Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Potential problems

A couple of people were interested in knowing more about Legacy’s Potential Problems feature so I thought I would give you a few screen shots so that you can see what Legacy checks for.

The first screen shot shows the main dialog  box for Potential Problems.  Legacy give you many different things to chose from on each screen.  We are going to look at the 4 tabs.  The “records” tab is what you are looking at now and this is just where you tell Legacy which records you want it to check.  This screen is pretty self-explanatory.   You can view the list or your can print to a text or pdf file. 



This next screen shot shows the second tab, “warnings.”  These are things that may or may not be a problem.  You can change the ages to whatever you think works.  Whenever Legacy thinks there is a problem but there really isn’t one you can mark it as “not a problem” and then Legacy will ignore it in future searches.



Here is the first set of “problems.”  As you can see, if you have one if these there is something definitely wrong.  Many times it is just a simple data entry error (hopefully!)



This next screen has the standardization errors.


Here is the actual potential problems list from a file I am working on.  Amos actually was over 100 when he died so I will mark that as “not a problem.”  The event dates after death dates are probably burials.  If you have “cemetery” as an event with a burial date this happens.  Legacy does check to see if your burial date is more than 30 days after the death but that is in the actual burial field.  The other ones, same surname, child born when parent under age 15, and married under age 15 can all be explained because this is in the state of Mississippi.  Okay, maybe not all of them.  The ones with the same name are either truly two people that married that had the same surname (Mississippi, remember), or I have put someone in as Mrs. Surname. I have no choice but to do this if I know the person was married but have no idea what the wife’s name was.  I do this as a placeholder so that I know that there was a wife.I could put unknown but that would be picked up as an error as well.  These just get marked as not a problem,  If the couple had children then I can actually delete the wife after I add the known children.  In those cases Legacy understands that there was a wife (mother) and it will mark it as unknown without creating an error.

With the dates it is usually either because of a data entry error or you have people’s birth dates and marriage dates in as “abt.” based on the evidence you do have.  Abt. dates are general and can be off a year or two or even more. If you have both the birth and marriage dates as abt. then the math gets fuzzier. You will see this when you first start working with a couple and all you have are census records. I will check these one at a time. As I get more documents in these usually disappear on their own.


I wanted to show you one other error checker that Legacy has and that is invalid county names.  If you spell a county name wrong or if you put a county that isn’t in existence yet you will find it in this report.  Legacy will notify you if you type in a county wrong as soon as you type it in but if you don’t have that feature turned on you can always run a report.  I created an error so you can see what it looks like. 


Now the good news.  When Legacy 8 comes out you will be notified of all errors as you make them just like with the county errors.  This is a nice improvement. It can be a bit daunting when you run a report and you have 437 errors at one time. 

I will be doing a little Legacy workshop this coming Thursday which I am very excited about.  I love Legacy and  I enjoy helping others to use it efficiently.  If you happen to be in the area, it will be Thursday, September 12th, at 12:00 noon, at the Euchee Creek Library in Columbia  County, GA.  It will be right before the regular meeting of the Columbia County Genealogical Society at 1:00 pm which of course you are also invited to.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. You wrote that Warnings could be marked as not a problem. Can Problems and Standardization issues be marked as well? How should posthumous children, will probates, cremations and re-interments be dealt with if events after death can't be marked? Ditto for standardization. (My current software complains that I have nicknames in the name field but also flags alternate names as potentially different persons).