Pros / The program FamilySearch certified, letting you import data directly from one of the biggest databases available.
Cons / It earned only a C+ for chart quality.
Verdict / RootsMagic scores above average for ease of use and scrapbooking tools. It’s a good genealogy program, but it’s mostly middling.
RootsMagic genealogy software stores and organizes large volumes of data, such as marriage dates, health information, burial dates, occupations and religious affiliations. The interface is pleasant and easy to use. The research tools are excellent, and the hints are among the best I’ve reviewed, but the chart quality is disappointing.
RootsMagic earned a B on the GEDCOM accuracy test. I imported four GEDCOM records to test the program, and it was almost perfectly accurate on three of the records, losing a handful of media files. The fourth record, however, was full of errors. In fact, the RootsMagic interpreted the fourth file exactly as Ancestral Quest did, getting all the individual information correct but losing the relationships. If there’s an issue with a relationship early in the pedigree chart, such as a same-sex marriage, the subsequent relationships all must be re-established.
The navigation received a B+ and the data entry received an A– for ease of use. The well-crafted interface uses a mostly modeless design. That said, the floating tabs are a bit too subtle, making it a little more difficult to figure out there are floating tabs to work in. Overall, the data entry process is efficient. I entered the data for 10 individuals in a total of less than eight minutes. By comparison, it took me only about five minutes to enter the same data in the most efficient program, Family Historian, but close to 12 minutes in most of the programs I tested.
The research hints are one of the best aspects of this genealogy software. When you enter a name into the database, it automatically searches online databases, such as FamilySearch.org, and reports back on how many matches for the name are online, making research much easier.
RootsMagic scored a C+ for chart quality. It offers only six chart options, and the charts aren’t very stylish. But the chart quality is still better than the quality available from nearly half of the family tree programs I reviewed.
The scrapbooking tools received a B grade. You can easily attach media files, like photos, videos and audio, but it’s not easy to add text. You can’t add documents but can only add text boxes. That makes recording memories more difficult in RootsMagic than in other programs. It offers more than 33 report options, however – a far greater range than most genealogy software provides.
RootsMagic is well-designed genealogy software with solid data management tools. The research hints and the compatibility with FamilySearch.org are its best traits, but the interface has also above-average ease of use. The charting options are few and the quality is disappointing, but the number of report styles is impressive.