Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, March 6, 2009

RootsMagic 4 -- Impressions continued

The Public Beta Version of RootsMagic 4 has now had some time for the dust to settle from its introduction. If you haven't already read my previous three posts, you may wish to do so. I gave my initial reaction to the release and reviewed the RootsMagic 4 Tutorials.

RootsMagic 4 is an extremely full featured program. In future posts I will compare the features and functions of several of the major lineage linked database programs, but right now I wanted to focus on RootsMagic 4. I assume that because it is a Beta Version of the program, that the feature set is not yet frozen and that I can expect the program to have a few bugs.

I am focusing on the features that allow synchronization with New FamilySearch, because those are features that haven't previously been available in any form and are of major interest to the thousands of New FamilySearch users. Upon startup, I was able to choose to enable FamilySearch Support and so the program was supposed to be able to work with the online database.

[RootsMagic 4's competition in this area, as of right now, is limited to Ancestral Quest and FamilyInsight]

The Tutorial showed that an icon could be added to the Icon Menu bar to allow direct access to the Sync features. I added the icon but for some reason, it did not appear the next time I opened the program. As indicated by the Tutorial, all of the people in my Pedigree view had a small icon indicating whether or not they had been linked to New FamilySearch (NFS). When I attempted to link myself to NFS I got a message that no matches were found, since I knew I was in NFS, I tried unsuccessfully to link myself, until I finally got a message that the program would not search for living individuals.

The RootsMagic 4 program did freeze once and I had to restart but I expect that in a new program.

I choose my father, who is deceased, and could immediately link my local data file on him to NFS. The program then allowed me to update my own records from those on line. When I closed out of the screen comparing my own file to the online version, I couldn't tell any difference. After watching the Tutorial, I learned that the small icon on the name tag had turned from grey to blue. However, on my computer, with my eyes, the difference is barely discernible.

Some of the problems with NFS are caused by the data online. My particular line has hundreds of copies of certain individuals and this issue has yet to be resolved by NFS. RootsMagic 4 did a good job of identifying the duplicate individuals and combining them, when possible due to the limitations of NFS. It also does a good job of locating those duplicates. The search for individuals on NFS apparently must proceed one person at a time, there does not appear to be a way to batch process individuals. For someone like me with over 18,000 people in NFS, this could be a long and wearisome process, one at a time.

In short, this is a good start at opening up a line of communication with what will turn out to be one of the largest, if not the largest online databases of individuals. Good job.

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