Friday, January 30, 2015

A neglected source citation

There is one fact that a lot of researchers neglect to attach a source citation to and that is the parent-child relationship. Proving that a person is the child of certain parents is crucial.  If you ever apply to a lineage society you will find out just how crucial it is.  This is an easy fact to overlook when you are concentrating on entering sources for someone’s date/place of birth, date/place of marriage, and date/place of death.

In Legacy you can source this in two different ways.  The first is on the Assigned Sources screen.  You can access this from the Family View or the Individual’s Information screen by clicking on the icon that looks like books.  You can just paste the source in the correct field like I showed you HERE.  You can see that I have four sources that I am using to show that Keziah Grantham is the daughter of Ebenezer Grantham.  I have Keziah’s death certificate and the 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses.  I don’t have any sources for Keziah’s mother.  I know who Keziah’s mother should be from the 1850 census (she is dead by 1860).  On that census is a 2 month old unnamed baby that may or may not be Keziah (Keziah was born in 1855 so it is a bit of a stretch).  I am still working on this one.  You can click any of the screenshots to enlarge them.



You can also do this from the Family View by right-clicking in the Children’s List at the bottom and then selecting Children’s Settings.  We need to talk about this screen for a bit.  Notice on this screen you can actually name the relationship using the drop down list (i.e. biological, adopted, etc.)  The default for biological is to leave this field BLANK.  The only time you will ever want to designate someone specifically as biological is if you have a true adoption situation where you have to differentiate between the two sets of parents.  I know that was a bit of a tangent but I just had to get that in there.  To add a source here you just click in the field and then click the PASTE button on the left (it looks like a minus sign). 

ss 2


Also notice that the Relationship to Father is red and the Relationship to Mother is black.  Red means I have a source attached to this field.  You will see these colors on the Individual’s Information screen as well.  Monday I will show you how to set the colors so that those fields with sources will light up.



I am adding two more screenshots because I forgot that there is another way to add a source to the relationship.  Fellow blogger Diane Gould Hall of Michigan Family Trails pointed it out in the comments.

You can either right click on the husband or wife and then select View > Parents List or you can click the Parents icon under the person, second icon from the left.

5 ss


When you do, you get this

6 ss


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Thursday, January 29, 2015


I haven’t posted about my progress at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS) in quite some time so here we go.

I have completed all four of the basic German courses and two of the intermediate ones.  I am halfway through another intermediate course and then I have two more to go.  After that I will have the four advanced courses to do and then I will be finished.  I am also very happily blogging away on the NIGS Blog

Here is a list of the available German courses.  I can’t link directly to them since they have some sort of weird Java Script address but you can go to the main NIGS page and then go to Courses > Courses > German Records Certificate. You can then select the courses one at a time and read their descriptions.


  • Church Records
  • Introduction to German Research for North Americans
  • Locating Places in Germany
  • The Language


  • Chronological Considerations
  • Civil Registration Records
  • Emigration Records
  • Reading the Records
  • Record Repositories


  • Germans Outside of Germany
  • Naming Practices
  • Nobility Research
  • Published Sources

So how am I liking the courses?  I like them very much mostly because the accompanying texts are so good.  My favorite course so far has been Reading the Records. The first half is learning how to write in the old German script.  If you can write it, you can read it.  The second half is all about looking at real records and transcribing them.  It is wonderful practice. This particular course has a required supplemental book which I highly recommend if you are doing any German records research. 

Minert, Roger P. Deciphering Handwriting in German Documents.  2nd Ed. Provo, UT: GRT Publications, 2013.

I have been doing quite a bit of work on my German side lately thanks to a genealogist friend of mine that lives in Germany.  She has been finding oodles of documents and it is very exciting.  Also, Das Historische Archiv Köln (Historic Köln Archives) has some of their civil registrations (birth, marriage and death) online and they are adding more.  This has been a goldmine for me because my family was in Köln for many generations.  I am getting a lot of real life experience so that I can put what I have learned to use.

Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Is our research better today?

Someone posted something on the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Page that got me to thinking. Back in the olden days when we were 100% on paper we pretty much limited ourselves to our direct line and siblings of our direct line. You simply confined yourself to the couples on your pedigree chart. We used Mary Hill’s color coding system which the Family History Library advocated and it worked very well.  You had a Pedigree Chart filed in the front of your filing cabinet and then you had folders for each couple on your pedigree chart.  Inside those folder you kept a Family Group Sheet, a Research Log, a Correspondence Log and all of the documents you found pertaining to that couple.  The couple’s children would have folders filed behind their parents with their marriage and children information. 

So here is the question... When you confine yourself to your absolute direct line, do you do more indepth/quality research? In the age of computers I think it is too easy to go off on tangents and you end up only getting the bare minimum documentation on each person. In the olden days you would research a single couple for every bit of documentation you could possibly find before going on to the next couple. I don't think we do that anymore.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

One more thing for you visual genealogists

On January 7th I posted For those visual learners which had two great resources for those of you that do better with bold graphics and bright colors.  I have something else for you.

Mark Subel of Crestleaf has a really nice Family Relationship Chart that explains all of those “removeds.”  This is a great tool to have when you are trying to explain relationships to your non-genealogist family members.

Family Relationship Chart
Original version copyright © 1987 Alice J. Ramsey, updated version copyright © Crestleaf, used with permission


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Monday, January 26, 2015


I spent the weekend cleaning up my “office” because I have a huge new project starting today.  I say “office” because my office is a corner of a room.  One of my daughters is moving out in May and the second I see the taillights going down the road I will be in her room with a paint can redoing my new office.  One of the things I did while cleaning up is I went through my books and reorganized them.  I have updated my Book List which was long overdue.

I would like to thank all of the people that have been sending me nice emails about the series of posts I have been doing on Legacy.  I am going to take a break from that for a couple of days because I have some other posts I need to get out there but I still have a few more Legacy ones I want to do so stay turned.

For those of you participating in Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over, how are things going?  I am participating though I have my own list of goals.  One of this week’s topics is Managing Projects and Tasks.  I think Thomas wrote this one especially for me.  I would love to hear how the Do-Over is going for you.  You can post your success stories in the comments.

Here is something interesting from the world of DNA.  A Genetic Genealogy Standards committee has been established and they have drafted a Genetic Genealogy Standards document.  This is well worth your reading.  They will also be drafting standards for DNA source citations and I am really looking forward to that.  You can watch for this on their web site, Genetic Genealogy Standards.

If you are are just beginning your family history journey I have something for you!  Dear Myrtle has a 20 week genealogy class that recently started.  Sorry I didn’t get this posted sooner but it isn’t too late.  Here is a description form her Facebook page.

“Participants will review beginning research strategies including identifying what is known, deciding what to learn, selecting records to search, obtaining and searching the records, evaluating and using the information. Considerable effort will be made to provide screen shares of each record type. Although the focus is general United States research, these research principles and use of the FamilySearch Wiki can be applied to over ancestral studies in over 120 additional countries throughout the world, with additional regional (state, county, town, parish) wiki entries.”

What an opportunity!  Here is more info and a link to the previous lessons so that you can catch up.  Beginning Genealogy Study Group.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Friday, January 23, 2015

Legacy: Using all of the different notes fields

Most Legacy users know about the five main notes fields, General, Research, Medical, Marriage and Event but are you taking advantage of all of the other notes fields Legacy has?  Just in case you are not familiar with the Big 5 we will look at those first.  I will tell you what I put in each field.  You can click any of the screenshots to make them bigger.

I use the General Notes to hold biographical information.  I try to write a short bio on every person in my direct line and for the siblings of my direct line at the very least.  Sometimes this is a paragraph and sometimes it is several pages.



I use the Research Notes to document my current theories and my train of thought.



I use the Medical Notes to record all kinds of medical things I find.



And here is a Marriage Note.



Here is how I use the notes for an event.  This happens to be a newspaper article so I have put the transcription in the notes. 



Now we will look at some of the notes fields that people seem to overlook.  I like to keep my notes with the fact they are describing.  To get to the Birth, Baptism, Death and Burial Notes fields all you have to do is click the + (plus) sign to the right of the field.  You will also see some other options listed for each of these fields.



Here are some examples of what I put in these 4 notes fields.






Ah but we are just getting started! Any attached Media can have notes.



You can have notes attached to locations. 



You can have notes on addresses.



You can have notes for repositories.



To-Do Tasks have two tabs of notes, the Task Description and the Results.  If you take the time to fill these out properly you will have a nice research log.



Did I miss any?  A lot of Legacy users will jam all their notes into the General or Research notes.  They will get lengthy and then it will be hard to find things.  I like to attach my notes to the fact that they actually pertain to.  It just makes more sense.  Your reports will also read out better. 


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Legacy: Creating GEDCOMS

Why would you need to create a GEDCOM?  If you want to upload your tree to one of the online tree websites like Ancestry or to one of the DNA websites like FTDNA you will need to create a GEDCOM.  If you want to send your file to someone that does not use Legacy then you will need to send your file (or portion of your file) as a GEDCOM. 

Legacy makes creating GEDCOMs easy.  There are many options when creating a GEDCOM so you can get it formatted just the way you want.  Before you get started, you need to think about why you are creating the GEDCOM and who you are creating it for because that will affect what options you will select.

I am going to walk you through creating a GEDCOM using your entire file.  You can also create GEDCOMs from a portion of your file using either Tagging or Focus Groups which will be covered in the future.

To get to the GEDCOM screen select FILE > EXPORT > GEDCOM on the main ribbon/toolbar. (You can click any of the screenshots to make them larger).



And here is the main dialog box.


Normally I just leave this first page at the defaults.  There are two drop down boxes, Produce file for: and Character Set:  If you look at the options you will be able to see that you can fine tune your export depending on where the file is going to eventually end up.  For example, there is a special GEDCOM format just for Ancestry.  If you are exporting to one of the things on the list, choose it.  The programmers have designed these specifically to take into consideration any quirks the destination program might have.  If your reason is not on the list then here are some general guidelines.  If you are creating this for someone using any of the top genealogy programs out there then use the Legacy option.  This will include all of the custom tags that Legacy uses and the top programs can read them just fine.  If you are going to be sending this to someone using a very old or very basic program you might want to tone it down to a GEDCOM 5.5 format. If you don’t like the output, you can delete the GEDCOM and try a different format. 

Now we are going to look at the four buttons on the side, Privacy Options, Compiler, Customize and AutoSource.  Some Legacy users don’t realize that there are more options to consider.


Here is the Privacy Options screen:



Here is the compiler screen:



Here is the Customize screen.  You will want to spend a little more time on this screen because it is very powerful.  What you see in the Items available for export and the Export these items box depends on what type of GEDCOM you told Legacy to create on the first screen.  The items with the asterisks (*) are the barebones basics that will be exported no matter what.  You can’t delete these.  Any tag that has an underscore (_) in front of it is a custom tag that Legacy has created. If you scroll down you will see tags that have no asterisk and no underscore.  Those are GEDCOM 5.5 compliant tags that any program and any website can read.  You can move tags from left to right or right to left.  Only the ones in the right box will be exported.  You can customize exactly what you want to export and what you want to exclude by using the Include and Remove buttons in the middle.  The buttons below those are sets of tags.  You can click one of these buttons and you will get the set of tags that goes with that particular format.  I very rarely change what defaults into these boxes.

The next section are additional things that you can exclude out of the GEDCOM.  If you don’t want the recipient of your GEDCOM to see any of your Research Notes or any Causes of Death this is where you will exclude them. 

The last section has some formatting options. 



The last screen is the AutoSource.  I do not use this because everything (well, almost everything) in my file is sourced properly.  If you use AutoSource, every person in the file will get the same source.  If you are going to do this you will want to create a source that basically states that the information came from you. 



The only thing left to do is to click the button that says Select File Name and Start EXPORT which you can see in the top right corner of the second screenshot on this page.  You will get a Windows browse box.  I always save my GEDCOMs to my desktop where they are easy to find.  I don’t save GEDCOMs after I have sent them to where they are going because if I need another one I just create a new one so that I know it is completely up-to-date. 

One very important note.  If you are sending your file to another Legacy user you do not want to send them a GEDCOM.  What you will want to do instead is to either create a backup file and send that to them (if you want them to get your file 100% intact) or you can go to FILE > EXPORT > EXPORT TO A NEW LEGACY FAMILY FILE.  You will save the new file first (save it to your desktop) and then you will get the Options screen.  You will have the familiar Privacy Options and the AutoSource screens.  The rest of the available options are on the main screen.  You can export your entire file or you can use tagging or focus groups to export part of your file.  If you send your file as a GEDCOM there is a chance some of your data will not be exported correctly because of the limitations of the GEDCOM protocol, some of your formatting might be off for the same reason, and all of your SourceWriter sources will be converted to Basic style because the GEDCOM protocol can’t handle the template format.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Legacy: More about the Source Clipboard

There are two other things you can do with the Source Clipboard and some Legacy users get confused between the two so I am going to explain both.

You can have up to 5 different sources on the clipboard at the same time.  If you do, whenever you click the Paste icon ALL of the sources on the clipboard will be pasted at the same time.

Open the Source Clipboard, click Options at the bottom, select Allow multiple sources on the clipboard. (You can click on any of the screenshots to make the image larger).


Click on each tab and load the Master Source and Detail just like you did YESTERDAY.  Now when you paste your citation ALL of the sources you have loaded will paste.  This is very different than saving a citation for later use which is what I will show next.

You can save up to 10 different clipboards.  They can be single citations or up to 5 citations on a single clipboard.  This is very handy if you have some favorites.

Start by loading a Master Source to the clipboard.  You can even add the detail if the detail isn’t going to change.  Now click Save Citations to Disk at the bottom of the screen.



Now I can open the Source Clipboard and select Load Citations from Disk and I will have my quick pick list of favorite citations.



Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Legacy: The Source Clipboard

I had someone ask to see more about the Source Clipboard so here it is.  The Source Clipboard is there to save you some time.  I will give you an example from my file.  I very often get death certificates or marriage certificates in batches.  I can load a master source onto the clipboard and then just change the detail when I change certificates. 

Here is the process step by step.  (You can click on any of the screenshots to make them bigger).









The Source Clipboard has already saved you some time but here is where it will save you even more.  Now I am going to add another Louisiana Death Certificate.  I don’t need to change the Master Source, only the Detail.  I go to my new person and click the Source Clipboard icon.




I can now paste this citation in all the places it needs to go.  When I am done I will go to the next person.

Tomorrow I will show you how to save source citations to use again later and also how paste more than one source at a time.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Monday, January 19, 2015

Legacy and AniMap

I love AniMap and I use it all the time.  I want to show you how I use it and I will also be showing you one of the built-in error checkers that Legacy has.

I was entering a information from a death certificate into Legacy. The deceased was born in Salley, South Carolina in 1845. When I tried to enter

Salley, Aiken, South Carolina, United States

into Legacy I got an error message.




I clicked the Online County Info button which brought me to the Aiken County, South Carolina FamilySearch Wiki Page. Many people don’t notice this very useful button (and there are two more very useful buttons, the Show County List and Online County Maps).  There I found,

“10 March 1871: Aiken was created from Barnwell, Edgefield, Lexington and Orangeburg Counties.” 

Now I have a problem. Which of these four counties was Salley in in 1845?  This is where AniMap comes in. AniMap allows me to pinpoint a specific location and then I can see how the state and county boundaries changed around that location over time. I chose 1832 because that is the date of the last boundary changes prior to 1845.




Salley was in Orangeburg County in 1845. Now I can enter the correct information into Legacy. You always want to record your location as it was at the time of the event.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Legacy: Changing the Burial label to Cremated

You can change the Burial label to Cremated on the Individual’s Information screen.  Click the + (plus) sign to the right of the burial field.  Click the word Cremated and you will see a checkmark appear then the box will disappear.

(You can click on any of the screenshots to make them bigger).



Now your label will say Cremated instead of Buried.



Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Legacy: Changing the labels on the Family View

When someone sees a screenshot from Legacy and they notice that the labels on the Family View are different than what they have they want to know how they can change them.  Easy peasy. (You can click any of the screenshots to make them bigger).

You can see that my labels are Born, Died, Age [at death], Cause of Death and Cemetery



All you have to do to change these is mouse click on one of the labels and a Customize Family View Information box pop up.  This is where you can tell Legacy what you want to be displayed.  Notice that you can display up to five fields. 



To change one of the fields click the little square to the right that has the in it. and you will get this.



You have 99 options to choose from.  You actually have a lot more than that.  Event is only on the list once but if you choose that you will be able to pick any event that you have.  Here is where it gets really cool.  You can save up to 10 different sets of labels!  Depending on what you are researching at the time, you might want other things to display on the Family View.

Here I am saving my current view.  I am going to Save it to number 1.  If I want to use one of my custom sets of labels I would only need to click Load (above the save button).



I went ahead and saved a second set of labels.  Now when I click on the labels I have a quick pick list I can use but I can still go to the customize screen if I prefer and can click Load there.  You can see the labels that I have now are Birth, Death, Age, FSID [FamilySearch ID] and the Modified Date/Time [the date/time I last made a change to this person].



Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis

Friday, January 16, 2015

Legacy: Expand/Contract Location Parts

“How do I change all instances of USA in my locations to United States?”

On the main toolbar in Legacy, select View > Master Lists > Location. On the right side of the screen select Options > Expand/Contract Location Parts.

Here is the Expand/Contract Location Parts dialog box. Check the box that says, Add "United States."  It won't add United States to the USA that is already there but rather it will change USA to United States. Hit Continue.


This is what the Master Location List looks like before the change


And here it is after


If you choose Add “USA” it will change all of your United States entries back to USA. You can also do this with the names of states and there are additional options to expand/contract names associated with other countries. To see all of the abbreviations that Legacy will recognize and convert, select the country you are interested in under Parts to Work On then Preview a list of Codes/Names.


Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis