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Sharing Research Tasks in Legacy:  Using IntelliShare

by David Berdan President, Millennia Corp.

The popularity of the Internet and e-mail has simplified many aspects of genealogical research. Today it is easier than ever to search through hundreds of millions of records online and on numerous CD-ROMs in a matter of seconds to find your relatives. Many of these records include information on other people researching the same lines you are. You can quickly add hundreds or thousands of new ancestors to your family file. Files can be e-mails back and forth in minutes. But with this great boon to research comes the challenge of coordinating your efforts with others. Many people have formed family organizations and have assigned different lines to various members of the groups. How does everyone stay in sync?

Legacy has a feature called IntelliShare that makes it easy for groups of two or more people to coordinate their works and stay caught up on each other's changes.

Here is how IntelliShare works:

Form a research group of two or more people. (Each must be using Legacy.) One person in the group is designated as the "Keeper of the Records" (Keeper for short). This person keeps the master Family File. Starting with version 5.0, Legacy automatically creates a serial number, called an IntelliShare Value, that uniquely identifies each individual. (This number is not visible to users.)  The Keeper now sends a copy of the Family File to all the other people participating in the group. (The copy must be sent as a Legacy family file or a backup copy. A GEDCOM file will not work.)*

Any or all members of the group can make changes to existing records, delete or unlink records, or add new records to the Family File. The Keeper can also make changes and additions to the master file. The invisible IntelliShare numbers only update for records that are edited. The IntelliShare numbers for all other records will remain unchanged.

At an agreed upon interval, all members of the group return a copy of the Family File to the Keeper for merging and reconciliation.

The Keeper then follows this procedure:

Import all copies of the Family File into the master copy (after making a backup of course).

Press the Merge button and choose Find Duplicates.

From the Merge Options window, click on the Special Searches tab and choose the IntelliShare option.

Press the Continue button in the upper right corner of the Merge Options window. Legacy will search for all records with matching IntelliShare values and then automatically merge those that have exactly the same value. At the end of this process Legacy will display the records where changes have been made by one or more persons. Legacy also looks at all surrounding links when deciding to merge. If the parents, spouses or children are different in any way, the two individuals will be displayed along with a message describing the situation. All these messages are also saved in a file called MERGE.LOG. Legacy offers to display this file at the end of the merge process.

The only records the Keeper has to look at and merge together are the ones that have been changed by someone in the group.

At the end of the merge process, a list of any newly added individuals is displayed.

After the merge is complete, the Keeper should send a new copy of the Family File back to the other group members for more changes and additions.

Legacy's IntelliShare greatly reduces the drudgery involved when going through the typical match-merge process needed to combine two or more files.

* Previous to Legacy 5.0, the first step was for the Keeper to mark all the records in the Master Family File with a serial number that uniquely identifies each individual. This was done by pressing the Merge picture button and choosing the IntelliShare option, then selecting the Set IntelliShare Values on Every Individual in the Family File option and pressing the Set IntelliShare Values button. Because confusion among some users, this option was removed and beginning with Legacy 5.0 the program now automatically generates IntelliShare numbers when new records are created.

David Berdan is a long-time computer genealogist and is one of the founders of Millennia Corporation, the developers of Legacy. He can be reached at dberdan@LegacyFamilyTree.com


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