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Merge/Comparison Options



The Merge Options screen is reached by choosing Merge Duplicates from the Tools menu of the Ribbon bar and then choosing Find Duplicates from the dropdown menu.

When searching for individuals in your Family File that might be duplicates, (or between two family files), Legacy compares the following information by default (these settings can be changed by the user):

The last names must be exactly the same.
Individuals with blank surnames are not considered.
Given names must be exactly the same.
Birth dates must be the same (if there is a birth date).
Birth locations must be the same (if there is a location).
Both individuals must have compatible parents.  This means that either both set of parents have the same names, or one person has parents and the other does not, or one has a mother and the other has a father (or the other way around).

Using the above settings, Legacy finds most matching pairs of individuals in a Family File.  If these settings are acceptable, click the Continue button in the upper right corner to begin the duplicate search and merge process.  (Or the comparison of two family files, without merging.)

To print a report of the duplicates that will be found with the current settings, click the Print button near the upper right corner.  The Possible Duplicates report options window appears where you can preview or print the report.

Below is an explanation of each Merge Option setting and how it is used:

Normal Duplicate Search

Comparison of Last Names
Last names, (or surnames) can be compared either by exact spelling or by the way the names sound.   When using the Sounds Like option, standard Soundex codes are used.

Include Blank Surnames
If this option is selected, individuals with blank surnames will match each other.  This, combined with the given name comparison below, may find some duplicates that would otherwise be missed, but it will also find many pairs that are probably not duplicates.

Given Names
You can select how much of the given name field is compared for duplication.  For example, if the value is set to 5, Susan will match Susanna but Diane will not match Diana.  If set to 3, Don will match Donald and Dave will match David.  But be careful, Mark will match Marsha, Marshall and Marilee.  The fewer characters compared, results in more mismatches.

Include Blank Given Names
If you select this option, blank given names will match other blanks and any other given names.  This option, combined with matching surnames, can find some elusive matches, but be careful, many mismatches are usually found.

Check Birth/Christening Dates
By default, exact birth/christening dates result in a match.  You can specify the allowable year range by increasing the value.  The larger the spread, the lower the accuracy.

Include Blank Birth/Christening Dates
If you select this option, blank birth/christening dates will match other blanks and any other birth/christening date.  This option, combined with matching last names and given names, can find some elusive matches, but be careful, many mismatches are usually found.

Birth/Christening Locations
You can specify how many characters to compare for matches.  The lower the value, the more matches (and mismatches) will be found.

Include Blank Birth/Christening Locations
With this option selected, blank birth/christening locations will match with any other location, blank or not.

Check Death/Burial Dates
If you would like to insist on matching death/burial date entries, select this option.  

Include Blank Death/Burial Dates
Check this option if you want to have blank death/burial dates included in the comparisons.  A blank date will match any other date.

Death/Burial Location
You can specify how many characters to compare for matches.  The lower the value, the more matches (and mismatches) will be found.

Include Blank Death/Burial Locations
With this option selected, blank death/burial locations will match with any other location, blank or not.

Other Criteria to Take into Account

Compatible Gender
Insisting on compatible gender means that matches can only be found when two individuals have the same gender.  Keep in mind however, that you might have two people with the same information but one is marked as male and the other as female.  This can happen for some name where it is hard to tell if the person is male or female.  

Ancestral File Numbers
If you would like to always have matching Ancestral File numbers trigger a match, no matter what other information doesn't match, select this option.  Theoretically, any two people with the same AFN number are the same person.  (These numbers are only assigned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to names submitted to the Ancestral File collection.)

Reference Numbers
If you would like to always have matching reference numbers trigger a match, select this option.  Reference numbers can be assigned by anyone, so unless you are certain that they are unique, the value of this option is questionable.

Compatible Parents
Insisting on compatible parents means that matches are found when the parents of the two individuals being considered are not incompatible.  This means that they either both have parents that are named the same, or one has parents and the other doesn't, or one has one parent and one has the other.  If one individual has parents named Bob and Mary and the other has parents named Pablo and Maria, no match is considered unless this option is turned off.  When comparing the surnames of the parents, you can specify an exact letter-for-letter comparison or a sounds-like test.  You can also specify how many letters to compare if you are doing an exact spelling match.

Additional Options

A few other options are also available when doing the duplicate searches.  Clicking the Options button displays the Additional Merge Options screen.  See Additional Merge Options for more information.

Special Searches

Three special-case searches are provided by Legacy.  The first two processes only look at the Ancestral File Number or the User Reference Number when determining matching individuals.  No other information is used.  If you are not using either of these number fields, these special searches won't be of any use.  The third search is called IntelliShare:

IntelliShare
IntelliShare is a feature of Legacy that lets you more easily share information and research tasks with other people.  The end result is that each person within an family organization or group can quickly keep current with all the changes made by others in the group.  (See How to use IntelliShare.)

Note:  The settings for the Merge Options screen are saved in a file called Merge.usr in the [My Documents]\Legacy Family Tree\_AppData\Usr\ folder.

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