You can read Part I HERE.
I think Legacy has the most advanced error checking tools of any program so I was pretty excited to see what all Legacy would find. I did clear out a couple of global errors manually because I didn’t want the Potential Problems Report to be artificially inflated. Before I got started, I did a check/repair on the file. For Legacy users this would be File > File Maintenance > Check/Repair. If you are using one of the other programs make sure you do whatever maintenance/compacting your file offers.
The second thing I did was globally sort all of the children’s lists by birth date. If children are not sorted by birth date this will appear on the Potential Problems report but in the grand scheme of things this is a minor error and I had no doubt most of the lists would be out of order. For the Legacy users, go to Tools > Other Tools > Sort Child, Marriage and Event Lists.
The third thing I did was globally changed all of the surnames to initial caps (my preference). I could have just as easily changed the surnames globally to all caps. For Legacy users, this is Option 3.3 in the customization menu. I wanted all of the surnames in one style so that it didn’t trigger a Potential Problem.
Next is the Potential Problems Report itself. For Legacy users this is Tools > Potential Problems. I reset everything to the default using the Reset button. I did want to change one of the defaults. On the “Gaps” tab I deselected all of the options. Legacy will alert you to any unusual date gaps in your children indicating possible missing children. This would have artificially inflated my problems report so I simply turned that part off. Legacy checks for 29 other potential problems/errors. You can customize the error checking quite a bit but for now I left everything at the defaults other than turning the “Gaps” off. There are other error checking tools built in and I will get to those in a moment but for now we are going to work with this main report.
I had 260 pages of errors which is over 3,300+ errors. Ouch. Some of the errors are standardization problems but a lot of the errors are quite serious such as people dying before they were born.
A separate error checker is the “County Verifier.” This only applies to US locations. These are errors where a place didn’t exist at the time of the event or the place never existed at all. I have 26 pages of errors here. You can find this at Tools > US County Verifier > US County Verification.
A really fun one that I found was someone that had 126 marriages. I am emailing FamilySearch about that one. Most of them are to the very same person (same FSID) or to a duplicate (same person, different FSID). Legacy was able to merge the people that had the same FSID number so I didn’t see as many in Legacy as what was on FamilySearch.
Even though I had Legacy check for duplicates on import I still have 9504 possible duplicates using the default settings. I am not surprised because when Legacy is looking for duplicates on import it is looking for the exact duplicates. Anything more than that would slow the import down too much.
I then took a look at the Master Location List. This was pretty frightening. I have 5829 different locations but many are duplicates because it is the same location entered differently (and this would be why there are standards for data entry). Many of the entries aren’t even locations. I have “murdered” as a location. I have some weird numbers such as 24-1352 and 40-1592 that I have no idea what those are. Some of the other things I found in a location field are, “alternate birth name,” “Rhydderch ap t, “John’s wife,” “he was a carpenter,” ”3rd Lord of Berkeley,” “A convent,” “wp,” “Scotsman,” and it goes on and on.
Another search I can do is “All Records With Bad Dates.” This is found at Search > Find and then click the Miscellaneous tab. Only 36 people had bad dates which is better than I expected.
Here is another fun one. I looked at the File Statistics which is at Tools > Statistics. This one had me rolling on the floor. The individual that lived the longest in this file was someone that lived 675 years, 6 months and 13 days to be followed by someone that lived 364 years and 9 months. The longest marriage comes in at 94 years, 11 months and 6 days. Not bad. The most popular given name in the file is “?” (you knew that was coming didn’t you).
1) Don’t believe everything you see on FamilySearch
2) There is still a lot of cleanup needed (please help!)
3) If your program can’t do this kind of error checking it might be time for you to switch to Legacy (shameless plug)
Copyright © 2017 Michèle Simmons Lewis