Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Exploring RootsMagic 5 - Post 2: The Research Manager

I'm exploring the new features in RootsMagic 5, which was released on Monday.  This series started yesterday with Exploring RootsMagic 5 - Post 1: The View Screens.

Today, I want to demonstrate how to get to and populate a Research Log using the new Research Manager feature.

1)  When a user is in the "Edit Person" screen, the buttons for "Note" and "Sources" are still in the right-hand column.  The menu button line above the person's name still has the "Add a Fact," "Delete Fact," "Options," "Address," and "Media" buttons.  The "To-Do" button and  "Research Log" buttons have been added to this line.  When a Fact is highlighted, there are no "Media" or "To-Do" buttons in the right-hand panel. 

I wanted to create a Research Log for my research on William Knapp (1775-1856) and his parents (whose names are not known).  Here is the "Edit Person" screen with the "Research Log" button highlighted:

2)  I clicked on the "Research Log" button, and saw the "Research Manager" screen.  The buttons on this screen are to "Add research log," "Edit research log," "Delete research log" and "Print."

3) I wanted to create a Research Log for William Knapp, so I clicked on "Add research log" button and saw the "Research Log" screen:

The fields on this form are for "Name for this Research Log," "Who or What is this log for?" and the name of the General, Person, Family, Event or Place (user's choice), "What is the objective of this research log?" and then there are three buttons for the bottom of the screen - "Add research item," "Edit research item," and "Delete research item."  I filled in the top of the form in the screen above.

4)  I wanted to populate the Research Item list, so I clicked on the "Add Research item" button and this "Research Log Entry" form opened:

The form fields include "Date of your search," "Reference number," "What were you trying to find?," "What source did you check?," "Where did you check (repository and call #)?," and " What were the results of your search?" I filled in the fields for the first item in my research log for William Knapp (based on the entries in my handwritten log in my Knapp surname notebook).

5)  After about two hours, I had added 45 entries to my research log by adding research items one by one to the list:

I could highlight any research log item and click on "Edit research item" at any time (or double-click an item) to change or add content to the research item.

6)  When I was done, I clicked on the "OK" button and was back to the "Research Log" form with the name of my log shown in the  left-hand column and the research log item entries in a table format on the right side of the form in several columns:

7)  I wanted to print this Research Log so that I could add it to my Knapp surname notebook, so I clicked on the "Print" button on the "Research Log" screen.  I could choose which items to include in the Research Log table.  The printed form looks like this:

There is a "Research Manager" link in the "Lists" menu when you are one of  the View screens.  It opens to the screen in #6 above with all of your existing Research Logs. 

If you choose "Person" in response to the "Who or what is this log for?" question, then you can click on the "Research log" button on the "Edit Person" screen.  If you chose "Family," then the software asks you to define a set of parents, and then the "Research Log" button on the "Edit Person" screen for each parent.

This implementation of a Research Log is very well organized and logical, and it works well.  Like any other software feature, it takes a little while to learn it, and it takes time to enter a large number of Research Log item entries.   

You can see much more about creating and using Research Logs, as well as the other new features in RootsMagic 5, in the RootsMagic 5 webinar broadcast yesterday.  You can access it through  It's not online yet for viewing, but it will be shortly.

During the webinar, I asked via the chat feature if the Research Logs would be included in a GEDCOM file.  The answer was "Yes." After the webinar, I checked by creating a GEDCOM for William Knapp.  I had to check the "Research log" box for inclusion in the GEDCOM.  The GEDCOM file created by RootsMagic 5 has a custom tag of _RLOG with entries for the Log information and then each log item.  Here is the GEDCOM entry for the beginning of my Research Log (one item only):

2 DESC William Knapp and parents
2 NOTE Collect all evidence relating to the life of William Knapp (1775-1856), i
3 CONC ncluding vital, census, newspaper, military, and other records.
3 CONT Collect evidence of William Knapp's parents.
3 DATE FEB 1988
3 GOAL Parents of Sarah (Knapp) Auble, wife of David Auble
3 SOUR Betty (Carringer) Seaver Family Papers
3 RSLT David Auble obituary and Catherine Knapp obituary indicates that David'
4 CONC s in-laws and Catherine's parents were William Knapp and Sarah Cutter.

The issue will be, of course, will other software programs or online family tree websites be able to read these GEDCOM lines and be able to display them appropriately.  I'll check in another post!

The "What's New in RootsMagic 5 Webinar" from 29 November is now available to watch, for free, at Bruce Buzbee goes through all of the new features in this webinar. I commend it to your viewing if you want to see how all of the new features work.

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.


Amy Urman said...

I have been playing with this feature also. I really like it! Way to go RootsMagic!

Louis Kessler said...

The GEDCOM output just adds more to the inconsistency between programs.

For example, this is how GEDitCOM exports its research log. (See: )

0 @L2@ _LOG
1 _TTL Joseph Smith Research Log
1 _OBJECT Get more information on Joseph Smith
2 CONT Search LDS Archives.
1 REFN 5 SEP 2009 11:01:50
2 TYPE Creation Date
1 _INDI @I1@
2 DATE 26 DEC 2009
3 TIME 10:01:06
1 _INDI @I2@
1 _FAM @F2@ 0 @L3@ _LOG
1 _TTL More Smith Research
1 REFN 5 SEP 2009 11:02:23
2 TYPE Creation Date
1 _INDI @I1@
2 DATE 21 JAN 2010
3 TIME 15:41:15
1 _FAM @F2@
2 _DATE 25 AUG 2009
2 _GOAL Research Task
2 _STATUS Working
2 _RESULTS These are some results of a research task
3 CONT Line
2 of the task
3 CONT Line
3 of the task
3 CONT Line 4 of the task
2 NOTE @N8@
2 SOUR @SR7@
2 OBJE @M8@
1 _SUMMARY Summary of all the tasks combined
1 OBJE @M3@
1 NOTE @N9@
1 SOUR @SR6@
2 _DATE 2009
2 _GOAL Second Task
2 _STATUS Done 0 @L1@ _LOG
1 _TTL Name Research
1 _OBJECT Find details on a name
1 SEP 2009 22:28:02
2 TYPE Creation Date
1 _INDI @I1@
1 SEP 2009
3 TIME 22:28:27
0 @L4@ _LOG
1 _TTL Smith-Hale Marriage Research
1 REFN 6 SEP 2009 09:22:14
2 TYPE Creation Date
1 _FAM @F2@
2 DATE 6 SEP 2009
3 TIME 09:22:27

So what are the chances that RootsMagic can read in this GEDCOM and load the Log information correctly?

And likewise for GEDitCOM loading RootsMagic's Log.

Connie said...


You didn't discuss one of the coolest features: there's a button on the To Do list that allows you to move tasks to the Research Log, and edit them if necessary, after you've done the research.