on May 6, 2012
This review is for RootsMagic with the book. The book is extremely helpful, is heavy on illustrations and has many good tips on using the software. Definitely worth getting.
I used to use Family Tree Maker but found it buggy and that program didn't like my interrelated family connections at all. (Neither does Ancestry.com)
Rootsmagic has no trouble linking my complex ancestor relationships. Further it has many more options and fields than you could ever want to use. Once you get used to it, it is easy to fill in. The video tutorials are good.
The one DRAWBACK to this product is that while it will let you search in various outside websites like Ancestry.com directly through the software, it does not intuitively copy that found information into your tree like Family Tree Maker does. You have to do that manually by cut and paste.
If you have an Ancestry family tree you can download it into a GEDCOM file and transfer the information easily into this program, either person by person or with relationships intact.
Glad I bought this!
on February 13, 2013
I have been using versions of this product since at least 2005. I had reached the point, after about 10 years of research, that I wanted something that was capable of handling more than just basic data (I had been using Personal Ancestral File to this point). I was lucky enough to stumble upon RootsMagic (I believe the first version I used was Version 4). The program has the capability of storing not only data, but also photographs, audio files, and can search the internet to find material. The company offers free online seminars ("webinars"). When I have encountered a software bug (rare), the response has been rapid and generally knowledgable.
The data entry form is very customizable, which I like. It has the ability to use lots of short-cut keys, which are very useful if you type rapidly. If you don't, the good old reliable mouse is still there to do the job.
One of the features I like best about this program is the ability to make a very nice-looking "sharable" CD to give to family members; if you have a Light-Scribe drive (very common in computers today), you can even burn an attractive design into the face of the CD, rather than simply handing over a CD or DVD that you've labeled with a magic marker :-) It's a good way to disseminate information that you don't want lost (which is, one would assume, at least one of the goals of researching a family tree in the first place).
This product is also capable many times of informing you that a person is already in your tree (my family twines around itself more times than I care to think about!), and offers you the ability to merge duplicate individuals either manually (which I like) or automatically (which I do NOT recommend in ANY software program). It's not completely foolproof, but it has definitely saved me from adding duplicates on any number of occasions over the years. In adition, this program has the ability to color-code people, making it easy to tell one branch of a tree from another (the decision as to who to code with what color is entirely up to the user).
This program also includes "RootsMagic To Go," which allows you to put the program and data onto a thumb drive and take it with you wherever you might need to take it; when you return to your own computer, the data on the thumb drive can then sync with the data on your primary computer.
As with other genealogy programs, it is capable of generating Gedcom files, and can create a variety of hard-copy reports; I really can't speak to the hard-copy reports, as I don't use them much, but I definitely use the Gedcom files to upload my tree to RootsWeb. It is also capable of generating the code for your own full-blown independent web site if you wish.
So far, the creators have put out new versions every couple of years, which are reasonably priced (about $19 for an upgrade); in between, they put out bug fixes as necessary, which are free of charge, as one would reasonably expect. If I have any gripe with the program at all, it is simply that RootsMagic tends to send out a lot of e-mail, touting other products and things they'd like you to buy; even so, I still recommend registering your copy so that you are informed of patches and fixes; I've opted out of most of the e-mail with no apparent ill effects.
This program does not yet sync with Ancestry.com (although I keep hoping); I can tell you from personal experience that, even if it means keeping Ancestry and RootsMagic synched "by hand," RootsMagic is head-and-shoulders better than Family Tree Maker (which I've also purchased, much to my dismay, and which I've also reviewed here on Amazon.com). If the RootsMagic folks ever decide to create a version that WILL sync with Ancestry, then as far as I'm concerned, it will be just about perfect.
I didn't buy my copy through Amazon, but through the RootsMagic web site; you can download a trial version from the web site to give it a "test drive." The package here on Amazon includes a reference book which you would not be able to download from the creator's web site, thus accounting for the difference in price.
I think most people will find RootsMagic to be very intuitive; personally, I say "Buy it!"
on April 18, 2013
I have used RootsMagic for about 20 years, since it was Family Origins. I have never been upset with upgrades, until now, because RM6 lost all of the personalized Fact Types that I formatted. I have input several more people and all their data, only to find out when printing Narrative Reports that it publishes nothing but gibberish. All of my work in RM6 is wasted!
If you are a new user, go ahead and try it. But if you are already using a prior version DO NOT trust this program unless they correct the bugs!
on October 31, 2012
I was printing using the publisher feature and had very nice and professional looking genealogy documents with an index of all the names in the genealogy (just like a book). Great program, great features, very easy, no learning curve, instant results and very intuative. Why didn't I get this one sooner!!! Used TMG for years and there always seemed to be one issue after another, after another, after another, couldn't take it any more. I highly recommend RootsMagic 5.
on May 13, 2013
I had purchased this genealogy program because of its high ratings. I have always used Family Tree Maker. I imported my FTM into Roots Magic 6 and "most' of it imported just fine, but I lost most of my notes and media. It is a bit harder to understand but it seemed to be a program that if someone started with it they would love it. I could not use this for my family tree, but I still would recommend it to others needing to begin in some genealogy program. This company was easy to work with when I emailed them about my problem and they were very prompt in refunding my money. I had to pay return postage, but did it without complaint because I was thankful they accepted the return back. It is truly a good program and has so many good points about it.
on January 23, 2013
I've been working on my family tree over 20 years. I had a program back then that has been out of existance for a number of years. All my info was on a floppy and has been lost. I did have a printed form I created myself where each generation is color coded to make things easier for me to keep straight. Always have a backup! Glad I found this program and have started all over. I've been working with this program for about a month. So far I have over 1,400 names in the system. The book is very helpful as I refer to it often to learn more. I'm looking forward to adding pictures and documents. I find it easier than Ancestry to navigate. When I'm finished I plan to give each of my children a CD.