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How to Find and Consolidate Duplicate Family Files

Author: Reference Number: AA-00921 Views: 23790 Created: 2014-07-24 10:45 AM Last Updated: 2019-12-10 06:02 AM 100 Rating/ 1 Voters

How to Find and Consolidate Duplicate Family Files

A Legacy user occasionally may conclude that their program is deleting people from their family file. But in actuality, the most common reason for this loss of individuals is that the Legacy user is looking in the wrong file. For example, the user may have a file called brown.fdb with 2,010 individuals in the C:\Legacy\Data folder and have another brown.fdb file with 2,035 individuals in their Documents folder under Legacy Family Tree\Data and another brown.fdb file with 2,005 individuals in a Temp folder. Then without realizing it, they open a file with fewer people in it.

So, how do you fix this problem? There are several steps you need to take.

I. Find all of the family files on your computer:

1. Start Legacy 8 and click on File and select Open File. The Open File windows will open.


2. You can either:

Select the file using the Windows dialog box - This option lets you choose the drive, folder, and file name to open. This is a good choice if you know where your family file is and how to get to it.

Have Legacy create a list of files to choose from - Select this option to have Legacy collect and display a list of all the appropriate files from all the drives on your computer. This is the best choice if you don't know where or how to find your family file.

3. Highlight your family file and click the Select button.

If you have added new family files, deleted family files or renamed family files since the last time you opened this list, click the Refresh List button (if you are not sure, just go ahead and click it).

4. Have a pencil and paper handy so that you can jot down the complete path and file name of all of the files with the same name.

II. Find out how many people are in each of the family files.

1. Open each of the family files in question. The number of individuals and families can be found by checking the Statistics box on the Legacy Home tab.

2. Next rename the family file so it shows the number of people in it. For example, if the family file was called Brown.fdb and contains 2,010 individuals, rename it Brown2010.fdb. (To rename a family file, click on File and select Rename Family File.)

3. Open the next family file, then check the count, and rename it, for example Brown2035.fdb.

4. Proceed until you have examined all the family files and renamed them to show the number of individuals contained.

III. Use the file with the most individuals and add only the missing people to it.

1. Open the family file with the most individuals and designate this as your new "master" family file.

2. Use Split Screen View to open one of the other files side by side with your master family file. (Click on View and select Split Screen View. A second Family/Pedigree View appears and is tiled on the screen next to the existing view. A box appears asking if you want to open a different family file. To open a Family/Pedigree View of a different family file click Yes, and select the name of the second family file you want to examine.)

3. Copy any individuals that might be missing in the master family file from the other file. Please see the article "Split screen View: How to Copy Between Two Family Files" at
for directions. (Caution: Be sure to copy only the individuals or families that are missing. If you copy everyone in the file or the entire family line, you will end up copying hundreds or thousands duplicate people which will make a mess of your master file and will create hours of work to merge the unnecessary duplicates. Again, copy only the missing individuals or families.)

3. Merge any duplicate people. Click the Merge button on the toolbar and select Find Duplicates. The the prompts that the screens give you and if you have questions, click the Help button.

4. Repeat this process with the each of the family files.

5. When satisfied that your master family file is complete, the other copies of your family file should be backed up onto a CD or DVD and their originals deleted from your hard drive to avoid future confusion.

IV. Use the your new master family file.

1. You can set Legacy to always open with your master file. Click on Options on the menu bar and select Customize and click the General tab. Select the option: Always Open This File (To select or change the filename, click the Down button).

2. Keep in mind that when you are finished adding or editing information in Legacy, and have clicked Save, you have saved your entire family file. You should not click on File and then click Save As when you exit the program. If you do click on File and select Save As you will be creating a duplicate of your family file with either a new name, or with the same name but in a new location. In fact, this is the leading cause of duplicate families files on a hard drive. (Of course, you can use Save As to create an exact duplicate of your family file on a flash drive/memory stick or a CD/DVD if you wish to send it to another person or use it to transfer your family file to another computer.)

3. If you want to backup your family file, please use Legacy's backup function and be sure the backup copy is created on a separate drive or disk. Using Save File As to backup is a bad habit that leads to confusion and massive headaches. Please see the article "How to Backup a Family File and/or Media Files in Legacy 8.0" at

V. But what if the family file with the most individuals is missing some of the people or families that are in one of the smaller files?

Legacy's Intellishare feature is ideal for a single user who wants to keep family files in sync on two or more computers that he/she owns. (Think of the other computers as other users.) It's also ideal for a single user who needs to consolidate nearly identical files that come from a common, original file. Please see the article Using IntelliShare to share research tasks in Legacy for the details.