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Tuesday's Tip - Document Workflow (Intermediate)

Document Workflow

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

Document Workflow (Intermediate)

Several people have asked me what process I follow when I find a new document.  I follow the same sequence for every document so that I don’t miss anything.

  • Before I do anything else, I create a source citation for the document because I am going to need it in several places. I put this citation on the Source Clipboard (For more on creating citations in Legacy see Geoff Rasmussen's Webinar Sources and Citations Made Simple, Standard, and Powerful in the Legacy library.)
  • Document received in the mail - I scan the document and save it to my hard drive. I copy and paste the citation from the Source Clipboard (from the Preview panel) to the metadata of the image (in the comments) and I also attach the citation to the bottom of the image (photo editing software). If I share the image with anyone they will have the complete citation
  • Digital image of a document that I took (or someone else took on my behalf) - I do the same as above but without having to scan the image
  • Online image that I found - I download the image and then do the same as I would for a document that I had scanned 
  • I transcribe and/or abstract the document. I use the software program Transcript to make it a bit easier
  • I extract every piece of evidence into Legacy and attach a source citation to each entry
  • I then link the document image to the appropriate place in Legacy (usually an event)
  • I add the abstract to the notes of whatever field I am working with
  • I add the citation and the abstract to my To-Do task and then close it out

The only paper copies of documents I have are ones that I received by mail and family artifacts. I keep those in binders/sheet protectors. If I took a digital image, or if I downloaded the image from the internet, I do not print out a paper copy. If I need to enhance the image to make it more readable, I save the image in its original state and then make the enhancements to a copy. I have a consistent file naming system for both my paper and electronic files so that I can find anything in seconds.

My workflow may not work for you; however, it is important that you do have a consistent workflow so that you don't accidentally miss something.


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 check out 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, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.


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Michelle, I really like the way you are processing documents. I knew that there was a metadata area in jpg and I have used that. I didn't know that there was a metadata area in a pdf file. I have found that area in some of my pdf documents while viewing through Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. However, it won't allow me to enter anything into the areas provided. Am I using the correct program? A little more information would be appreciated.

All the documents I scan are in an image format. I have never tried to add metadata to a PDF and I don't think you can unless you have Adobe (as opposed to Acrobat Reader).

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