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Family Tree Magazine - Sam Turner - Genealogy Software Reviews

UK RootsMagic Essentials

RootsMagic has long been established as one of the leading genealogy programs. Now you can enjoy a free copy of this award-winning software with the newly released UK RootsMagic Essentials.

RootsMagic Essentials is now available as a free download. This fully functional package lets you enter thousands of people into your family tree and record full details of their lives, and create a wide range of reports and charts at the click of a button.

What can RootsMagic Essentials do?

With the user-friendly screens and easy-to-use menus that RootsMagic Essentials has, even the most inexperienced user can get up and running quickly. You can add unlimited people, facts and notes, print a range of reports, merge, backup and restore, perform powerful searches, attach multimedia and import files from your friends and family, all for free.

Viewing on screen

The program has two main views: 'pedigree view' and the 'family view'. The pedigree view shows you the direct ancestors of a person, whilst the family view shows you the siblings, parents and spouses of a selected person along with their details (such as sex, birth date, birth place, etc). To switch between the views, all you need to do is click on the appropriate tab.

You can edit a person and add or change their facts by double-clicking on them. This brings up the edit-screen. You can add an unlimited number of facts for every person (including birth, marriage, death, education, occupation, residence, etc), as well as notes and source citations (such as a reference of the person appearing in a particular census) for every fact. Every piece of information about an individual is available from the edit screen, as well as access to any images or other multimedia items that you wish to attach to them.

Searching your tree

Once you have a large of people in your database, you won't want to navigate up and down a tree in order to find a particular person. This is where the RootsMagic Essentials explorer screen comes in; it easily lets you find any one of your ancestors. You can quickly type in a person's name to jump to them, or you can find people with an easy-to-use search screen, all the while being able to edit any person in the search list with the click of a button.

Creating charts

RootsMagic Essentials offers a wide range of printable reports and charts, including pedigree, family group sheets, box charts (both ancestor and descendant), narrative reports, individual summaries (everything you know about a person), and many more. You can even generate blank charts, which you can print out and fill in yourself by hand. The following reports, lists and charts are available in RootsMagic Essentials: Ahnentafel; Birthday and Anniversary list; Blank reports; Box charts; Descendants; Duplicate list; Family Group Sheet; Individual list; Individual summary; LDS ordnance list; Marriage list; Narrative; Place list; Repository list; Scrap book; and Source list.

If you find that you are after a feature that isn't available in RootsMagic Essentials, then you can upgrade to the full version of RootsMagic without losing your data or settings.

Upgrade to RootsMagic Platinum

RootsMagic Platinum adds to the 'family view' and 'pedigree view' included in the RootsMagic Essentials to give you a 'descendants' view, a 'people' view, and a 'WebSearch' tab. The WebSearch is particularly useful, allowing you to search online resources for information about your family.

A wider range of charts is available with the Platinum edition, including the superb wall charts, a photo tree, a timeline chart, and custom charts, which you can design yourself. You also have the option to save your charts and include pictures.

You can create your own custom facts and private events, which can be suppressed from printing or exporting when you want to share your information with family members. One addition of the Platinum edition is the ability to create Shareable CDs, which puts your database and a read-only version of RootsMagic onto a CD that you can give to others so they can look at your research.

If you'd prefer a more sophisticated look for your research, you can use the RootsMagic Publisher to create complete books with narrative, notes, charts, photos, source bibliography, index, and more. You can include cover and title pages, copyright, dedication, acknowledgement and preface pages, a table of contents, and customise the content.

Also included in the RootsMagic Platinum is 'RootsMagic To-Go', which runs direct from your memory stick, and allows you to take your database and RootsMagic with you wherever you go. You can use RootsMagic in places where you may not have been able to before, such as libraries and computers.