Pros / RootsMagic is one of a handful of programs that is FamilySearch certified, allowing you to import files and searches from that website directly into your software.
Cons / This program is missing a county pop-up selector to help you enter locations.
Verdict / RootsMagic is good genealogy software that is highly customizable, interfaces with many popular genealogy search websites, and helps you organize large volumes of data.
RootsMagic genealogy software stores and organizes large volumes of data, such as marriage dates, health information, burial dates, occupations and religion. It has 60 predefined and customizable categories for family facts, though it’s lacking a couple of convenient features. You can attach photos, sound clips and video to any person, family, place, source or event.
RootsMagic is compatible with a range of media and other file types, including GEDCOM, PDF, RTF, JPG and PNG files so you can use and produce sources in a variety of formats as you build your family tree and draw connections between family members.
In addition to media support, you can configure RootsMagic to upload items directly from your scanner. It has basic image-editing functions to adjust sharpness, brightness, contrast and orientation so you don't need a separate photo editor. Images and other media can give depth and variety to your genealogical records.
If you prefer researching your ancestry online, RootsMagic can connect you to the web for research and help. The in-app browser links you to popular genealogy websites like Ancestry, MyHeritage and FamilySearch. In fact, RootsMagic is one of the few genealogy programs in our review that is FamilySearch certified. This means you can import files directly into the software from the FamilySearch website.
This family history software includes search fields for general search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Data from these sites appear as lightbulb icons next to names to show online matches. The more genealogy searches you use, the more web hints appear in your family tree.
The customizable facts-adding feature makes this genealogy software flexible enough to list relationships beyond the nuclear parent-child model. RootsMagic provides a long list of event types, including new marriages and adoptions. You can add religious and civil events to a person’s profile with the same tool. In addition, you can customize the facts fields or create entirely new events and facts.
This family tree software lists multiple marriages and allows same-sex marriages to be displayed. However, the program defaults to the opposite gender when you add a spouse. To avoid this, you will need to add each person individually with the proper gender designation and then connect them as spouses.
RootsMagic alerts you if any information you enter about an individual or event may be problematic, such as a duplicate entry or if a child’s listed birthdate is during a time when his or her parents are still children themselves.
When we tested the software, part of the process was importing test GEDCOM files. RootsMagic outperformed most of the programs we reviewed, correctly importing files, auto-populating data fields and connecting family members perfectly. This earned it a perfect score for accuracy.
There was only one small hiccup with importing data in our tests. When entries from the GEDCOM file include information already entered in the software, most programs recognize the duplicate information and automatically merge the records into one individual. RootsMagic tended to, instead, create a second record for the person, requiring us to manually merge the data and delete one of the records.
We didn’t see a county pop-up feature to help us select a county based on the location we entered. While this may seem unimportant, it is helpful in differentiating between cities with the same name, even within the same state. RootsMagic does, however, have a CountyCheck tool that lets you search a location on the web using the in-app browser. This is a little different from an automatic pop-up feature, but it is helpful for learning more about the places your ancestors are from.
RootsMagic allows you to work with more than one database of information at once. Genealogy software often handles large amounts of information, so it’s best to separate different families into different databases. When you find people who fit in both groups, you can drag and drop them between databases without losing track. RootsMagic automatically generates the family links and keeps track of your changes.
Whether you’re working on a Mac or PC, RootsMagic is great for charting and publishing volumes of family history. You can create an entire book with a table of contents, index pages, narratives, notes, charts, images, source information and a bibliography. There aren't themed templates for publication, but you can create customized headers, footers, margins and fonts. You can also personalize charts with color, text, images and shapes. Within the software, you can publish six types of CSS-styled websites: pedigree charts, group sheets, combo pedigree chart and group sheets, descendant narratives, ancestor narratives and alphabetical narratives.
It has nearly 400 templates for managing source documentation about people, facts and family trees. Sources can be copied, merged and listed, and you can apply more than one source to each entry. You can also create your own source templates. Once you complete the information for each source, RootsMagic can format that data into a properly arranged citation. You can also cite media, add a quality rating and store sources in a repository to keep them safe.
RootsMagic’s support system is mostly online. If you have trouble installing MacBridge or getting the software started after installing, there are FAQs and helpful tutorials online to step you through the process.
There isn’t a specific version of RootsMagic that is compatible with Mac systems, Instead, RootsMagic bridges the gap with the add-on MacBridge. MacBridge is not genealogy software itself; instead, it’s a means for you to access RootsMagic on OS X rather than Windows. This program does come with an additional cost on top of the price of RootsMagic
Installation is a simple click-and-drag process, like installing any other program in OS X. Some features included in the Windows version get lost in the Mac transfer. While they're available for PC, Mac users won't be able to burn or back up information onto CDs, save databases to Dropbox or use the mapping tools found in RootsMagic.
RootsMagic is good genealogy software with web features and enough storage for a huge family database. It offers the most essential tools within a couple of clicks. RootsMagic is also one of only a few genealogy software programs we reviewed that is FamilySearch certified, though it does lack a couple helpful features, like a county selector.