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Tuesday's Tip - File Maintenance (Beginner)

TT - File Maintenance

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

File Maintenance (Beginner)

If you click the File tab on the ribbon at the top of the screen you will see File Maintenance. If you click the down arrow thingie you will see five options. We are going to discuss all five. Normally I would have labeled this article for Intermediate Legacy users but the first file maintenance task is critical for all users.

File Maintenance
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Check Repair

It is VERY important that you do routine check/repairs on your file. The more you work in your file the more often you need to do it. If you do these routine checks Legacy will be able to fix the minor file errors that pop up, but if you don't, you will find things on the error log that you will have to manually clear or worse, Legacy will pop up an error right in the middle of you doing something and then you will be emailing tech support asking how to clear the error. 

While the check/repair is running just leave it alone. Sometimes it can take several minutes to run. If there are errors Legacy will ask you if you want to see the error log. You always want to look at it to see what is there. 

View Log File
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Always run the Check/Repair twice. Most of the errors you see on the log file are ones that Legacy has already fixed. The next time you do the Check/Repair it should come back clean. If it doesn't, that's when you need to print the log file and address the errors. You will be given RIN and MRIN numbers to find the person(s) with the error(s). After you have addressed them, run the Check/Repair again to make sure it comes back clean. 

I work in my file almost every day. I do a Check/Repair before I backup my file for the day. (I also make sure I have no unlinked media before I back up but that is another article).


List Cleanup

Master Lists Cleanup
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Most of the List Cleanup is for abandoned information and resolving duplicates which is pretty self explanatory. It is the Keep/Restore Original Values for section that I want to talk about, especially the Event Definitions. If you have created custom event sentences you will need to have this box UNchecked ALWAYS. If you check it, Legacy will give you a stern warning to make sure you know what you are doing. 

(click image to enlarge)


If you go through with this you will lose all of your custom event sentences. If that happens you will need to restore your most current backup to get them back. If you have no idea what I am talking about, please see Custom Event Sentences

The other options in this section are not as dramatic. If you have deleted some or all of the defaults that Legacy has in these categories and only kept the ones you actually use (some default and your own custom items) if you check these boxes all of the defaults will reappear but your custom items won't be touched. 

For example, I might have deleted Annulled as a Marriage Status. It is a Legacy default but I have never used it so I deleted it. If I check the box for Marriage Statuses Legacy will add back all of the defaults I deleted including the Annulled status. If you have done a lot of deleting of the defaults you will want to keep these boxes unchecked or you will have to delete them again. The Master Lists have a Purge feature in the Options menu to purge all unused at one time.


Compact Family File

Compact Family File
(click image to enlarge)


The easiest way to explain this one is to compare it to a Windows defrag. When working in your file, little data holes (for lack of a better way to explain it) occur when you are adding people, deleting people, and merging people as well as adding/deleting/merging events. When you do a Compact Family File Legacy goes through and lines all the data back up nice and neat. This is normal in any database program. It will compress your file making it smaller and more efficient to run. 

Technically a Check/Repair has the Compact Family File as one of its steps but you can also do it by itself. I like to do a Compact Family File BEFORE I do a Check/Repair so that the Check/Repair runs more efficiently but that's just me.


Set Sorting Order

Set File Sorting Order
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Different counties have different ways of sorting lists. In the US we use a simple alphabetical sort but not so in other countries. You can change the sort order here to correspond with the sort order you are used to.


Rebuild Source Citations

This one starts working the second you click it. You don't get an additional dialog box. You will immediately see this:

Rebuild Source Citations


This is for those users that use the direct sync to FamilySearch. When you create a source citation in Legacy the different parts of the citation are in different fields within the Access database. When you want to transfer a source to FamilySearch, FamilySearch can't pull the different parts together to make the whole citation. There is a special field where Legacy puts the entire citation in a single field and that is where FamilySearch pulls from. When you Rebuild Source Citations Legacy is going through and making sure that the special field has been populated. You will see this same dialog box when you update Legacy. The developers want this routine to run when you update so that it gets done periodically. If you use the FamilySearch interface and you have been adding a lot of citations, it is a good idea to run this from time to time. The more citations you have the longer it takes. The above dialog box is from the sample file. Here is the dialog box from one of my personal files. This will take quite a while to finish. 

Michele's Citations
(click image to enlarge)


If you would like to know more about how to use the FamilySearch interface, please read FamilySearch Training

Keep your file healthy and compacted by using the File Maintenance routines. 


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 am concerned with retaining my RIN numbers. I use them in cross referancing notes between persons. How does file maintainance effect those. Will it ever change those numbers? If so how do we avoid that. Thanks.


The File Maintenance routines do not mess with these numbers but there are other features in Legacy that will that you need to be aware of.

Go to Options > Customize > Data Defaults > Option 4.3
Make sure that Reuse abandoned RINs is NO checked

Now go to Tools Renumber RINs/MRINs Notice there are options here to Fill all missing RINs (or MRINs) from highest RINs (or MRINs) . NEVER use these options.

That will keep your RINs and MRINs safe.

Check/repair error log throws up the following:
"See MRIN 633, RIN 1973. Verify/correct the Gender of the Husband."
This is for a same sex marriage.
How do I verify this?
How do I prevent this error from repeating?
Your help is greatly appreciated.

Reuse abandoned RINs is Option 4.4 in current version

Thanks for catching that, Jim!

When you click File > File Maintenance > Check/Repair that first dialog box has two options; Check and Report on Same Gender Relationships and Check and Report on Married Individuals with an Unknown Gender. All you need to do is UNcheck that first box before you click Proceed.

Is this the same for LFT 8 & 9? Still have 8.

This is a Legacy 9 feature. Legacy 9 introduced same gender relationships.

SECOND TRY - system timed out on me and I lost the message I composed...frustration mounting!!
I did Check/Repair twice; never got a log file, though I requested one. I had upgraded to version earlier this morning.
I then tried the list clean up, unchecking Event Definitions, though I don't think I have made any modifications. Proceeded, and got an Error 3265. Went to
Error 3265 when using the Source Clipboard:

1. With Legacy closed, delete the .DBM files from the Legacy folder on your hard drive.
LEGACY: Open your Documents folder and browse into Legacy Family Tree\_AppData\DBM

2. Delete any .NC files in Legacy’s Data subfolder.
LEGACY: Open your Documents folder and browse into Legacy Family Tree\Data

3. Next download and install from our Web site the most recent update file to your Legacy program. This action will replace the deleted files.

and followed the directions for this error, deleting the .DBM files, didn;t find any .NC files

This didn't help!
In restarting I get two Error 0 windows:
Error opening the Event Initialization file
Error opening temporary work file.
Both of these have problems finding a document on OndDrive; I DON'T use OneDrive, though it is installed. My database has happily resided on Dropbox for several years.

Please send an email to [email protected] so we can get this resolved quickly.

I have not done a File Maintenance for several weeks - because the last time it crashed my whole program. I had to have Jairme help me restore - so I am afraid to do it again.

I do have unlinked media - so if I go through and rid that will it be beneficial?

This article should help :)

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