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Tuesday's Tip - FamilySearch Import Tree (Intermediate)

FamilySearch Import Tree

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

FamilySearch Import Tree (Intermediate)

You can import directly from FamilySearch by opening the FamilySearch interface and selecting Import Tree. Before we get into the specific importing options here are a few general tips:

  • Don't try and import 200 generations at one time. This make cleanup very difficult. Only import a small section. Once that is cleaned up you can import another section
  • And you WILL be doing cleanup. When you do a direct download you get all of the errors that people have entered. You will have factual errors and data formatting errors (standardization)
  • Always download into a new, empty Legacy file. Do all of your cleanup there and then import this new file into your main file. Before and after the import make sure you check/repair all files involved. You will also need to deal with any duplicates you have introduced once you combine the files. Make sure you name these files in such a way you won't get them confused with your main file

Import Tree

You can start the import with yourself or with any FSID you choose. If you choose someone other than yourself, click the Verify button to make sure that you do indeed have the correct person. The last option, Current person selected..., is greyed out because I am importing into a blank file. If you were to import into an existing file this option would be available to you.

If you select 0 Ancestors and 0 Descendants you will only import that one person. You can select up to 200 generations of Ancestors and 100 generations of descendants but I wouldn't max this out unless you have a lot of time for cleanup. 

ALWAYS check the box to Assign source citations to imported data. The info is no good to you unless you know where it came from.

Include spouses of children is optional. I usually check this because it helps me differentiate between persons of the same name based on who they married.

I would leave the Check for duplicates UNchecked unless you are doing a small import. You can always tell Legacy to check for duplicates later (Update Matches > Recheck linked individuals for duplicates). 

I always check the box to Include only preferred parents. There are some people on FamilySearch that have 20 sets of parents. Most of these are duplicates. I don't need that kind of aggravation. After the import you might still see a few people with two sets of parents. These are parents that you are related to in more than one way and Legacy isn't able to decide which set you would prefer to keep. This is almost always a case of a child being linked to their real parents and also linked to a set of wrong parents. I flag these for later research (Search > Find > Misc. > Individuals with multiple parents).

Once you click the OK button you can go throw a load of laundry in the dryer or empty the dishwasher. Depending on how many generations you chose and whether or not you are including spouses, checking for duplicates, and all parents (not preferred) it can take a while for Legacy to complete the import. You can watch the progress on the screen if you wish. You can also use your computer while it is downloading but I like to shut everything connected to the internet down so that all of the bandwidth can be dedicated for the download (for example, cloud syncing, auto email checking, etc). 

Once you your download has completed, do a check/repair on this file and back it up. Now the clean up fun begins!


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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