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RootsMagic 7 Review

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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 is capable of organizing 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. You can attach photos, sound clips and video to any person, family, place, source or event. It has 60 predefined and customizable categories for family facts, though a couple of its feature omissions can be inconvenient.

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When we tested RootsMagic, 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 RootsMagic a perfect score for accuracy.

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 only three genealogy programs in our review that is FamilySearch certified. This means you can import files directly into RootsMagic from the FamilySearch website. This family history software includes search fields in the browser 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 testing this family history program, we were unable to renumber individuals to match with families or our own organization style. This was especially frustrating when importing GEDCOM files that used duplicate numbers and defaulted to a different number system from what we were using. We also 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.

Like all the best genealogy software, RootsMagic has flexible features that publish charts and reports online and in print. With reports and charts, you can show off your research and organize family connections. Using RootsMagic, you can publish six types of CSS-styled websites: pedigree charts, group sheets, combo pedigree charts and group sheets, descendant narratives, ancestor narratives, and alphabetical narratives.

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.

This genealogy program has the data entry, sourcing and management tools that typically come with this type of software. 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.

Summary

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 three genealogy software programs we reviewed that is FamilySearch certified, though it does lack a couple helpful features.

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