Sunday, June 17, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 25

Week 25: Genealogy Database Software: Database programs have revolutionized the way we store and record our genealogy. Which one is your favorite? What are some of the tools and perks of the program that enhance your family history research? Share a link to the company website or vendor so others may learn more about this product.

RootsMagic is the BEST in my opinion.  I started using Family Origins way back when - the other program I had tried was a resource hog and crashed my computer at every turn.  I have stayed with the developer Bruce Buzbee through all the mutations to RootsMagic 5.  Every edition gets better.  Here are my personal reasons for recommending it:

1.  It's intuitive to use.  The main pages look like genealogy - family group sheets or pedigree charts.  And, although there are options and menus, the pages seem relatively uncluttered.  Although it does have a lot of bells and whistles, you don't have to use them all.  A beginner can do well with the free version.

2.  There's always help.  The support files in the program are well written and clear. The Webinars are free online.  Support is excellent should there be a problem.  It's easy to report possible bugs or recommend ideas for future updates.  Updates are provided free until a new version comes out - even then updates are inexpensive compared to some other programs.

3.  It does a good job of preparing html files to upload to my website.  Not everyone cares about this feature but it's very important to me.  

4.  Reports can be prepared in pdf to send by email to inquiries in a very short time.  Because I have a web presence, I do get requests for additional information.  I'm happy to share but prefer to do it as pdf.

5.  Files from other programs, FamilyTreeMaker, Legacy, PAF, can be imported directly into RootsMagic without having to use GEDCOM which is imperfect at best.  I have compared this feature [direct vs. GEDCOM] and it's amazing how much better the information transfers directly.  I realized how inadequate GEDCOM really is with today's robust programs.

6.  If you are LDS, this is likely the very best program for syncing with their family trees - which will someday be made available to the general public.

Drawbacks.  As yet there is no dedicated MAC version.  I understand it runs very well when you add dual operating systems (Windows) to a MAC.   No iPhone/iPad app yet - but it does have the Roots-Magic-To-Go which runs the entire program and your files off a flash drive on any computer, a very neat feature.  It does not sync with any of the online family databases - but, in my opinion and after using FamilyTreeMaker to sync with Ancestry, this is so far, a plus.

You can find RootsMagic 5 right here:      RootsMagic 5

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