Roots Magic–Software to Interface with New FamilySearch

I signed up for an 8-week class on Roots Magic.  A client of mine, who was a beta tester for Roots Magic’s initial launch, told me that this software program was written for genealogists like me–skilled in research with sophisticated knowledge of genealogy sources, but a computer and internet beginner.  So I ordered two copies.  One for me and one for Linda.

As the days and months extended into years, I toyed with the program.  And spent my time with The Master Genealogist.  Linda entered genealogy data into Family Tree Maker which had a direct connect to the internet.

Then Roots Magic 3 came out and Bruce Busby donated a copy of this version to my Genealogy Library Center.  “It’s time I learned this program,” I said to myself.  And I have been driving to Ogden each Thursday evening since the beginning of May (minus the two weeks I had the flu).  Great decision.  To learn the program.  Because…

Version 4 is announced for the end of the summer and Team RM have been demonstrating their “easy” interface with the new FamilySearch.  Once you have linked your ancestor to a match on FamilySearch, Roots Magic carries the grunt work on by itself through software.  Because…

Roots Magic can do more than one thing at the same time.  While you check the matches against your own database, RM can run lists, combine entries, prepare “to do” lists for ancestors identified and not yet researched.  Automatically.  In the background.

What originally interested me in this program was being told that you could import all your files from PAF without losing the notes or getting them jumbled.  I was Librarian at my local Family History Center.  And we had patrons come in who wanted to convert their old PAF 2.0 files to the latest version.  Some times it took months to re-enter the information that got all jumbled.

The idea that Roots Magic could import those files without error, was sweet indeed.

The new FamilySearch has three early affiliates:  Roots Magic, Legacy, and Ancestral Quest.  These software programs interface directly with the new FamilySearch.  A fourth affiliate, Family Insight can move data from FS into PAF, only PAF is not being updated nor supported once the new FamilySearch has been rolled out through the Wasatch Front districts [date not yet announced].  So genealogists who have all their genealogy data in PAF files will have to convert them directly into FamilySearch or choose a software affiliate for their own computer and personal family tree.

[Have you ever noticed that rumors circulate for sometime before they become reality? Genealogy has its own “grapevine” where the rumors fly around.  Denied, discussed, commiserated, and eventually accepted and passed on.  PAF would be discontinued! Then the truth hits.  Like a rock.  PAF was not supposed to reach 5.0, let alone 5.2! Just took longer to get the algorithms for new FamilySearch worked out completely.  And I understand that challenges identified by those who are already at work on new FamilySearch are being worked on as you read this.]

You can use new FamilySearch without separate software, entering your data directly onto the internet.  So why would you need your own software program on your computer?        

  1. You will want your own copy of your data.  Data entered directly becomes part of  an international, whole family tree.  Your own family tree consists of those ancestors from whom you descend.
  2. Your family tree includes living people–your spouse, your children and grandchildren, your parents, your siblings and their families.  The genealogy data for these people in your life are masked on FamilySearch.  The privacy of each person over age 19 is protected.   FamilySearch does not wish to be responsible for disclosing “skeletons in the closet” of living persons.  You will want the data for these living persons included in your family tree.
  3. Your computer can hold expanded files–detailed notes, discussion of sources, additional facts concerning the lives of your ancestors–including biographical sketches, photos, maps, document facsimiles, etc.
  4. You will want to share your information–write a family history complete with chapters, table of contents, and index; print reports for relatives, upload intimate family anecdotes and pictures, create family history websites directly from your data.
  5. Your family, at this time, cannot be isolated from the greater whole on FamilySearch.  You can add information, challenge what others have added, contact those who share your same individual ancestors on FamilySearch.  If you want your family tree, you need your own copy on software loaded on your computer.
  6. Roots Magic is not just for storage of your family data.  It is a powerful, integrated utility allowing you to work easily, effectively, and within a reasonable time through its direct interface with FamilySearch.  For example, RM will alert you when someone changes the data on your family tree, online, so you can monitor the accuracy of the information that applies to your ancestors.
  7. Roots Magic screens automatically code the color of your data fields, so you can see what matches, what is close, and what does not match at all.  And you are not restricted in the number of data fields you can have for each individual.  If there are three birth entries you want to preserve, you have space to enter all three.

Roots Magic is available for $29.95.  New versions can be purchased as updates at a reduced cost.

Order your copy now, so you will be among the first to get Version 4.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS Stay tuned for the Everton Handybook comparison–sometimes it is a good idea to review what you already know–or thought you knew!  Some surprises…

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3 Responses to Roots Magic–Software to Interface with New FamilySearch

  1. billbuchanan says:

    RE: “only PAF is not being … supported once the new FamilySearch has been rolled out through the Wasatch Front districts”

    I work as a Family History Support missionary for FamilySearch, and that is news to me! Our official answer (at least for now) is:

    “PAF Is Still Needed
    PAF is one of the genealogy database programs that can produce GEDCOM files, which can be uploaded to the new FamilySearch.

    “While there are no plans to further develop PAF, it remains a dependable and easy-to-use program. Users of PAF can receive support by telephone or e-mail, as well as through the knowledge base in the Product Support section of Local support may also be available at a family history center or from a family history consultant. There are also inexpensive utility programs that provide enhancements. These include PAF Companion, PAF Insight, and PAFWiz. PAF Insight and PAFWiz do not receive technical support from the Church. For more information regarding these products, go to the respective Web sites.

    “If a PAF user later decides to switch to a different program, his or her data can be exported as a GEDCOM file and then imported to any commercial genealogy database program that uses GEDCOM. Some of these programs have the ability to import a PAF file directly so the data does not have to be reentered but can simply be loaded into the new program.

    “PAF and the New FamilySearch Are Complementary Products
    PAF stores a wide range of data with sources and voluminous notes. With it, users can perform advanced searches of data and can print a variety of reports, including books. PAF has a built-in “Print-to-file” (RTF) feature, which allows users to create electronic copies of reports and charts that can be sent as e-mail attachments. If a free PDF writer such as PrimoPDF or CutePDF is installed on the computer, PAF can use it to create PDF copies of reports and charts that could then be e-mailed or even posted to a Web site. PAF has a Preview feature that allows users to see a report before they print it. Users can also link multimedia files to their PAF data. Many of the personal genealogical databases on the Internet were created using PAF.

    “The New FamilySearch Will Play a Different Role
    The new FamilySearch will replace TempleReady. You will be able to prepare names using the new FamilySearch and then take them directly to any temple (you will not have to take them to a family history center anymore). The new FamilySearch will make it easier for you to work with others on ancestral family lines since you can all access the same information. You will be able to see where individuals fit in the context of their whole family, unlike the IGI, which shows only individual births, marriages, and deaths. The new FamilySearch will also allow you to challenge errors that have been made and to work to correct them. As the program continues to be developed, the role of the new FamilySearch will certainly increase.”

    (Knowledge Base Document # 102204)

    So I can agree with everything you said in the article, except for that phrase. I love your articles. Keep up the good work!

  2. Drew Smith says:

    Hi Arlene! That’s great news to hear about the interfaces between FamilySearch and the software programs.

    One small correction: The name of the software should be written as “RootsMagic” (one word).

    Drew Smith

  3. arlene says:

    Many thanks for the description given above. PAF is needed. Thousands of genealogies are in PAF. From my personal experience as Librarian in a Family History Center, each change made in the program created special transfer problems–which required help from techs at the Family History Library so that notes and relationships didn’t get mixed up and lost.

    RootsMagic seems to manage those transfers of data without difficulty, preserving these essential elements intact. For that reason alone, I recommend the program.

    And again, in my opinion, storing your genealogy data only online is a mistake. Working copies of your files need to be spread around like confetti where they can be retrieved, if for any reason, their online access is blocked or damaged. Safety is in numbers. Arlene Eakle

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