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Tuesday's Tip - Set Relationships (Intermediate)

Set Relationships

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

Tuesday's Tip - Set Relationships (Intermediate)

The Set Relationships tool is one of those features in Legacy that is fun and helpful all at the same time. To set the relationships, navigate to the person you want to be as the anchor. This is usually you but you might be working on a project that requires the anchor to be someone else. You can change the anchor person on the Set Relationships screen but I just think it is easier to navigate to the correct person first. Now go to Tools > Set Relationships and this is what you will see.

Set Relationships
(Click image to enlarge)


There are a couple of things I want to explain on this screen. The Limit to the closest X relationships confuses some users. They think that Legacy can only have a maximum of 999 relationships but that isn't what this means. You can be related to someone in more than one way. This box tells you the maximum number of ways Legacy will calculate. I normally have this set to 20 so that Legacy doesn't have to think quite as hard. In my personal file the most ways I am related to a person is 8. For those of you with royal lineages you will see much higher numbers. I have seen files with people related to each other in 40 different ways. 

The other thing that can confuse users is the difference between Show the closest relationship vs. Show the closest direct-line relationship (if any). This too pertains to someone that you are related to in more than one way. Your 3rd great-granduncle may also be your 4th great-grandfather. The closest relationship is the 3rd great-granduncle but the closest direct-line relationship would be the 4th great-grandfather.

The Non-blood relationships option will give you your "in-law" type relationships. Most of these relationships will not appear on the Family View though the closest relationships will (father and mother-in-law, brother and sister-in-law, and son and daughter in-law). All others will appear on the Relationship Calculator

Here is what the relationship looks like on the Family View. The label will be above the person's name.

Relationship label
(Click image to enlarge)


And here is what you will see if you are related to someone in more than one way.

Multiple relationships
(Click image to enlarge)


There are actually TWO symbols here. The + (plus sign) means that there is more than one relationship. The * (asterisk) means that this person is in a younger generation than your anchor person. You will see this * on the Relationship Chart Report, The Relationship Report, and on the Relationship Calculator as well. 

If you hover your mouse over the relationship you will see a popup telling you who the anchor person is. This is VERY handy if you change anchor people (which I do). Notice that the anchor person is now my dad and not me.

Hover your mouse
(Click to enlarge image)


Now RIGHT click the + and this is what you will see.

Right click menu
(Click image to enlarge)


You can do some color customizations and you can see what this relationship would be in other languages. I will let you play with those feature. We are going to click View Additional Relationships which will bring up the Relationship Calculator. You can see that my dad is related to this person in 6 different ways (you would use the scroll bar to see the other ones). You can see my dad's lineage up to the Most Recent Common Ancestor as well as the other person's lineage. When you highlight another relationship this will change. From here you can print a Relationship Chart Report. You can print the highlighted relationship or all of the relationships. There are several options to customize the report. I will let you experiment with that.

Relationship Calculator
(Click to enlarge image)


There is another Relationship Report. You will see it by going to Reports > Other Reports > Relationship Report. You will not be able to access this report until you have set the relationships to someone. This report is great for DNA researchers. You can limit the report to blood relationships and/or to a group of tagged individuals. By default this report is in alphabetical order but you can export to a CSV file, open the file in any spreadsheet program, and then sort (or filter) by any column. Don't forget what those * mean!

Relationship Report
(Click to enlarge image)


I hope this has taken some of the mystery out of the Set Relationships and its related tools.


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 use the "Set Relationships" option all the time. HOWEVER, I want to keep it set with ME as the primary person, and show all the others as how they are related to me. In previous upgrades of Legacy, once I set that up, it stayed that way. But now, every time I open the file, I have to "Set Relationships" AGAIN.

How do I keep this a permanent setting??? I've looked everywhere in Customize and Options, but I'm not seeing it.

Make sure you are opening the same file every time. Some people have multiple copies of the same file but don't realize it. If you go to FILE > OPEN FILE you can check to see what files you have available.

If that isn't the problem, please send an email to and a tech will investigate it further.

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