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Importing a GEDCOM File

   To import a GEDCOM file into Legacy, choose Import From / GEDCOM File from the File tab on the Ribbon bar. The File dialog box opens where you then select the GEDCOM file you want to import.  After selecting the file, Legacy displays the Import a GEDCOM File window.  If you want to add the information from the GEDCOM file to your existing family file, select the Add the GEDCOM information to the EXISTING Family File option. If you want to create a new family file to contain the GEDCOM information, select the Create a NEW Family File and add the GEDCOM information to it (recommended) option.  Then click Proceed.

If you are adding to your existing Family file, Legacy prompts you to make a backup copy of it before the import is done.  This is a wise practice and is recommended.  If you are creating a new Family file, you are prompted for a new file name.

Legacy analyzes the GEDCOM file to make sure it is valid and recognizable.  This analysis pass also shows you how many individuals and families are contained in the file.  If Legacy finds information that it does not know what to do with, a message is displayed.  You can then tell Legacy where to put the information.  The submitter's name, address, and comments are also displayed along with the name of the program that created the file.  If there is no compiler information in the family file you are importing into, a button will appear to the left of the incoming compiler information: Import Compiler Information.  You can click this button to import the incoming information into the compiler information of the family file.  (If there is already compiler information in the family file, this option button is not shown.)

After the analysis phase, click Start the Import.  Legacy reads the information from the GEDCOM file and places it in the appropriate family file.  Anything that is not recognized is placed in an error file so you can see it and decide what to do.

Note:  Another easy way to import a GEDCOM file is to simply drag and drop it onto the Legacy icon which is on your desktop. When Legacy is closed, this automatically launches the program and starts the import process. This also works with PAF and Legacy files.

Character Set
Legacy automatically handles the import of various character sets including ANSI, ANSEL, and UTF-8. 

Record Numbering
Most GEDCOM files are encoded with the record identification numbers (RINs) that were used in the exporting program that created them.  Often users come to identify particular individuals within their files as much with this number as with their names.  If you are importing into a new, empty family file, these numbers can be kept.  As an alternative, you can have the incoming records renumbered.  If renumbering, you can select the beginning number.  As an example let's say you have 2,582 individuals in your current family file and are about to import a new batch.  You might want to start numbering the new individuals at 3000, later making it easy to see which people were imported.  Of course, if you select a starting number that is already being used in the current file, Legacy will have to jump up to a number higher than the current batch. 

Import Filters
  • Check for Valid Temple Names during this import -  If you are using the LDS options in Legacy, this option checks for valid temple names and abbreviations during the import.
  • Check for Valid Date Formats during this import - Legacy uses consistent, logical formatting rules when it comes to dates.  Other programs allow free-form dates that can include unrelated text, making the dates unusable for sorting and date arithmetic.  During the import process, Legacy checks each date for a proper format and presents any unrecognized dates for you to correct or accept. If you would like to accept all dates, regardless of their format, uncheck this option.  (Using the search engine in Legacy, you can produce a list showing the names and record numbers of all individuals who have unrecognized dates.  This list lets you quickly jump to each individual and make corrections later.) 
  • The Dates in the GEDCOM file are in English -  The dates in almost all GEDCOM files are in English, even if the GEDCOM files were produced by programs from non-English speaking countries.  This is the default standard.  If, however, you find that the dates are not in English, uncheck this option.  This would be important, for example, if you had a GEDCOM file with abbreviated Finnish dates.  The abbreviation for November in Finnish is Mar.  If Legacy thought that the dates were being imported in English, all the November dates would be recognized as March.  Unchecking this options tells Legacy to analyze the dates in the currently selected language instead of English.
  • Put Unrecognized Items into Notes Field - This option puts any unrecognized information into the Notes of the individual being read at the time.  For example, a line such as "OCCUP  Bricklayer" would be put into the Notes because OCCUP it is not a standard GEDCOM tag.  (You can also re-map unrecognized tags to standard tags before you start the import.)
  • Re-wordwrap the Contents of All Notes Fields - If the notes you are importing have hard carriage returns at the end of each line, such as notes from PAF 2.31 (or PAF 3.0 notes imported from PAF 2.31), you can have them reformatted into continuous lines by choosing this option.  Paragraphs breaks formed by two consecutive carriage returns are left alone.
  • Format Names and Places - Formats all incoming names and places to the format currently set in the Customize section.  These formatting options include putting initial capital letters on given names, putting initial caps or upper casing on surnames, and formatting location names so there is a space after each comma.
  • Show Combine Options When Event Definitions or Locations are Different - With this option selected, if an incoming event definition or location definition is different from the current family file, the Combine Event Definition or Combine Master Locations screens are shown so that you can merge them together.

    The AutoSource feature of Legacy lets you automatically assign a master source to each incoming individual when you are doing an import.  This is often very useful as documentation of where you received the information and is much easier to do and use than making an entry in the Note field.

    When you are about to import a Legacy, GEDCOM, or PAF file, you can select a master source to cite for each person by clicking AutoSource on the Import window.

    (You can also attach a master source to all records that you export to a GEDCOM file.  See Exporting GEDCOM Files for more information.)

    AutoSource Reminder
    If you forget to set an AutoSource when importing a file, Legacy asks if you would like to do so.  (This can be turned off.)  When the AutoSource Reminder window opens:

    Click Select a Master Source to display the Master Source List where you can select a source to cite (or you can Add a new source and then cite it), or click Don't Assign a Source to tell Legacy to skip the source assignment during this import.

    You can also suppress certain information while importing a GEDCOM file.  For example, if you are not interested in address information, you can simply skip it during the import process.  To customize the import information click Customize.  (See GEDCOM Items to Import..)

    Weird GEDCOM files that don't read correctly
    Occasionally, but not very often, you may run into a GEDCOM file that doesn't seem to read in properly.  This can happen if the file contains non-standard line breaks or embedded end-of-file characters in the middle of the text.  (Normal text lines end with a carriage return/linefeed combination, but sometimes a program will only put out a linefeed character.)  Legacy most often finds these characters by looking at a chunk of the beginning and end of the GEDCOM file and therefore switches into a special binary reading mode to manually handle them.  Sometimes the non-standard characters don't occur until the middle of the file after Legacy has already committed to reading it normally.

    If you find, after Legacy analyzes the file, that there are fewer individuals and marriages in the file than you were expecting (oftentimes zero), you can follow this procedure:
  • Right-click on the Start the Import button.  A popup message appears asking: Re-analyze this file using special binary method? 
  • Click Yes.  The GEDCOM file will then be re-analyzed and the counts should then be correct.
  • Click Start the Import (left-click) to import the file.

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