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Thinking of switching to RootsMagic

Legacy switch

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#1 seh0872


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Posted 29 July 2019 - 07:57 AM

Hello all...


I'm a long-time Legacy Family Tree user who has been thinking of switching to RootsMagic now that it natively runs on Mac.  While I have a Windows VM on my Mac, Legacy Family Tree is the only program I use on the Windows side, and between the performance drop and the cost/hassle of having to maintain Windows and Parallels, I'd much rather have a native Mac genealogy app.  I tried running Legacy through CrossOver but had poor results.


Up until recently, no native Mac apps could hold a candle to the flexibility or features of Legacy.  But now, with RootsMagic available for Mac (not sure if its native or via CrossOver, but it works well none-the-less) combined with the ability to synchronize my tree with Ancestry (a real plus), makes me seriously consider switching from Legacy to RM.


But, I'm concerned about a few things and wanted the RM communities opinion--particularly anyone who might have some experience with LFT.  I'll play more with the free version of RM to gauge how well I like it, but perhaps you guys could shed some light as well.


* The biggest thing I'm wondering about is the speed at which I can update individual's information.  With Legacy, I've gotten quite used to the keyboard shortcuts which are embedded in my memory, as well as other automatic features I can set such as automatically opening notes after entering an individual, or automatically opening the marriage data box when entering a spouse.  These little features are huge time-savers in a database that is approaching 125,000 individuals.  More significantly, however, seems to be the number of clicks I have to make to update an individual in RM. For example, if I create an individual and return to him/her later to enter his/her information (e.g. birthdate), it seems that I have to click "Add a Fact", scroll through the list of Facts, doubleclick the fact, then click the field in the popup and enter the data.  That's way too many clicks versus LTM, where I navigate to the person and dozens of entry fields are immediately there ... name, dates, places, alternate IDs, tags (which I know only exist in LFT), navigation buttons to sources, notes, hashtags, events, etc.  In short, while I haven't played around enough with RM7 to know for sure, it appears to be a significantly slower data entry system that LFT--which would be a no go for me.  Your experiences/thoughts?


I have a few other things I wonder about -- the loss of tagging and hashtags, no linking to Find-a-Grave, etc., but these are things I'll explore more as I play with the application.  But if it takes me 3x longer to update an individual in RM7 than in LFT, it won't matter anyway.


Thanks in advance.






#2 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 08:43 AM

Your perspective on RM's Crossover wrapper is interesting. RM for Mac using the Crossover wrapper has been around a long time and is not really new. I wouldn't call it RM running natively on a Mac. Crossover is a proprietary  and supported implementation of Wine, which is Windows emulation software. Some Mac users seem to have no problems working with RM in this environment, and other Mac users seem to have serious problems working with RM in this environment. The good news for RM's Mac user is that the release of RM8 has been announced for "this year", and RM8 will truly run natively on a Mac without any kind of Windows emulation.

As far as your concern about RM7's clickiness, I'm not sure quite what to tell you. I am a very long term RM user who is very happy with it, but I'm probably the complainer-in-chief about its clickiness. Very little information has been released about RM8. It is known that it is a complete rewrite. There have been very brief demos of RM8 at a couple of genealogy conferences, and the reports are that it has a much improved user interface which is less clicky, and less modal than RM7. Until I can use the product myself, I'm not willing to fully embrace that characterization, but it's looking good so far.


#3 seh0872


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Posted 29 July 2019 - 12:12 PM

Jerry, that's a fantastic update.  Obviously, my concerns about the ease or lack thereof of data entry and updates compared to Legacy are not abated, but the anticipation of a ground-up rebuild of RM due out "this year" is intriguing.  I experimented a bit with the synchronization between RM and Ancestry, and generally I like it quite a bit.  As stated, that feature, combined with the opportunity to disengage Windows from my computer, make RM worth further exploration.  I'll watch closely for more information about the upcoming release.


In the meantime, I'd love to hear others comments about how simple or involved it is to add facts to an individual in RM.




#4 zhangrau


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Posted 29 July 2019 - 04:13 PM

My opinion? Ease of use and "intuitiveness" are overrated. I have used computers since the early 80's, started my genealogy project in 1988, and taught CAD and other software for 24 years, so I'm far from a newby.


No software has ever felt "easy" or "intuitive" until someone has enough experience with it to already know how it works.


That said, a well-organized menu system is clearly important, and within the scope of the programming team's activities.


Within the classroom, I had to deal with new versions of the software every 12-18 months, and from my perspective (as a user and instructor) the constantly rearranged menus were simply a preposterous distraction. It always seemed like the menus had been rearranged not for efficiency, but simply because some programmer wanted to do so. I hope RM doesn't go that route.


I really like the pulldown style of menus that RM7 uses (and has used since it's inception as Family Origins) because they are compact and take up only a little bit of screen space. That means that nearly 90% of the screen space is my work area. By comparison, the "ribbon" style of menu system being pushed by MS since the mid-00's uses a wider swath of screen space, and leaves LESS room for my work area. I detest that, and continue to use my legal copy of MSOffice 2003 because my legal copy of MSOffice 2010 is a screen hog. And I use Excel every single day to track, chart, and graph personal data. If the "ribbon" menus were truly more efficient....


I work in RM7 daily, sometimes only an hour or two, sometimes up to a dozen hours. I take my laptop to libraries for access to books and databases that aren't in my personal collection.


My RM7 database has nearly 429K records. Functions requiring index rebuilds take a few moments, and that's a bit more noticeable on my current laptop with 12GB of ram than my previous one with 16GB of ram. A fast hard drive also matters, since RM reads & writes data with every single transaction. I would imagine that the overhead of a software emulator (Wine, Crossover, etc.) would also slow some database functions.


I do think that being less "modal" would be helpful. Being forced to open a window to learn something, then close that window in order to use that just-found info is inefficient. I'd like to be able to leave that reference window open while I proceed with data entry and manipulation.


The most useless function, for me, is the Search > Find Everywhere command. No kidding here, that command takes over 90 minutes on my database. If there were a way to filter or limit the search activity to just Sources, or just Citations, or just Repositories, etc., etc. then I would be able to find a use for this command. As it is, I use the clunkier workaround of "printing" my Source List of 16K items and saving it to a text file, where I can readily search it with Notepad's Find command. I do the same thing with my 2.4MM Citations.


Prior to RM4, the Search > Search and Replace command had 15 items on its pulldown menu. After RM4, there are only 9 items. Those 6 missing items were very useful, and frequently I miss having them. They were a simple method for correcting my own typos and other mistakes.... will they be returned in RM8? Probably not, and I'll still be wishing for them.

#5 TomH


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Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:04 AM

With an extensively revised UI and native Mac version in the offing, one's experience with RM7 cannot really inform your decision. Buy RM7 today and you will get RM8 for free or wait for RM8's release to purchase at a higher price, if a few dollars makes a diff.

RM7 has a long list of keyboard shortcuts - see Help. Instead of scrolling selection lists, typing into the list auto searches to the first match, e.g., "oc" jumps to "Occupation".

Tom user of RM7630 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.

#6 Kamolga


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Posted 31 July 2019 - 03:22 AM


automatically opening the marriage data box when entering a spouse.

That happens in RM7...quick and easy.


I did some manual entries for 2 days as I was testing the software and I became really very happy with it, I found it fantastic. I imported my tree later. 

I designed many data entry forms in my work and I felt those ones had been really well thought, that I would need a lot of user feedback to reach this level. It is after a month or so I realised they do not set focus (pre-select) anything in the list nor split them: if you add a media and want to add it to a fact, it is not pre-selected in the list or if you want to use a master source to a fact, RM does not filter the master sources you have already used for those facts (most of my master sources are only used for birth, other of marriage,...). 


Nevertheless I was so happy with data entry I purchased the software. Source management was the best I had ever seen (which for some reason I do not like in Family Historian) and cherry on the cake, we can use SQLite to update the entire database: add an alternate spouse name to all married woman, group people with duplicate facts (happens after merging duplicates), add birth fact from christen or baptism and so on.


So Data entry, source management and customisation of the functions are for me on the + side and on - side is that we have map and photo from previous century (no face recognition or even selecting faces of people on photos) and no full tree view.

Rootsmagic with a lot of SQL queries (SQLiteSpy) and a bit of Family Historian 6.2 (tree view and map)

#7 Vyger


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Posted 31 July 2019 - 04:32 AM

.........and on - side is that we have map and photo from previous century (no face recognition or even selecting faces of people on photos) and no full tree view.


Mapping is an area I very much hope will be addressed by a leap forward in the next version.


Personally I believe it makes perfect sense for an improved version of Family Atlas to be incorporated in the program, so working with live data, time sliders and ability to create markers. A price increase for Rootsmagic 8 has already been declared although not specified and I welcome this in line with a more professional program.

The fact that you can purchase RM7 at the current price and get RM8 for free is a no brainer, Rootsmagic must be the lowest cost genealogy software out there at the moment.

Keeping ones customers and their important views at a distance is never a good approach


User of Family Historian 7.0.3, Heredis 2021, Rootsmagic 7.6.5


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