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402 of 404 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full featured and easy to use, with excellent source management
I discovered RootsMagic (v3.0) fairly recently. First, some background... I'm working with roughly 2000 names, and my goal is to research and publish the data, along with personal stories. I started with Family Tree Maker several years ago, but I didn't like the lack of citation capabilities with that earlier version. So, I switched to The Master Genealogist (TMG) which...
Published on November 27, 2005 by Robin G. Sowton

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119 of 128 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great program, bad interface.
I have a long history with this program, going back to the days when it was known as Family Origins. I started working with it about Family Origins version 5, so that means in someway I have been using the program for 8 versions total. I also have previously worked for Broderbund providing technical support for their genealogy products, which included Family Tree Maker...
Published on January 1, 2007 by Kenzworld


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402 of 404 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full featured and easy to use, with excellent source management, November 27, 2005
This review is from: RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software (CD-ROM)
I discovered RootsMagic (v3.0) fairly recently. First, some background... I'm working with roughly 2000 names, and my goal is to research and publish the data, along with personal stories. I started with Family Tree Maker several years ago, but I didn't like the lack of citation capabilities with that earlier version. So, I switched to The Master Genealogist (TMG) which provides great source management but has a clumsy interface. The newer release of TMG has not improved this. Because you spend a lot of time entering information, the interface needs to be fairly painless and transparent. So, then I looked at Legacy, GenBox and RootsMagic, which have the necessary functionality but are also easy to use. It was a difficult choice between Legacy and RootsMagic, but I chose RootsMagic because I felt that it had a slight edge in its source management and that this feature was comparable to The Master Genealogist.

Installation was easy. After I exported my old TMG database files to a single .gedcom file, I used RootsMagic to import it. It was fast and the data loaded quite cleanly. RootsMagic lets you import GEDCOM files, Family Origins database and backup files, and PAF database files. Also, for anyone working with LDS, you can create and read TempleReady files and handle ordinances.

The interface is easy to use and it provides three views: Pedigree, Family and Descendants. You can access an individual or family by selecting the name from a list and loading it into the views. To modify an individual's data or relationships, you can right-click on the name (in any view or list) to access options from the popup menu. RootsMagic provides master lists for Sources, To-Do, Addresses, Repository, Correspondence, Places, and Fact types. Also, you can modify places, which contain addresses/locations, to include Latitude and Longitude coordinates, describe the history of the place, and include multimedia files (e.g., maps and photos).

Of course, this tool's major advantage is its source management capabilities. You can assign one or more sources to an individual, a family, or an event. Whenever you create a new source, you can define the information through a Source dialog box that has multiple tabs (Source, Text, Multimedia, and Respository), and link multiple media assets to the source (e.g., photos, files, sound, and video). Also, each time you assign the source to something, you can enter descriptive text for just that specific assignment.

As you enter data into RootsMagic, the application writes to an .rmg file for which you can create multiple backups. You can also export to the GEDCOM format for easy importing into other genealogy applications. When you export, you can define what will be exported and manage privacy options. You can generate books and reports (in many different formats). You can also publish to a web format (although I don't like the way RootsMagic outputs this). Also, I found some search capabilities to be better when they're done through the Reporting functions. Other RootsMagic options include calculators (relationship, Soundex and Date), shareable CD creation, timelines, color-coding of individuals, and charts (including wall-sized ones).

In conclusion, do not let the lower price or the easy-to-use interface dissuade you. This application has some serious citation/source capabilities that makes it competitive with The Master Genealogist and ahead of some other similar applications.
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140 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the best in the business, December 20, 2005
By 
Blaine S. Nay (Cedar City, UT United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software (CD-ROM)
I've tried 'em all. This is clearly the best genealogy software I've used. RootsMagic is the most intuitive software on the market. My database has over 50,000 names in it and this software handles the load effortlessly and quickly. It can create very nice charts and web pages. The publisher listens to the users and continually upgrades the software to meet their needs. He stays on top of the changes being made by the LDS church's Family History library system and updates the software to work seamlessly with the library's systems.
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119 of 128 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great program, bad interface., January 1, 2007
This review is from: RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software (CD-ROM)
I have a long history with this program, going back to the days when it was known as Family Origins. I started working with it about Family Origins version 5, so that means in someway I have been using the program for 8 versions total. I also have previously worked for Broderbund providing technical support for their genealogy products, which included Family Tree Maker and Family Origins at that time. I am now a programmer in my own right so I do understand the development cycle to a degree.

In all of this time Rootsmagic has internally became a much better and stronger program. Unfortunately the one thing that has not gotten better or more powerful is the user interface. I laugh when I read a review saying Rootsmagic intuitive to use and learn.

Say you are a new user, you have managed to create a blank data base and now the time has come to enter people. By default your blank database is showing a pedigree chart. A normal person would click on the chart and expect to be able to start typing. This does not happen. Ok, so at the top of the pedigree chart are 4 lines, the first blank, the other three have b:, m: and d:. It doesn't take much to think that this must be where you enter a person, so an unsuspecting user clicks in this area and nothing happens.

Then and only then do your eyes continue up to the row of buttons and the menubar, because by now you are beginning to get desperate enough to look for the Help option. On the button bar and on the menubar you see an option called 'add' and 'Add' respectively. Bingo! A file begins. Then the adventure begins when you want to begin adding facts for your newly entered individual...dialog boxes galore.

Compare this with other prgrams like Family Tree Maker where you click in a box and start typing your first person, then tab to the spouse box and continue typing, then to the children etc. In a timed test, entering the same 50 individuals with only birth, death and marriage facts, using FTM and RM, I can enter individuals at about 4.5:1, and I know the program.

RootsMagic is probably not the best choice for a newbie genealogist to use unless they have many years of computer usage under their belt. I recently read a book called "Why Software Sucks..." by David Platt. One point that he harped on was ease of use. He says over and over to developers, "know thy user, he is not you". What seems easy and intuitive to we programmers is not always so to our users. If we do not provide what the user needs (within reason), they will find and use a product that does, which may be why FTM claims to be the #1 selling genealogy product of all time.

Over all the program has a gazillion strong points, and about one bad point, which is why I have used it for so long.
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286 of 318 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This program is probably not for you, February 19, 2007
This review is from: RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software (CD-ROM)
I recently bought RootsMagic on the strength of its Amazon reviews to manage the webs of geneological information that I've gathered from my extended family. In my opinion, the product was useless - not for lack of features (it will let you search records, organize information, include pictures, and find relationships) but because its family tree display functions are virtually useless and because its useability and display are appalingly bad.

On the first point, the charting features (which were the feature I was most excited about) are designed to display only direct ancestors and won't display siblings, aunts, uncles etc on the family trees. If, like me, you are interested in tracking the branches of your extended family - displaying your links to cousins and great-aunts, this program is not for you. You can enter information on them, but it won't present the linkages to these people in a useful form.

My second problem is with the claims that the software is user friendly and intuative. It isn't. I'm not saying this as a limited and hesitant computer user. I'm saying this as a software product manager who uses and designs software for a living. Remember what user interfaces were like 15 years ago? Lists of text, poor or non-existant graphics, no flexibility, and certainly no drag-and-drop? Now you've got the idea. If, like me, you're entering geneological infomation from non-computerized records, the program will quickly make you wonder why your going to all the trouble. The interface is un-intuative and clunky, and your reward for your trouble is search functions (which I don't need) and family trees that don't display 90% of the people you've entered.

Bottom line, don't waste your time or money.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Use, Exceeded my Expectations., November 25, 2006
This review is from: RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software (CD-ROM)
When I first starting looking for family tree software I noticed some of the other software packages were companies that would try to get you to subscribe to online programs or heavily tried to get you to buy additional products. One thing I liked about RootsMagic was that this company does not do that. They let you buy the product and then leave you alone.

The tutorial was quick and simple. I immediately started entering data. It was extemely easy to learn. I was worried there would be limitations on the amount of data that could be entered and also didn't know how certain things would work such as re-marriages, divorces, and step families. The program exceeded my expectations on being able to adapt to most all family situations.

I would recommend this program to anyone interested in documenting a family tree or family history. I am very pleased with this purchase.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genealogy program with the historian in mind, July 31, 2008
This review is from: RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software (CD-ROM)
I have been doing genealogy for over 15 years, and started out with very rudimentary versions of Family Tree Maker. I was never happy with FTM's management of sources -- it seemed to be much more interested in how to make things "pretty" and sources, the heart and soul of real genealogy, always got short shrift.

Then, some years ago, I switched to Heritage Family Tree. I loved this program, even though it could be quite klunky in many ways and the charting software that came with the program was always cumbersome and often crashed. However, its source handling was the best out there, able to format and sort sources in such a way that source information could be entered completely and formatted well. It had other good built in features that I really liked.

However, they stopped supporting it, and although it was supposed to work with Windows XP, I experienced so many crashes with XP that I knew I had to start finding an alternative. The death knell came with Vista, and HFTD wouldn't even boot up under Vista. And then it turned out that their GEDCOM exporter dropped a LOT of information out of the source material I'd so painstakingly entered.

I had kept up with Family Tree Maker, and they came out with a new version. I decided to try to salvage what was left of my old family tree (over 2500 individuals and cannibalized source material that dropped half the information, cry!). However, this version (FTM 2008) is absolutely awful; the interface is about as far a departure from logical data entry, it doesn't do a lot of basic charts, and it is just so terribly bloated with crap I will never use that I knew I had to find an alternative. On someone's recommendation, I decided to check out RootsMagic.

After downloading the trial version, I was hooked almost immediately. It's simple, streamlined, and has fantastic source handling. When you enter a source, you're given the option to choose Source Wizard; normally I hate wizards, but this one gives a nice interface for inputting different types of sources (census, death/birth/marriage certificates, books, interviews, etc) in such a way that they are uniform and formatted for footnotes.

One feature I really like is the ability to add a married couple in a census together as "Census (family)". This eliminates the need to enter identical census information on two people in a family. I do wish they would extend this to the ability to select multiple members of a family, so you could enter both parents and children with one click. I realize that children did not always appear on a census with parents (I have a lot of cases where teenage boys worked on other farms), but a dialogue that would let you choose other members of the family to add to a census would reduce input errors and time. However, there is a handy "Memorize" function for sources, so it's easy to paste the same source into multiple entries. It's the next best thing.

It has built-in to-dos, so as you're entering family members and need to remember to do something, you can input a to-do related to that individual or family. This feature includes prioritization, date opened, date last worked on, date closed, and a place to add notes.

Like any new program it takes a little getting used to, but I find myself able to move easily among individuals and families. The Search feature is particularly nice because it includes not only the name of the individual, but also the birth and death dates so you can see which one you are selecting before you do so. This is handy in cases where you have more than one person with the same name and no middle initials to distinguish them.

Backup is simple; it archives a ZIP file of your day's work onto any external media you choose. Instead of overwriting the whole file every time, it only overwrites an existing file if you've changed it on the same day. Otherwise, it saves them incrementally, so you have the version you worked on last week archived as well as the one you are working on this way. This way, if something disastrous happens, like you discover that the 200 relatives you spent the last week painstakingly putting in are actually not related to you at all, or you accidentally replace all instances of "Gary, Lake, Indiana" with "Inverness, Citrus, Florida", you can roll back to a version without the mistakes.

The program is simple, straightforward, great for the historian. It's not as cute and sexy as some other, more bloated genealogy programs, but it does everything a serious genealogical researcher needs it to do and a little more besides. And you can't beat the price.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This program is fabulous!, December 14, 2009
This review is from: RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software (CD-ROM)
Genealogy has been a hobby of mine for many, many years however, I haven't had much time over the past decade (really) to work on it. Part of the problem has been that I've had so much data stored on old programs that when I've tried to transfer it (yes, using GEDCOMs) things become a real mess. Not only that, but I'm extremely neurotic about citing my sources and, as unbelievable as it may sound, most genealogy programs do a terrible job when it comes to ensuring that data entry follows strict guidelines - instead, citing sources consistently has been left up to the whims of the hobbyist. As a result, I've had all of my data sitting around and didn't feel like spending the rest of my life reentering all of it, which has resulted in putting genealogy on the back burner for far too long.

Periodically, I review current genealogy programs, just to see if someone has finally realized that consistently citing sources is absolutely ESSENTIAL for constructing a good genealogy and someone finally did! I'm now in the process of converting things to RootsMagic and am absolutely THRILLED! Not only is it now possible to enter data, from a large number of sources, consistently but templates are provided so that a specific format can be adhered to (such as the methods supported in the book, Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Mills (I've used that book for a very long time). In the past, I've served as a beta tester for two very well known genealogy programs and had SCREAMED for a consistent manner to clearly and easily document sources. The other programs (which shall remain nameless) always agreed that this was an essential feature but never did anything about it (other than, "Oh, we plan to add that feature in the future"). If nothing else, computers should be used for maintaining data in a consistent manner and the gross lack of attention to the topic by genealogy programs has been a disaster. No more thought! RootsMagic finally done did it!

Most importantly, RootsMagic is intuitive. Over the years, genealogy programs have taken one of two routes - the programs are very intuitive but lack sufficient features (esp. concerning how citations are entered) or they are so complex that one needs to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to use them. At the moment, I'm in a state of bliss as I'll now be able to work on genealogy again - it's going to take a bit of time to make sure everything has transfered over but the task is going to be a lot simpler that it has in the past (I've already spend some time doing so and am thrilled with the results).

Another feature that I like a lot is that RootsMagic will allow you to use your own catalog numbering system and will keep that data attached to each individual (this is another extremely important feature that, to date, almost no one else has done). When I first began with genealogy a few decades (ugh!) ago, I organized my documentation using a numbering system I had previously read about (essentially, I give each document and number that consists of the first three initials of the primary surname, followed by a number). This has worked very well for me, however, most genealogy programs do not have a separate field to store that information. As a result, that number had to be store elsewhere and then manually removed when printing out reports or sharing data with others. No more! RootsMagic has also solved that long standing problem! I am now a very happy person and, time permitting, maybe I'll get to enjoy genealogy as much as I used to.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for all skill levels, February 20, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software (CD-ROM)
I work in IT and I purchased this product for my mom as a gift. She has only owned a computer for about 1 year, but she immediately caught on after going through the fantastic tutorials. She was entering data in no time. It is wonderfully organized and I would recommend it to anyone. We love that you can scan photos and documents, etc. into the software and attach them to people or events.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RootsMagic is the Best!!!, November 21, 2007
By 
TooManyBooks (Pacific Northwest) - See all my reviews
This review is from: RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software (CD-ROM)
I have used most of the major geneology programs, but when I want to enter a lot of material as quickly as possible, RootsMagic is the program I choose to use. It has all the "bells and whistles" but the thing I love the most is the ease of moving around in the program. I inherited my mother's 8 file cabinets of unfinished work. I was able to quickly input major facts and copy her text files into the "Notes". RootsMagic helped me organize the materials as I went along. I am now scanning and entering family photos. RootsMagic has features I haven't even needed yet, but it's good to know that when I need them, they are there ready for me to use.

M. Hansen
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Flawed, December 26, 2009
By 
J. Harland (Hockessin, DE United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software (CD-ROM)
I purchased RootsMagic, ver. 4 in August of 2009. I had used another genealogy program for 20+ years, and while I was very happy with its ease of use and capabilities this program could not present citations in the style recommended by Elizabeth Shown Mills in "Evidence Explained."

I read many reviews and tried several free demos of other genealogy programs. I was very impressed with the citation routines in RootsMagic 4. I spent several months converting a small project I was working on from my old program. It was not until I was well into this work that I noticed a serious flaw with RootsMagic ver. 4.0.7.1. [...]. What is uploaded are the citation format field names used to create the database, not the actual citation.

Sharing my work with others is important to me. Work without citations does not allow the reader to properly evaluate the quality of the data. I contacted RootsMagic's help line 7 weeks ago. After exchanging files to help locate the source of this problem and being told Tech Support would look into this I have heard nothing. I inquired again at 4 weeks, but was told nothing.

If you intend to only share your work by paper copies this is an excellent program. I would seriously consider another program if you intend to share GEDCOM's with non-RootsMagic 4.0.7.1 users.
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RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software
RootsMagic Family Tree Genealogy Software by RootsMagic (Windows 2000 / 95 / 98 / NT / XP)
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