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Rootsmagic vs. Family Tree Maker


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#1 Dmstauber

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 10:16 PM

I am a total beginner!! I landed in genealogy just as the big change happened with Ancestry, and I'm trying to figure out which software I want to use.

 

I am choosing between Rootsmagic and Family Tree Maker because (at least according to a review site with a comprehensive feature chart) they are the two that allow for both same-sex marriages and adoptions.

 

Right now I am putting data into the free version of Rootsmagic. I have also looked at my friend's Family Tree Maker and found that I liked the view there better (more data accessible rather than hidden) though I know everyone is complaining about the new timeline view. There is no demo available of FTM right now, so I'm waiting impatiently for my final decision.

 

So I would love to hear how you chose Rootsmagic and what you see as its advantages over FTM. 

 

Thank you in advance!



#2 Renee Zamora

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 10:17 AM

This has been discussed on our RootsMagic Users Facebook Page. You could search on the topic there to see all the comments.

 

https://www.facebook...ootsMagicUsers/


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#3 Don Newcomb

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 11:05 AM

The major advantage to Roots Magic is that it will still be supported past Jan '17.

http://blogs.ancestr...maker-software/

"...we’ve taken a hard look at the declining desktop software market and the impact this has on being able to continue to provide product enhancements and support that our users need. With that, we’ve made the decision to stop selling Family Tree Maker as of December 31, 2015. "



#4 Dmstauber

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 11:47 AM

Ah, you didn't see the announcement:

 

Software MacKiev, with whom we have a long-standing relationship, is acquiring the Family Tree Maker software line as publisher for both Mac and Windows versions. Software MacKiev has been the developer of Family Tree Maker for Mac for more than six years and is thrilled at the opportunity to publish future versions of Family Tree Maker for Mac and Windows. This new agreement means you will receive software updates and new versions from Software MacKiev, and have the ability to purchase new versions of Family Tree Maker from Software MacKiev as they are released. You will have continued access to Ancestry Hints, Ancestry searches, and be able to save your tree on Ancestry with Family Tree Maker moving forward. - See more at: http://blogs.ancestr...h.C1pakk06.dpuf

 

The new one won't be out until March, which is why I'm waiting to decide.



#5 dmossfritch

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 01:39 PM

Might I suggest you continue to use the basic version of RootsMagic for the immediate future? Both Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic are, and apparently will be throughout 2016, in a state of change and development. Since you are new to genealogy, using the  basic version of RootsMagic will allow you to become familiar with genealogy software and with the elements of genealogy searching.

 

During 2016 Software MacKiev will be working on development of Family Tree Maker. During the same period, RootsMagic will be (according to their blog) implementing search hints and sync with Ancestry as that relationship progresses. The next update to RootsMagic I keep seeing hints to may mean interface changes which might address your initial comments. (As an 'ancient' genealogy software user - since CPM+ in the mid-1980s - I did use the initial versions of Family Origins so do see some similarity to that early software's UI and today's RootsMagic.)

 

Oh, the software released March 1st by Software MacKiev will only be an update / problem fix to Family Tree Maker, not the 'next version'. I would suspect the company will begin development of a 'next version' to Family Tree Maker after this March 1st fix release.



#6 Don Newcomb

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 03:42 PM

Ah, you didn't see the announcement:

 

No I didn't. I don't claim to be all that familiar with FTM; I've just seen a lot of new chatter here since Ancestry announced that they were dropping it as a product.  I will say that Roots Magic has a lot of features that make it popular with serious researchers. Many of these features don't become apparent until you really get down into the weeds. FTM's major claim to fame (at it was a big one) was that it was sold by and integrated with Ancestry.com.  



#7 Vyger

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 05:15 PM

So I would love to hear how you chose Rootsmagic and what you see as its advantages over FTM.

 

Personally I am a long time user of Rootsmagic as my prime genealogy program and I also use Legacy Family Tree and FTM 2014. All these programs have their good points and all have shortcomings, in the past Rootsmagic has demonstrated a willingness to listen to user needs and implement changes.

 

Just comparing Rootsmagic to FTM I have to say a find FTM slow to use and not so intuitive in many ways, they also have shown little respect for the gedcom standard making the future migration to another program very difficult. I believe, although a Rootsmagic employee, Renee gave the most useful answer as you would really benefit from the opinions of those who have recently changed from FTM to Rootsmagic.


“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates

It's now time for discretion, trust, patience and support

 

User of Rootsmagic 7.5.9, Family Historian 6.2.7, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

Root


#8 Dmstauber

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 05:16 PM

Thank you so much, everybody! I will go over to Facebook to see the discussions there. You all are a good example of the helpful friendly user base!



#9 Greg_Burton

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 02:50 PM

   RootsMagic is a much better program than Family Tree Maker.   When Rootsmagic can search Ancestry it will be everything I need in a desktop program.



#10 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 05:30 PM

When discussions about which genealogy program is best come up, I am reminded about discussions many decades ago about which text editor was best. This was in the days when the computing industry was making the transition from punched cards to dumb terminals, and the way programmers edited their programs was with a text editor on a dumb terminal. There were no PC's yet and you had no mouse, just a keyboard. There were many competing text editors. Many of them were very powerful, but they more powerful they were, they harder they tended to be to use and the more arcane the commands you had to use to make them work. Arguments about text editors were intense among programmers.

 

The best opinion I ever heard in this regard  was from a colleague who said that the best text editor was the one that you already knew how to use. I wonder if that's not the case about genealogy software. For most people most of the time, the best genealogy software is the one you already know how to use. Well, RM is the genealogy software that I already know how to use and I like it a lot.

 

I sometimes try to picture how the world of genealogy software would look to somebody who was not familiar with any of them, and how RM would stack up to somebody who was not familiar with any of them. It's really hard to picture because my opinions are so colored by things I like and dislike about RM and by things I like and dislike about some of its competitors. I own RM, TMG, and FTM. I once used PAF very heavily. I have investigated Legacy Family Tree, Family Historian, and Gramps fairly extensively. RM is my genealogy program of choice, and there are many things which it very much needs to improve. But despite those needed improvements, it is still the one that best meets my needs for most of my work. And to be honest about it, it's the one that I best know how to use. So I'm unlikely to change any time soon. But the one thing that the demise of TMG and FTM has taught me is that I should not be so wedded to one piece of software that I'm utterly unable to change. That idea is definitely beginning to influence how I look at all the products and at how I use RM.

 

Jerry

 

P.S. I do know that the cancellation of FTM has been put off for the time being. But I also remember that the cancellation of the original Star Trek series of TV was put off after an uproar of protest from its fan base. It still it was cancelled again a year later.



#11 Vyger

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 06:36 PM

But I also remember that the cancellation of the original Star Trek series of TV was put off after an uproar of protest from its fan base. It still it was cancelled again a year later.

 

Genealogy: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the software Rootsmagic. Its five-year mission: to build a new cross platform version, to please all it's users and clear the tracking system, to boldly go where no man has gone before. ;)

 

The voyage continues....................


“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates

It's now time for discretion, trust, patience and support

 

User of Rootsmagic 7.5.9, Family Historian 6.2.7, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

Root


#12 Don Newcomb

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 07:47 AM

... I am reminded about discussions many decades ago about which text editor was best. 

 

vi will always be the best text editor. No discussion needed.  :P



#13 dmossfritch

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 05:03 PM

The major difference between the TV series and FTM would be that Ancestry sold their product, not retain the product but delayed its final 'segment' (version). What the new owner will do is, at least at this moment, not known. It will be at least a year before anyone really understands just what the new owner plans for the FTM software. The 'unknown' factor was why I recommended the initial poster continue using the free version of RM (learning about genealogy and gaining experience searching) and watch what happens in the genealogy software industry during the remained of 2016.

 

FTM does have several very worthwhile features. For example, the Sources tab with its three panes (existing sources on the left pane; citations of the selected source and links of the selected source-citation combination in the center pane; with the full source and citation information in the right pane) seems to be unique in genealogy software. Being able to add sources, citations, links, and edit existing sources and citations from one location can be very helpful.

 

As for RM, it does have some problems. For example, the Research Manager. Why use text instead of linking sources, places, and repositories to their respective tables when adding a new item on the Research Log Entry dialog? Since there is a Correspondence List in RM, why is there no link from a research task to the database's correspondence table?



#14 Renee Zamora

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 06:01 PM

Ancestry is working on a new API that both Software MacKiev and RootsMagic will have to use. Ancestry said they will keep the current one running until the end of 2016, so I have no idea what arrangement Software MacKiev made with Ancestry on FTM 2012-2014 being able to sync to the old API after that. They will have to release a new version or update it to the new API I guess. 

 

As for RM, it does have some problems. For example, the Research Manager. Why use text instead of linking sources, places, and repositories to their respective tables when adding a new item on the Research Log Entry dialog? Since there is a Correspondence List in RM, why is there no link from a research task to the database's correspondence table?

 

Text was used in the Research Log out of concern that users would not want negative searches linked to sources and repositories. Since then we have learned most users want them in those lists, so its on the enhancement request list. The enhancement to the Correspondence List is also in the tracking system.


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#15 dmossfritch

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 06:37 PM

Thanks for the response Renee. As for your first paragraph, Software MacKiev addresses the tree sync situation on their web site as follows. (Note: bold text is my emphasis, not their emphasis)

 

"As Ancestry has announced, you will continue to be able to access your data through TreeSync through December 31, 2016 using current versions of Family Tree Maker. After January 1, 2017, while TreeSync will not be supported by Ancestry for the version you have now, you will still be able to access your trees on Ancestry.com and keep your online tree consistent with the one on FTM through new technologies being developed together by Software MacKiev and Ancestry.​

 

As for my Research Log comment, I am aware of the situation. When RM5 was initially released four years ago I wrote Bruce with my concerns. There is so much that can be done with a research log whether the search yields negative results (showing where you have searched and why) to transferring positive search results into your database as a new fact.



#16 wbalson

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 04:08 PM

Personal choice based on 17,500 person tree, 3,000 sources, 100,000 citations, 11,000 media

Benefits of FTM

1. Citations are maintained internally as a record of a source.  Violates Gedcom, but can be exported as valid Gedcom.  Allows unlinked citations and citations attached to multiple facts.  i.e. research centric

2. Clean intuitive user interface. Easy 1-click switch between People, Locations, Media, Sources, WebSearch & Publishing Views.

3. Charts allow sources to be added as footnotes, can export emf allowing massive pedigree, can edit people from chart display

4. Main screen can toggle between Pedigree and Extended Family view, enabling quick flipping between 5-gen pedigree and 6-gen family views

 

Benefits of RM:

1. Fast efficient user interface, handles large trees easily, feature rich, responsive development team

2. Open source data base, allows customized data modification, extensible source templates

3. Web connections to FamilySearch, My Heritage, and soon Ancestry.com 

4. Efficient generation of very large reports

 

I will continue to use FTM as the main repository but rely on RM's new ability to import FTM to access RM's better features.