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Legacy 101 - Help with your research: Hints, Research Guidance, Internet Searches

Legacy has several built in features to help you with your research. The first is Hints. Legacy directly interfaces with some of the most popular websites and will generate research hints for you based on the information you have already entered. On the main toolbar go to Options > Customize > View > Option 8.13 to turn the Hints on.

Turning Hints on
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If you are going to use the Hints I suggest that you go ahead and check the box to display the icons. You can use the Search feature in Legacy to find create a list of hints but this will make them more visible to you. Now click the "Select Background Hints" button. I can't get everything in one screenshot so there are two.

MyHeritage and FamilySearch hints
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FindMyPast and GenealogyBank hints
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To view the hints from MyHeritage, FindMyPast and GenealogyBank you must have subscriptions with them. Without a subscription you will be able to see the hints but you won't be able to access them. If you don't want to see these, turn off hinting for any service that you don't have a subscription for. You can leave them on if you are curious to see what sorts of resources those services have that might be of interest to you. The FamilySearch hints are free but you must have a FamilySearch login. Also, you will only see FamilySearch hints for those people in your file that have FamilySearch IDs (FSID). To learn more, consult Legacy 101 - FamilySearch. 

You notice that I have "Find matches for living people" selected. If you decide to check this box please read the following two articles:

MyHeritage Records Matches (Living People)

MyHeritage Smart Matches (Living People)

When you see a Hints icon on one of the screens, hover your mouse over it and you will get a quick synopsis of what hints are there.

Quick look popup
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If you right mouse click the icon you will get the Hints window (If you left mouse click you will be taken to the Options menu).

Hints window
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If you double mouse click the hint it will open the website in a browser window so that you can check the matches. This is only a quick overview of Hints so please check the Help file for more information. You will see a Help button on all of the Legacy screens.

The second research help is the Research Guidance module. You can access it from the main Toolbar or from the Research Guidance icon.

Accessing the Research Guidance
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When you access the Research Guidance module you will see four tabs. The first tab is Review Timeline. Legacy evaluates your person of interest's timeline and then suggests resources for you to check. You can remove things from the person's timeline if you need to. For example, if your person lived in Mississippi his entire life and you entered a week-long trip to Florida as an event you might want to take that off of the timeline.

Review Timeline tab
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 The next tab is the Preliminary Survey. This tab includes all of the things you should be checking on every person. These suggestions are more generic. You will see tabs for Lineage-Linked databases, Surname Message Boards and Mailing Lists, Locality Message Boards and Mailing Lists, Genealogies and Local Histories (Local Histories is one of my favorite things!). Notice that you can mark things as done and the date you last searched will be displayed.

Preliminary Survey tab
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The Suggested Sources tab is the meat and potatoes of the Research Guidance module. You have six tabs based on your goal. There are icons to tell you which sources are online, which are online but are subscription based, which are online but you have to order the actual record, and those that aren't online. If the source is online there is a direct link to access it. If the source is not online you will be provided with complete contact information. You can mark sources as ignore (just this once or always), you can place the source on your To-Do List, and you can mark things as done. You will also see tips for each source over on the the right. If a source can be found at multiple repositories you will see a full list at the bottom. Sources are ranked so that you can look at the most promising sources first. In the screenshot things are a bit squished but you will have more room on your screen.

Suggestion Sources tab
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The last tab is the To-Do List (no screenshot). If you have added things from the Research Guidance to the To-Do List you will see them here along with any other To-Do tasks you have added on this person. For more information about the To-Do List please consult the Help file and the Legacy User's Manual.

The third research help are the built in Internet Searches. On the main toolbar go to Search > Search Internet. You will find 32 of the most popular genealogy websites in a drop down list. Notice that Legacy auto populates the fields for the search. The fields that the particular website uses in its search will be editable to you, if you want to tweak the parameters. The greyed out fields are not used by that website. When you click Search a browser window will open to that website and the search will be conducted. You can also add additional websites to the drop down list. You will find the instructions in the Help file (click Customize Searches and then click the Help button on that screen).

Search the Internet dialog box
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There are special search routines for Find a Grave and for FamilySearch. You will see these on the main Search toolbar. Please see Legacy 101 - FamilySearch for more information.

FamilySearch and Find a Grave
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If you click the little down arrow thingie next to the Find a Grave icon you will see a specialized menu just for this website.

Find a Grave menu
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FamilySearch and Find a Grave have enhanced searching because there are fields just for these numbers. Bonus tip: On the Individual's Information screen you will see that the field names are underlined which means they are hot links. You can mouse click these as a short cut for a search.

FSID and FaG fields
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Legacy's goal is to not only give you research help but to also allow you to access as many of those suggested sources from within Legacy itself which will save you time.


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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Thanks for this tutorial. I learned so much today that will help with my research.

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