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To Import a GEDCOM File into Legacy

From the File menu, choose Import From / GEDCOM File...

Select the name of the GEDCOM file you want to import.

Choose the OK button.

Decide if you want to import the GEDCOM file into the current Family File or into a new Family File and choose the appropriate button. If you choose to create a new Family File, Legacy prompts you for a file name before proceeding. Importing into a new file also allows Legacy to use the same ID numbers that were assigned by the program that created the GEDCOM file. If you import into a Family File with existing individuals, Legacy may not be able to retain the incoming ID numbers because they might already be in use.

Select the Import Options you want to use.

Press Start Import.

When the import is complete, Legacy asks if you would like to go through the Merge process. This procedure compares all the individuals in the Family File to see if any of them are really the same person. This can easily happen when you import additional names into your Family File. If you would like to go through the Merge process, press the Yes button.


Legacy now reads through the GEDCOM file, analyzing it for errors and unrecognized information tags. A count of the incoming individuals and families is also made. The compiler name, address and comments are also displayed along with the name of the program that created the file.

If unrecognized information is found, Legacy offers to display it. You can map non-standard GEDCOM tags into Legacy fields if desired.

Import Filters

Change underlines to spaces

Some other programs force you to use underlines instead of spaces in name fields. Checking this box tells Legacy to replace the underline characters with spaces.

Put unrecognized items into Notes

Check this box to have Legacy put 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 it is not a standard GEDCOM tag. (You can also re-map unrecognized tags to standard tags before you start the import.)

Extract !Sources from Notes

Users of Personal Ancestral File store source documentation in the regular Note field for an individual. Sources are recognized by a leading exclamation mark (!). Code words right after the exclamation mark denote the object of the source. These include BIRTH:, CHRISTENING:, DEATH:, BURIAL:, MARRIAGE: and many more. Legacy recognizes the common codes and can extract them from the note field and store them in their proper place in the Master Source List connected to each individual record. (When you export a GEDCOM file to a PAF destination, Legacy puts the sources back into the notes fields with the appropriate codes.) If you would like to turn off the source extraction from the notes, uncheck this option. (But why would you want to...)

Try to keep original ID numbers

Most GEDCOM files are encoded with the record 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. Legacy looks for and tries to retain these numbers whenever possible. (About the only reason they can't be used is if there aren't any in the GEDCOM file, or if you are importing into a Family File that already uses some of the record numbers.) If this option is unchecked, Legacy will still try to use the same ID numbers, but if it can't, it won't bother telling you about it.

Check for Valid Date Formats during this import

Legacy uses consistent, logical formatting rules when it comes to dates. Other program 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 that have unrecognized dates. Using this list you can quickly jump to each individual and make corrections later.)

Put copy of Invalid Dates into the Notes field

Imported dates from GEDCOM files produced by other programs may contain important information besides the actual date. For example, a death date may come in as 6 Jun 1792 died young or 12 Jan 1654 pneumonia. The additional information at the end of the date is valuable and you will want to keep track of it. If you have turned off date validation during the import, you can at least have a copy of the invalid date, and whatever other data they contain, placed into the individual's Note field. In this way you can retain the information even if you go back and correct the date fields to acceptable formats.

Format Names and Places

When importing new records from a different Family File, you can have all the names and places formatted to the current format settings. This includes upper casing, initial caps or leaving alone surnames, initial caps on given names, and initial caps on locations.


As you import new individuals into your Family File, you can assign a source to them. This is a good way to keep track of where the imported individuals came from.


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 press Customize...

Click here for Further Information on importing into Legacy.

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