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Legacy Tip: Organizing Sources

The following question was recently asked in the online Legacy User Group:

I want to use a Master Source that I've already created, but I can't find it unless I read through all 1300+ sources. Is there any way I can search the Master Source [List] using a keyword?

This can be quite simple to do if you understand the difference between the Source List Name and the Title. These two fields are part of the master source.

Whatever is entered in the Source List Name will be shown in the Master Source List. The Master Source List is sorted alphabetically by this Source List Name. Therefore, some Legacy users will enter text at the beginning of the Source List Name to efficiently sort their list. Examples:

Census - 1850 - Pennsylvania
Census - 1860 - Pennsylvania
Census - 1870 - Pennsylvania

These census "phrases" can be added to the Source List Name, preceding the official name of the source. Now, in your Master Source List, all census records are grouped together, thus making it very easy to locate the source.

Another example:

Pennsylvania - 1850 - Census
Pennsylvania - 1860 - Census
Pennsylvania - 1870 - Census

Using this method, all Pennsylvania sources are grouped together. Within this locality, the sources are sorted by year, then by record group.

Both methods help to arrange the master source list to help you locate them quicker, and it encourages consistency in data entry. It's easy to forget how you last typed in a census record. You may have typed the same record in various formats:

1850 Pennsylvania Census
Pennsylvania 1850 Census
Census - 1850 Pennsylvania

Utilize the sorting capabilities of the Source List Name and be consistent in your data entry.

Finally, the Title field of the master source is the official title of the source. This is the source that will print in your citations. So, utilize the Source List Name to help sort your list, but use the Title field for the official title.

Legacy's Ultimate Guide to Sources

While there is not one method that will work for everyone, the training video/CD entitled Legacy's Ultimate Guide to Sources discusses these techniques in great depth.

Watch a preview here.

Purchase here.


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Re. the December post "Organizing Sources", I usually keep the Source List Name and the Source Title the same and utilize the Detail extensively. Ex:
1910 Fed Census
1920 Fed Census
using the Detail for the city, county, state & page or image #.
Same with documents:
Birth Certificate
Death Certificate
Marriage Certificate
using the Detail for the name.
This keeps the number of sources to a minimum, but still prints everything on reports and group sheets. Maybe not for everyone, but it works great for me.

Another way to locate a source after you've forgotten what you called it is to use the "Search & Replace " function for a word in a source field. You don't actually have to replace anything, but it will show you the actual name.

Another is to go to someone for whom you used the same source if you know of one.

(As you can guess I forgot source names a lot when I started out.)

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