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Detail Information on Citing Sources - Basic Source System

When doing genealogy work, you should keep track of each piece of information you collect and also where you found it. Your records should be detailed enough so that any other person in the future could find the same information and possibly expand on it.

As you add individuals and families to the Family File, you can either document the sources of the information as you go or you can return later and add the documentation. Of course, by putting things off you tend to forget about them, so it is strongly suggested that you resist the urge to save time and go ahead with documenting your sources as you initially enter the names.

Assigned Sources Form

When you press the Sources button from the Individual Information, the Assigned Sources window appears. This form shows all the sources that have been assigned to the various pieces of information for the current individual. This includes an Unassigned source, which applies to the individual as a whole, and specific source assignments that have been made to each event for the individual. Also included are any sources assigned to any marriages for the current person. (When you enter the Assigned Sources for the first time all the events are Unassigned until source information is selected from either the Master Source List or by adding a new source.)

As you scroll up and down in the list, the full information of each master source and its individual detail is displayed in the bottom half of the window on the tabs labeled Source Information, Publ. Facts, Text, Detail and Output.

Adding A Source From The Master Source List

All main source information is kept in the Master Source List. Often a single source will contain many pieces of information that apply to many different people. Rather than record all the information for a source location for each fact that it contains, Legacy just points each fact to its source in the master list and lets you record specific details about it, like the page numbers, microfilm item, etc.

To make a link between the piece of information you are documenting and a source in the master list, place the cursor on the desired event by clicking anywhere on the line in the grid and then press Add Source from Master List for xxx Event.... The Master Source List window appears containing all the sources currently defined for this Family File. To select a particular source, highlight the line and press Select, or double-click the line. You are then prompted for the Detail information that applies to the current person. This is usually the page number where the information was found within the source record. It may also include an item number of a microfilm roll or a page and line number of a census record. After filling in the Detail, (which can be left blank), you are returned to the Assigned Sources window with the citation in the proper place.

Adding A New Source

To add an entirely new source, one that is not in the Master Source List yet, press Add a NEW Source for xxx Event. The Add Master Source Definition window appears. Fill in the new source information fields and press Save. The new source is then added to the master source list. You are then prompted for the Detail information that applies to the current person. This is usually the page number where the information was found within the source record.

Source Detail

Sources recorded in the Master Source List are general locations and do not contain specific page numbers or item numbers. These are recorded in the Source Detail that is associated with each source citation.

Editing the Source Detail

To make changes to the source detail information, place the cursor on the desired line and press Edit Detail. The Source Detail window appears where you can specify the exact location within a source where the information was found. This is usually a page, page range, item number, plot number, etc.

Editing A Source Citation

Once in a while you might find that you need to change a master source entry because of a typing error or because of misinformation. To change an entry, highlight the line and press Edit Source. The Edit Master Source Definition window appears where you can make changes. When you save the changes, Legacy informs you that you have changed a master source and asks if you would like to "1. Apply the changes to all references to the original Master Source" or "2. Create a new Master Source from the changes for this Event." Indicate your choice by pressing the corresponding button.

Removing A Source Citation

You can remove a source citation from any event in the list by placing the cursor on the source line you want to erase, and pressing Remove.

Zooming the Grid

If you would like to have the type in the grid list made larger or smaller, press Zoom. The Grid Font Size window appears where you can select a different type size. When you return, the list will redisplay in the new size.

Using the Source Clipboard

The Source Clipboard is a feature in Legacy that can tremendously increase the efficiency with which you document the sources of the information you enter into your Family File.

Source Details

A particular source of information may be cited hundreds of times within a Family File. You might find a book or bible that contains hundreds of family members. The location of each piece of information for each individual should be recorded. Rather than record the entire source description hundreds (or thousands) of times, taking up huge amounts of storage space, it is much more efficient to enter a general source description once, point to it in the master list and record just the unique information for each piece's place within that source.

The Source Detail window is where you enter information about a source that indicates where in a specific source the cited information was found. This is usually a page number or range of page numbers. It can also include the item number of a microfilm roll, a line number entry, etc.

Surety Level: While specifying the source detail, you can also indicate the Surety Level of the information. This number, from zero to four, shows how sure you are of the information.

0 indicates that you have not yet made up your mind about how convincing this source of information is.

1 indicates that there is a little evidence to support this fact but it is not too convincing.

2 indicates that this is probably a true fact. You don't have any reason to doubt it but there is no other evidence that backs it up.

3 indicates that this is almost certainly a reliable source with factual information.

4 indicates that you are as sure as you can be about this piece of information. There are multiple sources supporting this fact, or you know someone who was there, or you were there yourself. You are convinced that it is true.

Defining or Editing a Master Source

Source Name

Enter a name for the master source record. This name will be used in the Master Source List whenever it is displayed. The source name is generally an abbreviation of the source title. For example, if you are working from a book called "Gilbert Radcliff Johnson of Wilderberry County, South Dakota and all Known Descendants Through 1945", you might want to name the source something like "G.R. Johnson Descendants."

Source Type

Specify the type of source the information is coming from. Legacy starts with a pre-defined list including Bible, Book, Census/Tax, Church, Court, Interview, Journal, Land, Letter, Military, Newspaper, Periodical, Personal, Vital and Other. You can select one of these by pressing the down arrow to the right of the text box and clicking on the desired type or by typing it manually. You can also add new types by simply typing them.

Source Description

In this field you can describe the source from which information was obtained. If the source is from a larger collection or series, this should be noted. For example, Volume 3 in a series of 12 newsletters produced in 1978 by Wilma E. Jones.


Enter the person, agency or entity who created the source record. In the case of a published source, this could include the author, compiler, editor or transcriber. For an unpublished work, this may be an individual, a government agency, private or church organization, etc.

Publication Facts

Enter where and when the source record was created. For a published work, this could include the city of publication, name of the publisher and year of publication. New York, MyHeritage Ltd. Publishing Co., 1967. For an unpublished source, it would include the date and place the record was created. For example, the city and state where the writer of a letter resides, or the place of residence of a person making a pension declaration.

Source Assistant

Legacy can help you enter and format the publication facts for many of the source types you will be using. To invoke the Source Assistant, press the Assistant... button to the right of the Publication Facts field.


A word-for-word copy of any description contained in the source. Don't enter opinions about the source by you or the compiler. This should only include "what the original record keeper said" as opposed to any interpretations.

Source Comments

You can record notes for each master source you enter. This is a good way to document how you found a particular source and other interesting and important information about it. To write a note, click on the Comments tab.

Clearing the Fields

If you want to clear all the source fields and start again, press the Clear button.

Saving the Source Citation

To save the source, press Save.

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