.

Michele, I am completely baffled by your tip. Can you walk me through this step by step? Where do you start...on Legacy or Family Search? I can hardly wait to try this but don't know where to begin.

I wrote an article for our Knowledge Base with training materials for both FamilySearch (the website) and the Legacy-FamilySearch interface. You can see that here

Thank you, Michele.

I like using Legacy 8, although I am still getting to know how it all works. But it is better that Brothers Keeper, the previous family tree program I was using. I have ise Family Search, but somtimes I get an Access Error. I am not sure what that means. I will find out

Here is the information you need.

Here is the information you need.

Having said that, the two most common things I have found that cause an Access Violation are mouse clicking on the screen faster than Legacy can process the mouse clicks and the FamilySearch programmers in on their side "tweaking" the code which causes momentary (sometimes longer) connection disruptions.

If this doesn't work, please email us at

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