When you begin entering data you need to make some decisions. All of these decisions have to do with standardization and consistency. In genealogy there are some recognized standards and Legacy helps you maintain these standards through the Potential Problems Report. We will be discussing the Potential Problems Report in depth in a future article. Today we are going to talk specifically about locations because that seems to be what gives Legacy users the most trouble.
The standard for the United States is four places with a comma between each part.
Town, County, State, Country
Though it is non standard, you might prefer to add the word "County" to the county part of the location to make it more clear and Legacy has no problem with you doing that. You might even want to leave off the country if all of your locations are within the same country. Legacy has a handy option to add or subtract USA or United States globally to your locations via the Options menu on the Master Location List (View > Master Lists > Locations > Options > Expand/Contract Location Parts). You can switch back and forth depending on what you are needing at the time. This is an Intermediate skill so I wouldn't worry about this feature just yet.
If you do use the word "County" you want to make sure that you are consistent. You don't want half of your locations to have the word county and half that don't. You also don't want half of your locations to have the country name and half that don't. The more consistently you enter your data the less chance you will make an error or create duplicates. Also, if you ever send your data to another researcher or upload your data to one of the "tree" sites other researchers will judge your work by how carefully you have entered your data. I personally prefer to keep my locations 100% standard so that I don't have any issues.
If you are missing one or more parts of a location you use commas as place holders so that you still have four parts and each part that you do have is still in the correct field. This will be important when you are sorting your locations on the Master Location List.
Here are some things to consider.
- You always want to enter the location as it was at the time of the event. If the current location is different you can record that in the Location Notes (you will see this on the Master Location List) or you can use THIS METHOD
- In addition to Notes you can also add Media to locations
- If you are interfacing with FamilySearch you need to be aware that they have a standard way of entering locations
- For each location you enter you can enter a "short location" so that you can keep your locations standard but have a shortened location that you can use in reports (You will see this field when you are on the Master Location List). This is VERY handy!
- You need to come up with a consistent way to enter the odd ball locations such as independent cities that don't have a county and pre 1776 locations
- If you have other countries in your file you need to decide how many places each of those countries needs. For example, I have a lot of German locations and all of them have three places; town, state, county. I use six places for locations in France. As long as you are consistent from country to country your Master Location List will sort correctly
I need to mention addresses. Addresses and locations are two different things. Addresses are entered in the Address field (house icon).
Here is another example.
Notice that you can add media and notes to an address just like you can to a location. If you want to add an address to a vital event (birth, baptism, death, burial) click the plus + sign to the right of the location.
I will tell you that there are some Legacy users that prefer to put both the address and location in the location field. This isn't the standard but you can of course do what works best for you. The only thing I will say is BE CONSISTENT no matter how you decide to do your locations. If you choose to put the address and the location in the same field I suggestion that when you are on the Master Location List that you sort from right to left instead of left to right. This will help your list sort properly.
The below listed resources are excellent. Even though they are both based on previous versions of Legacy the principles hold true.
Rasmussen, Geoff. "Improving Your Use of New FamilySearch: Data Cleanup Strategies." Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Surprise, Ariz.: Millennia, 2011.
Slawson, Mary H. Getting It Right, The Definitive Guide to Recording Family History Accurately. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Malloy Lithographing Incorporated, 2002.
View a Compilation of all Legacy 101 articles.
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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.