What are Legacy NFS sources on FamilySearch?

What are Legacy NFS Sources on FamilySearch

When working FamilySearch, do you ever come across extracted Legacy NFS sources and the Personal Pages of your ancestors? Do you wish you knew what to do with them?

If you thought the IGI sources were confusing, Legacy Sources are worse.

What are the Legacy NFS sources?

FamilySearch Family Tree is a compilation database that launched in 2012 for the public. Its predecessor was New Family Search. When data from New FamilySearch was migrated to the Family Tree we use today, the engineers preserved contributions to New Family Search in the form of  “Legacy NFS Sources.” The NFS stands for New FamilySearch, which is really old FamilySearch now but I digress.

Are Legacy NFS sources useful? I personally haven’t found the  Legacy NFS sources to have much value. Employees of FamilySearch have said, if that’s the case – delete them.

If however, a Legacy NFS sources have clues to records, then seek out the referenced documents. Genealogists, who wish to have solid evidence for their conclusions, prefer original records rather than unverified clues. Once you find a document that the Legacy NFS source references, delete the NFS source from the Person Page on FamilySearch.

I know. I know. That sounds scary, right? No. It’s not. It’s eliminating distracting information from the genealogical evidence you have for an ancestor.

Let’s examine two Legacy Sources for G Winfield Underwood and determine whether we should keep or delete the source.

Delete these Legacy NFS Sources on FamilySearch

The first one tells me the information was in a GEDCOM. GEDCOM files are not sources. They are user-submitted files before FamilySearch stopped accepting the upload of these files. You have no idea who that someone is, how long ago the GEDCOM was created and whether it’s the current version of the research on this relative.

Stick with following original records rather than someone’s tree. In this case, Embrace the delete button. Remove these from your Source page immediately.

More Legacy NFS sources to delete on FamilySearch

This second type of source provides no useful information that is not on the tree right now. Where was the information about the death published? What was the published information based on? You have no idea. Trash these sources.

Explore the clues in this Legacy NFS source then delete

The second one suggestions it is based on a government record. Since the source references a death, one might be assumed the source was a death record. If that’s the case, tracked down Winfield’s death record. Attach that record as a source on Winfield’s Person Page and delete this entry.

Just so you know, the original record for Winfield’s death does not include the first name, Gaddie. This demonstrates the fact that these Legacy NFS sources may contain errors. Therefore, rely on original records wherever possible.

Sure, these Legacy NFS Sources have clues, but it’s best to seek out better sources.


There are some Legacy NFS sources that define a number of great original sources, especially in early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. What then?

Well then, you need to review the records and make a decision on whether to keep them or remove them. Again, I’m not a fan of these sources, but someone could make the case to keep more robust content in place. But do the above examples have robust content? Nope. Not at all. That’s the filter you should use when encountering Legacy NFS Sources.

What should you do about Legacy NFS sources?

In many to most cases, delete the sources from your relative’s Personal Page after you determine there is no useful information contributed to the body of evidence or find the documentation upon which the sources are based. Happy deleting!!!

This post is part of the Research Over My Shoulder video series. 
To watch this video in full, click on THIS LINK
FamilySearch has a unique source attached to your ancestors on the Family Tree. What are Legacy NFS Sources and what should you do about them? #familysearch #genealogy #familyhistory
Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

2 thoughts on “What are Legacy NFS sources on FamilySearch?

  1. I am finding a few like this:
    Individual or family possessions: Family genealogies: male
    Individual or family possessions: Family genealogies: birth: about 1814; Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States
    Individual or family possessions: Family genealogies: death: 11 February 1911; Cobb, Georgia, United States

    Is there any way to trace what “family genealogies” the data came from? Are those trees on Ancestry.Com now maybe?

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