Review: RootsMagic 8

I just purchased RootsMagic, version 8 (RM8). The initial purchase, setup, and registration went smoothly. I was able to upgrade from a registered version 6 with no problem.

The interface is reminiscent of Evidentia, with no menu-bar or toolbar across the top as was in previous versions. It is taking a bit of getting used to. There is a search field in the Command Palette in the upper right part of the main screen that will lead you to what you need to find. I also like the font scaling feature in the Settings menu.

I was able to convert a RootsMagic Essentials 7 database with no problems. Importing a GEDCOM 5.5.1-compliant file also went smoothly. I expected some errors and omissions during the conversions, but I saw no problems reported by RootsMagic. Looking at the database folder on my computer, I found the .lst file containing a bunch of “unknown info” from the GEDCOM import. None of it was significant, though, so, so far so good.

The Sources listing screen in RM8 is quite different. It is however, somewhat like what was in The Master Genealogist. One annoyance is that I cannot select whole words using the Control-Shift-arrow keys. I have to select it using just the Shift-arrow keys, character-by-character.

Although my source list got messed up during the transition from The Master Genealogist version 8 to RootsMagic 6 some years ago and having edited it by hand in the raw GEDCOM file, the sources appear well enough. In the narrative report, anyway, they are fine.

Running a Narrative Report is easy, there are a few choices for details. I chose the NEHGS Register style which I am familiar with to test-drive that report on my main family line. I would recommend that the developers read a couple of the current style guides available which detail the Register style. If you were to use this style without a care for the looks, you’d be fine, but me, I have a lot of clean-ups to do.

I will stick with LifeLines and Ancestris for their detailed and in-depth problem reports, making any changes in RootsMagic. These two other programs are free, open source software projects which are quite good themselves. I’ve also coded a rough draft of a Register-style report in the Lifelines report language, which is quite useful.

I have not tried the connections to FamilySearch or Ancestry yet. I do not have a paid Ancestry account, so will not be able to use that connector. I maintain a small tree on FamilySearch but all of it is already hand-entered in my database off-line. I like the idea that there are tutorials available for using RootsMagic and FamilySearch; I will get to those someday.

Overall, this update to RootsMagic is great. I will continue using it as one tool in my toolkit.

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One Way to Cite U.S. Census Images with Zotero

Using the manuscript item type, enter the Author as Last, First and then in the Archive field the City, County, State and other location information. Following that, enter the Census title in the Location in Archive field.

For example:

Author Last: Mellen

Author First: John

Date: 1752

Archive: Cambridge, Massachusetts, page 269, NARA micropublication M252, roll 20

Location in Archive: 1800 U.S. Census

The first citation will look like:

John Mellen (n.d.), 1800 U.S. Census, Cambridge, Massachusetts, page 269, NARA micropublication M252, roll 20.

The subsequent citations will be simply the surname, unfortunately. You can work around this by copy / pasting more of the citation to differentiate between different persons of the same name in the document. In the above example the result would look like

Mellen, 1800 U.S. Census, Cambridge.

Also, the “(n.d.)” field in the first citation is not necessary and can be removed with the possibility of breaking the link to the main data in Zotero. An alternative is to use the persons birth year in the Date field to differentiate similarly named persons.

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New Version of Lifelines

There is a new version of lifelines on github, 3.2.0 alpha. It is a 64-bit conversion of the venerable genealogy program and scripting language.

So far it works fine for me on Fedora Linux 30.

Here’s the link: Lifelines on Github.

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Physical version of the Genealogical Data Model

I just posted my interpretation of the GDM on Google’s Code Hosting the GitHub platform. It is a SQL script to create an empty database. It’s primary purpose is to elicit comments and perhaps criticism from others prior to finalizing the layout of the database and beginning programming on it.

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An Introduction to GeneaLogicNG

I’ve posted a simple vision and scope document to Google Code Hosting GitHub for public review. If you are interested, you can find it through the link.

GeneaLogicNG is in the analysis and design stage at the moment so there is no code to be downloaded. I do plan to post some of the SQL materials that I’ve got, sometime soon. I’ll let you know when that happens.

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