Friday, May 14, 2010

Follow Friday - RootsMagic

I have been looking for a new genealogy program for a while. Not actively seeking, but keeping it in mind as I have looked at different ones. I even received some free trial software from some companies, but I have always hesitated buying new because the genealogy program I had been using has a great price - free. I couldn't beat that, but it is no longer being updated and over the years has not kept pace with new innovations in genealogy software out there.

So after RootsMagic started sponsoring Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems podcast, she said you could download a full version of it for free with unlimited time use, (just a few things missing from the full version). So I did, plus their 30-day trial of Personal Historian.

It only took me about a day of using both that I realized here was the genealogy software program that I was looking for. So I bought it, plus Personal Historian, plus GenSmarts. I don't have GenSmarts yet. It comes on a cd. There is no online download for it.

So far I am quite pleased with both RootsMagic and Personal Historian. They are not too expensive - $30 each which I thought fairly reasonable.

I haven't tried everything on them yet, but the thing I am enjoying most about RootsMagic is the abiity to document and make notes for everything. I missed that in my other online program.

What I like about Personal Historian is the ability to make timelines from downloaded historical events and to add my own. This helps me flesh out a person and their life. I have been looking for such a program for a long time online. The only one I ever found was Our TimeLines and although it is free, I wasn't too fond of it. You have very little control over what events show and many of their events were not relevant to the life of the individual I was researching. With Personal Historian I can decide what events to show or not. Also the timeline events with Personal Historian come in what are called "LifeCapsules" and are categorized according to the types of events you want to show such as "Industrial Revolution", "British History", "Epidemics", "Inventions", etc.

I read some of the reviews at of RootsMagic and some people complained that the program was not "intuitive", in other words they found it difficult to use without instructions. I don't know what those people had been using before, but I jumped right into it and so far have had very little problem. If I do have a problem I just look up the instructions included in the program.

The only thing I haven't tried to use yet is the RootsMagic Chart. This program allows you to make your own customized genealogy charts. It looks like a drawing program and I haven't tackled it yet.

I am happy with what I have tried so far with the program and recommend it to others.


Mary said...

Nice review - I've been looking for a new program and just may have to give this a try.

Kelly H. said...

I have been using RM for about 2 years now. I really like it. I used to use the old Family Tree Maker and I tried Legacy too, but RM is easy and does a lot of what I need. Thanks for the little review of Personal Historian. I am interested in that one too, but haven't looked at it in depth. I did not know it did timelines too.

kinfolknews said...

I've been using RM for sometime now and I love it too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info Robin! Appreciate it. Hope all is well...I love this blog!!

Thor said...

Thank you, Cherie.