Genealogy Reviews
Family History Articles from the Leading Magazines



Ancestors magazine was published by Wharncliffe Publishing Limited and The National Archives. It has now ceased publication.

RootsMagic 4 (RM4) is a family history database program from American publisher RootsMagic Inc. As with previous versions, there is also a British edition, published here by S&N Genealogy Supplies. In fact, there are three bundles: the Basic edition at £27.45, a Standard edition at £37.45 and the Platinum at £52.45, all available on CD by post.

If you already have RM v3, you can get an upgrade program for only £22.45 on CD of £18.40 by download. The program is the same with each bundle: only the extras offered differ and these apply only to the Standard and Platinum editions.

The Standard edition extras include data CDs with Bartholomew's 1898 Royal Atlas of England and Wales, including some street maps and an index. You also get £1,620 worth of vouchers for further data sets from British Data Archive. The Platinum extras include all of the above, plus a few more data CDs that may or may not be relevant to your research. There's also a useful subscription to

There's a cornucopia of new features in RM4 - major and minor - although some of them are playing catch-up with rivals. Nevertheless, they do enable the program to pull ahead in most areas. Perhaps the most notable is RootsMagic-To-Go - a fully working copy of RootsMagic compatible with any computer directly from a removable drive (CD or USB memory stick).

RM4 now has five tabbed areas: pedigree, family, descendants, people (a list), and WebSearch. There's a seperate edit screen to add facts - occupations, residences, religion - with notes and source citations for each. There are 66 facts and events pre-listed before you even start adding your own.

In reports, "fact fields" are assembled into proper sentences which you can edit or replace using plain text and built-in fields, similar to Legacy or The Master Genealogist. You can also assign a "proof" value to a fact or relationship to indicate your confidence in its veracity. Sources can now be shared between people or events and muiltimedia, documents, and addresses added. Text in notes can be formatted.

There's an edit screen for LDS ordinances and when the new LDS FamilySearch service becomes generally available you'll be able to match its data with people in your database. The new sidebar can display family names; bookmarks; recently-viewed people; grouped people; and an index: though not all at once.

The mapping feature displays a map of places from Microsoft's Virtual Earth/ The new gazetteer shows matches for full or partial place names entered with an online map. A refined place name search is available with a field for the name of a church, cemetary, hospital, or street address - pretty similar to the "description field" in Legacy, which doesn't get in the way of searching in a gazetteer or geo-coding. As in The Master Genealogist, you can include other people in the event - a witness, minister, boarder or domestic.

Additionally, you can assemble a "book" created from selected reports (including graphical pages) and include contents and name and place index pages - together with place keepers for any previously printed material. There's also a range of wall and paginated charts (to fit A4 paper), some with colour. RM4 can generate six types of web pages to upload, with photos, notes, sources, index, surname list, and a GEDCOM file. Reports can be printed, previewed or emailed.

RootsMagic continues to improve with a feature list to stand in comparison with the other major contenders. Indeed its versatile reporting and publishing features are better than many, while RootsMagic-To-Go is a milestone in portability (provided of course there's a computer where you are going).

Reproduced from an article by James Taylor in Ancestors Magazine

RootsMagic UK Version 4 Platinum Edition - from

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