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

Thursday, March 5, 2009

RootsMagic 4 -- Initial impressions of the program Part 2

Please take time to read my previous post as an introduction to my comments on RootsMagic 4.

After loading RootsMagic 4 for the first time, I began by reviewing all of the menu items and icons. There is no question that the program has a lot of features, however, I am most interested in the synchronization features with New FamilySearch. I found the connection under RootsMagic's File Menu item. There are three options:

FamilySearch Central
Find matches on FamilySearch
Copy info between RootsMagic and FamilySearch...

I began by trying each of the three items. (By the way, the program froze up and quit responding after a few minutes and I had to use Windows Task Manager to close the program.) I realize that this is a Beta version but both FamilyInsight and Ancestral Quest (AQ) have been out in final release versions for some time now and so I have two other programs to use as a comparison.

I tried the FamilySearch Central and logged into New FamilySearch, however, there was nothing to show me that I was logged in or not. In both FamilyInsight and AQ you are immediately notified by the program whether or not you are connected. I assumed I was connected. There was a screen saying that I had 6845 people in my file that were not linked to FamilySearch.

Nothing on the screen told me what to do at this point, so I began clicking on things. Both FamilyInsight and AQ have extensive help screens. AQ has over four hours of online tutorial videos instructing about AQ. I found that when I clicked on the number of people, I got a huge screen with a list down the side. I had to scroll down to find myself. When I clicked on my record, the screen said no matches found. After many attempts to link myself with FamilySearch I finally got a screen telling me that the program would not link with living people, however, I am one of the people listed as not linked.

Moving back in time, I went to my parents and grandparents. I was able to find them in the FamilySearch program and move some information from FamilySeach, but nothing told me whether or not they were linked. There are references to combining individuals but most of my recent ancestors exceed the limit for combining in FamilySearch. When I finally quit this screen and went back to the Central, I found that two people were now linked. Unfortunately nothing indicates that on the search screen. Both AQ and FamilyInsight are very clear about who is linked and not linked.

From the search screen there appear to be almost no choices. There is no menu bar and all it appears you can do is search and move information. Both Family Insight and AQ have multiple menu items and lots of options, including in AQ downloading generations of ancestors at once. The other choice from the RootsMagic menu for FamilySearch were essentially the same screens.

I must say I am initially disappointed in the lack of features to synchronize with New FamilySearch. I will keep looking and search online for more information. I plan to write more, as I get time to do so today or tomorrow. Right now, I think both FamilyInsight and AQ are major tools for working with the huge database in New FamilySearch, RootsMagic, despite months of pre-announcements, hasn't proved to be useful much at all. But I will continue to search for options.


  1. James,

    Did you watch the tutorials as I suggested in a comment for your previous blog entry?

    Did you turn on the FamilySearch support in RootsMagic (there was an option when you created the new database). You say there is no indicator who is linked, but there is if you turn on NFS support (Tools > Database Options > FamilySearch).

  2. You should view the video tutorials on how to use RootsMagic with New FamilySearch. There's a link to them on the New FamilySearch website.

    They are at