Watch Geoff Live: Using Legacy to Assemble a Family - free webinar by Geoff Rasmussen now online for limited time


The recording of today's webinar, "Watch Geoff Live: Using Legacy to Assemble a Family" by Geoff Rasmussen is now available to view for free for a limited time at 

Webinar Description

“Honey, I’ve got the divorce papers” didn’t come out of Geoff’s mouth how he intended when he showed his wife the package he received in the mail. It was a divorce case from 1879 which, although heartbreaking, began to unlock the identities of the children of Marsden and Jane Brown.

In this webinar, Legacy’s Geoff Rasmussen will begin to document and assemble the family using records he recently discovered (divorce papers, census records, obituaries, and marriage records). You are invited to watch live as he adds the information to his personal Legacy family file. In this live, unscripted session, Geoff will talk his way through setting up the source clipboard, adding custom events, utilizing the To Do List, stitching multiple pages into a combined digital file, and adding the new information he found. Viewers will learn data entry and analysis skills for most efficiently using Legacy Family Tree to assemble ancestral families.

View the Recording at

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 40 minute recording of "Watch Geoff Live: Using Legacy to Assemble a Family" 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.

CoverartdlLegacy Family Tree - Unlocked! 14.95

Anyone can use Legacy Family Tree. It is simple enough for the beginner and powerful enough for the experienced. Without this book, you will probably discover some of the more powerful Legacy tools on your own...eventually...but why wait? In Legacy Family Tree - Unlocked! Techniques, Tips and Step-by-Steps for Using Legacy Family Tree to Record Your Genealogy you will learn how to better utilize some of Legacy’s best features by shadowing the research process of professional genealogist and Legacy Family Tree developer, Geoff Rasmussen:
  • Shared Events
  • Sources, SourceWriter, and the Source Clipboard
  • To Do List
  • Custom Internet searches
  • Mapping
  • Chronology View
  • Soundex Calculator
  • Digital pictures and other media
  • Much more...

Click here to purchase for 14.95.

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Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • AHA! Analysis of Handwriting for Genealogical Research by Ron Arons. October 5.
  • Enough is Enough. Or Is It? by Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA. October 7. Hosted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists
  • Bringing Life to Our Ancestors: Manuscript Collections by Jeanne Bloom, CG. October 7. Hosted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
  • FAN + GPS + DNA: The Problem-Solver's Great Trifecta by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL. October 7. Hosted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
  • When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL. October 7. Hosted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
  • Adoption for the Forensic Genealogist by Michael S. Ramage, J.D., CG. October 7. Hosted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
  • Black Sheep Ancestors and Their Records by Ann Staley, CG, CGL. October 7. Hosted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
  • Time and Place - Using Genealogy's Cross-Hairs by Jim Beidler. October 12.
  • Finding Your Ancestors' German Hometown by Ursula Krause. October 14.
  • Educational Preparation for Certification: Many Paths to the Same Goal by Angela Packer McGhie, CG. October 18. Hosted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
  • Social History Websites That Bring Your Ancestor's Story to Life by Gena Philibert-Ortega. October 19.
  • Flip for Flickr - Share, Store and Save Your Family Photos by Maureen Taylor. October 26.
  • Analysis and Correlation - Two Keys to Sound Conclusions by Chris Staats. November 2.
  • Publishing a Genealogy E-Book by Thomas MacEntee. November 9.
  • Dating Family Photographs by Jane Neff Rollins. November 16.
  • Nature & Nurture - Family History for Adoptees by Janet Hovorka and Amy Slade. November 18.
  • Multi-Media Story Telling by Devin Ashby. November 30.
  • Becoming a Genealogy Detective by Sharon Atkins. December 7.
  • From the Heartland - Utilizing Online Resources in Midwest Research by Luana Darby. December 14.
  • Tracing Your European Ancestors by Julie Goucher. December 16.
  • An Introduction to BillionGraves by Garth Fitzner. December 21.

Click here to register.

Print the 2016 webinar brochure here.

See you online!

Learn Legacy this Friday in a free webinar by Geoff Rasmussen


“Honey, I’ve got the divorce papers” didn’t come out of Geoff’s mouth how he intended when he showed his wife the package he received in the mail. It was a divorce case from 1879 which, although heartbreaking, began to unlock the identities of the children of Marsden and Jane Brown.

In this webinar, Legacy’s Geoff Rasmussen will begin to document and assemble the family using records he recently discovered (divorce papers, census records, obituaries, and marriage records). You are invited to watch live as he adds the information to his personal Legacy family file. In this live, unscripted session, Geoff will talk his way through setting up the source clipboard, adding custom events, utilizing the To Do List, stitching multiple pages into a combined digital file, and adding the new information he found. Viewers will learn data entry and analysis skills for most efficiently using Legacy Family Tree to assemble ancestral families.


Join us and Geoff Rasmussen for the live webinar Friday, September 30, 2016 at 2pm 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. 

Download the syllabus

In preparation for the webinar, download the supplemental syllabus materials here.


Or register for multiple webinars at once by clicking here.

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Login to view your registration status for this webinar (available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers).

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Can't make it to the live event?

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

GeoffRasmussen-144x144Geoffrey D. Rasmussen is the father of four budding genealogists. He graduated with a degree in Genealogy and Family History from Brigham Young University and has served as director and vice-president of the Utah Genealogical Association. He is a dynamic genealogy speaker on all forms of genealogy technology, and as host of the Legacy Family Tree webinar series, has spoken virtually to nearly 100 different countries. He has authored books, videos, articles, and websites, and develops the Legacy Family Tree software program. On a personal note, Geoff enjoys playing the piano, organ, cello, basketball and bowling. His favorite places are cemeteries, the ocean, and hanging out with other genealogists. He met and proposed to his wife in a Family History Center.

He is the author of the recently-released, Kindred Voices: Listening for our Ancestors, and the popular books Legacy Family Tree, Unlocked!and Digital Imaging Essentials.

Add it to your Google Calendar

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Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Friday, September 30, 2016 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. Check at
  6. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  7. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  8. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Legacy Tip - entering the good and the bad

With today's discovery I experienced both ends of the genealogical excitement spectrum. I experienced the high end when I discovered Jane Goodhue in an 1879 newspaper - I had no idea she was still alive then! But when I read why the article was written, I felt extreme sadness for her.


Jane Goodhue was the first wife of my 3rd great-great uncle, Joshua Marsden Brown. I have many good memories researching his life, and thus I've developed a kind of genealogical bond with him. But I've always struggled to discover what happened to Jane. I last found her listed on the 1860 census, and then never again. Because I couldn't find her in the 1870, 1880, or other state census records, and since Joshua remarried in 1888, I figured she must have sometime between 1860 and 1880. Yet my in-depth searching of death, cemetery and other records came up empty.

After renewing my subscription this weekend, I began doing random searches for some of my favorite families and wow was I ever delighted to see 5 matches for "Marsden Brown" in Minnesota.


The "Minneapolis News" section of the July 3, 1879 edition of The Saint Paul Globe had an article about Marsden and his wife, "Nancy J. Brown"! Years ago I was ecstatic was I learned that Marsden had a first name (Joshua) and now I've learned the same of Jane. I also now know that she was alive as of about this date. But reading further put a damper on my excitement.


So Marsden - my Marsden - wasn't such a good guy. Yet while he was accused of cruel and inhuman treatment, habitual drunkenness, not supporting his family, and threatening to take her life - all terrible, terrible things - I struggle to know how to feel about him. No woman or family should ever be treated that way, but it makes me wonder what led to this. Did he recover? Did he change? What happened to her? Did she find someone new that loved and took care of her? Was she able to forgive him? How were their children affected? I guess these are all questions we begin to ask when we feel a connection with our ancestors.

Regardless of the emotions, the newspaper article had some very good new information about the family that I needed to document in Legacy. Speaking of documentation, here's how I set up the Master Source and the Source Details in case you're interested.

Master Source


Source Details


After adding the source to the source clipboard, I added a custom event so the lawsuit information would be included in both Marsden and Jane's timelines.


Here's the Event screen enlarged:


I then shared the event with Marsden by clicking on the Share button, and updated his "role" to "defendant". Now this event shows up in both of their event sections.


I also updated her name and her death date:


I also learned from an article on August 17, 1879 that she won the case: "in the case of Mary J. Brown vs. Marsden Brown - judgement for plaintiff". So now I have another name for Jane.

I next learned from the Minnesota Historical Society that they have the actual case files so I just placed a research order for them, and of course, added this to my To Do List in Legacy:


I'm really looking forward to seeing what is in the divorce case. Maybe it will help me answer some of my questions, and hopefully it will point me in a new direction to learn more about Mary Nancy Jane Goodhue Brown.

Legacy Tip - Who Is Missing an Obituary?

The reactions I got from showing this Legacy tip in a recent webinar made me feel like I was the Legacy King for a day. The comments just kept coming and coming, as if this was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's a tip I use to keep track of who has obituaries and who does not.

Below is a screenshot of my Descendant View. It begins with Asa Brown and shows two generations of his descendants. Notice that the far right column is one that you do not normally see in the Descendant View, but if you follow these steps to record an obituary, it will be simple to see which of Asa's descendants lack this type of a record.


As I demonstrated in this webinar (see minute 11:07 in the section) and in Legacy Unlocked!, obituaries can be added as an Event in the Individual's Information screen.


The "Edit Event" screen for Lorenzo Brown looks like this:


Because I entered the obituary as an event (I also added its citation to the appropriate pieces of data), it is possible for it to be displayed in the Descendant View. Here's how:

1) In the Descendant View, click on the Options button on the right (just below the Print button).

2) Then click on Customize Columns.

3) Next, click on the button with the three dots in the next available row.


4. Next, click on the Event... option and click the Select button 


5. Click on Obituary and click the Select button, then click Close.


The Obituary column will now appear in the Descendant View.


Now, between,, Chronicling America and more, you can get busy looking for the missing obituaries.

Additional Resources

Watch Geoff Live: Adding Online Records to Legacy webinar


Legacy QuickGuide: Obituaries in Genealogy by Cari A. Taplin

Obituaries in Genealogy

How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers by Lisa Louise Cooke


Legacy Tip - How to Cite an Online Death Certificate

I get lots of emails asking which SourceWriter template I would use to cite certain kinds of documents. Today I received one asking about citing an online death certificate. Since I have a few minutes before the end of my "official" work day, I thought I'd add my response to a new blog post here.

After locating Carrie Brown's death certificate in the Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 database at Ancestry, I downloaded the image, moved it to the appropriate folder on my hard drive, and renamed it. Here's what the folder looks like now:


Next, I set up Legacy's Source Clipboard with 1) the master source and 2) the source details.

To get started, I opened the Source Clipboard, clicked on the link for "Step 1", searched the Master Source List to see if I've previously created the master source for this collection, and then clicked on the Add button. Below is the specific source template I selected.


Then I filled in the fields as follows:


After clicking Save, I filled in the source details as follows:


And then I gazed at the Output Preview on the right and felt so happy that my citations were automatically crafted for me by Legacy AND that they adhere to the standards as set in Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained.


I then analyzed the data on the certificate and pasted the citation from the clipboard to the relevant pieces of data.

Of course, there's much more to the research process than just adding data and citations. But for the purposes of answering the question of which SourceWriter template would I use for an online death certificate, I hope this will lead you in the right direction.

If you want to see the research and data entry in action, check out my two webinar recordings:

Or if you want the research process and data entry in print, check out Legacy Family Tree - Unlocked!

New Legacy QuickTip Video - How to Share an Event

We have another great Legacy QuickTip Video for you today! Learn:

  • How to share an event
  • What the shared event icon looks like
  • How to view the updated Chronology View

This QuickTip was presented live during the after-webinar party of the recent Problem Solving with FANs webinar by Beth Foulk.

Click here for the video.


Click here for more Legacy QuickTip videos.

How to order a large copy of your family tree chart


This was the chart I created of my ancestors who came west via the Oregon Trail. I demonstrated how to make this as part of the after-webinar party the other day. If you missed the step-by-step process of how I created this in Legacy Family Tree, jump ahead to the "After-webinar party" in the Table of Contents in this webinar (Table of Contents is available for webinar subscribers).


This chart ended up being 24 inches wide by 12 inches tall, and some of you have asked me for a reminder of how to purchase this chart so it is printed on one continuous sheet of paper. Here's the steps:

In Legacy Charting, click on the Order Chart button.


Then, make any adjustments to the sizing of your chart, and then in the Order Options panel, select your paper type, size, and quantity. The exact costs are displayed so there's no guessing. Too expensive? Resize the chart a little bit and you'll be able to see the updated pricing in real time.


When you're ready, click the Purchase Chart button and fill in the information. The chart file is then sent to our chart printers, Family Chartmasters, for printing, and before you know it, the chart will arrive at your front door.


Tuesday's Tip - Determining Dates from Mentions in Newspaper Articles

  TT - Determining Dates


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

Determining Dates from Mentions in Newspaper Articles

Sometimes newspaper articles make reference to a date without actually stating the date. That can be frustrating when you need to enter an exact date into Legacy Family Tree. Here's a shortcut for finding the date. 

I am sitting here working on my file. I am entering a funeral card for Heinrich Gläntzer. He died on 06 Feb 1896. It says that he was buried at 4pm on Sunday.


So what date was Sunday?

After I entered his death date and with my cursor still in the death field, I clicked the calendar icon (looks like a calendar page with a 6 on it).


I can then see that the Sunday after 06 Feb 1896 was 09 Feb. Since I had my cursor in a field that had a date, when I clicked the calendar icon it went to that month with the date highlighted so I didn't have to navigate through the calendar.




You can use this trick for any dates you need to determine! If you don't have an event date such a death notice, you can use the newspaper publish date as your starting point.


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 checkout 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 is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.



How to create a 2016 birthday / anniversary calendar using Legacy Family Tree

With the new year approaching, why not resolve to be a better relative by remembering family birthdays and anniversaries?

Two features of Legacy Family Tree make this easy to do:

  • Legacy's birthday and anniversary reminders described here.
  • Legacy's Calendar Creator.

Legacy can create a birthday calendar, an anniversary calendar, or a combination of the two. There are options to include a cover picture, picture pages above each calendar month, and complete control over color, layout, shadows, fonts, page size, and more. The calendars can be blank or include the birthdates and anniversaries of the people already entered in your family file.

That's right! Because the information (birthdays and anniversaries) is already in your Legacy family file, Legacy will automatically add this to the calendar pages. With the who to include options, you can customize the calendar so only certain family lines are included. You even have the option to skip the anniversaries of divorced couples.

Get Started

To begin, make sure that you have installed Legacy Family Tree 8 Deluxe Edition available here. Then follow these steps:

  1. With Legacy open, click on the Reports tab, then the Other Reports button, then the Calendar Creator.
  2. Using the options on the six tabs, customize the calendar to your preferences.
  3. Print, and enjoy being the person in your family that never misses a birthday or anniversary!

Instead of including all 20,000+ individuals on my calendar, I selected to include "Only Tagged Living Individuals" (found on the Include tab). I previously "tagged" the descendants of my grandparents and my wife's parents so as to only include those closely related to me.


And wow, creating this calendar reminded me that come August 2015, I'll be turning 41. Hmmm....

How did I miss THIS the first time? and tips for using Legacy

How did I miss this the first time around?

I'll give myself a little leeway for overlooking it, for I was a beginning, inexperienced researcher at the time. But if I hadn't been careful with the rest of my research the results could have been disastrous.

Inspired by Mark Lowe's most recent webinar I decided to give the research of my 6th great-grandfather, John McCall, another shot. Knowing that researching backwards (from the end of the ancestor's life) is often good genealogical methodology, I opened up his Individual's Information screen in Legacy and focused on his will.


I clicked on the Will event and clicked the Edit button to view the will's transcription I had made years ago. I was looking specifically for the names of any friends, associates, or neighbors (otherwise referred to as the FAN club). Since John's origins have been difficult to trace, I would begin to study the lives of those around him. If I can learn where they came from, perhaps it would help me learn where John came from too.


In the transcription I noticed that there were several words that were represented with --- indicating to me that at the time I made the transcription I was unable to decipher the handwriting. I then noticed that the Media Gallery button was still black/white. In Legacy this is an indication that I've not yet linked a picture to the event.


Apparently I had not yet added the digital image of the will to this Will event so I browsed my digital filing system to see if I had scanned it yet. (Learn more about my digital filing system in Digital Imaging Essentials.)


Nope. So I went to my physical filing system and quickly located all of John's original documents. Thanks to the filing system I use I was able to find John's section in a few seconds. All of his documents are filed behind tab #7853. This corresponds to his Marriage Record Identification number that is shown in the lower right of Legacy. (To learn more about the filing system, click here.)


The photocopy of the microfilmed will was still there, but was of such poor quality that I really needed to see the original again. FamilySearch's Historical Record Collections appeared to have these records online now.


Pretty quickly I found John's will. Wow. All of this took just minutes. What a different experience this is today compared to when I originally looked for his will.


 And then I saw it. What I saw could make all the difference in solving a genealogy case. Here's the first line of John's will: 


Compare that with the first line of my transcription:

I John McCall of Washington County & State of Tennessee

Did you notice what was missing from my transcription? Senior. This 6-letter word is a big deal. It infers that there is more than one John McCall. While it usually means that this person had a son of the same name, it could also mean there were two John McCalls in town, and this was the elder of the two. Regardless, omitting that word from my transcription is kind of important. Thankfully I've already studied the entire community to identify all McCalls in the area and have learned there are only two Johns - the John who authored this will, and his son.

What does this teach us? First, while there is a place in our research for referring to abstracts or transcriptions, we should always try to consult the original record. Second, take another at your documents. I'm a better researcher today than I was back then. I'm going to see things today with fresh and experienced eyes. You might even have someone else take a look at your ancestor's documents - they might see something you've overlooked. There may be new clues in the records you already have.

More Evidence/Methodology Tips

Learn more genealogy methodology from genealogy's experts at We've got at least these 10 webinars in the library that will help you see your records with fresh, experienced eyes.