Persistence Pays Off

Persistence Pays Off

I was researching a German soldier who had been interred in a Russian POW camp during World War II. His family never saw him again and didn't know what happened to him after the War was over. I had very little information about him. The Russians did not release him until 1948 (I found this out later). The soldier was incapacitated in some way but the details were fuzzy. I did know that he died in the town of Göttingen because this was recorded in the family's "Stammbuch." A Stammbuch is an official record book that families keep of their birth, death, and marriage records. It include the civil document numbers which is very helpful to researchers. With this information I was able to obtain his death certificate. The death certificate lists the address where he died as Rosdorferweg 70.


August's death certificate
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I plugged that address into Google Maps and this is what I found.  The address belongs to a hospital.

Google map image


So was it a hospital in 1949?  I emailed them and asked. 

Hospital in Göttingen


They told me that yes, they are the same hospital that was in operation in 1949.  I asked them if they had the medical records from that time period. They told me that the old medical records had been turned over to the Stadtarchiv Göttingen. They were kind enough to provide me with a contact person there.


Stadtarchiv Göttingen


The Stadtarchiv told me that the records were now being housed at the Niedersächsisches Landesarchiv in Wolfenbüttel.  I was again given a contact person.

Niedersächsisches Landesarchiv


I contacted the Landesarchiv and they advised that they would write back when they knew whether or not they had this man's records. I got my answer less than a week later.

“Sie können von der Akte des Landeskrankenhauses Göttingen, die [NAME REDACTED] betrifft (NLA Hannover Hann. 155 Göttingen [FILE NUMBER REDACTED]), Kopien in Auftrag geben. Die Akte umfasst ca. 75 Seiten.”

They found the man's medical file, seventy-five pages worth. They mailed me a CD with crystal clear images. His medical file provided a lot of answers to the questions his family had had for their entire lives. 

This entire process took several months but I was on a mission and wasn't about to give up. I honestly thought that there was no way these medical records still existed but I knew I had to go through all of the steps to find out for sure. 


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.

Digging for Historical Records on FamilySearch - free webinar by Sunny Morton now online for limited time

Digging for Historical Records on FamilySearch - free webinar by Sunny Morton now online for limited time

The recording of Wednesday's webinar "Digging for Historical Records on FamilySearch” by Sunny Morton is now available to view at for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

FamilySearch is arguably the world’s biggest free online portal to genealogical records. However, it’s easy to miss some of its valuable content, so join this insider’s tour of five places to find records on and off the site. This beginner-friendly lecture also helps experienced researchers to understand why the site is organized like it is—and to find records they may be missing (especially  since microfilm lending has ended).

View the Recording at

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 32 minute recording of "Digging for Historical Records on FamilySearch” is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership

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Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

Have Nordic Ancestors? Count Yourself Lucky - Nordic Records are Amazing  02/13/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
Using Swedish Taxation Records to Solve Tough Genealogical Problems  02/20/2018  Jill Morelli  CG
Tribal Quest: Documenting the Family Histories of Indigenous Communities Around the World  02/21/2018  Golan Levi
Legacy 9 Unlocked (part 2): Adding an Online Document  02/23/2018  Geoff Rasmussen
Find Your Roots in German Farm Histories  02/28/2018  Gail Blankenau
Overcoming Brick Walls Caused by Record Loss  03/07/2018  Mary Hill  AG
Secrets in the Attic: Break Down Brick Walls With Home Sources  03/09/2018  Denise May Levenick
True Stories of Families Reunited Thanks to Genetic Genealogy  03/13/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
The Case of the Broken Link: Decoding the URL  03/14/2018  Cyndi Ingle
From Baltimore to Burlington: Hazen P. Day's Neighbors Bring Him Home  03/20/2018  Catherine B. Wiest Desmarais  CG
Hands-On with MyHeritage DNA  03/21/2018  Geoff Rasmussen
Introduction to DNA Testing in Genealogy and Family History  03/23/2018  Mike Mansfield
How DNA testing can reveal your ethnic breakdown  03/27/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
Formulating a DNA Testing Plan  03/28/2018  Blaine Bettinger  Ph.D.  J.D.
Jewish Genealogy for the Non-Jew: History  Migration  DNA  04/04/2018  Schelly Talalay Dardashti
Legacy 9 Unlocked (part 3): Adding a Census Record  04/06/2018  Geoff Rasmussen
Genealogy for Advanced Users: Grow Your Family Tree Online  04/10/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
Georgia: Gateway to Westward Expansion  04/11/2018  Rorey Cathcart
Researching Your Oregon Ancestors  04/13/2018  Tessa Keough
Better Together: Making Your Case with Documents and DNA  04/17/2018  Patti Lee Hobbs  CG
Lincoln's Laws and the Records of War  04/18/2018  Judy G. Russell  JD  CG  CGL
Get the Most from the MyHeritage Search Engine for Historical Records  04/24/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
Verifying Information You Find Online  04/25/2018  Marian Pierre-Louis
Special Appearance by the Founder and CEO of MyHeritage  05/02/2018  Gilad Japhet
Discover Your Family in School Yearbooks  05/08/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
The Hidden Web: Digging Deeper  05/09/2018  Cyndi Ingle
A Checklist of African American Resources  05/11/2018  Angela Walton-Raji
Good Research Habits  05/15/2018  Paula Stuart-Warren  CG  FMGS  FUGA
The First 5 Things to Do with Your New Test Results  05/16/2018  Blaine Bettinger  Ph.D.  J.D.
How to Use the Smart Matches & Record Matches MyHeritage Technologies  05/22/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
Quaker Migration into America  05/23/2018  Peggy Clemens Lauritzen  AG
The Palatine Immigrants: Tracing and Locating 18th Century German Immigrants Online  05/30/2018  Luana Darby  MLIS  AG
Digital Gravestones  06/05/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
What Your Ancestor's Neighbors Can Tell You  06/06/2018  Melissa Barker
The Family DNA Project  06/08/2018  Nicka Smith
Easily Read Old Style American Handwriting  06/13/2018  Sharon Monson
Using Maps in Genealogical Research  06/19/2018  Sara A. Scribner  CG
You Need a Search Strategy: Maximizing Your Results with Online Genealogical Databases  06/19/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
Lightroom or Photoshop? What should I use for my photo editing?  06/27/2018  Jared Hodges
Legacy 9 Unlocked (part 4): Adding Estate/Probate Records  07/06/2018  Geoff Rasmussen
The Art of Negative-Space Research: Women  07/11/2018  Jeanne Bloom  CG
Freedmen's Bureau Records - Valuable to ALL Southern research  07/13/2018  Diane L.  Richard
Special Tools that can Take Your Research to the Next Level  07/17/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
It's a Numbers Game! Understanding Recognized Genealogical Formats  07/17/2018  Alice Hoyt Veen  CG
Trails of Daniel Boone and other Western Travelers  07/18/2018  J. Mark Lowe  CG  FUGA
Photoshop: What you need to know as a photographer  07/25/2018  Jared Hodges
An Overview of Important Historical Record Collections  07/31/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
Sharing The Joy: Projects That Will Captivate The Non-Genealogists In Your Life  08/01/2018  Lisa Louise Cooke
Legacy 9 Unlocked (part 5): Adding an Obituary  08/03/2018  Geoff Rasmussen
Genealogical Proof for the Novice Genealogist  08/08/2018  Annette Burke  Lyttle
50 Websites To Find Vital Records  08/10/2018  Gena Philibert-Ortega
Everything you need to know about Genealogical Charts and Reports  08/14/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
Untangle the Web of Germanic Websites  08/15/2018  Teresa Steinkamp McMillin  CG
GPS: Finding Your Way Through Tough Research Problems  08/21/2018  James Ison  CG  AG
Researching Forces Ancestors (England and Wales)  08/22/2018  Kirsty Gray
How Photos Enhance Genealogical Research  08/28/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
The YDNA Test Should Be Your Favorite  08/29/2018  Diahan Southard
What's Been Done: Using Someone Else's Genealogy Research  09/05/2018  Thomas MacEntee
Legacy 9 Unlocked (part 6): Adding a Death Certificate  09/07/2018  Geoff Rasmussen
Examining Migration & Researching Migrants in the British Isles  09/12/2018  Julie Goucher
Slave Narratives: Telling the Story of Slavery and Families  09/14/2018  Ann Staley  CG  CGL
Using Lists to Find Proof  09/18/2018  Cari Taplin  CG
25 Simple Research Hacks Every Genealogist Should Know  09/19/2018  Lisa Alzo
Importance of Newspapers for family research  09/25/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
Remote Research in the Databases of the Daughters of the American Revolution Genealogical Research System  10/03/2018  Rick Sayre  CG  CGL  FUGA
Legacy 9 Unlocked (part 7): Adding Email Correspondence  10/05/2018  Geoff Rasmussen
On the Go: Using Your Mobile Device for Genealogy  10/09/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
In Search of My Brother's Mother - An Adoption Story  10/10/2018  Beth Foulk
Strategies for Using FamilySearch  10/12/2018  Shannon Combs-Bennett
Using Emigrant Guides for Genealogical Research  10/16/2018  Julie P. Miller  CG  CGL
Ho to California! The Draw of the Gold Rush  10/17/2018  Peggy Clemens Lauritzen  AG
True Stories of Families Reunited thanks to Genetic Genealogy  10/23/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
10 Eastern European Genealogy Resources You Might be Missing  10/24/2018  Lisa Alzo
Researching your French and Indian War Ancestor  10/26/2018  Craig R. Scott  MA  CG  FUGA
Privacy Issues with Online Family Trees  10/31/2018  E. Randol Schoenberg
Legacy 9 Unlocked (part 8): The Smoking Gun  11/02/2018  Geoff Rasmussen
City Directories: Much More than Ye Olde Phonebooks  11/06/2018  MyHeritage Webinars
Using Voting and Election Records to Find Your Ancestor  11/07/2018  Melissa Barker
Introduction to the Bayou State: Louisiana for Beginners  11/14/2018  Rorey Cathcart
Every Day Life of Our Ancestors  11/20/2018  Ann Staley  CG  CGL
Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking  11/28/2018  Paula Stuart-Warren  CG  FMGS  FUGA
Ins and Outs of Indexes: Keys to Unlocking County and State Records  12/05/2018  Mary Kircher Roddy
Legacy 9 Unlocked (part 9): Adding an Entry from an Online Database  12/07/2018  Geoff Rasmussen
101 Ways to Design a Genealogy Chart  12/12/2018  Janet Hovorka
Citation for beginners  12/14/2018  Shellee Morehead  PhD  CG
Proving Identity and Kinship Using the GPS: Finding a Freedman's Family  12/18/2018  Nancy A. Peters  CG
That Splendid Little War: Researching Your Spanish American War Ancestors  12/19/2018  Michael L. Strauss  AG


Print the 2018 webinar brochure here.

See you online!

Legacy 101 - File Maintenance

Legacy 101 - File Maintenance

Legacy is a true database program and as such it needs some routine maintenance. Unfortunately, there are some people that neglect this step so tech support gets emails from users when they encounter problems in their files. How often should you do file maintenance? The more you work in in your file (adding and deleting information), and the larger your file is, the more often you need to do this. Since you should be backing up your file routinely my suggestion is to do the file maintenance right before you back up. 

There are four things listed as File Maintenance routines. We are going to discuss each one.

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The first option is the Check/Repair. This is the one you should do before you backup your file. 

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When individuals are deleted from the Family File, all references to them are removed but the individual's information still exists in the file. The Check/Repair removes this information, making the room available for other additions. Legacy will go through the file and compress out all records that are not referenced. Legacy also runs through your family file and checks the integrity of all the links to ensure that there are no pointers to deleted records. All actions taken during the verifying process are recorded in a text file named ERROR.LOG in the [My Documents]\Legacy Family Tree\_AppData\Log folder. This file can be viewed with any text editor or word processor. If there are errors in your file, you will be asked if you want to view the error log when the check/repair completes. If you do have errors, run the check/repair again. The next pass should come back clean since Legacy has fixed the listed errors. If you have errors after the second pass these are errors that you will need to fix manually. Legacy will give you the information you need to fix them. If you are not sure what to do send an email to and a tech will assist you.

The next option is the List Cleanup.

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Remove Abandoned Information
You can have unused entries removed from any or all of the master lists maintained by Legacy. For example, abandoned entries can happen in the Surname List if you were to delete all the people with a certain surname from the family file. That surname would still remain in the master list as an unreferenced name. You can have Legacy run through the Surname List to remove any names that are not being pointed to. This is most often the case if you entered a misspelled name and then later corrected it. "Smiht" could end up in the list, taking up room, and never be referenced.

Keep/Restore Original Values
Legacy starts with a few built-in lists. These include common Source Types, Event Definitions, Marriage Statuses, Child Statuses, To-Do Categories, and Temple Names. When purging unused items from master lists, you will probably want to keep the original default entries even though they have not been used yet. IMPORTANT! If you have created your own Event Definitions (custom sentences) DO NOT check the box next to the Event Definitions option. If you do, it will delete all of your custom event definitions. Legacy has a second warning screen to alert you to this. 

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Combining Duplicate Entries
Legacy will combine any duplicates on the Master Lists that you have accidentally entered.

The Next option is Compact Family File.

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When individuals are deleted from the family file, all references to them are removed but the individual's information still exists in the file. To remove the information, select this option. Legacy goes through the file and compresses out all records that are not referenced, making your family file smaller. This is done as part of the Check/Repair but you can also do it as a separate function.

The last option, Set Sorting Order, isn't a File Maintenance routine per se. What this does is set the order your names will appear based on the main language you are using. Different countries sort their names in different ways. This option will re-index your entire file so it is a good idea to back up your file before you select this option.

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The File Maintenance routines will help you keep your file in top running order.


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.

New "Member Friday" Webinar - Using Military Maps in Genealogy by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

New "Member Friday" Webinar - Using Military Maps in Genealogy by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

Every Friday we're pleased to offer Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers a new bonus webinar just for them!   This Friday enjoy "Using Military Maps in Genealogy" by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA. If you're not a member,  remember the webinar previews are always free.

Using Military Maps in Genealogy

Military maps have some obvious value to the family researcher. If our person of interest was in a military unit or fought in a battle we might want to understand the battle or locate his unit, knowing he was there at that time and place. However, even if our research subject was not in the military, we should consider the possibilities. Many military maps are large scale (show a lot of detail) and many show property owners. In the Civil War era it was common to navigate by referring to a location by the land owner’s name. Your ancestor’s house may have been identified on the battlefield map as a reference point, or served as a hospital. A farm may have been turned into a cemetery. Also rivers and fords tend to be annotated on these maps.  

  New "Member Friday" Webinar - Using Military Maps in Genealogy by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA



About the Presenter

Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA
Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, is a long-time researcher and instructor in genealogical topics. Rick is also a retired colonel having served 31 years in the U.S. Army. He coordinates the Using Maps in Genealogy course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and instructs in the Advanced Methodology, Techniques and Technology, and Advanced Military courses. Rick and his wife Pam coordinate the advanced land course and Researching in Washington, DC, without Leaving Home offered by the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and the advanced land course at Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). Rick co-coordinates with Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, the Law School for Genealogists at GRIP and the FHL Law Library course at SLIG. He also lectures at national conferences and presents nationwide seminars. His areas of expertise encompass records of the National Archives, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, including military records, land records, using maps in genealogy, urban research, and government documents. Rick is experienced in the localities of western Pennsylvania and Ohio. Rick is also a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

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Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:

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Look at our lineup of speakers for 2018! All live webinars are free to watch.

Print the 2018 webinar brochure here.

Tuesday's Tip - Recording DNA Matches (Intermediate)

Recording DNA Matches

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

Recording DNA Matches (Intermediate)

In a previous article I explained How I Use Hashtags to Track My DNA Matches but that isn't the only way I track DNA in Legacy. I like to add my "cousin matches" to Legacy as unlinked individuals with the anticipation that I will be able to link them eventually. I don't add all of my matches which is in the thousands but rather I add the matches that are 50+ centiMorgans (to start with) which is at the 3rd cousin level. I like to keep all of my research in one place so it make sense for me to do it this way. I alluded to this in DNA Matches - Where's Their Tree? and I wanted to explain my method further.

I had to make up screenshots because my real matches are of course living people. I have all of my matches as "invisible" in my file because this information is for research purposes only. I also have more information recorded on each match than this but this will give you an idea of what you can do.

DNA match information
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1 - If all I know is their AKA that is what I will add here. If I know their real name but they have AKAs on the various websites I add those as AKAs

2 - This is where I will add their contact information, usually an email address

3 - This is where you can see my generic source, DNA Match - Lineage not confirmed

4 - I have this person in triangulation groups with other matches that I organize using Hashtags (see How I Use Hashtags to Track My DNA Matches). A triangulation group is a group of people that you match but they also all match each other. It is a way to be sure that everyone is matching on the same chromosome (you have TWO of each chromosome, one from your father and one from your mother).

5 - The first line of the notes is a short summary so that I can see the gist of the email on this screen without having to open the event. I can copy and paste the entire email or I can attach it as a PDF

6 - These people are always invisible which means if I ever export my file in any way, reports, charts, gedcom, webpages etc., these people will not be included. I would have to manually override the privacy options which can't be done by accident.

I hope this have given you some ideas of ways you can record your DNA in Legacy. If you have some additional tips you think our Legacy readers can use please post them in the comments.


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.

Free Legacy Family Tree update now available (version

We have another great new update for our Legacy Family Tree 9 users (free) for you to download. It's mostly a maintenance update which provides fixes to minor issues you have reported to us. It does not yet resolve the known issue with mapping. Thank you for your patience with that and please watch for a future update with that resolution. So download the update to get the best Legacy ever!

See the download instructions below for step-by-step instructions on installing this update. 

What's Been Fixed

View the Feb 2 release notes here. 

How to Update

For our Deluxe Edition users, all you have to do is connect to the Internet, start Legacy 9, and click on the "Install and Download Now" link on the Legacy Home tab. (If you're reading this from within the Legacy Home tab inside of Legacy 9, you'll first need to click on the Home button in the top left of the Legacy Home tab which looks like the following picture:

12-2-2013 9-36-15 AM

If you are a Standard Edition Legacy user, you will need to visit our website. Go to and follow the instructions.

My trip to MyHeritage Headquarters

I've just returned from my first trip to MyHeritage headquarters and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My biggest takeaway has been the new respect I've gained for our parent company, the people that make up MyHeritage, and for the entire country of Israel. I've enjoyed sharing the experience with all of you via our Legacy User Group on Facebook, but in case you missed it, I've republished the experiences below.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Well...I'm off this morning to visit our new MyHeritage company headquarters in Or Yehuda, Israel. Looking forward to learning from and rubbing shoulders with my new colleagues. I'm scheduled to present a training session - giving a background of our Legacy software, our webinar series, and sharing thoughts about the genealogy industry here in the states. I also hear that I may be doing a Facebook Live at the offices. I'll also be hosting our live webinars next Tuesday and Wednesday which begins at 9pm local time. Not sure if I'll be completely asleep or very awake. We'll see. Stay tuned...

Saturday, January 27, 2018

My first breakfast in Israel was yummy - breads, cheeses, tomatoes, yogurt, eggs and more breads. Hotel food, yes, but a great way to start my day. I also have a nice view of the Mediterranean Sea from my 7th floor room. Now I'm off for my first day at MyHeritage headquarters.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

I arrived at MyHeritage headquarters this morning and had our kick-off meeting. The offices are incredible and there's so many good people here! And check out the Internet speeds. Can you guess which one is the MH internet and which is mine at home?


Sunday, January 28, 2018

First full day at MyHeritage headquarters is wrapped up. Oh how I wish every one of you could have been here with me today to learn and experience what I did! You'd be so impressed with MyHeritage. It began with a yummy breakfast and conversation, followed by an intro to the week's activities. We were trained on customer support best practices, what's coming with DNA (it's really big!) and discussed 2018 goals. The biggest moment for me came when Aviram Levi (chief marketing officer) explained that it was something that I shared with him at a recent RootsTech conference that gave him, and the company, a different perspective of how MyHeritage could better interact with the genealogy community. They shared several changes that MH has implemented since then. There's still a gap to fill, but they seem to be genuinely concerned with the genealogy community. It reminded me of my first encounters with our Legacy company and my interactions with the Legacy founders (Dave/Ken) when I first approached them some 20 years ago - MH also seems to be willing to hear our comments and suggestions. Wait...I take some of this back. My actual biggest moment of the day was a brief personal conversation with Aaron Godfrey (VP Marketing) when he shared with me why he loves working at MyHeritage. Aaron shared that his passion is being able to make a positive difference in the world, and that he's able to do this at MH. Immediately the hairs on my arms stood, because I have always felt the exact same way and that I've been able to do that at Legacy. Ah yes, I forgot about another fun meeting - I met with Ran and Regev who will be the presenters at Tuesday's webinar on DNA Matching. They're also going to be talking about their new Chromosome Browser. Join early though, because we're now beyond 2,500 registrants for this one. Now, I haven't slept yet since Friday morning (it's Sunday evening now) so I'm certain I've rambled and maybe the above makes no sense, but I am energized and once again feel that it was the right decision to align with MyHeritage in the way we recently did. They, or should I say "we" have a great vision of genealogy's future and it's exciting to be a part of it. OK, time for bed now. Another full day tomorrow. And Marian Pierre-Louis, I'll be sure to get some good pictures.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Oh boy, I'm glad I discovered today was Monday and not Tuesday.

Monday, January 29, 2018

One of my favorite new words - Sababba - Hebrew slang for great or cool or no problem. I've heard it said many times here in Israel. Sababba!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Don't read this post unless you're okay with being completely jealous and being happy for me! 

It's now Wednesday morning (I think) in Tel Aviv, Israel and I'm now recovering from one of my "best days ever!"

The day began with what was supposed to be a motivational speech to our employees by MyHeritage's CEO, Gilad Japhet. He said instead of that he was going to use the time wisely and provide specific training and feedback. By the time he concluded, I was doing flips and cartwheels inside my mind about how excited he got me. I really wish all of you could be here to see the inside workings of this company and the vision they have for the future.

Immediately after he concluded it was my turn to speak to the company. After such a motivating session, I was extremely nervous to present my part. If I don't say so myself  I think it turned out very well. I gave a brief history of our Legacy Family Tree software, our users, our webinar series, and was asked to share how I feel MyHeritage can improve.

After lunch we had a company excursion. (Incredible that a company treats their employees with such respect.) We had a tour of the 5,000-year-old city of Jaffa (where the prophet Jonas spent time) which included a stop at the flea market where I was treated to a local desert - Malibi. Yummy.

Speaking of yummy, our next excursion was to a restaurant where, like the cooking shows on TV, we were split into three groups, had a timer of 90 minutes, and were commissioned to prepare 3 main dishes, 2 sides, 2 salads, desert. We were filmed and judged. And although I was the one who stood out as the one not having a clue what he was doing in the kitchen, our group took first place. The food was incredible.

After a full day, it was back to work again for our Tuesday DNA webinar. I'm not usually awake at this time of day so was nervous if I'd be awake to host, but I think my internal clock has adjusted well enough now. The webinar ended up being one of the all-time favorites. The MyHeritage DNA is today receiving rave reviews throughout the genealogy industry. When Ran spoke about the upcoming 1-to-many Chromosome browser, the chat log went nuts unlike I've ever seen before. And they announced that contacting matches was now free for everyone, among many other fascinating announcements.

I've now just two days left in Israel. Although I didn't think to plan any extra sight-seeing plans into my itinerary, I'm having the time of my life (just wish my wife and kids were here too, we'll have to come back). I don't know how to say it without feeling prideful or boastful, but working for MyHeritage is one of my life's biggest decisions and it's proving to be the right one. They/we have a vision for the future, they/we care about genealogy and genealogists, and they/we are going to reach great heights together.

OK, I'm done. Here's a few pics.


Malibi = yummy desert


Christian church in Jaffa


Part of the marketing team in Jaffa (5,000 year old city) overlooking Tel Aviv (new city). Tel Aviv means old and new.


Me, Ran, and Regev - product manager and DNA scientist after our webinar together.


The wishing wall.


Ingredients for our cooking competition.


Getting ready for the competition.


The final dishes we created. Yum.


Selfie with the Mediterranean Sea.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 (post by Aaron Godfrey)

After a long day in and out of the office, here's Geoff hosting a webinar while visiting Israel! (It's 9pm!)


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Well, another full day of work today awaits me at the MyHeritage offices in Or Yehuda, Israel and then I say goodbye. Can't believe it's gone this fast. I've made many good friends - my new colleagues have treated me so well. Pictured here was lunch yesterday - hummus and salad. I'd seriously come live here just for the food. So good. I did have to suggest that they try an Idaho potato someday though. Also pictured is a small team I worked with and learned from during one of our markethon sessions. These people are seriously among the very top of educated, considerate, and fun people I've ever known. Thanks everyone for being a part of my journey. Shalom!


With my new friends eating hummus for lunch.


Hard at work with part of the marketing team.


So good.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

My time here at MyHeritage headquarters comes to a close. In about an hour I will begin my 24-hour journey back to my home in Middleton, Idaho. It's bitter sweet to leave because I feel as if I have another home here now. The friendships I've developed with my colleagues and with the country of Israel will always be with me. Thanks for being a part of my journey here. I've never been more confident and at peace with Legacy's new home in MyHeritage. And seriously, there are incredible things to come in 2018 and beyond. It's the best time ever to be a Legacy user, a webinar viewer, a MyHeritage member and a genealogist!



The Marketing team and many of my new friends.

Register for Webinar Wednesday - Digging for Historical Records on FamilySearch by Sunny Morton


FamilySearch is arguably the world’s biggest free online portal to genealogical records. However, it’s easy to miss some of its valuable content, so join this insider’s tour of five places to find records on and off the site. This beginner-friendly lecture also helps experienced researchers to understand why the site is organized like it is—and to find records they may be missing (especially  since microfilm lending has ended).

Join us and Sunny Morton for the live webinar Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 8pm Eastern U.S. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. Before joining, please visit to ensure you have the latest version of Java which our webinar software requires. When you join, if you receive a message that the webinar is full, you know we've reached the 1,000 limit, so we invite you to view the recording which should be published to the webinar archives within an hour or two of the event's conclusion. 


Or register for multiple webinars at once by clicking here.

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No worries. Its recording will be available for a limited time. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

About the presenter

SunnyMorton-144x144Sunny Morton is a popular lecturer for the global genealogy community. As Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems, she shares research strategies and inspiration with audiences worldwide via podcast and blog. As a Contributing Editor at Family Tree Magazine, she writes frequently about up-to-date research resources and strategies for hobbyist audiences. She is the author of hundreds of articles and blog posts as well as "Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites," " Quick Reference Guide," and "Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy."

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We look forward to seeing you all there!

DNA Matches - Where's Their Tree?

DNA Matches - Where's Their Tree?

 I am a member of several DNA Facebook groups and a common frustration you will see is when someone contacts a match and the match doesn't answer, there is no tree attached to their DNA, or they have their tree marked as private. Here are a few things to consider:

  • The person is not a genealogist and took a DNA test just for their ethnicity report. All of the DNA advertisements on TV focus on ethnicity because that appeals to non genealogists. These testers log in to see their results and then never log in again
  • The person doesn't work on their genealogy full time like some of us do. They only log in once in a while so they aren't seeing their messages immediately
  • The person is a newbie genealogist just starting out. They may only have their tree sketched out on paper and haven't tried to construct a tree online or by using a genealogy software program. They may not know what a gedcom is
  • The person is adopted and has no clue about their biological family so they don't have a tree
  • The person has a close misattributed parentage issue and doesn't want to advertise it so they keep their tree private
  • The person is working off of mirror trees which must be kept private (A mirror tree is when you create a tree for a cousin match and then attach your DNA to it in hopes of discovering which line this cousin match is on or even the most recent common ancestor. This technique is used a lot by adoptees)
  • The person in control of the DNA is working for someone else and wants to keep their information private

So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation? You need to record what you do know about this person and his/her DNA as well as your attempts at contact. This is no different than what you would do for any DNA match. Most of the DNA websites have a notes section that you can use but some do not.

I handle it by recording this information in Legacy. It is easier for me to keep track of everything if it is all in one place. I can easily add the tester to my database as an unlinked individual (by their AKA if I need to) and I can add any known contact information. I can use events to record their DNA info (who they tested with, kit numbers if applicable etc.) I can also use events to record attempts of correspondence with them. I can still put these people in triangulation groups by using Hashtags. If I find the connection I can then add their ancestors that hook up with mine. These people are "invisible" in my file and  I use a temporary source of DNA Match - Lineage not Confirmed.  

I try not to get frustrated because that is non productive. Actively working with these matches reduces the frustration for me. If I get further information at some point it is easy for me to add it to what I already have. You can also view this as a teaching opportunity to help others understand DNA research.

For more tips on connecting with your DNA matches watch "Who are You? Identifying Your Mysterious DNA Matches" by Blaine Bettinger in the Legacy library.


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.

Legacy 101 - Privacy

Legacy 101 - Privacy

There are many ways to privatize things in Legacy. Privacy is a big issue so we are going to go over all the ways you can protect your information if you decide to share your information in a gedcom, a new Legacy file, webpages, reports and charts. We will start by learning all the ways you can privatize information in your file and then how you can privatize the different types of exports.

You can mark a person as private or as invisible. Please notice what the difference is between private and invisible as explained in the popup box.

Make a person private
(click image to enlarge)

You can mark a marriage as private.

Private marriages
(click image to enlarge)

You can mark the relationship to parents as private or invisible.

Private relationships
(click image to enlarge)

You can make single events private.

Private single events
(click image to enlarge)

You can make a particular event private globally (View > Master Lists > Event Definition.  Highlight the event you want to make private and then click Edit over on the right).

Private global events
(click image to enlarge)

You can mark Stories as private.

Private stories
(click image to enlarge)

Now a really nifty feature. You can use Privacy Brackets in any field. [[Everything insides these double square brackets is private]]. Most people use these for private notes but you can see here that I am use them in all kinds of places.

Privacy brackets in the suffix field
(click image to enlarge)
Privacy brackets on repositories
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Whether you are exporting to a gedcom, exporting to a new Legacy file, creating webpages, or creating reports the "Privacy Options" dialog box looks exactly the same. We will look at the one you will see in reports as an example. Open any report, click Report Options, and then you will see the Privacy Options button over on the right.

Report Options
(click image to enlarge)

There are two sections. The top section deals will living people and what you want done with them. The bottom section deals with all of the things you have marked private or invisible, or where you have used privacy brackets. The options are pretty self-explanatory but there is a Help button on this screen if you need more information.

Privacy Options
(click image to enlarge)

In Legacy Charting it looks a little different.

Privacy options in Charting
(click image to enlarge)

We need to talk a little bit about Living people. If you choose to suppress Living people you might get a few surprises. If you have people in your file that are marked as Living even though they are without question deceased they will not appear in your output. If you go to Options > Customize > Data Entry > Option 2.3 you will see where you can tell Legacy to automatically mark people as deceased when you enter them. You can adjust the numbers as needed.

Option 2.3
(click image to enlarge)

It is important to notice what this actually does. As you enter a new person, if you enter a death or burial date, a cause of death, or a birth or baptism date that was more than 120 years ago, that person will automatically be marked as deceased. 

Criteria for marking someone as deceased
(click image to enlarge)

But what about people that don't have this information entered? There is another option called Advanced Set Living. We affectionately call it "IntelliMurder."  This time Legacy is going to look at the surrounding people. For example, let's say you have John Doe in your file but you haven't entered birth or death information; however, he has a child that was born in 1776. IntelliMurder will kill John off for you.

(click image to enlarge)

You need to run IntelliMurder periodically. I just ran it in my personal file and it killed off one person. After it runs you can tell Legacy you want to see who was killed off. In my case it was William Seaman who married in 1828.

Results from IntelliMurder
(click image to enlarge)


Legacy gives you complete control over the things that you want to keep private in your file.

Other articles in the Legacy 101 series:

  1. Legacy 101 - How to Find Help
  2. Legacy 101 - The Different Views
  3. Legacy 101 - Entering Locations
  4. Legacy 101 - How to Enter a Person and His/Her Spouse
  5. Legacy 101 - How to Enter a Child and Parents
  6. Legacy 101 - Linking and Unlinking

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.