Monday, October 24, 2011

Learning to Like RootsMagic

My responses to RootsMagic thus far:
  1. excitement when I finally had time to open the package and install the program
  2. surprise at its speed in transferring my family's names, dates, and sources from PAF
  3. uncertainty -- why are there blank spaces when there were no blank spaces in PAF?
  4. amazement at the variety of reports available for printing
I've found some good things about the program already.

I can see that RootsMagic offers more options for source documentation than PAF did, which is excellent. It's easy to add the kind of source (census, education, illness, occupation, will, etc.) from a drop-down list. I haven't yet added any documents yet. I want to learn more about the program before doing so. I don't want to have to go back and make corrections. It's easier to get it right from the beginning.

I like how the program suggests that we decide whether the source we're adding and transcribing is a primary document not. That will help with the credibility of my research.

The BEST thing to date is that I was able to change the color of the background. You can see it at the top of this post. Yes, I know that's a little thing. Really, it's a non-essential thing and if I couldn't have done it, I could have lived with the program the way it was. But you know how when you move to a new house with a new kitchen -- or for the guys, with a new garage or work area -- and you have to organize it before you can actually begin working there comfortably? Maybe you paint the walls or build some shelves or move things around? I have to get comfortable in my environment before I can do serious work. That comfort comes either with time, if I can't change things, or with being able to adjust the environment. The color was blue. Blue is my least favorite color. I was thrilled when I found green (though there are about 2 dozen other options, too). The font size on the screen was a whopping 14 point when 12 is plenty large (and still too large for notes). The program let me change that.

Renée TOMLINSON PETERSEN of Whispers from the Past/Tales Told, Jenny Lanctot of Are My Roots Showing?, and Amy Coffin of The We Tree Genealogy Blog all recommended that I watch the RootsMagic Webinars. I looked at the list of topics and will return when I have an hour and a half to concentrate. Soon! In the meantime, using Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic, a book which came with the program, and exploring the program are giving me plenty to do in small chunks of time.

It's Magic! was my first post about RootsMagic. I'm sure this one won't be my last one about the program.


  1. Okay, I am watching to see how you like your change-over before I give serious consideration to changing myself.

    PAF is still working for me. But I also know there may come a time soon when it is obsolete ~shudders~ so I may be proactive about the switch.

    But still watching you and your experience...


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