Thursday, November 19, 2009

RootsMagic Essentials Software Available

RootsMagic announced today the release of RootsMagic Essentials - a free desktop genealogy software based on their award-winning RootsMagic 4 system. RootsMagic Essentials contains many core features found in its namesake that allow the public to easily start tracing their family trees. You can read the press release information here.

I dug down a little deeper into the new RootsMagic website and found the comparison charts of what's included in RootsMagic 4 and RootsMagic Essentials. The comparison tables are at

For a beginning genealogist, the important things to have in genealogy software are, in my opinion:

* Able to add any number of persons to the database, including facts, sources and notes.
* Able to edit the information for a person.
* Able to navigate between family view, pedigree view and descendants view.
* Have an index of persons and places.
* Able to attach photograph and document images to the persons in the database.
* Able to create the basic genealogy reports - family group sheets, pedigree charts, ahnentafel lists, descendants tables, etc.
* Able to create multi-generational ahnentafel reports and descendants reports
* Able to read, and to save, the database as a GEDCOM file.

As far as I can tell, RootsMagic Essentials has each of these capabilities, with the exception of the Descendants View in navigation.

It is for these reasons that I have been recommending that my Beginning Computer Genealogy class members download Legacy Family Tree Standard Version software for Free as a "starter" software. If the continue with genealogy research, they can then select a full-featured software program of their choice.

Now, RootsMagic Essentials is, at first glance, an equivalent free software program. I will be recommending both programs to my class members.

Look at the list of capabilities for RootsMagic Essentials, and the major features that are not included, compared to RootsMagic 4, include:

* RootsMagic-To-Go feature
* Customized editing and navigation features
* Save reports to RTF or PDF formats
* Many report types and features
* Publishing capability
* Wall chart creation capability
* Notes formatting and spell checking
* Web Search and website page creation
* Research features such as GenSmarts, To-do lists, correspondence lists
* Place name standardization, mapping people and places
* Plenty more!

All in all, RootsMagic Essentials is a great starter program for beginning and intermediate genealogy researchers.

You can download RootsMagic Essentials for FREE and easily install it on your computer system here.


Amy Coffin said...

Thanks for kicking the tires on this new program, Randy. Great review!

Chris said...

Thanks for the comprehensive review and link to the comparison chart.

I guess I need to do a little more research before I start flapping my keyboard.

Jordan said...

In the realm of free genealogy software, how would you rate Rootsmagic (or legacy tree) in comparison to the MyHeritage Family Tree builder (which, at the minimum, does a much better job displaying the data than Rootsmagic)?

Kathleen O'Hara said...

Are you aware of any similar free programs for Macs? A full, paid version of a genealogy software program just isn't in my meager grad student's budget right now, but I've only come across free programs with good reviews for Windows.