Now you can dig deep into your family history and organize your lineage with RootsMagic, our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award winner. This genealogy software has recently been updated entirely and has much improved over previous versions. We are happy to report that the new interface is much easier to use and you can quickly move through the application and add new information from just about every screen.
This genealogy software is highly compatible and portable. It can import PAF type files to and from FamilySearch. In terms of portability it can run directly from a flash drive with RootsMagic To-Go. You can also perform web searches right through the application without having to copy and paste names and dates; this software will pull the data for you.
This software functions like a database, and it can store and organize a large volume of information and small details such as marriage dates, health information, burial dates, occupations and religion. All in all it has 60 pre-defined fact categories, or you can add your own. Additionally, photographs, sound clips and video can be attached to any person, family, place, source or event. This genealogy software can do just about everything our higher-ranked products can; however, its interface still does not look quite up-to-date, and it has less multi-media integration than other products.
As mentioned, RootsMagic has gone through a major update. Their interface is much improved, and they offer a high level of compatibility, including being FamilySearch certified. This genealogy software can import from Family Tree Maker, PAF files, Family Origins, Legacy and LDS programs. It also fully supports GEDCOM 5.5 for exchanging data with other applications. GEDCOM stands for Genealogical Data Communication and is the protocol used for exchanging genealogical data between different genealogy applications.
When working with a large volume of detailed information, organization and search tools are extremely important. With RootsMagic genealogy software you can easily work with more than one database of information at once. You can even drag and drop people between databases. When new people are moved into a different database, the family links are automatically created and you can store and search by alternate names. Searches can be performed by name, record number, date, place, note or other field. There is also a search and replace for quick entry changes.
This genealogy software has just about all of the data entry, sourcing and management tools we were looking for. It offers numerous sourcing tools, including nearly 400 SourceWizard templates, and source documentation can be added to any person, fact or family. Sources can be copied, memorized, merged and listed, and you can apply more than one source to one entry. You can also create your own source templates.
Though other products may offer multimedia elements to make the interface more attractive, RootsMagic has good tools for organizing media relative to an entry. This genealogy software can store images, sound clips, video and documents such as Word or PDF files. You can also configure RootsMagic to upload scanned items directly from your scanner. Basic image editing function such as adjusting sharpness, brightness, contrast and orientation can be performed without using a separate photo editor.
We found RootsMagic fairly easy to use genealogy software and we did not have to consult the help files to figure out how to perform basic actions such as adding people or attaching media files to an entry. It is simple to switch between views, and many types of information can be clicked on to find relating information, which really speeds up the process of moving through a family line. Though we found the interfaces of some other genealogy applications more visually appealing, we still thought this software was easy to use and well organized.
For many families and pedigree researchers, the sharing of information is one of the most important aspects of genealogy software. Many people’s years of research culminates into a printed book or a series of books that is shared with the family and relevant libraries. For this reason, many genealogy applications facilitate the process of creating printed documents. RootsMagic supports customized headers, footers, margins and fonts, and books can easily be created. It has a tool called RootsMagic Publisher that can create books with narrative, notes, charts, images, source information, a bibliography, index pages, a table of contents and more. The genealogy software can also be used to create six types of CSS-styled websites: pedigree charts, group sheets, combo pedigree chart and group sheet, descendant narrative, ancestor narrative and alphabetical narrative. It can also create read-only CDs for sharing data.
RootsMagic also provides numerous reporting options, and all reports can be saved as a PDF file or an RTF file for word processing applications. This genealogy software can create all common report types, including pedigree charts, family group sheets, box charts, Ahnentafel, duplicates lists, source lists, address lists and much more. It can even print mailing labels and organize birthday lists.
This genealogy software can also create a variety of wall charts. Charts include ancestor, descendant, hourglass, timeline and freeform charts. RootsMagic can create charts up to 100 feet wide, and they can be exported in JPG, EMF and other image file formats. Charts can be customized by color, and you can drag and drop items into a chart or add text, images and shapes.
RootsMagic genealogy software posts quite a bit of useful information in the support section of their website, and you can contact them for technical support by telephone or email. When you purchase the software, it also comes with a printed document called “Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic.” You can also join a local user group or read comments posted by users and technical support on their message boards. Currently there are quite a few local user groups, including groups that get together regularly in states like California, Idaho, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Minnesota. The only thing we would like to see is contact information that is easier to find. For example, if you click on “support” on their website and then “contact support,” it does not give you contact telephone numbers. You have to go to “company” and then “contact us” to find technical support telephone numbers.
In many ways this genealogy software is highly competitive and can perform most of the same functions as other applications. They have evolved to include features to satisfy modern expectations such as DNA data storing and website creation. We like that it can work with common genealogy file types such as PAF and GEDCOM for compatibility and easy importing of existing research. What keeps RootsMagic just barely out of the top two genealogy software is a minor lag in multimedia tools and negligible aesthetics in regards to the interface, not overall functionality.
RootsMagic has greatly improved its interface.
This software could use better mapping and multimedia tools.
This is a good basic application for beginning genealogy.