Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Exploring RootsMagic 5 - Post 1: The View Screens

The latest version of the genealogy management program, RootsMagic 5, was released yesterday, and I bought the upgrade version immediately.  When I tried to load my RootsMagic 4 database, I encountered an error that prevented my use of the program.  I contacted Customer Support, provided the error message and uploaded my Backup RootsMagic 4 file to the company last night, and this morning was able to start using RootsMagic 5. 

There are some new features in RootsMagic 5, but I want to start my exploration with a summary of the six different Views provided by RootsMagic 5 (the first five were in RootsMagic 4, the Timeline View is new):

1)  The "Family" View is where I always start:

The Family View shows the parents, the grandparents and the children (the green background area above), with a Person Index on the left (collapsible), and a summary for the highlighted person at the top, with icons for Notes, Sources and Research Manager (a new feature).

I keep the Person Index on the screen because it is the easiest way to navigate to another person in my database.  In the bottom left-hand corner of the screen is the relationship of the "Home person" (me!) to the highlighted person (set this in Tools > Set Relationships).

2)  The "Pedigree" View shows:

The Pedigree View is another way to navigate to an earlier ancestral family.  The user can choose five or six generations. 

3)  The "Descendants" View provides a dropline list of descendants of the highlighted person:

The user can choose to show up to seven generations.  This is another navigation tool.  The user can customize the columns.

4)  The "People" view is an expanded Person Index:

5)  The "Web Search" View provides access to searches of a number of genealogy websites:

I chose FamilySearch for the screen above.  The "standard" websites listed by RootsMagic 5 are:

*  Ancestry.com
*  Ancestry Message Boards
*  Bing
*  Family Search
*  Find A Grave
*  Fold 3
*  GenealogyBank
*  Google
*  Rootsweb
*  WorldVitalRecords
*  Yahoo

The user can add other "custom" genealogy websites to this list.  Please note that the user cannot "attach" a historical record or record summary to a person in your RootsMagic database - you have to download the image to your computer file folders and then attach that image to a person or a source the Add Media feature.

6)  The "Timeline" View provides information for the highlighted person and his/her family:

There are two timelines shown - one in red for the highlighted person, and one in blue for the family of the highlighted person.  There is a list of all of the Events, in Date order, for the highlighted person, including the person's parents, siblings, spouses and children.  The year span seems to be from the highlighted person's Birth to the last Event in their Fact list.  The Details column lists, in words, the person and their Event (e.g., "Sarah G. Knapp was born").  The Place column lists the place "backwards," from country to state to county to town as the default.  The user can reverse the Place column order, which I did after I made the screen above..

I really like this "Timeline" View!  The other views are very similar to what was offered in RootsMagic 4. 

I'm going to work in the Research Manager a bit today and will try to post something about it on Wednesday.

Disclosure:  I have received free software and other gifts previously from RootsMagic at conferences, but I purchased RootsMagic 5as an upgrade.  I was not paid to provide this review.  


Gerry said...

This is, as usual, very helpful. Thank you.

Do you know why the database did not load the first time? (Really what I want to know is whether it was an individual glitch or a RootsMagic glitch that I can prepare for!)

I am due to move from sloooow dialup to Halfway Decent Internet in two weeks. I am not going to download the upgrade until then--but you sure are helping me to get ready and to plan my strategy.

Cousin Russ said...


I downloaded the upgrade, with no issues at all.

First glance at the research Manager is great. Waiting to read Randy's review of the same.


Dave said...

Wow, thank you for actually writing a well-informed thoughtful review rather than simply regurgitate the RM press release. Overall, I think that this new version has some nice new features and some good tweaks. However, I wish that RM would make some sort of smartphone app to complement the desktop program. Being able to transport data on a flash drive is beginning to seem a bit archaic. I'd love to be able to be able to access my info on my phone when I'm out and about.