The best way to explain how linking and unlinking people in your file will save you a lot of time and aggravation is to give you a couple of scenarios. Let's say you find a marriage record for your ancestor John Doe. He married Jane White. It just so happens you know who Jane White is and you already have her in your file as the daughter of Jacob White and Margaret Smith. You don't want to enter Jane White again because that will create a duplicate. Instead you are going to link to the Jane White that you already have.
The Name List will pop up and you will highlight Jane White and then click the Select button at the top.
Depending on how you have your options set up you may or may not automatically get the Marriage screen where you can add their marriage details (Options > Customize > Data Entry > Option 2.1 > "Jump to marriage info when adding a spouse"). You will then see that Jane has been linked to her husband John. Also notice that all of the people linked to Jane (her parents) remain linked in their proper places.
This time let's go in reverse. Let's say you have John Doe married to Jane White but you discover this is an error. He wasn't married to Jane White but rather he was married to Jane Black. If Jane has no other connection to you you might just delete her but what if you think she might fit in your family in another way. You will want to unlink her so that she and the other people connected to her stay in your file. You are going to RIGHT click Jane and then you will see the menu you need.
You will get a confirmation dialog box and then you will see Jane only linked to the other members of her family.
You can also unlink people by using the EDIT tab on the Toolbar.
And you can use keyboard shortcuts to link people. L+H = Link Husband, L+W = Link Wife, L+S = Link Son, and L+D = Link Daughter.
Here is another scenario. Let's say you run across someone in your research who you are pretty sure is related to your family but you just don't know how. You can add this person as an unlinked individual in your file. This is a great tool because you can work with this person just like anyone else. You can add known relationships, events, sources, etc. When you figure out how they fit in all you have to do is link them into the correct relationship and then all the information you entered on that person will be retained. To add an unlinked person you will use the Add tab on the main toolbar.
And here is your new unlinked person ready to work with.
Sometimes you will have unlinked people floating around in your file that you didn't know about. This can happen when you delete people because some of the people that were attached to that person could now be unlinked. You might also see this when you import a file from somewhere else. Legacy has a way to check for unlinked people and isolated trees that aren't attached to your main tree. An isolated tree is simply an unlinked person who has family linked to them. Go to VIEW > TREES.
Make sure you click the REFRESH button over on the right so that Legacy will make a fresh scan of your file.
You can see the main tree that has 163 people, one isolated tree that has 6 people, and 7 unlinked individuals. It is a good idea to look at this from time to time to keep up with what is going on in your file.
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.