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Legacy 101 - Privacy

There are many ways to privatize things in Legacy. Privacy is a big issue so we are going to go over all the ways you can protect your information if you decide to share your information in a gedcom, a new Legacy file, webpages, reports and charts. We will start by learning all the ways you can privatize information in your file and then how you can privatize the different types of exports.

You can mark a person as private or as invisible. Please notice what the difference is between private and invisible as explained in the popup box.

Make a person private
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You can mark a marriage as private.

Private marriages
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You can mark the relationship to parents as private or invisible.

Private relationships
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You can make single events private.

Private single events
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You can make a particular event private globally (View > Master Lists > Event Definition.  Highlight the event you want to make private and then click Edit over on the right).

Private global events
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You can mark Stories as private.

Private stories
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Now a really nifty feature. You can use Privacy Brackets in any field. [[Everything insides these double square brackets is private]]. Most people use these for private notes but you can see here that I am use them in all kinds of places.

Privacy brackets in the suffix field
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Privacy brackets on repositories
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Whether you are exporting to a gedcom, exporting to a new Legacy file, creating webpages, or creating reports the "Privacy Options" dialog box looks exactly the same. We will look at the one you will see in reports as an example. Open any report, click Report Options, and then you will see the Privacy Options button over on the right.

Report Options
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There are two sections. The top section deals with living people and what you want done with them. The bottom section deals with all of the things you have marked private or invisible, or where you have used privacy brackets. The options are pretty self-explanatory but there is a Help button on this screen if you need more information.

Privacy Options
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In Legacy Charting it looks a little different.

Privacy options in Charting
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We need to talk a little bit about Living people. If you choose to suppress Living people you might get a few surprises. If you have people in your file that are marked as Living even though they are without question deceased they will not appear in your output. If you go to Options > Customize > Data Entry > Option 2.3 you will see where you can tell Legacy to automatically mark people as deceased when you enter them. You can adjust the numbers as needed.

Option 2.3
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It is important to notice what this actually does. As you enter a new person, if you enter a death or burial date, a cause of death, or a birth or baptism date that was more than 120 years ago, that person will automatically be marked as deceased. 

Criteria for marking someone as deceased
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But what about people that don't have this information entered? There is another option called Advanced Set Living. We affectionately call it "IntelliMurder."  This time Legacy is going to look at the surrounding people. For example, let's say you have John Doe in your file but you haven't entered birth or death information; however, he has a child that was born in 1776. IntelliMurder will kill John off for you.

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You need to run IntelliMurder periodically. I just ran it in my personal file and it killed off one person. After it runs you can tell Legacy you want to see who was killed off. In my case it was William Seaman who married in 1828.

Results from IntelliMurder
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Legacy gives you complete control over the things that you want to keep private in your file.


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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I had hoped for an option to automatically make all living persons private- without the individual task as at present.

The hints option is very scary in terms of privacy. As son as I have updated in Legacy 9.0 my family tree a few minutes later it appears as a hint. Then I have received from My Heritage, new owners of Legacy e-mails asking me to confirm people who are my parents and siblings et cetra.

Knowing you have links to FaceBook causes me to doubt the authenticity of privacy claims. My DNA results with MyHeritage imputations were far off the mark and so understand their need to expand their ancestry tree access via Legacy. Our innocent ancestry researches are now contriuting to Big Data and so Big Business. I personal information is just an item for sale.......

There is no need to mark living people as private. When you export your file in any way (reports, charts, gedcom, a new Legacy file, web pages) you will see a PRIVACY OPTIONS button. If you click that you will see that you can exclude Living people completely (there are other options as well).

Regarding Hints,
Please read these two short articles which I think will relieve your fears :)

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