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Legacy 101 - File Maintenance

Legacy is a true database program and as such it needs some routine maintenance. Unfortunately, there are some people that neglect this step so tech support gets emails from users when they encounter problems in their files. How often should you do file maintenance? The more you work in in your file (adding and deleting information), and the larger your file is, the more often you need to do this. Since you should be backing up your file routinely my suggestion is to do the file maintenance right before you back up. 

There are four things listed as File Maintenance routines. We are going to discuss each one.

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The first option is the Check/Repair. This is the one you should do before you backup your file. 

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When individuals are deleted from the Family File, all references to them are removed but the individual's information still exists in the file. The Check/Repair removes this information, making the room available for other additions. Legacy will go through the file and compress out all records that are not referenced. Legacy also runs through your family file and checks the integrity of all the links to ensure that there are no pointers to deleted records. All actions taken during the verifying process are recorded in a text file named ERROR.LOG in the [My Documents]\Legacy Family Tree\_AppData\Log folder. This file can be viewed with any text editor or word processor. If there are errors in your file, you will be asked if you want to view the error log when the check/repair completes. If you do have errors, run the check/repair again. The next pass should come back clean since Legacy has fixed the listed errors. If you have errors after the second pass these are errors that you will need to fix manually. Legacy will give you the information you need to fix them. If you are not sure what to do send an email to [email protected] and a tech will assist you.

The next option is the List Cleanup.

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Remove Abandoned Information
You can have unused entries removed from any or all of the master lists maintained by Legacy. For example, abandoned entries can happen in the Surname List if you were to delete all the people with a certain surname from the family file. That surname would still remain in the master list as an unreferenced name. You can have Legacy run through the Surname List to remove any names that are not being pointed to. This is most often the case if you entered a misspelled name and then later corrected it. "Smiht" could end up in the list, taking up room, and never be referenced.

Keep/Restore Original Values
Legacy starts with a few built-in lists. These include common Source Types, Event Definitions, Marriage Statuses, Child Statuses, To-Do Categories, and Temple Names. When purging unused items from master lists, you will probably want to keep the original default entries even though they have not been used yet. IMPORTANT! If you have created your own Event Definitions (custom sentences) DO NOT check the box next to the Event Definitions option. If you do, it will delete all of your custom event definitions. Legacy has a second warning screen to alert you to this. 

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Combining Duplicate Entries
Legacy will combine any duplicates on the Master Lists that you have accidentally entered.

The Next option is Compact Family File.

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When individuals are deleted from the family file, all references to them are removed but the individual's information still exists in the file. To remove the information, select this option. Legacy goes through the file and compresses out all records that are not referenced, making your family file smaller. This is done as part of the Check/Repair but you can also do it as a separate function.

The last option, Set Sorting Order, isn't a File Maintenance routine per se. What this does is set the order your names will appear based on the main language you are using. Different countries sort their names in different ways. This option will re-index your entire file so it is a good idea to back up your file before you select this option.

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The File Maintenance routines will help you keep your file in top running order.


View a Compilation of all Legacy 101 articles


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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Thank you for this. I had no idea!

Thank you for this timely reminder. I had been forgetting to do this.

Excellent suggestions for Legacy Maintenance.

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