Tuesday's Tip - Statistics Report (Beginner)

TT - Statistics Report

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

Statistics Report (Beginner)

Legacy's Statistic's Report is a great way to see all kinds of interesting information in your file like who the oldest person was, which couple was married the longest, what is the most common given name, etc. However, you can also use the Statistics Report as an additional data error checker. You will see things here that the other built in error checkers won't pick up because of the nature of the problem. There are some things the other error checkers would pick up if you were entering your data, but if your data came in as a gedcom import, those errors were already made and Legacy won't readily see them (things like people being 256 years old).

To open this report, go to Reports > Statistics Report. This one is right on the Ribbon. You can also find it by going to Tools > Statistics, again, it is right on the Ribbon.

Here are two examples of errors:

Person is too old
(click image to enlarge)

 

Marriage is too long
(click image to enlarge)

This is a great double check for errors. It is easy to then open that person to see what is going on and fix the problem.

 

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.


Tuesday's Tip - New File Shortcut (Intermediate)

New File Shortcut

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

New File Shortcut (Intermediate)

Ken (Legacy developer) just showed me how to do something in Legacy that I didn't know you could do! I was so excited that I had to write this post right away. 

Normally when you want to create a new Legacy file, you go to File > New File. Depending on whether or not you have the Guided Setup Wizard option selected determines how many different setup screens you will get. Legacy wants to make sure that you get the file set up just the way you want. Even if you have the Guided Setup Wizard turned off, you will get two screens before you can give the new file a name and save it.

Intermediate and advanced users normally don't need these screens. They are creating a new file for some specific purpose and they already know what that is. There is a way to bypass the setup screens completely and I had no idea!

If you want to create a new without seeing these setup screens then instead of going to File > New File, go to File > Open File.  Simply type your new file name in the File Name box and then click Open. Legacy will create the new file, name the new file, and save the new file with a single click. You will only get a single dialog box that simply asks you if you want to create this new file. Say Yes and the file will automatically open on your screen.

This is very exciting for me because as a beta tester create new files all the time.

 

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.


Tuesday's Tip - Read and Write (Intermediate)

TT- Read and Write

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

Read and Write (Intermediate)

Most of Legacy's Note fields have a Read and a Write button.

Read and Write Buttons
(click image to enlarge)

 

So what exactly do these buttons do? The Read button will allow you to pull text IN from an external text file. You will be given the choice to Replace or Append the note.  The Write button will allow you to export the note OUT to an external file. You will name the file and tell Legacy where to put it.

So what would you use this for? Maybe you have a template for your marriage notes so that all of your marriage notes are uniform. You could Read this template into the notes field and then fill in the blanks.

Maybe you want to Write all of your bios to text files so that you have them readily available.

Robyn Ritchie, one of our Legacy User Group members on Facebook, has another idea.

I learned a really cool feature of Legacy this week. Others in this group may already know about it, but I thought I would post for those that don't.

I am currently transcribing "100's" of source documents I have purchased and downloaded from the National Records of Scotland website - ScotlandsPeople (many from years ago, many I had just filed away, and were sitting on my HD in a folder).

Once I had done one transcription, I "hit" the Write Button, and that saved what I had transcribed for that person's vital, to: This PC > Documents > Legacy Family Tree > Data in a Text file that I then named that file - Scotland Statutory Births (or for others Scotland Statutory Deaths & Scotland Statutory Marriages).

So now when I am transcribing my next document, "when I am in the Notes feature" for the vital of that person, I can just hit the "read" button, and download the info of the relevant text file for a record previously transcribed - to the person that I am currently working on.

I then just change the basic info "without" having to re-type everything as worded in the same type of source document again. Great time saver.

I am sure it may be helpful for others who transcribe the same type of BDM documents from other places in other countries (US/Canada etc), time after time, whereas the type of document usually asks the same questions. If the questions differ, I just adjust what I am transcribing at the time.

Thanks for this great idea, Robyn!

 

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.


Tuesday's Tip - Why Bad Things Happen to Good Notes (Intermediate)

Why Bad Things Happen to Good Notes

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

Why Bad Things Happen to Good Notes (Intermediate)

There are a few scenarios that will cause strange things to happen in your note fields. I am going to explain what these things are and how to avoid them. 

First things first
The first thing to understand is that Legacy's main function is as a database (think MS Access) and not as a word processor (think MS Word) so the build-in word processor in Legacy is basic. However, you can control fonts and font sizes as well as some basic attributes such as Bold, Italics, Underline and Superscript. There are shortcut buttons for these attributes in the Notes dialog box. You can also use the Windows shortcuts to insert them (for example, Ctrl-B for Bold). The font is controlled by Options > Customize > Fonts > Option 10.1 Screen Fonts > Notes. You can also do simple "columns" and "tables" using THIS TECHNIQUE.

Another thing to understand is that Legacy does not yet support Unicode. You can type unicode characters into the Notes field using the Window's shortcuts for those characters, but as soon as you close and reopen, your Unicode will be gone. Legacy only allows the special characters present in Western Fonts character sets. For example, I could type Łódź by using ALT-0321, ALT-0243, d, ALT-0378, but after you close the notes and reopen, you would see Lódz because the only supported character is the o with an acute accent. It is good to know this up front before you start typing a lot of special characters. The ones that Legacy supports are available on the Character Ribbon that is available next to the Notes field. You can display up to 8 characters but if you right click the ribbon you have access to all of the ones that Legacy supports. You can also change your options by going to Options > Customize > Data Defaults > Option 4.6 Quick Entry Character Ribbon.

Copying and pasting from a web browser causes weirdness in your notes
Text copied from a web browser has hidden codes that will affect how your notes read out because Legacy can't interpret them. What kind of output you get varies greatly from browser to browser so you can try using a different browser to see if you get better results. If not, the simple solution is to paste to Windows Notepad which will remove all of the hidden codes and then do a copy and paste from there into Legacy. If you do paste directly from a web browser, even if the notes look okay make sure you click the Strip HTML button which will clear some of the hidden stuff. 

I imported a gedcom and now all my notes are run together
When you import a gedcom there is a check box to Rewordwrap note fields on import. If the notes you are importing have hard carriage returns at the end of each line, such as notes from PAF 2.31 (or PAF 3.0 notes imported from PAF 2.31), you can have them reformatted into continuous lines by choosing this option. Paragraphs breaks formed by two consecutive carriage returns are left alone. The only time you would use this is if you are coming from a really old program like PAF. If the previous program didn't format their notes this way, all your notes will be run together if you checked this option. The simple fix is to do the import again but this time leave this box unchecked.

I imported a gedcom and now there is gobbly gook in my notes
When you import a gedcom you will see a check box for Put unrecognized items into the notes field. This option puts any unrecognized information into the individual's General Notes. For example, a line such as "OCCUP Bricklayer" would be put into the Notes because OCCUP it is not a standard gedcom tag. If you don't check this box, when Legacy encounters something that it doesn't understand it will give you several options.

(ADVANCED) During the Analysis pass, Legacy gathers all the recognizable gedcom tags and places them in the Import these Items box. If you find a tag you don't want to have imported, highlight the tag and click Remove, or just drag the tag from the Import these Items box to the Items not to be imported box. You can move all but the first five, basic fields. If you want to only import the five basic fields, Name, Sex, Birth, Death and Marriage, click Basic 5. All the other tags will be moved to the Items not to be imported box. (You can move any tag item back by highlighting it and clicking Include, or by dragging it back to the right window.)

Any tags that are not recognized by Legacy during the Analysis pass are placed in the Unrecognized Items box. These are usually odd, non-standard pieces of information that another program supports. If you can recognize the tag, you can map it to a standard field tag in Legacy. Or, you can always have the information placed in the Notes field so you don't lose it.

The Unrecognized Items list contains nonstandard gedcom tags that were found in the file you want to import. Often, these tags are slight variations invented by another program that are easily recognizable and can be mapped to a standard tag supported by Legacy. To start the definition process, highlight the tag you want to remap and click Map to a Recognized Tag and then choose the gedcom tag you want to map it to.

Some gedcom tags are obviously names for events such as GRAD for Graduation. To convert these tags to events and have them placed in the event list for the individual involved, highlight the tag and click Create an Event for this Tag. Legacy then prompts you for an event name (up to 30 characters). During the import, all occurrences of this tag will be changed to the defined event name.

Unrecognized tags that have been mapped to existing tags, or mapped to an event name and moved to the Import these items list, can now be removed from the Import these items list by dragging them back to the Unrecognized items list or the Items not to be imported list.

You can try a pass with the Put unrecognized items into the notes field box checked to see what happens. What does happen totally depends on how well the program or website adheres to the accepted gedcom standards. I will tell you that if you are importing from a website, expect serious gobbly gook. Websites do not create good gedcoms. Genealogy programs do a much better job but some better than others so you have to experiment a bit. If you are getting a lot of gobbly gook it is worth learning how to manipulate the gedcom import (ADVANCED).

I hope this information saves you some frustration and will help you format your notes correctly.

 

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.


Tuesday's Tip - Non-breaking Spaces (Beginner)

Non-breaking Spaces

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 - Non-breaking Spaces (Beginner)

Let's say you have someone in your file named Mary Lou Simmons. She always went by Mary Lou and not just by Mary. In the narrative portion of reports Legacy will only pick up the first name, Mary. There is a trick to tell Legacy that you want this person to be referred to as Mary Lou.

In Windows there is a command for a "non-breaking" space which keeps two words together as a single unit. The keyboard shortcut for this is ALT 0160 and this does work in Legacy. In the Given Name field type Mary, then ALT 0160, then Lou. You will see the cursor jump to make a space but won't see anything else different on the screen.

To use one of the Windows shortcut commands (there are many!) you simply hold down the ALT button while you type 0160 using the numbers keypad on the right side of your keyboard. If you are on a laptop that doesn't have a numbers keypad, HERE are instructions.

And this is what you will see in a report:

Mary Lou in reports
(click image to enlarge)

A very simple and useful trick.

 

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.

 

Windows shortcut for a non-breaking space ALT 0160 will cause given names to stay together in reports.  

Mary Lou Davis will appear as Mary Lou instead of Mary


Tuesday's Tip - Customize the Name List (Beginner)

Customize the Name List

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 - Customize the Name View

I work off of the Name List and Search Lists A LOT. There is a customization you can do that you might not find unless you are one of those people that likes to right click everything to find "hidden" features. 

Open the Name List (or a saved Search List) and click the Detail tab over on the right. This is what you will see.

Detail Tab
(Click image to enlarge)

 

Now right click or double click on any of the labels (Born, Bapt, Died, etc). and you will see this popup.

Customize screen
(Click image to enlarge)

 

You have 98 things to choose from and if you choose Event or Hashtag, you have even more, as many as you have entered into Legacy.  Also notice that there are Save and Load buttons on this screen. You can save up to 10 different sets of labels. This is great when you work on different projects.

Save Custom View
(Click image to enlarge)

 

And here is what my labels look like after I customized them.

Custom labels
(Click to enlarge image)

 

There are so many different ways to customize your screens so that you see the information you want to see.  This will help save you time when you are researching.

 

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.


Tuesday's Tip - Known Associates (Intermediate)

  Known Associates

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

Known Associates (Intermediate)

One of the best ways to break down a brick wall is by looking at your ancestor's FAN Club*  I use a combination of Unlinked Individuals/Trees, Hashtags, and Shared Events to record this information. 

 *FAN Club stands for Friends, Associates, and Neighbors which was coined by Elizabeth Shown Mills. You can read more about it HERE. This concept is also called "Cluster Genealogy." We also have several WEBINARS about this research strategy.

I use a three-method approach because each method brings something to the table.  

Unlinked Individuals/Trees

When working on a brick wall I add FANs as unlinked individuals. This gives me the opportunity to work with them just like I work with anyone else in my file. I research these associated people even though I don't know how they fit in yet because the more research I do, the more likely the connection will emerge. As I expand their family, sometimes it is easy to see the link. Even if I can't link their line to my main tree through a familial relationship, I will be able to link them to the main line using shared events (keep reading).

Hastags

I have hashtags like this..

FANs of Freeman, James (1752 - 1823)
FANs of McMichael, John (1727 - 1803)
FANs of  Simmons, James (1764-1843)

If I have more than one person with the same name, I can put further qualifiers in the Description field such as, "of Perry County, married Ellenor Lee"

I only do this for my "brick wall" ancestors and not for everyone.  I have a lot of other Hashtags related to my brick walls that help me find connections that I don't readily see. For example, men that served in the the same military unit, known DNA matches, lived in the same area at the same time, etc. This helps me see how the "FANs" are interrelated to each other.

Events

Whenever I am looking at a document that has multiple people named, I will share the event with those people. The only events that I don't share are census events. I copy and paste these (just my preference). Legacy will allow you to share events with people that aren't in your database but I always add them. (see point 1)

Bringing it all together

With Hashtags I am looking for people that are grouped together on more than one Hashtag. This is a clue that those people were closely associated. I can search by Hashtag and print out little mini reports that I can compare. I can also Tag a group of people, search by that Tag, and then print a report that include all of the Hashtags they have. There are several possibilities here.

With Events I like to run an Individual Chart Report on my brick walls from time to time. Sometimes just seeing it on paper will cause me to notice something that I didn't notice before like a couple of events that are shared with the same person.

Speaking of reports, another helpful report is the Chronology Comparison Report. Many times you are using this to see if two people in your database are really the same person but you can also compare two totally unrelated people to compare their timelines for dates and locations. This is especially helpful if you notice that two people were in two different places at the same time. Family and friends travel together.

I would love to hear your ideas about how you document an ancestor's FAN Club in Legacy.

  

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.


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.


Tuesday's Tip - Sorting the Name/Search and Marriage Lists (Beginner)

TT - Sorting the Name  Search and Marriage List

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

Sorting the Name/Search and Marriage Lists (Beginner)

Did you know that you can sort the Name List, Search List and Marriage List

To sort the Name List or a Search List you can click the buttons at the top labeled #, Given, Surname and Legacy will sort your list by that criteria.

Name List

 

You can also go to Options > Show User ID# in the list and the RIN column with be replaced by the User ID. You can then sort by that.

Options Menu

 

On the Marriage List you can sort by MRIN, Husband (if using Gender Neutral this will be L Spouse), and Wife (if using Gender Neutral this will be R Spouse).

Marriage List

 

I like being able to sort my data in different ways. Not only does it help me find what I am looking for but I also notice things that I might not have readily seen otherwise.

 

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.


Tuesday's Tip - Using the Soundex (Intermediate)

TT - Using the Soundex

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

Using the Soundex (Intermediate)

Old school researchers will know what the Soundex is but you don't hear much about it anymore. Newer researchers are probably not familiar with it. The funny thing is, you are using it and you don't even know it. Back to that in a bit.

First some information on what the Soundex is. The Soundex was a project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In the 1930s they came up with this indexing system for certain census records. It was a way to search for your ancestors even if the spelling of their name was off a bit. The censuses that have a Soundex Index are:

1880 - Only those families with children age 10 or younger
1890 - Very limited because of the fire that destroyed most of the 1890 census, Side note: HERE is an excellent history of the 1890 census from the National Archives
1900
1910 - Only for Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia
1920
1930
- Only for Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky (only counties of Bell, Floyd, Harlan, Kenton, Muhlenberg, Perry and Pike), Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia (only counties of Fayette, Harrison, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, and Raleigh)

You can see the rules for creating the Soundex Codes HERE. Back in the day you did this by hand using these rules. Now you don't have to. There are Soundex Calculators that will do this for you and of course Legacy has one of these calculators. Go to Tools > Soundex. Type in the surname you want to calculate and then click Calculate Soundex Code.

Soundex Calculator

Simmons is my maiden name and I still have that code memorized! When you first access this tool it will automatically calculate the Soundex code for the person you had highlighted on your screen. If you click Search Name List it will give you everyone in your file that has the same Soundex code.

The WPA created index cards grouping everyone by their Soundex code. This was a way you could try and find your ancestor if the regular index wasn't turning up anything. We used to use big index books for the census but if you couldn't find your ancestor there you would turn to the Soundex. To see what a Soundex index card looks like click HERE. You can see that there was quite a bit of information extracted from the census on these cards! They were invaluable. You can still access the old Soundex microfilms through FamilySearch. HERE is a list of the available microfilms (along with some print Soundex indexes). Some, not all, of these are available to browse online (not part of the regular FamilySearch online collections). You can see an example HERE.

The good news is, you don't have to do this anymore. Online indexes have Soundex options built in and that is what I meant when I said you were using the Soundex and you didn't even know it. Sometimes it is obvious but sometimes it isn't. For example, here is a screenshot from MyHeritage's Search page and you will see that the Soundex is an option. Notice that MyHeritage uses the "refined" Soundex. If a certain surname has an secondary "refined" value, Legacy will show you both when you use the built in calculator.

MyHeritage Search
 

Other search sites such as FamilySearch have the algorithm built into to their "fuzzy" search so you won't see a separate option for it. 

So if everything is automated, why do you need to know what the Soundex codes are and why do you need a Soundex code calculator? One thing that the Legacy calculator will do for you is generate a Search List of everyone with the same Soundex code which might help you find a duplicate that you didn't know you had. My One Name Study is for the surname Glaentzer. When I run the calculator using this surname I see all of the variations that I am accustomed to seeing in the records which solidifies the theory that these variations are in fact valid.

If you are doing a search on a website that doesn't specifically have a Soundex option you can check a potential match to see if they do have the same Soundex code which is additional evidence that you might be dealing with the same person.

Is the Soundex perfect? Of course not but it is another weapon in your genealogy arsenal. 

Easter Egg alert!  There is a bit of an Easter Egg on the Soundex Calculator screen. Did you notice the little globe icon? If you click that you will be taken to FamilySearch's Place Locator. This is a VERY useful tool. I am not sure how it ended up on this screen. I have asked the developers to consider moving this to a more conspicuous location. Until then, since you guys read my articles you will know where to find this.

 

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.